Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Apple unveils iPhone X with facial recognition

Published:Wednesday | September 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The new iPhone X.

Apple has broken the US$1,000 barrier with its latest, and most expensive, phone, the iPhone X.

With a price starting at US$999 and a host of new features, the phone will be a big test for both Apple and the willingness of consumers to shell out really big bucks for a relatively fragile device.

On Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook called the iPhone X "the biggest leap forward" since the first iPhone. The 'X' is pronounced like the number 10, and not the letter. It loses the home button, which revolutionised smartphones when it launched; offers an edge-to-edge screen; and will use facial recognition to unlock the phone.

Apple also unveiled a new iPhone 8 and a larger 8 Plus with upgrades to cameras, displays and speakers.

Those phones, Apple said, will shoot pictures with better colours and less distortion, particularly in lowlight settings. The display will adapt to ambient lighting, similar to a feature in some iPad Pro models. Speakers will be louder and offer deeper bass.

Both iPhone 8 versions will allow wireless charging, a feature already offered in many Android phones, including Samsung models. Some Android phones have also previously eliminated the home button and added edge-to-edge screens.

This was the first product event for Apple at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Before getting to the new iPhone, the company unveiled a new Apple Watch model with cellular service and an updated version of its Apple TV streaming device.

The iPhone X costs twice what the original iPhone did. It sets a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.

Gartner analyst Brian Blau said the iPhone X's augmented reality features will "change the way people use apps" and give app developers new, "cool things" to do.

Apple showed off a simple use for this new, sophisticated camera technology with "animoji," which lets people animate emoji characters with their facial expressions. Showing off a new technology with something that everyday people can use and understand, he said, is "what Apple does best".

- AP