At the first-ever event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, Apple on Tuesday unveiled one of the most dramatic redesigns to the iPhone in years. The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were announced by CEO Tim Cook, as were updates to the Apple Watch and Apple TV.
It's the iPhone X that everyone will be talking about, though. The latest version of the tech giant's signature product is a testament to how far the company has come since 10 years ago when the original iPhone was first showcased to the world.
Cook introduced the iPhone X by describing it as "a product that will set the path of technology for the next decade," and the presentation of its capabilities did not disappoint.
The most obvious difference from previous models is the absense of the home button. Instead, the iPhone X is all screen, with a "super" retina display that extends from edge-to-edge and top-to-bottom. To wake up your phone, simply tap the screen. To return to the home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To multitask, swipe up from the bottom, pause and hold.
This also means that Apple needed to find a new way for users to unlock their phone. Enter Face ID, which is exactly what it sounds like. When a user looks at the iPhone X, it recongizes their face and unlocks the phone. This is made possible by a new TrueDepth Camera System at the top of the display. How secure is Face ID? There is only a one in 1,000,000 chance that a random person picking up your phone could unlock it with their face.
Face ID will also be used for a new feature called Animoji, which, again, is just what is sounds like. Apple has released a set of emojis that can reflect your own facial expression and then be sent to friends as stickers. Face ID will also help sync your face up to augmented reality programs, like Snapchat's face filters. It is all powered by an A11 Bionic neural engine, which can carry out 600 billion operations per second.
Though the iPhone X is a departure, Apple also announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are essentially upgraded versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. These have plenty of new features, too, which will also be available on the iPhone X.
The biggest difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 is the implementation of augmented reality (AR). The most well-known recent intrusion of AR into popular culture was the game Pokemon Go, in which animated Pokemon appeared in real landscapes. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus take this technology to another level. The event Tuesday featured a demonstration of a user holding an iPhone 8 up to a baseball game and receiving information on the players in the frame, and another in which a user held up an iPhone 8 to the sky over which a constellation map had been superimposed.
The new iPhones will feature a 12 megapixel camera. The 8 Plus and X will have dual cameras that will enable a brand new portrait lighting mode, an evolution of the portrait mode that was introduced with the 7 Plus. In portrait lighting mode, the dual cameras will sense the scene, create a depth map, separate the subject from the background and adjust the lighting and contours. There will even be a new menu to select lighting effects. The slow motion video feature has also been refined, with a frame rate that is more than double that of previous models.
All three new iPhones will have glass on both the front and back of the device, reinforced by a steel and copper structure. They will also be far faster, running on new A11 Bionic chips. The battery will last two hours longer, and will be able to be charged wirelessly. The stereo speakers will be 25 percent louder than those on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with deeper bass. Just about every aspect of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has been upgraded.
Like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the three new models will be wireless, which means users will still be forced to wear those unsightly white Air Pods. Nothing's perfect.