On Tuesday, live from its new, spaceship-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of the phone that, it’s no stretch to say, changed the world. And it unveiled what it hopes is another one.
That device—the iPhone X—was one of three phones Apple announced, all of which are compatible with wireless charging. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus make some modest leaps beyond the 7. But the X goes much further, beginning with the home button: There is none. On top of that, it has a screen that stretches to the edges of the device, and you unlock it not with your fingerprint but with your face. And yes, it will retail for $1,000.
Here are the specs of Apple’s new toys.
All three new phones have a glass back and front, and they’re all microscopically sealed to prevent dust and water from ruining the phones. The iPhone 7 was also waterproof. But unlike the iPhone 7 series, the 8 and 8 Plus has a new retina HD display that adapts to ambient light. The stereo speakers are 25 percent louder than the 7 and have deeper bass. (THRRROOOOOM.) The 8 is also 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7, Apple says, thanks to the upgraded A11 Bionic chip. And the graphics processing is also 30 percent faster on the new models.
The iPhone 8 also has new camera sensors that work better in low-light conditions and can also detect depth with heightened sensitivity. The portrait mode on the 8 also has some serious upgrades. When composing a photo, the 12 megapixel dual cameras sense the objects in the photos and can separate the subject from the background, adjusting the light to complement the contours on your face or whomever you’re snapping a photo of. Apple isn’t using filters here but rather real-time analysis of a face. And for video, the iPhone 8 has faster frame rates too—4K videos at 60 frames per second.
These phones come in space gray, silver, and a new gold finish that isn’t rose gold. The iPhone 8 is selling for $699 for 64GB. And the slightly larger iPhone 8 Plus is going to cost $799 for the same storage. Preorders start Friday, and the phones go on sale on Sept. 22.
The real star of the show was the iPhone X—a huge jump from the comparably incremental changes in the 8 and 8 Plus. The iPhone X doesn’t have a home button, for one. Its screen sweeps past where the home button used to live, as it stretches to curve to contour the edges of the phone, which measures 5.8 inches diagonally across.
While the iPhone X has a similar user interface of every other iPhone once you get to the screen, the way you get there is different. Instead of pressing on the home button, all users have to do is swipe up from the screen. And if the screen is locked, users need only look at their phone to unlock it, since the iPhone X is loaded with an infrared camera and dot projector, which the phone uses to analyze your face to match it with the image of your face stored on the phone. Apple is calling this new facial recognition feature Face ID and boasts that it is multitudes more secure than the current fingerprint Touch ID unlock feature. (More on that on Slate later.) Touch ID had a 1-in-50,000 chance of having another person registering as a match that could unlock your phone with their fingerprint, Apple claims. But with Face ID the likelihood of someone else being able to unlock your phone with their face is 1 in 1 million, according to Apple.
The new X also uses what Apple is calling a Super Retina display, and the panels used on the phone reportedly cost Apple $125 a piece, which is one reason why the company is able to justify the high price tag. The phone comes with a dual 12-megapixel rear camera, and portrait mode is now available on the front camera, too.
Importantly, the new X has two hours more battery life than the iPhone 7. All three new phones are also optimized for augmented reality, and Apple showed off some impressive demos of that at the event.
But even with all the bells and whistles of the latest caravan of iPhones, what may shock people the most is the price on the sticker of its fanciest model. The iPhone X costs $1,000, more expensive than any iPhone to date. But that’s unlikely to deter people from lining up to buy one. You can start to preorder one on Oct. 27, and they’ll be for sale in stores Nov. 3.
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