Apple declares iPhone X ‘the future of the smartphone’

12 Sep 2017

The new Apple iPhone X. Image: Apple

As expected, Apple revealed three new smartphones, including the next-generation iPhone X.

After an emotional start at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new spaceship HQ, the future of the iPhone for the next 10 years was unveiled.

Much of what the rumour mill predicted came true, as Apple launched three new smartphones: the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the enigmatic iPhone X.

Apple also revealed its next-generation Apple Watch 3 and a new Apple TV 4K.

The tech giant added that iOS 11 will be available worldwide on 19 September.

A11 bionic chip and AR

At the heart of each of the new iPhone devices is a new-generation A11 Bionic chip, which has a six-core CPU design with two performance cores (25pc faster) and four efficiency cores (faster than the A10 Fusion chip that came with the iPhone 7 generation).

The new chip, which also features the first Apple-designed GPU, enables 70pc better performance across multi-threaded workloads.

What does that mean? Well, it means devices optimised for some seriously slick camera work and augmented reality on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

New design for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Apple declares iPhone X ‘the future of the smartphone’

The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with glass front and rear. Image: Apple

Both the 4.7in iPhone 8 and 5.5in iPhone 8 Plus feature a glass front and rear, are water- and dust-resistant, and come in three finishes: space grey, silver and gold.

Not only that, but the devices are capable of wireless (inductive) charging through the Qi ecosystem, and come with two new wireless charging mats from Belkin and Mophie.

Both devices come with improved 12MP cameras, a larger and faster sensor, and a new LED True Tone flash. Each camera can record 4K video up to 60 frames per second, and 1080p slow-mo up to 240fps.

Both will be available for pre-order on 15 September and will be in 25 countries worldwide by 22 September.

Each device will be available in increased 64GB and 256GB capacity, with prices starting at €829.

Introducing the iPhone X

Apple declares iPhone X ‘the future of the smartphone’

Look! No buttons or bezels. The new iPhone X. Image: Apple

“One more thing,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said, echoing the immortal words of Steve Jobs 10 years ago. “I want to talk about the future of the iPhone.

“It is only fitting that here, in this place, on this day, we reveal a product to set a path for the next decade.”

And with that, Apple revealed the iPhone X, a device that is glass front and back, surrounded by a steel band made from surgical-grade stainless steel, and available in two finishes: space grey and silver.

It features a 5.8in Super Retina display and the powerful new A11 Bionic chip, but no bezel.

Optimised for wireless charging, it comes with Face ID facial recognition and features a new TrueDepth camera.

Apple declares iPhone X ‘the future of the smartphone’

The new camera configuration on the iPhone X. Image: Apple

The device has no button on the front and the new camera at the back is in a vertical rather than horizontal configuration.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said that the device has a resolution of 458ppi, the highest of any iPhone to date.

“This is the first time that OLED has been good enough for an iPhone,” he said.

He demonstrated how the Face ID camera sensors on the device can detect facial features even in the dark by scanning 33,000 IR dots and using built-in neural networks.

The camera technology on the iPhone X also uses built-in machine learning to compose and edit photos even before they are taken.

Schiller pointed out that Secure Enclave technology in the iPhone X ensures that the Face ID set-up is more secure than even Touch ID.

He said that in attempting to hack an iPhone, there is a one-in-50,000 chance of doing so using fingerprints; with Face ID, it is one in a million.

Without a home button, software chief Craig Federighi showed how the phone could be unlocked by lifting, looking and then just swiping up on the screen.

It was also revealed how Apple plans to develop its own wireless charging mat that can simultaneously charge the iPhone X, the Apple Watch 3 and the company’s wireless AirPods.

“Apple wants AirPower to be the new charging standard for the entire industry,” Schiller said, adding that the AirPower mats will be coming next year.

The new iPhone X will be available for pre-order on 27 October and in stores on 3 November. On those dates, iPhone X will be available in 64GB and 256GB models, starting at €1,179.

“iPhone X really is the future of the smartphone,” concluded Tim Cook. “We work hard at Apple to produce wonderful things. I think Steve would be really proud of them.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years