Apple launched its trio of 10th anniversary devices–iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. That latter one may stretch your wallet starting at $999 and potentially make it more difficult to get your company to buy you one or bring your own to work. But Apple is gunning for the next decade of the smartphone while holding the $1,000 smartphone line.
The big question is whether facial recognition and animated emojis will justify the premium of the iPhone X. Preorders on the iPhone X start Oct. 27 with availability Nov. 3.
Here’s the new Apple lineup.
CEO Tim Cook noted that “no other device in our lifetime has had the impact on our world like the iPhone.” It’s Hard to argue with Cook’s take given smartphones are all multi-touch and have app stores. And yes, Apple has become the most profitable company on the planet.
Apple’s event at the Steve Jobs Theater was about extending the iPhone into what’s next such as augmented reality, but don’t get carried away. The company may have devices like the Apple Watch and moves into services, but the iPhone carries the day.
This round of iPhones is critical to Apple as the devices are set to launch what analysts dub a super cycle. To Wall Street, the next iPhone cycle will determine whether Apple can become the first company valued at $1 trillion. Apple was worth $834 billion ahead of the iPhone event. For Apple, the 10th anniversary iPhone sets the stage for new services, augmented reality and a bevy of other tools that may take it beyond the smartphone. Apple Watch is one installment on that device roadmap.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, outlined the iPhone 8 duo and perhaps the biggest spec update is the A11 Bionic processor. The CPU has six cores and is built to handle artificial intelligence and compute heavy tasks. The GPU is for 3D apps and games and is also built for machine learning tasks. In other words, Siri will be smarter.
The iPhone 8 starts at 64/256GB at $699. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799 with same memory configurations.
Apple also touted dual cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus and 12MP camera on the iPhone 8. A feature called Portrait Lighting changes the lighting effect on the photo with real-time analysis via machine learning.
As for the displays, the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch display with the smaller version at 4.7 inches.
Schiller also touted new sensors for augmented reality as well as a series of AR apps. Apple’s new hardware can integrate data and superimpose it over live places. “Each iPhone is custom tuned for AR,” said Schiller.
Add it up and the specs behind the iPhone 8 are all about prepping it for AR and blending it with the real world. The iPhone 8 also supports LTE Advanced and wireless charging based on Qi. Chargers will be built throughout cars, shops, retailers and airports.
The iPhone X is more about the sheer bragging rights. Apple said iPhone X will change the future of the smartphone and Cook noted that the company is aiming for the “next decade with this phone.”
“The first iPhone revolutionized the first decade of the technology. 10 years later it’s only fitting to reveal a product that will set the stage for the next decade,” said Cook. Nevertheless, the iPhone X contains many of the same internal technology as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Key points about the iPhone X:
- There’s no home button.
- Pressing the side button triggers Siri.
- There’s FaceID for facial recognition.
- A11 Bionic is the neural engine to process face recognition.
- Swipe up to go home.
- Display is Super Retina and HDR 10, Dolby Vision, True Tone and 3D Touch supported.
- It’s water and dust resistant.
- Face data is protected in an area on the chip. The data doesn’t go to a server. “http://www.zdnet.com/”The future of how we unlock our smartphones and protect our personal information” is facial recognition,” said Schiller.
- Face ID works with Apple Pay and third party apps like Mint and eTrade.
- Twins will need a passcode as well as Face ID.
- Facial recognition is also used to create animated emojis controlled with your face. Call them Animojis.
The iPhone X is also about augmented reality. Aside from the games, Apple has worked with Snapchat to enable better masks and facial recognition tracking. Animoji is another key perk that may entice people to buy if you’re willing to bet that emojis will trump budgets. What Apple is doing is backing up its AR efforts with better hardware across its iPhone line.
Apple also will upgrade its cameras and sensors on the iPhone X, but sticks with dual 12MP. with f 1.8 and 2.4 apertures. Apple also adds OIS to both cameras this time with better quad-LED flash.