The mobile news this week was completely dominated by the reveal of the next wave of iPhones and wearables from Apple and the public and industry’s mixed reactions to the new designs, features and unexpected pricing.
Love them or hate them, Apple’s continuing influence on the global mobile industry is undeniable, so here is a round-up special on everything coming out of Cupertino.
Apple unveils iPhone 8 and £1,000 iPhone X with all-screen display and wireless charging
Apple has unveiled the £1,000 iPhone X, the latest generation of its flagship device. The all-glass device has an edge-to-edge display and no home button. It unlocks using facial recognition software and features wireless charging.
Tim Cook also launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, two new phones that have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. Like the iPhone X, the devices also have an all-glass design and can be charged wirelessly.
In addition to the phones, Apple announced a third generation of its Watch and a 4K Apple TV.
Decoding Apple’s Face ID
The Apple iPhone X introduces a new biometric authentication method which requires facial recognition to unlock your smartphone. It is called Face ID. This succeeds the fingerprint-based biometric technology we had seen in the iPhones for many years now, called Touch ID. Essentially, with Face ID, your iPhone scans your face using the TrueDepth camera which sits just above the phone’s screen and matches as many as 30,000 dots to make a reference mathematical model of the face being scanned to match it with the face you told Face ID was yours when setting up the iPhone X.
The Face ID tech is artificially intelligent too, and will learn your face as it goes along. For instance, it’ll perhaps not get stumped by some extra beard on your face, or a haircut, or if you are wearing a hat, because it has multiple other reference points to match in such a case. The A11 Bionic chip’s neural engine will scan your face to match various parameters.
This lawmaker wants Apple to explain how iPhone X will protect the privacy of your face
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Wednesday called on Apple to more fully explain how the facial-recognition system on its new iPhone X will protect the privacy of its users and whether the data will be shared with law enforcement.
The request, in a letter sent to Apple chief executive Tim Cook, echoes concerns that privacy advocates raised following the announcement of the new system on Tuesday. The technology uses several sensors to map the faces of users and stores the resulting data on the device itself, allowing users to later unlock the device or use the Apple Pay app my merely glancing at it.
“Since the announcement,” Franken wrote, “reporters, advocates, and iPhone users have raised concerns about how Face ID could impact Americans’ fundamental right to privacy, speculated on the ways in which Apple could use faceprint data in the future, and questioned the quality and security of the technology.”
iOS 11 is a second chance for QR codes and NFC to hit it big
Apple’s flashy new iPhones are hogging the spotlight right now, but iOS 11 is arriving before they do – on September 19, the major mobile software update will be available for existing iPhone and iPad devices. It’s bringing a lot of new features, especially to the iPad and iPad Pro, but it’s got two under-hyped payloads that could drastically change mobile apps, experiences and marketing.
Those two new features in iOS 11 are a native QR code reader built directly into the Camera app, and an expansion of the onboard NFC chip support to allow it to read NFC tags in the real world (previously, NFC was strictly limited to Apple Pay use). The iPhone 7 and above are required to use the NFC reading functionality, even though the iPhone 6 and 6s have NFC chips for Apple Pay, but it’s still a big deal for the short-range communication tech.
Apple iPhone X sets the stage for future price hikes, not innovation
Apple’s annual event had high expectations, leaks aside, and the company did not disappoint. Well, not entirely.
Amongst grinning Apple enthusiasts, shrieks of laughter as executives impersonated chickens and a blown-up talking poop attempted to justify an outrageous price for an otherwise interesting device, the event had all the cringe-worthy marks of the annual reveal you’ve learned to expect.
On Tuesday, the tech giant not only revealed plans to transform flagship stores into “Town Square” community areas, but also took the opportunity to release a new Apple Watch series, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
The biggest thing Apple unveiled this week was also the smallest
The introduction of the eSIM in the Apple Watch Series 3 is a massive moment for the company’s wearable ambitions.
Amongst the iPhone bluster, Apple announced something altogether more significant: you can now answer a call on your Apple Watch while swimming. Just try not to drown.
The introduction of an eSIM, embedded into the Watch, means Apple can finally deliver on its promise of a wearable that doesn’t feel lost without its iPhone companion. While the iPhone 8 might feel last-gen and the iPhone X underwhelming, Apple is quietly turning its Watch into a formidable proposition. According to the company, the smartwatch is now the best-selling watch in the world.
iPhone X BACKLASH Begins – “Where’s The Innovation?”
Know your mobile
The new iPhone X will set you back £1000+ in the UK and $1000+ in the US, but many aren’t impressed with what Apple’s new phone
The iPhone X was tipped to be Apple’s biggest phone release of all time. Not only was it launched on the 10th anniversary of the first ever iPhone, but it is the first handset to actually receive a design update since 2014.
There has been something of a backlash online and on social media with consumers being slightly taken aback by the price of the handset, which at £1000+ is WAY more expensive than anything else on the market right now.
The main thing people seem to be angry about is that the iPhone X doesn’t really feature anything brand new; OLED panel aren’t new, Face ID, as a technology, isn’t new, the design isn’t new, so what exactly is costing so much money?
The iPhone X’s new neural engine exemplifies Apple’s approach to AI
Apple’s new iPhone X is billed as “the future of the smartphone,” with new facial recognition and augmented reality features presented as the credentials to back up this claim. But these features wouldn’t be half as slick without a little bit of hidden futurism tucked away in the phone’s new A11 Bionic chip: Apple’s new “neural engine.”
The neural engine is actually a pair of processing cores dedicated to handling “specific machine learning algorithms.”
These algorithms are what power various advanced features in the iPhone, including Face ID, Animoji, and augmented reality apps. According to Apple’s press materials, the neural engine performs “up to 600 billion operations per second” to help speed AI tasks (although this stat is hard to put in proper context; operations-per-second is never the sole indicator of performance).
The New iPhone’s Most Adorable Feature Is Also Its Most Troubling
The audiences at Apple’s annual announcement events are notoriously vocal. Presented with a parade of incremental advancements—and the occasional real leap forward—they dutifully hoot and applaud, their celebrations so routinized that it’s hard to distinguish real enthusiasm from mere signs of life.
One detail at this year’s event did, however, seem to produce a genuine reaction from the crowd: the company’s description of a new feature that it calls animoji, which has apparently been in the works since at least 2011. “We use emojis to communicate with others to express emotion,” declared Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller, gesturing broadly with his hands, his own face placid. “But of course you can’t customize emojis; they only have a limited amount of expressiveness to them.” Never mind that the relative simplicity of emojis is the key to their charm. It is, as many have argued, precisely their limitations that can make them such provocative tools. With animojis, Apple is prepared to change that, offering us the ability to bring these minimalistic characters to life.
New iPhones will be nearly 50% dearer in India than in the US
Times of India
Apple’s new sensation iPhone X will hit the Indian market on November 3 and the top-end 256GB version will cost a shade higher than Rs 1 lakh. The entry price of the flagship phone, which uses face identification for unlocking the device and sports an infinity-screen design, will be Rs 89,000 for 64GB variant.
Apple will kick-start sale of iPhone8 just ahead of the festive season. Bookings will begin from September 15 and deliveries will start from September 29. The entry 64GB version of iPhone 8 will cost Rs 64,000, while the 256GB variant will come for Rs 77,000. On the other hand, the bigger screen-sized iPhone 8 Plus will cost Rs 73,000 for the 64GB version, while the 256GB model will cost Rs 86,000.
Apple will import the devices and has no immediate plans to assemble them in India, a senior company official said. “Only iPhone SE is being assembled at the Bengaluru facility in a limited manner and there is no plan at this moment for any other device. However, our talks with the Indian government for a larger manufacturing engagement continue,” the official, who did not wish to be identified, told TOI.