Apple sets the bar higher with iPhone X
Cupertino, California: Ahead of Tuesday’s launch of the next generation of iPhones, there were expectations—it being the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and all—that Apple would do something revolutionary, at least with one of the phones it was preparing to launch.
It did, and how.
The iPhone X is truly different from the other two iPhones launched this year.
It has a new A11 Bionic processor that is up to 75% faster than its predecessor depending on the number of cores an app or game uses. It’s designed for specific machine learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms—hence, the facial recognition FaceID feature and the fun Animojis.
The facial recognition system in the iPhone X can be used to unlock the device to access apps, messages, or make calls. This isn’t the first phone to have it—many Android phones have deployed facial detection in the past too—but Face ID is a bit different because it is “attentive”.
Using TrueDepth Camera system, the iPhone X detects when a user may be looking at the phone in a purposeful manner and not just generally in that direction. For this, the iPhone X uses depth sensing cameras which are installed above the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen on the phone. FaceID technology can be used to authenticate mobile payments as well via Apple Pay.
The iPhone X also features wireless charging on the glass back. Again, there are other phones that already have this facility. The OLED display has finally debuted on an iPhone. The iPhone X has dual 12 MP rear camera system, with dual optical image stabilization.
The iPhone X has a design that immediately stands apart from the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus that were also launched on Tuesday.
The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus retain the same screen size as the 7 and the 7 Plus, 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches respectively, but the displays have been tweaked for better brightness and richer colours. They also come with wireless charging capabilities.
While the design also isn’t entirely different from before, the important new addition is the glass layer at the back. The tactile feel is significantly different from last year’s phones which were all about metal.
Just like the more expensive iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also run the new A11 Bionic processor. In terms of the cameras, the iPhone 8 retains the single camera set-up, while the iPhone 8 Plus gets dual cameras. However, the important upgrade for the iPhone 8 is the addition of optical image stabilization, which should mean significantly better low-light photography and smoother videos. A fun new addition in the iPhone 8 Plus is the ability to set filters known as ‘Portrait Lighting’ for portrait photos.
The two new iPhones will inevitably get the added advantage of iOS 11, the latest operating system for the iPhones, which includes significant improvements across the board in terms of performance, multitasking and more.
The iPhone X will be available in India from 3 November and the 64GB version will be priced at Rs89,000, and the 256GB variant at Rs1.02 lakh.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will arrive in India on 29 September.
Interestingly, Apple hasn’t made a wireless charging pad for these iPhones just yet. In what was a “sneak peak” at the future, the company did show off the AirPower charging mat which will be launched next year.
The third generation Apple Watch, which was announced even before the phones, is important to the company’s line-up of products.
Termed Apple Watch Series 3, it will be available in two iterations—Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi+LTE. The inclusion of LTE mobile data capabilities in the Watch means that it is now even more capable in a stand-alone capacity. It doesn’t necessarily need to be tethered to an iPhone via Bluetooth all the time anymore. There is a small problem though. For LTE to work on the watch as well, there will be a SIM card integrated into the watch. This means that the phone number will be replicated in a way, on the watch as well.
Apple has been constantly evolving the health and fitness tracking capabilities of the watch. The latest watchOS 4 operating system includes even better tracking features, as well as water resistance for up to 50 metres and a new barometric altimeter that measures relative elevation. The heart rate sensor accuracy has been further improved.
Apple will be rolling out the Watch Series 3 in India with prices starting at Rs29,900.
Vishal Mathur was in San Francisco as a guest of Apple.