Everything you need to know from Apple’s September keynote, including new iPhones and much more besides
The most-hyped Apple event of the year has just wrapped up, and it was a packed one! Three new iPhones for starters, alongside some other big product reveals. There’s a lot to digest.
We’ll bring you detailed analysis of every new product in due course, but for the moment dig into our quick recap of the most important announcements from the big event.
Though not technically a product announcement, it’s hard to cover this event without mentioning the debut of Apple’s stunning new campus. This was the first event hosted in the 1000-seater Steve Jobs Theater, and the first time the public got a proper look at Apple Park. The late Apple CEO’s legacy dominated the opening of the event, with current CEO Tim Cook paying tribute to his friend. “Steve’s spirit and timeless philosophy on life will always be the DNA of Apple,” he mused, before talking a little about the design of Apple Park.
The new campus is powered by 100% renewable energy, with over 9000 trees and one of the world’s largest solar installations. It’s designed to blend the outside and the inside, providing an open and inspiring space for staff from different fields to work together. We have to admit, it looks pretty cool.
It’s official: the premium handset everyone’s been talking about is called the iPhone X (pronounced “ten”). It’s all-new glass and steel design houses a 5.8-inch “Super Retina” display that goes right to the edges of the device and curves at the corners. As expected, there’s a slightly incongruous cut-out at the top for various cameras and sensors.
The most notable feature powered by these sensors is a brand new biometric technology called Face ID, which completely replaces Touch ID. It’ll be used to unlock your iPhone, to authenticate Apple Pay, and we’re told it works at all angles and in low light. It’s harder to hack than a fingerprint sensor, say Apple – unless you have an evil identical twin.
An incredibly powerful new A11 chip makes everything super responsive, and combined with specialist depth-sensing cameras it provides a platform for impressive Augmented Reality functions, some of which were shown off in a cool video. Wireless charging is finally available in an iPhone, using the open Qi standard, and it has 2 hours more battery life than previous iPhones.
There’s no Home button anymore – instead, users will have to get used to some new gestures for unlocking the iPhone and switching apps. If it all works as smoothly as it’s supposed it, it looks like many tasks will be quicker than ever before. Tim Cook says this is “the future of the smartphone.”
iPhone X will come in space gray and silver, in 64GB and 256GB configurations, and will start at $999. (International prices aren’t yet announced.) What surprised us slightly is the release timescale – preorders don’t start until October 27, and the iPhone X will ship from November 3. Looks like those rumors about supply and manufacturing issues were true.
iPhone 8 / 8 Plus
Apple has some powerful, but slightly less groundbreaking, devices coming a lot sooner. These iterative upgrades look like the current-generation iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but rock some beefy internal upgrades and a new glass-and-steel exterior.
Both feature the same incredible A11 chip as the iPhone X, and better cameras with larger sensors. These models include wireless charging, too. Basically, everything is bigger and better than before – but there aren’t many truly new features to get excited about, unlike the iPhone X.
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available to preorder this Friday, September 15. They’ll be available a week later on September 22, shortly after iOS 11 drops on September 19. There’s a new gold color option, and they’ll be priced from $699 and $799 respectively.
Apple TV 4K
A new Apple TV model adds support for both 4K and HDR to provide better colors and detail than ever before. iTunes is adding support for a ton of 4K movies, and they won’t cost any more than HD ones. Netflix will also support 4K streaming, as will Amazon Prime when the app finally drops later this year.
The new Apple TV will be a lot more powerful than previous versions, with the same A10X chip from the latest iPad Pro. That should make it a beast for 3D gaming as well as media consumption. It’ll be priced at $179 for the 32GB version and $199 for 64GB. The previous version remains on sale for $149.
Apple Watch 3
The third-generation of Apple’s smartwatch has some minor improvements, and one big trick up its sleeve: cellular connectivity. That means it can now do lots of tasks independently of an iPhone, such as making phone calls and streaming music. This functionality was demoed with a live call to a colleague on a paddleboard many miles away – impressive!
Meanwhile, Apple Watch S3 is more powerful than ever before and adds features like smart activity coaching and more detailed heart rate tracking. It goes up for preorder on September 15 and will ship from September 22. Pricing starts at $329, or $399 for the version with cellular. The S2 is no more but the original Apple Watch S1 remains in the lineup at $249.
Phew! We’ll be posting more details on each of Apple’s announcements throughout the week – stay tuned!