Now, I know I said that I wouldn’t be able to catch the September event, but just today my RSS feed blipped with an Apple Newsroom notification. And can I just say I think those were some of the happiest however-many-minuets of my life, reading all that awesome stuff. However, I still have my concerns.
First, the name. Sam thought it would be called “The Apple Phone X”. I said that no way, it would be the iPhone 8. So, we made a bet. And in a way, we were both (sort of) right.
Roumers said that as well as the 10th-anniversary iPhone 8, there would be a cheaper “7S” coming, a sort of poor-man’s iPhone 8. They were also sort-of right.
It turns out that the 10th anniversary iPhone is called the X, presumably because X is 10 in Roman Numerals. The so-called 7S has been named the iPhone 8. Maybe 7 is an unlucky number over at 1 Infinite Loop?
The new iPhone’s both come with the A11 Bionic chip (why do they have to put nouns like Fusion?) and wireless charging. That’s basically it, for the 8. The X, though, is a different story. Here it is: I absolutely LOVE what they did with the display. Except for one thing. They removed the home button! The best part of an iPhone! At least there’s no virtual Home button like Android phones. No, Apple is much more creative than that.
Previously, the home button was used for four things: Getting to the home screen, Siri, Apple Pay and the app switcher. Apple has solved all of that. To get to the home screen, you swipe up, like you did for Control Center. To get to the app switcher, you swipe up and hold. You press and hold the power button to get Siri. But how do you turn it off now? Do you ask Siri to do it? For Apple Pay, you double-tap the power button.
Touch ID is gone, and here to stay is Face ID. A combo of dot projectors, AI, inferred and a TrueDepth camera makes this the best in the business. It also has a flood Illuminator, which is like an inferred flash. It also uses AI, so that it can still see you if you’ve got glasses or a hat on. I don’t like the fact that it replaces Touch ID, except for one thing. Setting it up is much more fun.
As with all September events, the iPhone launch steals the show. And as with all iPhone launches, the camera is the show-stopper. And the iPhone X is no different.
Let’s start with the front-facing “TrueDepth” camera. First off, the main showstopper. The front facing camera now supports PORTRAIT MODE!!!!! If you don’t know what that is, it basically uses the dual cameras on iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X to create a depth map, essentially giving it binocular vision (like us humans). It then uses AI to determine the subject and then blurs the background, to make it look like it was taken with a DSLR (fancy camera). Or, in other words, like this: Pretty neat, huh? There’s also another iPhone X and 8 exclusive: Portrait Lighting. None of these photos was taken in front of a backdrop.
For the final trick of the front facing camera, it’s Animojii. Do anything with your face, and the camera will capture it and animate it into an emoji for you.
The rear-facing cameras are not much changed from last year. They now support Portrait Lighting, Duel Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), have upgraded true-tone flash, a faster sensor, and a new Image Signal Processor. If you ask me, iPhone cameras are so good these days, Apple is running out of ideas!
OK, so we all know that the iPhone 8 has an OLED display. That was the oldest rumour in the book and was only doubted when they were rumoured to be in short supply. But one thing some people didn’t expect was a True Tone display. First seen on the iPad Pro, it detects the colour temperature of the environment around it in real-time and adjusts the white balance to match. The OLED is also Apple-designed (but Samsung produced). Finally, it supports HDR, so that’s a nice touch.
So the iPhone X FINALLY gets wireless charging. Even though Tim Cook once said that Apple “Isn’t always first”, I really can’t think why they put wireless charging in their phones a year after everyone else, added literally NO new Apple-only twists, and then act like they were the first. Thier phones do support the standard, thankfully, so you’ll be able to charge it on most charging pads. They also support a new standard, designed by (surprise surprise) Apple. It’s not that new, really, it started with the Apple Watch (So maybe you’ll be able to charge your iPhone with your Apple Watch charger?)
Finally, Apple is releasing a new wireless accessory, the AirPower mat. It’s essentially an oversized wireless charging pad, the idea being that you can charge your iPhone X, iPhone 8, Apple Watch and, surprisingly, your AirPods, all on one pad at the same time. So AirPods can charge wirelessly now? Huh.
Things I think would have made the X better
So, while I am an Apple Sheep, and one of the few in approval of the headphone jack removal, I still think there are a couple of things that would’ve made it better. First of all, I actually LIKE the aluminium build of previous iPhone. Now I know you people are saying, “If the back was aluminium, you couldn’t have wireless charging, dork!” Well, a fellow Apple Sheep over at Taliosive Tech had an idea that maybe the phone could still be made out of aluminium, and then just the APPLE LOGO would be glass.
I also don’t like the fact that they got rid of Touch ID, because even if Face ID is supposedly (and hopefully) more secure than the iris scanner on the S8, there are still some golden-oldies like me who prefer the finger to the face for an unlock. I think it would’ve been a much better idea to put a fingerprint sensor in the Apple Logo. For a final thing, Sam told me (on the threat of publishing an iPhone X rant article) that I should tell you guys that he thinks the bit on the top with the front-facing camera is completely ugly. He also says that he will never ever get one and that the only reason you would ever get an X over the Essential Phone is if you’re an Apple Sheep.
The iPhone 8 will cost $999 and will be available to pre-order from October 27th.
So, we all know that the iPhone steals the show, point blank. So the iPhone was probably 2:3 of the article right there. Anyway, on to the Apple TV
The Apple TV rumours are quite recent. While iPhone 8 (or rather, X) rumours started popping up, it felt the week after the iPhone 7 came out. But then, as rumours were reaching an all-time high in, um, July, I think? There was a new kid in Apple Rumourville. And his name was Apple TV 4K.
The problem with the Apple TV has always been power. It seems that every year, Apple always gives the latest chip from the new iPhone a tune-up, puts X in front of it and shoves it into the latest iPad. It then pulls some of last year’s chips off the production line and plonks them in the new Apple TV. Which meant that, since it came out in 2015 alongside the iPhone 6S, meant that it got the A8 chip from the 6.
This was OK at first, but it never got updated, and as more power-hungry games were added to the Apple TV, people started getting annoyed that Asphalt 8 would render faster on their iPhones than on their TV. They were also a little pissed off that the A8 chip wasn’t powerful enough to render 4K so the Apple TV couldn’t support it. But all that was about to change…
People first started getting suspicious when a select few movies in the iTunes got 4K HDR support. You couldn’t actually purchase them, but they were still there. Then a developer was looking through the firmware of some new product (I think it was the HomePod) and they uncovered everything. They mostly got it right, but they thought it would be thinner and have a white Apple Logo. I’d give you a picture, but since it’s out now I can’t find one!
They also said it would have an A10 Fusion chip from the iPhone 7, but in fact, it has an A10X chip from the 10.9 inch iPad Pro that came out in June, which means it’s even more powerful than we thought. I guess it’s time to upgrade to Netflix Premium!
The Apple TV 4K will be available for pre-order on September 15th, for $179
Apple Watch Series 3
The only thing that’s changed is
everything it has a cellular chip now. (If you didn’t get the joke, the slogan for the 6s was “The only thing that’s changed everything”, and I couldn’t help myself). Well, that’s not strictly true. The Apple Watch hasn’t changed in design (gaining an extra speaker and a millimetre of thickness in Series 2), maybe because Apple wants you to experience what’s inside (Experience What’s Inside, Intel Slogan)! But a new design change, while subtle, is the most obvious yet: The Digital Crown is now red, sort of. As well as cellular, it has something that no one saw coming: An ALTIMETER!!!!! Sorry. An altimeter is the one thing (along with GPS and waterproofing, but those are here now) that I’ve always thought would make the Apple Watch perfect. I’ll finally be able to see how high my plane is flying (when I get an Apple Watch, obviously.
Cellular, of course, is the main show stopper. Experts say that the Apple Watch Series 3 will sell the best of any Apple Watch, because of the cellular. Forget cellular! They should call it SELL-ular!
With cellular data, you’ll be able to do many new things. Siri, for example, now work natively on your Watch. Apple Maps can give you turn-by-turn directions, and soon you’ll be able to stream Apple Music too. However, it’s not all Cupcakes and Rainbows.
Apple have discontinued the stainless steel watch, so now it’ll cost you $1149 to get stainless steel Apple Watch Hermès. Ouch.
Happily, however You can still get a Series 2 watch. It’s just branded as a Series 3 without cellular, and it now costs only $329. You can also buy the Series 1 for $249, which was the same price as the Original Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Series 3 will be available for preorder on September 15 for $399.
Should I Upgrade?
Here’s the age-old question: Should I upgrade?
Even though this is the 10th anniversary upgrade, the answer remains the same: If you’re a huge fan of the new features, and you have the money, you should get it. If you don’t have the money, and you live in the US, maybe you should think about enrolling in Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.
If I had the money, I wouldn’t. Because the thing is, I’ve tested the Apple TV in John Lewis, and I would certainly not call it underpowered or slow. Also, I couldn’t care less if I watched a movie in 4K or 1080p. But I know that since we have quite a few readers, there will be others who disagree. So here’s my thinking: If you feel that 4K is an essential addition to your Home Theatre, or if you actually use Apple TV for gaming and you feel that you need that extra power, and if you have $179 lying around, then get it. Don’t let me stop you.
I suppose this is one for what kind of person you are. With each version of Apple Watch, it gets more fitness-orientated. I mean, the point of it is that you make more money. If you’re a Couch Potato, then why do you need GPS? You’re not going anywhere without your phone. And why do you need water resistance? It’s already tough enough to withstand falling in your soda. Let’s face it, the only reason you bought a smartwatch was so that it could send notifications to you so that you didn’t have to waste energy reaching for your phone.
Active people will need cellular more than you guys because they go to a lot of places that their phones can’t handle (swimming, for instance). So if you don’t go anywhere without your phone, and you don’t really get much exercise, and if your phone isn’t your house’s WiFi hotspot, then take my advice: Save your money, and get a Series 1.