Cupertino, California: Would you pay $999 for a smartphone? How about $1,099?
Following the launch of the iPhone X on Tuesday at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, that was a question being posted far and wide on social media. To put it mildly, opinions were divided.
While Apple has always received support from its steadfast fan base, many people online felt the $999 (Dh3,669) price tag was too much.
But if any smartphone was going to push the $1k mark, it’s the iPhone X (by the way, that’s X as in ten). It’s Apple’s first overhaul of its flagship product since the launch of the iPhone 6 in 2014.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, announces the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, California. (AP)
The iPhone X has a glass front and back, giving it the ability to be charged wirelessly and will have a “super” retina display, which uses OLED, a relatively new display standard that is supposed to give deeper blacks and allows for a thinner display. It will have a resolution of 2436x1125. The iPhone 7 has a resolution of 1334-by-750. The wireless charging uses a standard called Qi, also used by Samsung, and will work with third-party devices.
The new phone will have what Apple is calling a A11 Bionic ship, which has 6 cores and an Apple built GPU. Apple says the battery on the new phone will last two hours longer than the iPhone 7.
Speaking of graphics processors, Apple showed a number of augmented reality programs that can be run on the new iPhones. Augmented reality uses the iPhone’s cameras and displays to blend reality with “augmented” images and displays, which a person can often interact with. New augments reality apps should be available when iOS11 launches on Sept. 19.
All of Apple’s new iPhones launched Tuesday will also have improved cameras, with the company promising better focusing in low light. The new cameras - there will be two on the back of the X - will both be 12 MB and have image stabilization.
The most noticeable feature on the front of the new iPhone will be the lack of the Home button, a staple of every iPhone since its launch in 2007. Now, users will simply have to show their face to unlock their iPhone.
The new feature is called Face ID, and uses 8 sensors and a built in neural processor to identify the user’s facial features. Apple says the new technology is more secure than Touch ID, which scans a finger print, is secure enough to be used for financial transactions.
Apple says the system is so secure that there is only a one in a million chance of the Face ID being opened by a random person, although the odds are higher if the person is a blood relative. Face ID will work with Apple Pay and other apps.
Apple says its neural engine, which is the processor behind Face ID, cannot be spoofed, even by photographs, and will work in the dark, if you wear glasses or even if you cut your hair.
The new technology also has a lighter side. Face ID can also capture and record facial expressions with audio and play them back as emojis, called Animojis. Apple showed a sense of humor with the technology on Tuesday, with Apple senior vice-president Craig Federighi showing a room full of tech journalists how Apple’s latest technology could be used to animate a talking piece of poop.
The iPhone X will come in both 64GB ($999) and 256GB models ($1099). It will be available to order starting Oct. 27 and ship on Nov. 3. It will come in two colors: Space Grey and Silver.
Forgoing the usually mid-cycle upgrades that usually follow the launch of Apple’s flagship products, Apple is skipping the 7S and 7S Plus and jumping directly to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This will be only the second time that an Apple iPhone model has been superseded after only a year. The last time was in 2008, when the iPhone 3G replaced the original iPhone.
Just like the current iPhone, the iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch screen and the iPhone Plus has a larger 5.5-inch "Plus" screen.
The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will have retina displays and a A11 Bionic processors, similar to the iPhone X. They will both have improved cameras.
The iPhone 8, which included a glass back, will also feature wireless charging. The iPhone 8 will be priced at $699 with the iPhone 8 Plus selling for $799. The phones will be available to purchase on Sept 15 and will start shipping on Sept. 22. They will be available in silver, space gray, and a new gold color.
Apple also launched the Watch Series 3 on Tuesday. The new watch will feature LTE, which is a 4G connection. That means that Apple Watch will be able to do such things as stream Apple’s Music service or use Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, without being paired to an iPhone.
Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, shows new Apple Watch Series 3 product at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus on Tuesday. (AP)
The new LTE-enabled Watch will be launched in 9 markets, but no country in the Middle East will be receiving the new watch. However, an Apple Watch Series 3 without a data connection will be available.
The new Watch 3 will have WatchOS 4, which will include new features such as an improved app for swimmers, a revised workout app, and the ability to synch with workout machines.
The Watch’s heart rate monitor has added tools, which can tell you when your heart is beating faster than normal or when your heart is beating irregularly.
Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two models, one with GPS and cellular, and one with GPS only, both featuring a 70 percent faster dual-core processor and new wireless chip. The Watches 3 will be priced at $249, $329 and $399.
As expected, Apple launched a 4K version of its Apple TV on Tuesday, finally allowing users to stream ultra-high definition content. The new version will have an A10 chip, the same processor used in the iPhone.
Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software, shows the new Apple TV product at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus.
Apple is also launching it internationally, but the UAE is not in the current expansion list.
Apple TV 4K starts at Dh699 for its 32GB version or Dh779 for 64GB.
Steve Jobs Theater
Apple CEO Time Cook opened the Steve Jobs Theater on Tuesday with a tribute to the former CEO and founder.
“Ten years later it is only fitting that we are here in this place, on this day to reveal a product that will set the path for technology for the next decade,” Cook said, calling the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”
Jobs, who founded the Apple with Steve Wozniak, in 1976 died in 2011. Wozniak attended the opening of new Theatre.
It was the first time Apple has opened the theater to the public. Located near the new Apple HQ, the Steve Jobs Theater is built largely underground with two sweeping staircases curving around the outside. Behind the seating area is a product demonstration area.
While Tuesday’s launch event was filled with products, one thing that wasn’t discussed was Apple’s HomePod.
The HomePod, a smart home speaker, was announced at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but Apple has said little about the product since. The HomePod is meant to be a competitor to the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. A December launch date was announced in June.
In an Apple announcement not made on Tuesday in Cupertino, Apple released a statement that Apple Pay will be coming to UAE “with support” from Mashreq, HSBC, Emirates Islamic, Standard Charter, RAK Bank and Emirates NBD. No launch date for ApplePay was given.