Ten years after the first iPhone, Apple sets out to lead way again with £1,000 device
APPLE last night unveiled what it called “the future of the smartphone” with a radical new handset that will cost more than £1,000, in the biggest overhaul of the world’s most profitable product for several years.
The new device, which marks 10 years since the original iPhone was released, comes amid two years of slowing sales of Apple’s flagship device. Investors are hoping it will trigger a wave of sales growth that could see Apple’s value surpass $1 trillion (£750bn).
Holding the first event at Apple’s futuristic new headquarters, a sprawling $5bn complex in California, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook said the new device would “set the path for technology for the next decade”.
The iPhone X, a radically redesigned model, features a larger screen that covers the whole body, removing the home button that has featured on every iPhone to date.
It features facial recognition technology, which allows users to unlock their phone simply by looking at the device, wireless charging and an upgraded camera. The first significant change to the iPhone’s design since 2014, it is seen as a response to slick new designs from rivals such as Samsung. With the top of the range phone priced at £1,149 in the UK, or $1,149 in the US, it is also the most expensive mass-produced smartphone ever, and is likely to be available in limited quantities when released in November.
As well as the high-end iPhone X, Apple unveiled the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which feature a more familiar design to current iPhones, and which analysts expect to sell in greater quantities.
The iPhone 8 handsets are less of a significant upgrade, featuring identical dimensions and layouts to recent iPhones, but have a glass chassis to allow wireless charging, as well as upgraded processors and cameras.
“The first iPhone revolutionised a decade of technology and changed the world in the process,” Mr Cook said.
“Ten years later, it’s only fitting that we’re here, in this place, on this day, to reveal a product that will set the path for technology for the next decade.”
Despite a number of new products
and services in recent years, Apple still relies on the iPhone for the majority of its revenues, and overhauling the lineup is the most significant event in the company’s calendar.
Last year, iPhone sales fell for the first time since the first device in 2007, and they have recovered only slightly this year. However, shares have rallied by nearly 40pc this year on the prospect of the new device, sending the company’s market value past $800bn, although they slipped slightly last night to end down 0.4pc.
The new phones were the highlight of Apple’s annual event, during which the company lifts the lid on a roster of new devices.
The company also unveiled a new Apple Watch, the third generation of its smartwatch, which can connect to mobile networks independently of the iPhone, letting owners receive phone calls and stream music without having to carry a phone. The Watch, the first significant product launch since the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, has not sold in the same quantities as the iPhone, iPad or Mac computers. Mr Cook said the device had experienced sales growth of 50pc year on year, and had now overtaken Rolex to make it the biggest-selling watch brand by revenue.
Apple also unveiled an upgraded version of the Apple TV set-top box capable of playing 4K video and streaming live video.
The event was the first to be held in the Steve Jobs Theater, a purpose-built auditorium on the outskirts of the new Apple Park headquarters. Mr Cook opened the event by leading a tribute to Mr Jobs, saying his “vision and passion live on here”. The iPhone X has a larger screen that covers the whole body, removing the home button that has featured on every iPhone to date. It features facial recognition technology, wireless charging and an upgraded camera
Shares have rallied on the prospect of the new device, sending the company’s market value over $800bn
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, talks about the iPhone X during a launch at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino, California. It is the tech giant’s most expensive smartphone yet