New iPhones and other highlights from the 2017 Apple Event

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Apple Showcase Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, discusses features of the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

For some reason, this years Apple Event product launch felt shorter than usual. A little less of a WOW factor, as well. Still, it should be pointed out the major updates are under the hood, introducing technologies for 4K, VR, AR, wireless charging, and facial recognition that may bring Apple back up to speed with its competitors.

WATCH the Apple 2017 Event from Cupertino, CA


PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

iPhone 8

A lot of nominal improvements for this update. While on the outside, the new iPhone looks a lot like iPhone 7, a new glass/aluminum covering allows for an edge to edge screen and also seals to be water resistant.

For smaller (but much requested features), the iPhone now has stereo speakers and is 25 percent louder than the previous model.

Apple has also introduced its in house GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and an optimized image signal processor for corrections in real time for both still and video imagery.

The improved GPU will come in handy as the new iPhone will play and record 4K video at rates up to 60 fps – and 1080p at 240 fps.

For the first time, the iPhone has two front facing cameras installed: normal and telephoto. The new iOS will allow use of both cameras simultaneously to capture a spatial information. This can assist in adjusting true depth of field after a photo has been taken. It will also compliment newer features for the camera, such as augmented reality (AR).

AR seems to be a big ticket item at this years event. In addition to games, the iPhone’s new AR engine promises to improve educational and real time apps, such as real world mapping and 3D overlays tied to a users geo locations.

CGTN’s Mark Niu was at the Apple Event in Cupertino, and he took a moment to play with the new phone.


The whole mobile line of new Apple products promises to support Qi, which is currently the most prevalent wireless charging technology. Qi charging is used at hotels, airports, and public facilities worldwide. IKEA even puts Qi charging into their furniture.

The iPhone 8 will start at 64GB, from $699,(up from $669 for a 32GB iPhone 7) and the 8 Plus will start at $799. Pre-orders from September 15, available from September 22, and iOS 11 will be released on September 19.

And one more thing… iPhone X?

It seemed on presentation that iPhone X holds everything the 8 does – but souped up. A faster telephoto lens; quicker spatial and facial recognition – which for some reason was demonstrated with a haunting interactive emoji for Chat.

APPLE PHONE

Apple iPhone X will have realtime facial recognition that can integrate with simpler features… like emojis. (COURTESY: APPLE)

From Apple:
The TrueDepth camera analyzes more than 50 different muscle movements to mirror your expressions in 12 Animoji. Reveal your inner panda, pig, or robot.

It’s still a bit spooky.

There is also Facial-ID, introduced with iPhone X as an added level of security. The previous security measures like Touch-ID and passcode still work – which is good because Facial-ID failed the first couple times it was demoed on stage.

The iPhone X will start shipping on November 3 for $999 for the 64GB, and can be pre-ordered October 27.

Apple TV 4K

The latest version of Apple TV will offer support for both HDR and 4K resolution. This is a graduation for the next level of picture quality, but hardly a first. Amazon’s hardware has been offering 4K for at least two years.

Still, this means other 4K content providers, such as Amazon Video or Netflix, will be supported on the new Apple TV.

Those who frequent the iTunes store for content should also be happy Apple has made agreements with the major studios to upgrade to 4K without an increase in price.

Apple TV starts at $179, and will ship on September 22.

Apple Watch series 3

(COURTESY: APPLE)

As many had anticipated, the new iWatch has its own mobile connection. This means taking calls or streaming music is an option without having a host iPhone nearby.

The watch has a faster processor that allows Siri to talk back, and the new Wi-Fi chip will supposedly reduce power drain by 85 percent.

This section went a little fast, but I did hear Apple’s Tim Cook mention they will collaborate with Stanford University and the FDA to do large scale studies on heart disease using Apple Watch. I suppose that will make us the guinea pigs, but hey…

In the U.S. Apple Watch will go for $329 without cellular and $399 with cellular. Orders will begin on September 15, shipping on the on 22nd.