iPhone X event recap
Everything Apple announced at its first Apple Park event. Leah Yamshon reports
While the iPhone always headlines Apple’s annual September event, the opening acts are worth tuning in for in their own right – and this year was no exception. From three new iPhones (the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X) to an LTE Apple Watch to new animated emoji (‘Animoji’), this keynote certainly was one for the books. Read on
to see everything Apple announced at the stunning Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino.
Remembering Steve Jobs
The keynote was the first ever event held in Apple Park’s new Steve Jobs Theater, so it seemed right that the event kicked off with a heartfelt tribute to Steve Jobs – one of his famous speeches played over the sound system shortly after the theatre dimmed the lights. “I love hearing his voice, and his inspiring message,” an emotional Tim Cook said. “It was only fitting that Steve should open his theatre.”
Our first look at the Steve Jobs Theater
We also finally got to see the inside (and outside) of the Steve Jobs Theater (pictured above), with a bright, open-concept design that’s uniquely Apple.
Apple Town Square
Not too long ago, Apple dropped the name ‘store’ officially from its retail stores, changing the nomenclature from Apple Store to Apple store (yes, it confused us a bit, too). Now, things are changing again – Apple SVP Angela Ahrendts explained that Apple’s retail stores will now be called Apple Town Squares, complete with Genius Groves, ‘plazas’ for hanging out, ‘forums’ for collaboration, ‘boardrooms’ for smaller group meetings, and ‘avenues’ for curated retail opportunities.
watchOS 4’s heart-monitoring software
The Apple Watch and watchOS were the first products discussed at the event, and watchOS
4 will have some impressive new features. For workouts, its new Gym Connect feature will let you sync directly with compatible gym equipment, like treadmills and rowing machines, so that the machine instantly has all of your fitness statistics.
Thanks to better heart-monitoring capabilities, watchOS 4 will be able to tell you if you have an elevated heart rate during times when you’re supposedly not active, and you can also take a look at your pre- and post-workout heart rates, too. Apple COO Jeff Williams also announced the Apple Heart Study, a new partnership that allows Apple Watch users to participate in a Standford Health heart study on heart arrhythmia.
watchOS 4 is available to download now alongside iOS 11.
Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE
The latest Apple Watch is the Series 3, which features a major brand-new feature: LTE, which lets you get calls, messages, and alerts even when your iPhone is well out of range. Impressively, Apple figured out how to add LTE without increasing the Apple Watch’s size. It will also keep the same 18hour battery life. Other new features: a vocal Siri, a barometric altimeter for more accurate elevation readings when you’re working out, and a new chip.
It’s priced at £399 with GPS and cellular connectivity (not including the extra provider fee – we’ll let you know when we have more info there), and £329 for the non-cellular model. It’s available to buy now. For further details see page 34.
Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV got some stage time and a 4K upgrade. The new Apple TV 4K adds support for 4K video (naturally) as well as HDR, or High Dynamic Range. Customers who have purchased HD movies will receive upgrades in their iTunes libraries to corresponding 4K versions at no additional cost (hurrah), and new titles in 4K will be sold at the same price as HD versions – a huge win for Apple. Some other Apple TV 4K features: Live sports, live news, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Prices start at £179 for the 32GB model and £199 for the 64GB option. They are available to buy now. For further details see page 46.
Of course, the event’s big draw was the iPhone, and we weren’t disappointed. Apple announced three new iPhone models – the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are the follow-up phones to last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – and the futuristic iPhone X.
The 4.7in iPhone 8 still features the Home button, body bezels, Touch ID, Lightning port, and an LCD screen, but has some improvements, too. Namely: a glass back (like the iPhone 4), wireless charging using the Qi standard, a TrueTone Retina display, and an A11 Bionic chip.
The iPhone 8 is available to buy now in silver, space grey, and gold, priced at £699 for the 64GB option, and £849 for the 256GB handset.
For further details see page 40.
iPhone 8 Plus
The 5.5in 8 Plus has all the same specs as the iPhone 8, but with a dual-camera setup featuring f/1.8 aperture and f/2.8 aperture lenses (the iPhone 8 only has a single camera). The phone comes with has a beta feature called Portrait Lighting. You pose a photo, turn on Portrait Mode, and then the camera creates a depth map to pull the subject out of the background, then detects ‘facial landmarks’ such as your nose, forehead, and cheekbones, and then adjusts the lighting on all of them.
The 8 Plus is available in silver, space grey, and gold is on sale now. Prices start at £799 for the 64GB phone, with the 256GB option setting you back £949. For further details see page 40.
iOS 11 ship date
Apple’s mobile OS is available to download now.
macOS High Sierra
This will be ready to download on 25 September.
iPhone X Face ID and Animoji
Without a home button for Touch ID, how does one unlock the iPhone X? With your face! Apple demonstrated Face ID, which uses a TrueDepth camera-and-sensor system along the top edge to detect your face quickly, even in the dark – and even with glasses on, or after a dramatic haircut.
The TrueDepth face-recognizing camera system has more tricks than just Face ID. A new feature in Messages called Animoji can mimic your mood and expression. They track 50 facial muscles to sync the emoji with what you’re saying, and then send your ‘talking head’ to a friend. You get a dozen options at launch.
Now that the iPhone has inductive charging, Apple is working on its own wireless charging mat: The AirPower. It won’t ship until 2018, but it will be able to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, saving you valuable nightstand real estate.