Apple has announced three new iPhones, the latest update to the revolutionary smartphone the company first launched in 2007.
By the end of June 2017, 10 years from its launch, Apple had sold 1.2 billion iPhones. It is thought to be the most profitable piece of technology ever brought to market.
Today’s announcement includes the phone’s first significant design update since 2014. Here’s what you need to know:
There’s three of them
As expected, Apple unveiled three new phones today. The iPhone 8 and 8 plus, priced at $699 and $799, are updates on the current 7 and 7 plus, while the iPhone X is a brand-new top-end model, priced from $999.
The 8 and 8 plus are like your old phone, but zippier
Both phones look much like their current cousins; they have a 4.7- and 5.5-inch retina display, with the familiar slim, square design.
The most immediately obvious difference is the materials used: both phones have glass front and back, described as the most durable ever in a smartphone, and are “microscopically sealed” for water and dust resistance.
Speakers are 25 percent louder, there’s an all-new 12 megapixel camera, and new lighting capabilities for the camera’s “portrait mode,” which creates a depth map of faces in real time, then uses machine learning to better sculpt light contours on the face.
The iPhone X is a little more novel
The iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone 10”) is a much fresher proposition.
Its 5.8 inch display runs almost right up to the edge of the phone on each side, with no home button and a 2436x1125 resolution on the screen.
It’s a new kind of display, too, made with OLED technology, which has been shown to provide deeper blacks and other display benefits.
And it has two hours extra battery life compared to the iPhone 7.
The iPhone X can read your face
Perhaps the most significant part of the iPhone X’s offer is its “Truedepth camera system;” advanced facial recognition technology on the front of the phone.
The main application of this at this stage is “Face ID;” a new system that lets you unlock your phone with a scan of your face. It can do this in darkness, and to make it work Apple had to build new neural networks and a neural engine in the A11 chip. Apple says there is only a 1 in a million chance of someone else fooling the system.
All three phones have enhanced support for augmented reality software.
The iPhone X uses its facial recognition tech for this; there’s support for new “masks” superimposed onto your face in Snapchat and, most excitingly, animated emoji that you can use to send messages to friends.
All three phones have cameras calibrated for augmented reality games, and the phones’ CPUs are designed for world tracking, while the new graphics processing unit delivers speeds of 60 frames per second.
Atli Mar, CEO and co-founder of Directive Games, demonstrated “the machines,” a kind of animated tabletop strategy game that lets players move around the board with their phone and see it from every angle.
All three new phones have support for Qi wireless charging technology; you can simply lie your phone down on a special platform and it will begin charging automatically.
As well as being able to buy Qi technology for the home, restaurants and shops are currently working on including Qi tech in their locations, so you’ll be able to just lay your phone down to charge it by your table.
Apple has a new chip
Apple’s new chip, the A11, is described as the “most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone.” It’s faster; it has two performance cores, 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and has better support for photos with Apple’s first-ever custom-designed graphics processing unit, which allows for better autofocusing in low light and better pixel processing for sharper textures.