Every year the main focus of Apple’s Sept event is the iPhone. And why not, after all it’s the device that skyrocketed Apple into the public market like no other. The early iPhones were so popular that companies like Samsung were accused of copying the design to try to steal sales. Some years the changes are mind-blowing, some years they are minor. This year it seems that Apple has decided to double down and do both.
First is the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. This is a break from the ongoing scheme which would have had the new iPhone positioned as minor tweaks with little to no new stuff in the same design as the prior year. Which is why Apple used to call these years the S model (3GS, 4S, 5S etc). And while these models didn’t get the S they are basically the same sort of game.
- The body of these iphones is the same size as the previous models but now the front and back are glass with an aluminum band. Think a smoother version of the 4 and 4S design (with stronger glass). Unlike the 4/4S the bands on these are color matched to the glass.
- The iPhone 8 stays as water and dust resistant as the 7s.
- The 8s display is a Retina HD with same True Tone from the iPad Pro.
- The speakers are louder with a deeper bass.
- Running all of this is a new chip, which Apple is calling A11 Bionic (they do love their weird names don’t they). It’s a six core, 64 bit chip that’s faster than the previous iPhone chip (cause that’s how Apple rolls). Unlike previous chips this one has a GPU for better 3d apps and games.
- These improvements not only help the apps and games but they play into better images from the cameras, which is a huge selling point for Apple who loves to position the iPhone as eliminating the need to always have a separate camera with you. But never fear nerds, the iPhone 8/8+ gets new cameras just like every year before. The rear camera has new light sensors, new color filters etc for better color, less noise. And the 8 plus has the same two camera setup as the 7 plus for Portrait mode. The 8 Plus is adding what Apple is calling “Portrait Lighting” to allow for changing lighting effects based on machine learning. And like with the color filters that have been around for a couple of years, the lighting effects can be added after the fact. On the video side, the software optimizes encoding for the best movement and file size. These phones have also been optimized for augmented reality with new gyroscopes and acelerometers.
- The big new tech for the iPhone 8 is wireless charging. Well not really wireless since you will have to have a charger and it will have a wire. Inductive charging might be the better term. It’s basically the same tech as the charging on the Apple Watch, which uses the Qi standard so that the iPhones will work with the same chargers found built into gate seats at airports, at some coffee shops etc.
Not content to just bump the specs of the 7/7 Plus, Apple decided to also release a second new model to go with their 10th Anniversary, the iPhone X.
- Same front and back glass as the 8 but with a stainless steel band
- Same water and dust resistance as the 8
- Same A11 Bionic chip as 8
- 5.8 inch basically edge to edge screen in a body only slightly larger than the iPhone 8 body
- Super Retina Display. 458 ppi. OLED tech. Supports HDR. True Tone. 3d Touch.
- No physical home button. Home button functions are now swipe gestures or using the side buttons.
- Face ID. Facial recognition software will encode an owner’s face using new front camera tech that includes an infrared camera, a ‘flood illuminator’ (basically a flash) and a dot protector. There’s also a separate ‘neural engine’ powered by machine learning algorithms just for running this system. Face ID will be available to apps just like Touch ID was. As well as apps that want to create photo masks etc like Snapchat.
- Animoji. This is a combo of the 12 classic emojis (including the poop) and using the Face ID mapping to create animated emojis that will follow your face and include your voice for sending animoji messages in iMessages.
- Rear Cameras are the same dual cameras as the 8 Plus. There’s better stabilization and low light and the flash is now positioned in between the cameras which are in a vertical rather than horizontal position. With dual cameras it has Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting
- Same AR support tech
- With the front camera set up there’s support for Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting selfies
- Wireless charging