Apple lifted the curtain on the flagship iPhone X overnight, the modestly revised iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and upgraded versions of Apple's Watch and TV in the first launch event held at its new Cupertino, California campus.
The event paid homage to both the iPhone's tenth birthday and the company's
late co-founder, Steve Jobs, with a recording of Jobs introducing the event
as the audience was cloaked in darkness.
"One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the
rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there," the
late Apple co-founder said, before an entirely new flagship was added to
Apple's portfolio of smartphones.
The iPhone X will come in Silver and Space Grey
The unveiling of the iPhone X (pronounced as the roman numeral, 'ten')
comes little more than a decade after the original was introduced in 2007
and was described by chief executive Tim Cook as "the biggest leap forward
since the original iPhone".
Its centrepiece is an edge-to-edge screen based on an emerging panel
technology. By shaving down the ample bezels typically found on iPhones, a
larger 5.8-inch screen can be slipped into a body that is only 5mm taller
than the smallest iPhone in Apple's premium range.
Among the most notable improvements is its use of an OLED display, a screen
technology that can turn the backlight off at a pixel level for
true-to-life blacks. The technology, which has long been used by rivals, is
also more efficient than the traditional LCD alternative.
Having the screen eat into the space that formerly belonged to the bezel
has seen some features end up on the chopping block. Touch ID, the Apple
feature that standardised unlocking a smartphone with a thumbprint when it
was launched on the iPhone 5S, has been removed as there's no longer a
Instead, a face scanning feature marketed as "Face ID" unlocks the
iPhone X, using an infrared sensor to measure depth in a fashion similar
to supporting Windows 10 computers. The company claims it is more secure
than Touch ID – with a failure rate of just one in a million – and that it can be used with its Apple Pay system.
Removing the iconic home button has prompted Apple to change how the
smartphone is woken from standby. Raising it or tapping the screen will
turn it on, while swiping up from the bezel at the bottom will take people
back to the home menu.
A promising addition to the iPhone's list of features is wireless charging.
Replenishing its battery can be done by placing the smartphone on a
charging pad supporting the Qi standard, ultimately eliminating the chore
of plugging the phone into any wires. Apple showed off an enlarged pad,
coined Apple AirPower, that can charge multiple devices simultaneously, but
it won't be available until next year.
The iPhone X will be one of the most – if not, the most – expensive
smartphones to be sold in Australia. The smartphone, which will be released
on 3 November, has a retail price of $1579 for the 64GB model and $1829 for
the 256GB variant.
Sitting below the iPhone X is the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. These smartphones
largely adhere to the same design introduced by the current 7 models, other
than having a glass coating wrap around the back. Glass was ditched from
the back of iPhones in favour of aluminium because it often cracked, but Apple
claims this rendition is stronger as it's been reinforced by steel. The
reintroduction of a glass back is needed for them to support
All of the smartphones launched by Apple today share its next generation
processors, a primary 12MP camera, another 7MP front camera and resistance to dust and water. Apple will offer them in storage sizes of
64GB and 256GB.
Carrier availability for the iPhones have not been announced at the time of
writing. Apple is asking for $1079 for the iPhone 8 and $1229 for the 8
Plus. They go on sale in Australia on 22 September.
Upgrades to other products sold by the company were announced at the launch
Apple Watch, which has become the top-selling smart watch within the last
year, will now work as a standalone smartphone as it supports a cellular
connection. The smart watch will be offered by Vodafone, Optus and Telstra when it's released on 22 September at an outright price of $559.
Meanwhile, Apple TV has gained support for 4K and HDR content; technologies
that improve the clarity and colour range respectively. It will be released
on 22 September at a retail price starting from $249.
The event came full circle as it closed. Chief executive Tim Cook stood
below a slide bearing the same Steve Jobs quote used at its opening, and to
the thousands of people seated in the audience, as well as the millions
watching online, he said "I believe Steve would be proud of what we