Fa­cial recog­ni­tion, wire­less charg­ing among high­lights

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Ed Baig ebaig@us­ato­day.com

CU­PER­TINO, CALIF. The amped up, much-an­tic­i­pated $1,000 iPhone X fi­nally is here.

The top of the line among the three new iPhones Ap­ple in­tro­duced Tues­day, it cer­tainly looked in­trigu­ing shown off from the stage of the new glass-topped Steve Jobs The­ater. And I’m still in­trigued af­ter pick­ing up the phone for the first time, in a crowded hands-on demo area. There’s lit­tle doubt iPhone fans, many of whom have held off pur­chas­ing while wait­ing for this one, will want it.

They’ll have to wait un­til Nov. 3. CEO Tim Cook didn’t ex­plain the de­lay, but the bet here is that much spec­u­lated sup­ply con­straints are in play. Pre­orders start Oct. 27.

It’s a show­stop­per, the first iPhone with a beau­ti­ful edge-to-edge 5.8-inch OLED dis­play, with either 64GB or 256GB stor­age, start­ing at $999 or $1,149 for the higher ca­pac­ity. Ap­ple calls the high-res­o­lu­tion (2,436 x 1,125) screen a “Su­per Retina” dis­play. The phone, which has a glass front and back, will come in silver or space gray.

As ex­pected, Ap­ple re­moved the home but­ton in fa­vor of the abil­ity to un­lock the de­vice

As ex­pected, Ap­ple re­moved the home but­ton in fa­vor of the abil­ity to un­lock the de­vice through a bio­met­ric method known as Face ID.

through a bio­met­ric method known as Face ID. Ap­ple claims this is so se­cure, the chance any other per­son could un­lock your de­vice is 1 in 1 mil­lion, com­pared to one in 50,000 for the Touch ID fin­ger­print sen­sor.

The com­pany made men­tion of the fact you won’t be able to trick Face ID with a pho­to­graph. And Ap­ple says Face ID will work whether you’re wear­ing glasses, a hat or what­ever.

With Touch ID hav­ing gone AWOL with the dis­ap­pear­ing home but­ton, you’ll be able to use Face ID, Ap­ple says, to pur­chase stuff through Ap­ple Pay. It’ll be crit­i­cal that it works well. If there are hic­cups with the fea­ture, that could turn off peo­ple still re­luc­tant to use Ap­ple Pay or who find (as I do) how easy it cur­rently is with a fin­ger­print.

No home but­ton means you’ll have to break other habits. On the new phone you nav­i­gate home by swip­ing up from the bot­tom of the dis­play, which in turn means chang­ing the way you ac­cess Con­trol Cen­ter. On the X, you’ll be able to sum­mon Siri by press­ing a side but­ton (or like now by us­ing a “Hey Siri” vo­cal com­mand).

The sec­ond thing you might try is a fun fea­ture: us­ing your face to cre­ate what are an­i­mated emo­jis or an­i­mo­jis. Make an an­gry face and your an­i­mated emoji copies your fa­cial ex­pres­sion. You can add au­dio, too.

Is it prac­ti­cal? No. Will it be a crazy hit? I’m guess­ing yes.

The iPhone X also should ben­e­fit from im­proved cam­eras, along with a por­trait light­ing fea­ture that launches in beta. It promises stu­dio light­ing ef­fects to bol­ster the back­grounds on the por­traits you take and will work on both the front and rear cam­eras of the iPhone X.

Also com­ing is wire­less charg­ing (through charger ac­ces­sories that ad­here to a stan­dard known as Qi). And per­haps be­cause ri­vals in­clud­ing Sam­sung got to wire­less charg­ing first, Ap­ple pro­vided a sneak peek at some­thing it calls AirPower, an ac­ces­sory com­ing next year that will let you charge three de­vices you plunk down on a pad si­mul­ta­ne­ously, in­clud­ing an iPhone, Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3 (also an­nounced Tues­day) and Ap­ple AirPods.


Peter Schiller, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of World­wide Mar­ket­ing at Ap­ple, talks about the cam­era in the iPhone X, which will start at $999. Pre­orders start Oct. 27.


Ap­ple also in­tro­duced a new all-glass iPhone 8 with a 4.7-inch Retina dis­play and an 8 Plus with a 5.5-inch dis­play.

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