It’s that time of year again in the tech world: Apple unveiled its latest iPhone in Cupertino,
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will launch on September 22, while the new iPhone X – which Apple says is pronounced “iPhone Ten” – arrives on November 3.
The new iPhone X is the first completely redesigned iPhone in three years. Apple decided to drop the traditional home button for an edge-to-edge screen design for the device, which will rely on facial recognition to unlock. Instead of pressing a button, users will swipe up from the bottom to get to the home screen and swipe again to go into multi-tasking. To wake the device, users will simply have to lift the phone or tap the screen.
Priced at $999 USD, the iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone to date, thanks in large part to Samsung charging Apple near-record prices for the new OLED screen module. It was reported earlier in the year that Samsung, the largest OLED screen manufacturer in the world, is charging Apple $125 per module. Apple likely had no choice but to comply with Samsung’s demands, as many consumers expected OLED screens to be a part of the device as far back as two years ago. Still, Apple will attempt to offer greater value to fans by dropping lower-capacity models and only offering a 64GB and 256 GB model in “silver” and “space gray” colours.
Apple, famous for the secrecy around its launches, was plagued with leaks surrounding its latest smartphone. Employees at the Foxconn manufacturing plant in Shenzen, China, leaked images of new, buttonless iPhone, and dummy models of the device had been popping up on eBay since late August. The leaks, as it turns out, were identical to the final product.
The face of the iPhone X features a cutout at the top of the new 5.8” OLED Super Retina display, which houses a new True Depth camera for the Face ID facial recognition software. Apple says Face ID can identify the phone’s owner from a 3D scan of their face, allowing users to unlock the phone, authenticate log-ins and pay for apps by simply looking at their screen. Apple says Face ID is more secure than Touch ID (the fingerprint scanner on current iPhones) by a factor of 20, and is even able to discern the differences between Hollywood-level replica masks. The back of the iPhone X will continue to feature the 12- megapixel dual camera system, first introduced in the iPhone 7 Plus, with one wide-angle camera and one “telephoto” camera, capable of a two-times optical zoom.
The price isn’t the only trade-off; the iPhone X is actually bigger than previous models, so as to accommodate the extra cameras and larger screen. Apple will make use of the additional real estate by adding extra battery cells to the device for an extra two hours of battery life, as well as wireless conductive charging. Users will be able to use charging mats (which the company didn’t reveal) to wirelessly charge their AirPods, Apple Watches and iPhones simultaneously, without the need to plug them in. (It’s been a standard feature on Samsung’s Galaxy S line of smartphones since 2014.)
Apple is releasing the new, deluxe device with one eye on the future. Ben Wood, chief of research for CCS Insight, calls the latest model of Apple’s iconic smartphone “the blueprint for the iPhone’s new hardware direction.”
The iPhone X will feature the new A10X mobile chip, which the tech giant says will provide similar performance to the iPad Pro, which means that Apple is finally starting to get serious about its plans to support Augmented Reality. Phil Schiller, Apple’s VP of worldwide marketing, called it “the first iPhone really created for augmented reality.”
Apple also used the event to announce two other new smartphones, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are essentially updates of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. These models will not feature facial recognition, OLED displays or wireless charging. However, the 8-series phones will be the only models to feature the new Rose Gold colour, and they’ll start at a more affordable price point of $699 USD. Also announced were a new 4K Apple TV and Apple Watch, the latter of which features the ability to make phone calls.
Stay tuned to the Edge for more updates.
Syed Haider | The Edge Blog