Apple unveils the Sh103,000 “next generation” iPhone X.

Apple yesterday unveiled their 10th anniversary iPhone X, laying claim to the future of the smartphone and touted the device as the next generation of mobile computing.

The iPhone X was one of three new iPhone models unveiled at the first event at Apple’s new “spaceship” campus, as the California tech giant sought to spark fresh momentum in a global smartphone market seeing slowing growth and tougher competition.

Specifically, the new iPhone X looks rather like webOS running on the Palm Pre — a handset that was announced in 2009, after Jon Rubinstein, former SVP of Apple’s iPod division, had been lured out of retirement in Mexico by Palm. It has an edge-to-edge 5.8-inch (14.7-centimeter) “super retina” display that has improved resolution, and uses facial recognition to unlock the device.

Apple’s iPhone X, like the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, comes with a brand new design, ditching bezels and opting for a glass front and back. Apple says there is a deeper strengthening layer in the glass that makes it the “most durable in a smartphone.”

This new premium handset with its edge-to-edge display (minus one unfortunate top notch) does away with the physical home button entirely and makes greater use of gestures for controlling the UI.
The new interface for multitasking looks fluid and intuitive. But it also — if you’ve been smartphone watching for long enough — engenders a distinct feeling of déjà vu…

Apple chief executive Tim Cook, speaking at the inaugurative event at the new campus theater named for late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, said the newest flagship handset is a milestone for the company a decade after the first iPhone release.

“Ten years later, it is only fitting that we are here in this place, on this day to reveal a product that will set the path for technology for the next decade,” Cook said, calling the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”

The KES. 100,000 iPhone 

Apple upped the ante by boosting the starting price of the new handset to $999 (about KES. 103,000) for US customers. It will be available starting November 3 in more than 50 markets.

“I think it will have very strong appeal to the Apple core and the high-end market,” Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin said of iPhone X.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategies called the new flagship iPhone X “an engineering marvel, especially when compared to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.”

Moorhead said the handset “is not just a late copy of the competition. Apple did it their way by perfecting the experience. ”

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research called the iPhone X “a far bigger upgrade” than previous devices, but questioned whether Apple was stretching its market too thin.

“What Apple doesn’t want is for people to want the best but not be able to afford it and therefore hold onto their existing phones rather than buying what they consider second best,” Dawson said in a blog post.

For the iPhone X, Apple developed what it called an A11 Bionic chip as part of a system that lets handsets recognize owner’s faces to unlock screens or pay via the Apple Pay mobile payments system.

Improving the display 

Apple is touting the edge-to-edge OLED display – the organic light-emitting diodes used in high-end televisions — to win over customers.

“For more than a decade, our intention has been to create an iPhone that is all display,” Apple chief designer Jony Ive said in a statement. “The iPhone X is the realization of that vision.”

The iPhone 8 models boast upgrades from the prior generation handsets. They have Bionic chips, improved cameras and are made with “aerospace-grade aluminum” and durable glass, according to Apple.

FaceID

This is also the first iPhone that will not have a home button, with the new screen reaching across the entire front of the device. Users can wake up their device by picking it up or swiping across any part of the screen. To close an app, simply swipe up on the screen and throw it away. Users can also reach Siri by simply saying “Hey Siri” or by pressing the side button.

Given that the home button has historically been central to the iPhone’s security, the replacement comes in the form of a depth-sensing front camera that will unlock the phone by detecting the user’s face. Apple is calling it FaceID.

This means that the iPhone will know what your face looks like from all angles and can unlock the phone while it’s, say, lying on a table. It also means that the feature shouldn’t be susceptible to trickery, such as unlocking for a two-dimensional photo of you instead of the real thing. Apple says the chances that someone can trick FaceID and break into your phone are one in a million.

“You’re wearing glasses, or wear a hat, or do it up any way you want to do it…” FaceID still works, day or night, according to Phil Schiller.

Cameras

As far as cameras are concerned, the iPhone X is about as locked and loaded as one can get. The rear camera features a 12-megapixel sensor, with dual-lenses at f1.8 and f2.4 apertures (which is brighter than the 7 Plus telephoto). It comes with dual-image OIS quad-LED TrueTone flash.

Because of the combination of the new A11 Bionic and the enhanced camera, Apple is introducing a new Portrait Lighting, letting users select their lighting effects. These aren’t filters, but rather a real-time analysis of the light hitting the subject’s face, and these lighting effects can be added before and after the photo is taken.


Video is vastly improved, as well. Combined with that A11 processor, video can be captured at 60FPS in low-light mode, with faster frame rate support and 4K capture. Slo-mo videos shot in 1080p will have 240 FPS.

The front-facing camera is powered by that True Depth camera system that supports FaceID. But the big news here is that Portrait mode and Portrait lighting are now available on the front-facing camera.

Specs

The iPhone X, as well as the other new iPhones announced today, comes with wireless charging capabilities, thanks to that new glass back. Wireless charging is supported by Qi, which is considered as the standard in the wireless charging industry.

Plus, battery life is two hours longer than the iPhone 7, with most of the improvement coming by way of software enhancements. But because Apple likes to take things to the next level, the wireless charging on the new iPhones is coming with a new accessory called AirPower.


It’s a larger mat that lets users charge their iPhones, Apple Watch and AirPods all at the same time. The iPhone X is packed with the new A11 Bionic processor: 64-bit design, six cores, two high-performance processors that are 25 percent faster than the A10 and four high-efficiency cores (two more than the A10) that are 70 percent faster. The GPU is 30 percent faster.

Part of the bigger news here is improved photographs. As Panzarino noted in the live blog, “The Apple ISP is one of its secret weapons in photography. If you’ve loved an iPhone picture you’ve ever taken, then thank the image processor inside the phone for that result.”

Apple’s success with the iPhone has transformed it into the world’s most valuable company, but it is struggling to keep its share of an increasingly competitive smartphone market.

Apple also unveiled a new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which offer more modest improvements over their predecessors and will sell later this month at starting prices of $699 and $799, respectively.

All three new handsets will be capable of wireless charging and are adapted for augmented reality with more powerful processors and cameras. They also had memory space boosted in a nod to modern day demand for storing rich data like video.

The unveiling comes with Apple seeking to recapture the magic of the first iPhone release in 2007 as it struggles to maintain market share.

Chinese electronics colossus Huawei passed Apple in global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July, taking second place behind South Korean giant Samsung, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research.

Samsung last month unveiled a new model of its Galaxy Note with a similarly high price tag as it seeks to mount a renewed challenge to iPhones.

Other makers are also scrambling for market share, including Google, which is expected to soon unveil a second-generation of its flagship Pixel smartphone.

Apple unveiled an updated version of its smartwatch, as it claimed the device had become the top-selling watch in the world ahead of rivals such as Rolex and Fossil.

The Apple Watch Series 3 has its own mobile connectivity that allows users to remain connected without a smartphone for phone calls, music and other functions.

Apple TV

Also unveiled was a new generation Apple TV, this version of the set-top box updated to stream ultra-rich 4K video from the internet.

Apple is working with Hollywood studios as well as streaming television providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to bulk up the library of 4K shows or films, according to Cook.


While hardware grabbed the spotlight, Apple also emphasized behind-the-scenes technology such as augmented reality, machine learning, and linking to the array of smart devices in homes.


“Apple is trying to differentiate through design and experience. There is a lot of emphasis on Apple technologies positioning us beyond the phone,” Rubin said. 
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