Ap­ple launch iPhone X features wire­less charg­ing, in­frared cam­era and fa­cial recog­ni­tion

Ap­ple’s shares slide 1 per cent as news of the de­layed launch was di­gested by mar­kets Tim Cook hails iPhone X as ‘the big­gest leap for­ward since the orig­i­nal iPhone’

The Irish Times - Business - - FRONT PAGE - TIM BRADSHAW in Cu­per­tino

Ap­ple se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of world­wide mar­ket­ing Phil Schiller in­tro­duces the iPhone X at a launch event in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia, yes­ter­day. The much-an­tic­i­pated iPhone X is a re­designed prod­uct of glass and stain­less steel with an edge-to-edge dis­play. The phone features wire­less charg­ing, an in­frared cam­era and hard­ware for fa­cial recog­ni­tion, which re­places the fin­ger­print sen­sor for un­lock­ing the phone. Users in­stead tap the de­vice to wake it up.

Ap­ple’s new iPhone X will cost $999 but will not ship un­til Novem­ber, the group an­nounced yes­ter­day, test­ing both the pa­tience and price sen­si­tiv­ity of its cus­tomers. The com­plex­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ing new kinds of screens and cam­eras inside what an­a­lysts called its “su­per pre­mium” new iPhone is likely to be be­hind the de­layed launch. Nor­mally, iPhones go on sale at the end of Septem­ber.

Shares in the world’s most valu­able com­pany slid by 1 per cent as the later-than-ex­pected launch was an­nounced.

Ap­ple chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Cook billed the new iPhone X as “the big­gest leap for­ward since the orig­i­nal iPhone”, as he un­veiled a to­tal of three new mod­els of its 10-year-old smart­phone at a launch event yes­ter­day.

With the new top-tier iPhone X, Ap­ple is ditch­ing the home but­ton that has sat at the bot­tom of the de­vice since it was first un­veiled in 2007.

The new iPhone X will “set the path of technology for the next decade”, Mr Cook said, as he showed off an OLED screen that runs right up to the edge of the cas­ing and a new cam­era ca­pa­ble of high-res­o­lu­tion fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

Eye-pop­ping price

In the UK, cus­tomers will face an eye-pop­ping price tag as Ap­ple has swapped the dol­lar sign for a pound and is sell­ing the iPhone X for £999.

In the US, the top price for the iPhone X will be $1,149, in­clud­ing 256GB of stor­age, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Along­side the pre­mium-priced iPhone X, Ap­ple also added wire­less charg­ing to two new stan­dard iPhone 8 mod­els.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have im­proved cam­eras, dis­plays and pro­ces­sors, but broadly sim­i­lar de­signs to the iPhone 7, al­beit with a new glass back.

As well as the higher-priced X model, Ap­ple is also in­creas­ing the start­ing price of its iPhone 8 from about $650 last year to $699.

“The iPhone X and iPhone 8 mod­els are very strong ad­di­tions to Ap­ple’s port­fo­lio that ad­dress in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion from Sam­sung and oth­ers,” said Ben Wood, an­a­lysts at CCS In­sight. “Ri­vals will be watch­ing how quickly Ap­ple can meet de­mand for the iPhone X and be­gin to build mar­gins on a new de­sign with new com­po­nents.”

Be­cause of the com­plex­i­ties in man­u­fac­tur­ing its new OLED screen, “the rel­a­tively high prices of the iPhone X are a nec­es­sary and im­por­tant mech­a­nism to con­trol de­mand in the near term”, Mr Wood added, call­ing the $999 cost a “su­per pre­mium” to other smart­phones and the rest of Ap­ple’s line-up.

Pre-or­ders of the iPhone X will be­gin at the end of Oc­to­ber, with the first hand­sets ship­ping out to cus­tomers on Novem­ber 3rd.

The com­pany has sold more than 1.2 bil­lion iPhones over the past decade and ush­ered in the era of mo­bile com­put­ing, but last year had a sub­stan­tial de­cline in rev­enue as many con­sumers re­jected the iPhone 7 as be­ing too sim­i­lar to the iPhone 6.

At the first event to be held at its new Cu­per­tino cam­pus, Ap­ple also un­veiled up­dates to its TV box, adding 4K res­o­lu­tion, and its Watch, bring­ing cel­lu­lar wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity. – Copy­right The Fi­nan­cial Times Lim­ited 2017

PHO­TO­GRAPH: STEPHEN LAM/REUTERS

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