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Apple unveils iPhone X in bid to regain innovation lead

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iPhone X

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA — Apple, Inc. on Sept. 13 rolled out its much-anticipated iPhone X, a glass and stainless steel device with an edge-to-edge display that Chief Executive Tim Cook called “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”

The launch contained few surprises, with leaked details on the phone and other products including an updated Apple Watch proving largely accurate. But the iPhone X’s $999 price still raised eyebrows, and its Nov. 3 ship date prompted questions about possible supply constraints ahead of the holiday season.

The iPhone X has wireless charging, an infrared camera and hardware for facial recognition, which replaces the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone. The home button is also gone, and users instead tap the device to wake it up.

The screen on the iPhone X is about the size of the current iPhone 7 plus, though the phone is smaller. It features richer colors thanks to a new screen technology called OLED that other vendors are also rolling out.

But in an embarrassing moment for Apple senior vice-president Craig Federighi, the face ID unlocking did not work on his first attempt during the on-stage presentation.

PHONES AT MANY PRICES
Apple executives also stressed the phone’s capabilities in augmented reality, in which digital images are overlaid on the real world. But their remarks suggested that the phone does not have the full panoply of 3D-sensor chips that some had expected.

Apple also introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which resemble the iPhone 7 line but have a glass back for wireless charging. The company said it was working on a new device, called the Airpad, that would charge all newer Apple products.

The wireless charging uses a standard called Qi, also used by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which will likely solidify that technology as the industry standard.

The new phones all feature Apple’s first proprietary graphics processor, which provides greater speed, improved cameras and some features for augmented reality apps.

The company had previously used graphics chips from Imagination Technologies Group Plc, which put itself up for sale earlier this year after Apple said it would make its own technology.

Apple is moving to design more of the internal components of the iPhone, squeezing some suppliers but giving Apple control.

The cheapest of the iPhone 8 models have 64 gigabytes of memory, up from 32 gigabytes in previous models, and will sell for $699 and $799. Apple also noted that for budget-conscious shoppers, there is now a $349 iPhone SE, similar to the iPhone 5.

The bump-up in memory for the new phones should help suppliers of memory chips, and Apple is now angling to own a piece of the memory-chip business being sold by Toshiba Corp.

The new Series 3 watch will cost $399 and support a range of third-party apps.

Apple has never released numbers on watch sales, but analyst Gene Munster with Loup Ventures forecast the company would sell 26 million in 2018. — Reuters

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