Apple on Tuesday unveiled a number of new phones, including its most expensive one yet, as well as new versions of its Apple Watch and its streaming TV device. Rumours about new features leading up to the launch proved largely true.
Here’s a rundown of the announcements:
Apple is releasing a super-premium iPhone with a super-premium price tag, starting at US$999. The new iPhone X — pronounced like the number 10 — will have a screen with higher resolution.
It will also lose a distinct home button to make more room for the 5.8-inch display. That’s slightly more than the Plus model’s 5.5 inches, though the phone’s size is closer to the regular iPhone model.
The features are similar to what Samsung offers.
The new design will enable new ways to interact with the phone. Instead of pressing the button to get the homepage, you swipe up instead.
Apple is also offering the ability to unlock the phone with facial recognition rather than a fingerprint or passcode. Though some Android phones offer this, Apple is adding sensors to improve performance and says it worked with mask designers during testing to improve security. An executive initially failed to unlock the phone this way in a demo Tuesday, though.
The new phone, which is coming November 3, will also permit animated emojis that mirror your facial movements and promises two more hours of battery life than what’s in the current iPhone 7.
Such an iPhone has been widely anticipated for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary and comes just weeks after Samsung unveiled its own super-premium phone, the US$930-and-up Galaxy Note 8.
Apple is refreshing its lineup of iPhones with camera, display and speaker improvements.
The new phones promise to shoot pictures with better colours and less distortion, particularly in low-light settings. The display will adapt to ambient lighting, similar to a feature in some iPad Pro models. Speakers will be louder and offer deeper bass.
The new iPhone 8 will keep its predecessor’s size — 4.7 inches — but have a higher starting price of US$699, up from US$649. The 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus starts at US$799, up from US$769. The new phones come out September 22
Apple is bucking its traditional naming convention by calling the new phones iPhone 8 rather than 7S. The S designation might have given consumers the impression that the new phones are mere incremental updates from the current iPhone 7. That’s especially so this year given that Apple is also expected to announce an anniversary edition with additional features and a higher price tag.
The Plus version will continue to have two camera lenses and now has the ability to optimise lighting as you shoot.
Both versions will allow wireless charging. Many Android phones, including Samsung’s, already have this.
Apple is coming out with a new smartwatch designed to be less dependent on the iPhone. A new model will still require a companion iPhone, but comes with cellular access. That makes it possible to do more — like receiving messages — while the phone is at home. The watch will use the same number as the phone. The feature will require a US$5 or US$10 data add-on to an existing phone plan.
The new cellular model, called Series 3, will start at US$399. One without cellular goes for US$329, down from US$369 for the comparable model now. The original Series 1, without GPS, sells for US$249, down from US$269. The new watch comes out September 22.
Existing Apple Watches will get a software update next Tuesday that will provide more analysis of your heart rate. The Series 3 also delivers warnings for elevated heart rate when you don’t appear to be active.
A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper “4K” resolution — a step up from standard high definition — and a colour-improvement technology called high dynamic range. Many rival devices already offer these features. However, there’s not a lot of video in 4K and HDR yet, nor are there many TVs that can display it.
Here's a look at the new Apple TV 4K and its redesigned Siri Remote. pic.twitter.com/Clh12efNBE— WIRED (@WIRED) September 12, 2017
Apple says it’s been working with movie studios to bring titles with 4K and HDR to its iTunes store. They will be sold at the same prices as high-definition video, which tends to be a few dollars more than standard-definition versions. Apple says it’s working with Netflix and Amazon Prime to bring their 4K original programmes to Apple TV, too.
The 4K version of Apple TV will cost US$179 and ships on September 22. A version without 4K will cost US$149.