Everything You Need to Know About Today’s Apple Watch and iPhone Event
Apple’s iPhone event today was as much about the highly-anticipated iPhone 8 and iPhone X as it was an homage to the company’s impressive feats with consumer technology over the last 10 years.
Over the course of two hours on Tuesday, Apple delivered on many of the rumors of the last several months: three new iPhones (iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Pus, and the iPhone X) and a long-awaited update to Apple Watch that allows users to connect directly through cellular instead having to pair the Watch with an iPhone. And it wouldn’t be an Apple event without on-stage demos by Apple executives bragging about the new products and what they can do.
Read on for our recap of all the big announcements from Apple’s iPhone event:
Steve Jobs Theater and Apple Park
Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the show with a tribute to late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs while dedicating the new theater at the company’s Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif. to the co-founder, who died in 2011. An emotional Cook said Apple would always honor Jobs and his contributions.
Cook followed that up with a brief discussion about Apple Park, saying that Apple would begin moving its employees into the facility later this year. Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts also came on stage to discuss the company’s new retail store designs, featuring a plaza for shoppers to come together, a forum for customers to collaborate, and a boardroom in which businesspeople can work together.
Apple (AAPL) has been working on the new retail store experiences over the last year and will continue to open stores with the design in the future.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are updated versions of last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, featuring glass backs and slightly modified designs. The glass, according to Apple, is the strongest it has ever offered in a smartphone.
The iPhone 8 line comes in silver, space grey, and gold finishes, and feature water- and dust-resistant designs. The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 8 Plus comes with a 5.5-inch display. Inside, users will find the A11 Bionic chip, which Apple said, is the most powerful the company has ever included in an iPhone. Apple’s iPhone 8 comes with a 12-megapixel single-lens camera, while the iPhone 8 Plus has two 12-megapixel rear cameras. Both cameras should deliver better photos and videos.
Apple’s new smartphones also work with augmented reality (AR) apps, maximizing the smartphone’s ability to be used with services that mix real and virtual elements.
The new iPhone 8 and its close cousin are also designed for wireless charging. Users will be able to place their iPhones on a charging pad to charge their batteries instead of having to plug them in. The feature uses the Qi wireless charging standard, which means that many existing charging accessories already on the market will work with the devices.
Apple’s iPhone 8 price starts at $699. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799. Preorders will begin Sept. 15 while availability is set for Sept. 22. Apple’s iOS 11, which is used in iPhone 8 devices, will be available as a free download on Sept. 19.
After months of speculation, Apple also showcased the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone “10” and not iPhone “ex”), a device that comes with a screen that nearly covers its face, a glass finish, and a stainless steel spine.
The screen, which “Super Retina Display,” measures 5.8 inches. The “super” ostensibly comes from its size and its resolution, which is the highest Apple has ever included in a smartphone. The screen is also the first from Apple to use organic light-emitting diode (OLED), instead of the liquid-crystal display that Apple has used in all other iPhones, including the iPhone 8.
Because there’s no home button in the iPhone X, users must tap on the screen to wake it up. Getting to the iPhone X’s home screen requires swiping up from the bottom. To unlock the iPhone X, there’s a new feature called Face ID—the successor the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The new feature lets users unlock their devices by scanning their own faces. Apple called Face ID the “future” of unlocking devices and protecting data.
To operate Face ID, users hold the iPhone X so that front-facing sensors can analyze its owner’s face and verify his or her identity. Face ID will work even if that person’s face changes over time, such as a new beard or glasses. It is also said to be impervious to being fooled by being shown a photo of a person’s face.
The iPhone X come with dual 12-megapixel cameras that can take better pictures with higher resolutions than those in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Internally, the iPhone X runs on Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, the same as the iPhone 8 line. It also comes with wireless charging and should have longer battery life than last year’s iPhone 7 line, according to Apple.
Apple also unveiled a new wireless charging pad that works with iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, and the company’s AirPods wireless earbuds. They all can be charged at the same time, and the iPhone’s display can be used to show how much battery life remains. The charging pad is called AirPower and will be available next year.
Apple’s iPhone X will be available in 64GB and 256GB configurations starting at $999. It’ll be available for pre-order on Oct. 27 and will start shipping on Nov. 3.
Apple updated its Apple Watch software, including a heart rate measuring tool that alerts users to increased heart rate that is unrelated to increased activity—a sign of a potential health problem. Apple Watch can also detect heart arrhythmia. Apple’s WatchOS 4, the new software, also includes better fitness tracking. It will be available as a free download on Sept. 19.
Next, Apple announced the long-rumored Apple Watch Series 3, an updated version of its smartwatch. The device comes with cellular connectivity, meaning it won’t need to be wirelessly connected to an iPhone to access data. The cellular connection can also be used for placing and receiving calls and will work with the same phone number users have on their iPhones.
Apple Watch Series 3 has a nearly identical design to the Apple Watch Series 2, but it has a red dot on its crown for design flair. It also comes with a more powerful processor for faster app performance.
Price: Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $329 for versions without cellular connectivity. People want the cellular version can get it at a $399 starting price. It’ll be available to order on Sept. 15 and will reach store shelves on Sept. 22.
As expected, Apple has unveiled a new set-top box the company calls the Apple TV 4K, a device that can accommodate ultra-high-definition video resolution. The new box also works with high dynamic range (HDR) for improved color accuracy.
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The Apple TV 4K comes with the same A10X Fusion chip available in the company’s iPad Pro tablet, which should make for faster performance and compatibility with higher-end video games. Apple has also signed deals with film studios to make 4K films and other content available through its service. Live news and live sports will also be available in the Apple TV’s “TV” app.
Apple TV 4K is available in a 32GB configuration for $179 and a 64GB version for $199. A version without 4K version costs $149. Orders start Sept. 15; availability starts Sept. 22.