Apple held their first ever media event at the new Steve Jobs Theatre today announcing a slew of new, albeit accurately leaked, products. The most exciting and anticipated the new iPhone X marks the first significant form change in the iPhone series since it’s inception with the removal of its home button. For everything else, it was business as usual with incremental and functional updates.
The new iPhone X is a major shakeup for the iPhone. Not only does it do away with the Home Button it introduces a new borderless OLED “Super” Retina Display, QI wireless charging and a new Face ID system to unlock the phone.
Powered by the new A11 Bionic chip the new iPhone X now has an additional 2 cores bringing its total up to six. Early benchmarks have it destroying anything its compared to but it’s what you’d expect with e custom SoC.
Face ID is one of the more interesting introductions of the phone. Demoed awkwardly it didn’t instil any faith in the new tech. Utilising a bevy of sensors Face ID doesn’t compare imagery of your face instead scans it like a 3D model in real time to detect the correct user. The tech is said to not unlock the phone if the user isn’t looking directly at the phone or has their eyes closed but does require the sensors to be somewhat directly in front of your face.
The new 5.8″ OLED screen not only provides pure blacks and richer colours it also helps improve battery life. Apple are reporting the iPhone X to have an increase of 2 hours in battery life over its predecessor the iPhone 7. With virtually no bezel around the display the new screen will prove an interesting challenge to developers who now need to cater for two screen layouts.
Like OLED, wireless charging is more of a catchup for Apple than a ground breaking new feature. Apple are so behind on this front it’s not funny. They did announce a their own AirPower wireless charing pad that will launch in 2018 however due to them using the Qi wireless charging standard you can use any current market pad until then. The advantage of Apple’s own is that it’s made to fit the phone, watch and the new AirPod wireless charging case nicely.
Lastly the removal the Home button means the action has been replaced by a gesture. Flicking up from the bottom of the screen is now the equivalent of pressing “Home” and the Control Centre is now accessed with a flick down from the top right of the screen.
The phone’s two, vertically stacked, cameras will now both have image stabilisation but remain the same as the older in terms of mega pixels. The front camera now also supports “Portrait” mode a feature welcomed by the selfie generation.
The iPhone X is available for pre-order on October 27th at 6:01pm AEDST with shipments beginning on November 3rd. It’s available in both 64GB and 256GB versions for A$1579 and A$1829 respectively.
iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus
Both the iPhone 8 & the iPhone 8 Plus are largely unchanged from the iPhone 7. Deciding to skip the “7S” when they probably really shouldn’t have, the 8s only major upgrades are the new A11 chip, Qi wireless charging and a True Tone display.
Aesthetically it’s largely the same too. The rear is now covered in glass so once again you can smash the front and back of your iPhone. Not sure but I doubt that’s exactly what everyone was asking for.
For those with an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus not wanting to pay exorbitant amounts for the new iPhone X there’s little reason to pull the trigger on an 8.
The iPhone 8 & 8 Plus will be available for pre-order on September 15th at 6:01pm AEDST, shipping September 22nd. Again available in 64GB & 256GB versions the iPhone 8 will cost A$1029 & A$1329 whilst the iPhone 8 Plus will be $1229 & A$1479.
Apple Watch Series 3
The new version of the Apple Watch optionally gains LTE functionality meaning you no longer need your phone nearby or connected in order for the watch to function and allow you to take calls and send texts.
New apps by Apple for the watch take advantage of the new LTE functionality such as Apple Music allowing you to listen to music without the need for your phone. Great for those that run long distances. It will be interesting to see how open this is to other developers wanting to take advantage of the LTE connection. I can see no reason why we wont have watch versions of podcasting and other music streaming services soon.
LTE is enabled via the integrated eSIM (currently supported by Telstra in Australia) which links your mobile devices and phone to the one account.
In addition to LTE the watch gets a CPU bump and gains an altimeter. Battery life for the new series hasn’t been extended but does cater for the new functionality.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is available for pre-order from September 15th and begins shipping on September 22nd. Pricing ranges from A$459 for the non-LTE 38mm version to A$599 for a 42mm LTE.
Apple TV 4K & other tidbits
The Apple TV got it’s 4K HDR upgrade but nothing else really changed. The remote did a little but it’s not the major revision that some were hoping for.
For those of you who have a library of movies bought from Apple you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll receive the 4K version of them for no extra charge.
The AirPods’ charging case will soon be available with a wireless charging option but there are no dates or pricing around it as yet.
Finally some details on the software front were announced. iTunes is finally having some of the fat cut out of it. Gone is iTunes U, ringtones and apps. iOS 11 will be available on September 19th and the new macOS High Sierra will debut on September 25th.