At the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled a slew of new iPhones, a new Apple TV, and a new Apple Watch. This is a round-up of all the major announcements made at the event. Please let us know what your thoughts are on any or all of these devices in the comments down below.
Before it was iPhone Time, Apple announced the all-new Apple Watch Series 3. It basically features all of the same features as the Series 2 like waterproofing, a heart rate monitor, and a square display. The general look and feel of the Watch has not changed. But there is one big new feature and that is support for cellular.
This new Apple Watch series 3 will let you go on a run and will let you track your activity, listen to music via Apple Music, and even let you make payments and calls all without ever needing a smartphone in your pocket.
It is priced starting at $329 for the GPS variant and $399 for the GPS and cellular variant, which does not include the monthly wireless charges that should be an additional $10/month.
Next, Apple announced a brand new Apple TV. Basically, the big new feature with this new device is support for 4K HDR content. It does have a faster A10X Fusion Chip to help you navigate content and load content faster than ever before. But generally speaking, the remote and the software are about the same as the previous version. It is going to be $30 more than the older Apple TV, which can only display content in Full HD.
And the new Apple TV will start at $179 for the 32GB variant
Okay, now we can talk about the new iPhones. Apple decided to skip over the S branding and name the new iPhones the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus-- similar to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They do feature a new design with a glass front and glass back, which does support wireless charging. There’s a new A11 Bionic processor with 2GB of RAM, there are True Tone displays, the ability to shoot in 4K, and some subtle upgrades. Don’t get me wrong. They are much appreciated and welcomed but they’re upgrades that are reminiscent of S-model iPhones. So they’re not going to be these big, new, giant features that we expect in a brand new iPhone 8 (or 7 or 6).
The iPhone 8 Plus does have a new Portrait Lighting Mode that lets you change the lighting conditions of a portrait to the degree similar to that able to be produced in a studio environment. You can also shoot 4K video at 60fps and 1080p video at 240fps, which is very impressive.
The iPhone X or iPhone 10, the X is actually a Roman numeral for the number 10, which signifies the 10th anniversary since the launch of the original iPhone. So do not call it the iPhone X. Call it the iPhone 10. That is the phone that will be getting all of our attention.
So not only does it feature all the same improvements made to the iPhone 8 lineup but it has an edge-to-edge display, an edge-to-edge Super Retina HD display with a QHD resolution. It supports HDR and Dolby Vision standards as well. What it has gotten rid of is Touch ID and replaced it with Face ID, which uses True Depth cameras and Facial Recognition algorithms to detect your face and unlock your device with a glance and in a wide range of environments. Of course, it will need to be tested in order to determine if it is on par or better than Touch ID. In fact, when they were demoing it on stage, the first demo unit failed so they had to use a backup. I don’t know if it’s a precursor to the functionality or affecting to Face ID but only time will tell. I will say that it does make the feature look a bit more tech than Google’s Face Unlock, which relies mostly on software and only uses the front-facing camera hardware. It’s probably going to be better than Samsung’s Iris Scanner and Microsoft’s Iris Scanner just because those tend to not perform very well in low-light environments.
The iPhone X is a big leap forward in the hardware department and software department, also in the marketing department because they skipped over the iPhone 9 entirely. They just went right to the X. How great is that, right?
The iPhone X doesn’t have a home button so they had to create some sort of system for going home and going back to apps and so forth. This can be done by swiping up from the bottom of the display. Siri can be activated either by voice or a long press of the power button on the side of the phone. The power button has actually been increased in size so it’s easier to locate. But by having Siri activated by a long press of the power button will likely increase accidental triggers.
The iPhone X does have the A11 Bionic processor and it does have 3GB of RAM for Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality functionality. The battery life has actually been improved by two hours over the iPhone 7. Maybe thanks largely in par to the software optimization and also the use of the OLED display.
The iPhone 8 starts at $699 for the 64GB variant and the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799 for the 64GB variant base model. And the iPhone X starts at $999 for the 64GB variant. I would think it makes sense, it would make more sense to price it at $899 but for whatever reason, Apple priced it starting at $1000, which just hurts to say. Pre-orders for the iPhone 8 will start on the 15th and will be available to start shipping on the 22nd. Meanwhile, the iPhone X pre-orders will start on Oct. 27th and will begin shipping Nov. 3rd so if you’re holding out for the iPhone X, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer.
Overall, I thought the Apple event was good. It definitely got me a little bit more juiced up and ready for the new iPhones and Apple TV and the new Apple Watch. But really nothing came too much of a surprise for me, given the massive leaks before the event. I am glad to see the edge-to-edge display on the iPhone and I’m really happy to see Qi wireless charging enabled for all three models. This will really jump start the wireless charging market. We should see the charging docks to charging pads all over the place in the not too distant future.
With all that said, we haven’t really seen any new features for a smartphone. It’s pretty clear that Apple doesn’t really care so much about being first. They just care about being “the best” or whatever it is they’re doing. The Galaxy Note 8, the iPhone X’s biggest competitor has an edge-to-edge display, has wireless charging, has dual camera sensors both of which feature optical image stabilization, it has double the RAM, a Stylus built into the actual frame of this smartphone, and it costs almost $100 less than the iPhone X. Whatever your preference might be, either Android or iOS, it’s clear. The smartphone market is mature and it has been for the last couple of years as we’ve really only seen incremental improvements and features. It’s definitely getting harder and harder to justify upgrading to a new smartphone because of this.