Here are 7 highlights from Apple’s special iPhone event:
1. No introductory remarks on politics
4. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
Perhaps the biggest changes to the iPhone are an upgrade to the camera system and built-in augmented-reality features. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come with what Apple has described as the most durable smartphone glass. And its speakers are 25 percent louder than the iPhone 7’s. The iPhone 8 will come in two configurations, at 64GB and 256GB, starting at $699. The 8 Plus will sell for $799 and will also offer two versions, including 64GB and 256GB. Both phones are to be available Sept. 22.
5. iPhone X.
Not only did Apple unveil the incremental improvement on its flagship phone, it also launched what it said would be the “biggest leap since the original iPhone,” the iPhone X. Pronounced as the iPhone 10, the premium device starts at $999, hundreds more than the base price of its other models. The iPhone X has a revamped design. Gone are the home button and a bevel edge. The phone has an edge-to-edge glass design, and users must swipe and use finger gestures to close applications. Siri can be activated by using voice commands or pressing a new side button. The iPhone X is equipped with an advanced array of cameras for facial recognition, and in another major innovation, the user can unlock the device by looking at the phone rather than by typing in a passcode or using a fingerprint. A new charging pad allows recharging of the batteries of multiple devices at once, including the iPhone X and the Apple Watch. The iPhone X is to start shipping Nov. 3.
Since the surface of the iPhone X is all glass and no longer has a home button, Apple redesigned the means by which customers can secure the device. Rather than using a fingerprint, the iPhone X uses what Apple has dubbed FaceID. In a major departure for the company, customers can now secure and unlock the device using face recognition. The phone uses an advanced bundle of cameras to verify the identity of its owner, and by looking at the phone for only a moment, customers can get instant access. Apple said that the sensing system works even when users wear accessories such as glasses, scarves, or hats; if they grow facial hair; and even at nighttime. The chance of a random person unlocking an iPhone X belonging to another person is 1 in 1 million, Apple said, but those chances increase if the “impostor” is related to the owner. Apple recommended that customers who have an “evil twin” instead use a passcode to protect the device.
Now iPhone X owners will be able to send videos of animated emoji that mimic their facial movements. These animated messages work like emoji masks. Users can select emoji such as a fox or an alien and speak into the phone while making facial gestures. The message then appears as if the animated emoji are speaking to their recipients in looping videos. The iPhone’s enhanced camera array also can be harnessed by developers, Apple said. During the stage presentation, Apple demonstrated Snapchat’s animated face filters using the iPhone X, emphasizing precise facial tracking and lighting effects.