Cupertino, California: Apple has made a luxury iPhone that punctuates its technological swagger with a high-priced exclamation point. And that exclamation point appears to be a sign of things to come.
The long-anticipated iPhone X unveiled Tuesday will sell for $999 (compare with iPhone 7, 8 and 8 Plus here), double what the original iPhone cost a decade ago — and more than any other competing device on the market.
Apple unveiled three new iPhone models on Monday, including the premium iPhone X, pronounced 10, as well as a new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
Speaking at the Steve Jobs theatre inside the new Apple campus, CEO Tim Cook said the latest flagship handset is a milestone for the company a decade after the first iPhone release.
That's very much in line with Apple's long-term positioning of itself as a purveyor of pricey aspirational gadgets. But it's also a clear sign Apple is ramping up that strategy with prices higher, even though improvements it's bringing to its products are often incremental or derivative.
Among other things, that runs contrary to decades in which high-tech device prices have fallen over time, often dramatically, even as the gadgets themselves ran faster and acquired new powers.
On Tuesday, for instance, Apple also introduced a TV streaming box that will sell for $179, far more than similar devices, and a smartwatch with its own cellular connection that will cost almost $400.
In December, Apple will start selling an internet-connected speaker, the HomePod, priced at $349, nearly twice as much as Amazon's market-leading Echo speaker.
Apple is also raising the price of its runner-up phones, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which will respectively cost $50 and $30 more than their immediate predecessors, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
“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 iPhone X has an edge-to-edge screen and uses facial recognition to unlock the device, and improved “super retina” display with improved graphics and resolution.
Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said the glass-body iPhone 8 and 8 Plus handsets were the first smartphones “really created for augmented reality,” with improved power and graphics over their predecessors.
Apple also unveiled an updated smartwatch and an upgraded streaming video system for 4K high-definition television.
Apple mega-launch: as it happened
iPhone X will start at $999
Introducing iPhone X
iPhone X will start at $999, it has been revealed at the launch.
Orders for the new iPhone will start on October 27, with the phone being shipped from November 3.
- iPhone X to be made of glass and stainless steel and is water and dust resistant
- iPhone X ‘super retina’ display uses oled display
- It will be ‘all screen’ and has glass on both front and back
- There will be no home button, can be woken by tapping screen
- It will feature ‘Face ID’ to unlock phone – ‘Face ID’ uses infrared cameras and neural network technology
- Apple Face sensor will work with animated emojis and third party apps such as Snapchat
iPhone X will have Face ID
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, explains the technology behind Face ID. Reuters
Apple also launched the iPhone X on Tuesday. The new phone has glass on both the front and the back and a “super” retina display.
Apple has also removed the Home button. The iPhone will now have Face ID, which will scan your face to open your phone. The Face ID system has 8 sensors that work even in the dark. Apple says its Neural Engine, which is a processor in the iPhone X, cannot be spoofed, even by photographs.
Apple says the systems is secure and has only a 1 in a million chance of being opened by a random person, although the odds are higher if the person is a blood relative. Face ID will work with Apple Pay and other apps.
This system will also work with Animojis, which are emojis that can mimic your facial expressions.
-- By Scott Shuey, Business Editor
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus prices unveiled
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, introduces the iPhone 8 and 8Plus
The company launched the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus at the event, and was expected to launch the iPhone X, a new high-end smartphone, later during the event, which was still ongoing at press time. The phones will have new cameras and augmented reality features.
The iPhone 8, which included a glass back, will also feature wireless charging. The iPhone 8 will be prices at $699 with the iPhone 8 Plus selling for $799. The phones will be available to purchase on Sept 15 and will ship starting on Sept. 22.
-- By Scott Shuey, Business Editor
Apple iPhone 8 models
- iPhone 8 has glass on both the front and the back and comes in silver, space grey and gold
- It features 4.7inch display, while iPhone Plus features 5.5inch display
- iPhone 8 and 8 plus to feature ‘A11 Bionic Chip’
- Apple A11 chip features first-ever Apple Designed GPU
- iPhone 8 cameras are calibrated at the factory for augmented reality apps
iPhone 8 to feature wireless charging standard which will work with all QJ certified wireless chargers
Apple TV 4K starts at $179
- Tim Cook announces Apple TV 4K, with higher resolution
- iTune movies will cost same in 4K resolution as for HD
- Apple TV to feature live sports, live news
- New Apple TV 4K starts at $179 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB
Apple TV 4K
Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software, comparing 4K and Apple TV's 4K + HDR resolution
As expected, Apple launched a 4K version of its Apple TV on Tuesday, finally allowing users to stream ultra-high definition content. The new version will have an A10 chip, the same processor used in the iPhone. Apple will updates purchased titles to 4K HDR.
Apple is also announcing it is expanded internationally, but the UAE is not in the current expansion list.
-- By Scott Shuey, Business Editor
Tim Cook opens Apple launch event with tribute
Apple CEO Time Cook opened the Steve Jobs Theater on Tuesday with a tribute to the former CEO and founder, a plea to keep victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and a brief talk about Apple’s new headquarters, which will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.
Apple Series 3 launched
Apple Watch is the first launch product of the day, called Watch Series 3, which will have build in cellular data. That means that Apple Watch will be able to stream Apple’s Music service or use Siri, Apple’s digital assistant without being paired to a iPhone.
However, the UAE is not on the list on countries where the Watch 3 will launch with cellular data. The Series 3 without data will be available.
With WatchOS 4, there will be new features for swimmers, a revised workout app, and the ability to synch with workout machines.
The Watch’s heart rate monitor has added tools, which can tell you when your heart is beating faster that normal or when your heart is beating irregularly.
The watch will be prices at $249, $329 and $399.
-- By Scott Shuey, Business Editor
Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $399
- Apple says updated watch software will alert users if heart rate is high when they’re not active
- Apple watch will work with third party apps such as Whatsapp
- It will stream 40 million songs from Apple Music
- It will also have same phone number as user’s phone
- The watch features new processor that allows Siri to speak from watch
- New colours and grey ceramic watch will be added to Series 3 lineup
- The watch will maintain 18-hour battery life despite addition of cellular
- Watch starts at $399 with orders beginning September 15 and shipments September 22
- Series 3 will be available in 9 countries with LTE, 26 countries without LTE
Tim Cook announces that Apple Watch has become number 1 selling watch in the world
Watch Live: Tim Cook opens the Steve Jobs Theater
Watch: First glimpse of the inside of the Steve Jobs Theater. Live from the launch of the latest iPhone
Gulf News is live from Cupertino, Ca for Apple’s 2017 launch event. Business Editor Scott Shuey reports.
#Apple Event will begin 10pm (UAE time)
Just how much are you willing to pay for the latest iPhone? How does $1,000 sound?
On Tuesday, Apple is expected to unveil a redesigned iPhone at the first product event it's holding at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. True to its secretive ways, Apple hasn't confirmed what it will be announcing, though a financial forecast issued last month telegraphed something significant in the pipeline.
The souped-up "anniversary" iPhone, which would come a decade after Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first version, could also cost twice what the original iPhone did. It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.
What a thousand bucks will buy
Various leaks have indicated the new phone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or "bezel," that currently surrounds most phone screens.
It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet, too.
Press queueing in front of the Steve Jobs Theatre ahead of today’s launch. Scott Shuey/Gulf News
All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than $1,000, but Apple's sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible - and worth the extra expense.
"Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.
Why phones cost more, not less
Apple isn't the only company driving up smartphone prices. Market leader Samsung Electronics just rolled out its Galaxy Note 8 with a starting price of $930.
The trend reflects the increasing sophistication of smartphones, which have been evolving into status symbols akin to automobiles. In both cases, many consumers appear willing to pay a premium price for luxury models that take them where they want to go in style.
"Calling it a smartphone doesn't come close to how people use it, view it and embrace it in their lives," said Debby Ruth, senior vice president of the consumer research firm Magid. "It's an extension of themselves, it's their entry into the world, it's their connection to their friends."
From that perspective, it's easy to understand why some smartphones now cost more than many kinds of laptop computers, said technology analyst Patrick Moorhead.
"People now value their phones more than any other device and, in some cases, even more than food and sex," Moorhead said.
The luxury-good challenge
Longtime Apple expert Gene Munster, now managing partner at research and venture capital firm Loup Ventures, predicts 20 per cent of the iPhones sold during the next year will be the new $1,000 model.
Wireless carriers eager to connect with Apple's generally affluent clientele are likely to either sell the iPhone at a discount or offer appealing subsidies that spread the cost of the device over two to three years to minimize the sticker shock, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.
Even if Munster's sales forecast holds true, it still shows most people either can't afford or aren't interested in paying that much for a smartphone.
That's one reason Apple also is expected to announce minor upgrades to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That will make it easier for Apple to create several different pricing tiers, with the oldest model possibly becoming available for free with a wireless contract.
But the deluxe model virtually assures that the average price of the iPhone - now at $606 versus $561 three years ago - will keep climbing. That runs counter to the usual tech trajectory in which the price of electronics, whether televisions or computers, falls over time.
"The iPhone has always had a way of defying the law of physics," Munster said, "and I think it will do it in spades with this higher priced one."