iPhone 8 and 8 Plus’s best new fea­tures

Don’t call them retro, writes Susie Ochs

Macworld - - Feature -

If the high price of the iPhone X is more than you want to pay for a phone, Ap­ple is also of­fer­ing up­dates to the smaller iPhones, called the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. They still have the Home but­ton and body bezels, they still use Touch ID in­stead of Face ID, and the LCD screen sizes are the same that you’re used to. But don’t call them retro.

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. 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.

Like the iPhone 7, but dif­fer­ent

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have the same body size

and shape as the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. But in­stead of keep­ing the alu­minium back, these new iPhones have a glass back that might re­mind you of the clas­sic iPhone 4 de­sign.

That’s dou­ble the sur­faces that could break if you drop it. Yes, it’s true, but Phil Schiller claimed it’s the most durable glass ever used in a smart­phone. Plus, a glass back also en­ables in­duc­tive charg­ing, which also comes to the flag­ship iPhone X. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will sup­port ex­ist­ing Qi in­duc­tive charg­ing ac­ces­sories for the home, of­fice, and car. Phil Schiller pointed out on stage that some cars, restau­rants, and even fur­ni­ture al­ready have Qi charg­ing in­te­grated, and Ap­ple will of­fer Qi prod­ucts in its re­tail stores.

Don’t worry, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus still have a Light­ning port for teth­ered charg­ing and sync­ing, and us­ing all the same Light­ning head­phones and ac­ces­sories you al­ready have. (No head­phone jack, though – the iPhone SE is still the only de­vice in the iPhone line-up that has one.)

In­duc­tive charg­ing is al­ready used in the Ap­ple Watch, and it’s be­ing mar­keted as ‘wire­less charg­ing’, but the friendly pedants among us will note that the charger it­self still has a wire. But drop­ping your phone on a ‘wire­less’ charger is still eas­ier and more con­ve­nient than hav­ing to plug in a ca­ble.

Three colours and a TrueTone Retina dis­play

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come in sil­ver, space grey, and a beau­ti­ful bronze fin­ish Phil Schiller just

called ‘gold’. As in the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, the front bezels on the gold and sil­ver mod­els are white, while the space grey model has a black front.

The dis­play is a Retina-qual­ity LCD, with res­o­lu­tions of 1334x750 for the iPhone 8, and 1920x1080 for the iPhone 8 Plus. But the dis­plays now have TrueTone, pre­vi­ously avail­able for the iPad Pro. TrueTone ad­justs the colour tem­per­a­ture of the dis­play based on the am­bi­ent light in the room, thanks to a new sen­sor em­bed­ded by the FaceTime cam­era.

One for the 8, two for the Plus

Just like the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 has a sin­gle rear-fac­ing cam­era. It can shoot 12Mp stills, and the dy­namic range of colour is wider thanks to big­ger pix­els, too.

The 8 Plus has a two-cam­era setup with f/1.8 aper­ture and f/2.8 aper­ture lenses. It also takes 12Mp stills, nat­u­rally in­clud­ing the Por­trait mode and op­ti­cal zoom in­tro­duced with the iPhone 7 Plus. But this time, Por­trait mode goes a lit­tle fur­ther.

Next-level Por­trait Mode for the iPhone 8 Plus

We all take lots of pho­tos of peo­ple, so the iPhone 8 Plus 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’ like your nose, fore­head, and cheek­bones, and then ad­justs the light­ing on all of them. You can even se­lect from mul­ti­ple light­ing ef­fects in­side the Cam­era app, pre­view­ing them each in real time. Bet­ter yet, you can change the light­ing af­ter you’ve taken a photo.

4K video and aug­mented re­al­ity

For shoot­ing video, the iPhone 8 can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per sec­ond. It di­vides each video into 2 mil­lion tiles and then analy­ses them as you’re shoot­ing to max­i­mize qual­ity and com­pres­sion. Like shoot­ing slow-mo? You can shoot in 1080p HD in jaw-drop­ping 240 frames per sec­ond, dou­ble the rate of the last gen­er­a­tion.

Of course, the new cam­eras are tuned for the aug­mented re­al­ity fea­tures in iOS 11, too. They’re cal­i­brated in the fac­tory for AR per­for­mance, so they’re able to track your mo­tion more ac­cu­rately with the gy­ro­scope and ac­celerom­e­ter. The fancy light­ing fea­tures are used in AR apps too, so the vir­tual ob­jects added on your

iPhone screen will bet­ter match the real-world en­vi­ron­ment you plopped them down in.

One cool ap­pli­ca­tion of the new AR tech lets you hold up your iPhone at night to see the stars pointed out in the night sky. Pre­vi­ously, this was a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sky based on your GPS co­or­di­nates, but now with aug­mented re­al­ity it’s re­ally a pic­ture of the sky.

New A11 Bionic chip

The iPhone 8 has a six-core A11 Bionic chip, with two high-per­for­mance cores and four ef­fi­ciency cores, plus the first-ever Ap­ple-de­signed GPU. The GPU has three cores.

The new im­age sig­nal pro­ces­sor is de­signed to fo­cus more quickly in lower light, and the new iPhones have hard­ware en­abled multi­band noise re­duc­tion. This means ev­ery­thing should look sharper, since the in-cam­era pro­cess­ing has more power to process your images as you take them.

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