Home Telecoms & NBN MUST-WATCH LAUNCH: Apple’s most advanced iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and wireless charging lineup

MUST-WATCH LAUNCH: Apple’s most advanced iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and wireless charging lineup

Apple has once again jumped ahead of the competition with the new all-screen iPhone X which features facial recognition and eliminates the home button. The stunning new phone was launched along with the expected upgrade iPhone 8 series, Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular LTE, and a new Apple TV 4K. 

Let's start with the iPhone X. 

Featuring a 5.8-inch nearly bezel-free Super Retina display, A11 Bionic chip, wireless charging and an improved rear camera with dual optical image stabilisation, we get new Face ID unlocking, new AR capabilities and plenty more.

The display is the first OLED panel that Apple says “rises to the standards of iPhone, with stunning colours, true blacks, a million-to-one contrast ratio and wide colour support with the best system-wide colour management in a smartphone.”

The HDR display supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, “which together make photo and video content look even more amazing”, while the addition of True Tone, first seen on iPads, “dynamically adjusts the white balance of the display to match the surrounding light for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience".

This makes the all-new design more startling, with centrepiece of the all-screen display that “precisely follows the curve of the device, clear to the elegantly rounded corners".

Apple explains the “all-glass front and back feature the most durable glass ever in a smartphone in silver or space grey, while a highly polished, surgical-grade stainless steel band seamlessly wraps around and reinforces iPhone X".

This is completed with a "seven-layer colour process allows for precise colour hues and opacity on the glass finish, and a reflective optical layer enhances the rich colours, making the design as elegant as it is durable, while maintaining water and dust resistance".

Naturally, iOS 11 is expressly designed to take “full advantage of the Super Retina display and replaces the Home button with fast and fluid gestures”, allowing you to naturally and intuitively navigate iPhone X – simply swipe up from the bottom to go home from anywhere.

 

Face ID

Face ID “revolutionises authentication on iPhone X, using a state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system made up of a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator, and is powered by A11 Bionic to accurately map and recognise a face".

You use it to securely unlock iPhone X, enable Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more new features.

Face ID projects more than 30,000 invisible IR dots. The IR image and dot pattern are pushed through neural networks to create a mathematical model of your face and send the data to the secure enclave to confirm a match, while adapting to physical changes in appearance over time.

All saved facial information is protected by the secure enclave to keep data extremely secure, while all of the processing is done on-device and not in the cloud to protect user privacy. Face ID only unlocks iPhone X when customers look at it and is designed to prevent spoofing by photos or masks.

New cameras and 'ultimate AR experience'

Then there’s the cameras, with are a “redesigned dual 12-megapixel rear camera system with dual optical image stabilisation. The ƒ/1.8 aperture on the wide-angle camera joins an improved ƒ/2.4 aperture on the telephoto camera for better photos and videos".

A “new colour filter, deeper pixels and an improved Apple-designed image signal processor delivers advanced pixel processing, wide colour capture, faster autofocus in low light and better HDR photos. A new quad LED True Tone Flash offers twice the uniformity of light and includes Slow Sync, resulting in more uniformly lit backgrounds and foregrounds".

On the front, a new 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera that enables Face ID features wide colour capture, auto image stabilisation and precise exposure control, and brings Portrait mode to the front camera for stunning selfies with a depth-of-field effect.

These cameras are “custom tuned” for what Apple calls “the ultimate AR experience".

Each camera is individually calibrated in the factory, with “new gyroscopes and accelerometers for accurate motion tracking".

The A11 Bionic CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition and the GPU enables incredible graphics at 60fps, while the image signal processor does real-time lighting estimation. With ARKit, iOS developers can take advantage of the TrueDepth camera and the rear cameras to create games and apps offering fantastically immersive and fluid experiences that go far beyond the screen.

You also get “the highest quality video capture ever in a smartphone, with better video stabilisation, 4K video up to 60fps and 1080p slo-mo up to 240fps. The Apple-designed video encoder provides real-time image and motion analysis for optimal quality video".

Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting on both the front and rear cameras brings dramatic studio lighting effects to iPhone and allows customers to capture stunning portraits with a shallow depth-of-field effect in five different lighting styles.

Animoji

Animoji takes advantage of the AR cameras to bring emoji to life in a fun new way, able to track your facial movements so you can record videos and send them in iMessage, and looks set to be the latest craze every child — and plenty of adults — will want to play with, and it’s exclusive to iPhone X.

A11 Bionic Chip

The A11 Bionic chip is billed as “the smartest and most powerful chip ever in a smartphone”, with a six-core CPU design with two performance cores that are 25% faster and four efficiency cores that are 70% faster than the A10 Fusion, offering industry-leading performance and energy efficiency.

Its new, second-generation performance controller “can harness all six cores simultaneously, delivering up to 70% greater performance for multi-threaded workloads, giving customers more power while lasting up to two hours longer than iPhone 7".

A11 Bionic also integrates an Apple-designed GPU with a three-core design that delivers up to 30 per cent faster graphics performance than the previous generation. All this power enables incredible new machine learning, AR apps and immersive 3D games.

The new A11 Bionic neural engine is a dual-core design and performs up to 600 billion operations per second for real-time processing. The A11 Bionic neural engine is designed for specific machine learning algorithms and enables Face ID, Animoji and other features.

Wireless charging

The glass back design enables a world-class wireless charging solution. Wireless charging works with the established Qi ecosystem, including two new wireless charging mats from Belkin and mophie, available at Apple Online and at Apple Stores.

Apple also gave a sneak peek of AirPower, an Apple-designed wireless charging accessory coming in 2018, which offers a “generous active charging area that will allow iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X customers to simultaneously charge up to three devices, including Apple Watch Series 3 and a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods".

“For more than a decade, our intention has been to create an iPhone that is all display. The iPhone X is the realisation of that vision,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “With the introduction of iPhone ten years ago, we revolutionised the mobile phone with Multi-Touch. iPhone X marks a new era for iPhone — one in which the device disappears into the experience.”

“iPhone X is the future of the smartphone. It is packed with incredible new technologies, like the innovative TrueDepth camera system, beautiful Super Retina display and super fast A11 Bionic Chip with neural engine,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone X enables fluid new user experiences — from unlocking your iPhone with Face ID, to playing immersive AR games, to sharing Animoji in Messages — it is the beginning of the next 10 years for iPhone.”

Full details are here. Available to order from 27 October, and available from 3 November, the 64GB model retails for $1579, while the 256GB model is $1829.

Despite predictions, there is no 512GB model, which is presumed to be a definite for 2018.

New iOS and watchOS

Existing iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch and Apple Watch users with compatible devices will be able to upgrade to iOS 11 and watchOS on 19 September in the US, which means sometime on 20 September for us in Australia.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are upgrades to the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, skipping the 7s generation.

Billed as a truly next-gen device, even though the iPhone X is more advanced still, it naturally has improved cameras, the A11 Bionic Chip CPU, the best ever cameras for photos and video as with the iPhone X, wireless charging, glass back and front, and plenty more, you can read about all the features and benefits here

It also features the standard Touch ID home button, unlike iPhone X which is all Face ID.

Available to order from 15 September, and available from 22 September, Apple's Phil Schiller said: “iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are a new generation of iPhone that improve on everything we love about iPhone.

“iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have new glass and aluminium designs, new Retina HD displays and A11 Bionic – the smartest chip ever in a smartphone. Packed with more advanced cameras with Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting, and the highest quality video capture in a smartphone, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus enable the freedom of wireless charging, all with AR optimisation like no phone ever before.”

The 64GB and 256GB models are available for both, with the iPhone 8 starting from $1079 and the iPhone 8 Plus starting at $1229.

Apple Watch Series 3

More detailed articles will come, including information on the new cellular-capable Apple Watch series 3, which retails for $559. The non-cellular Series 3 retails for $459, and the Series 1 will be available for $359.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K, which will feature the Apple TV app in Australia and allow TV apps such as Yahoo7, ABC iView, 9Now and others, will retail for $249 for the 32GB version, and $279 for the 64GB model. Last year’s Apple TV will be in a 32GB model for $209.

Plenty more on Apple’s new tech to come this morning.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.