It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Yes, I realize it’s not Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or really close to any fun, major holiday (or at least one that revolves around eating myself silly), but it’s still one of my favorite times of the year. Why?! Because around this time every year, Apple announces a new iPhone (HOW new is often debatable), as well as a few other products that I usually don’t care about nearly as much. If you’ve picked up on Apple’s product cycle, every other year they tend to release a truly new phone, and then each year in between we see more of a small incremental upgrade (nicer camera, faster processor, blah, blah, blah). However, for the past THREE years (a lifetime in the tech world), we really haven’t seen many significant changes to the iPhone lineup other than a bigger model, better cameras, and a redesigned home button. In 2014 there was the iPhone 6, in 2015 there was the iPhone 6s, and then in 2016, there was the iPhone 7. But as far as the average consumer was concerned, these all looked almost exactly the same and had almost identical features. Now I know a lot of you probably don’t even know which model you have, and nor do you care, but I live on the edge of my seat around the second week of September waiting to see what shiny new device Apple is ready to give me in exchange for my $1,000 (yes, we have reached the point where a PHONE is now a luxury item that one has to actually budget for).

Is it worth shelling out $1,000+ for a phone? Considering I’m excitedly writing a blog post about the new phone’s release approximately 8 hours after it was announced, you can probably guess my answer. My mobile phone is probably (no, it is) the most important and invaluable piece of technology that I own, and if you’re being honest with yourself, I think it likely is for many of you as well. I know there are MANY things in life that are more important than a phone, but I’m not ashamed to say that under normal circumstances I don’t really want to live without one. My phone holds the key to getting in touch with my closest friends and loved ones; it takes and stores thousands of photos that visually document the story of my life; it holds passwords and financial information that I would be crippled without; it gives me instant access to an endless catalog of music, books, and podcasts; it keeps me from getting lost EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.; and it even houses those pesky social media apps that suck away precious minutes of my day. So almost all good things! I know people can and do abuse their phones, and I know I’ve been guilty of it from time to time. But when used responsibly, it’s a mind-blowingly powerful device that adds immense value to our lives — and that we can casually carry around in our pockets and purses. Just think about that for a second! It’s truly incredible.

Ok, so let’s get to the good stuff. What did Apple actually release today?! Don’t worry, I followed one of the manyyy live blogs from the big event today and I’ve got all the deets below. I’ll add my thoughts and commentary once I’ve had a chance to digest everything (shooting for Thursday). I’ll also walk you through the pre-order process and the new iOS 11 software. I know software can seem boring compared to sexy new hardware, but it’s supposed to be very slick and will likely come with a bit of a learning curve. Anyways, for now, I’ll spare you and just give you the CliffsNotes version. Enjoy.

APPLE IPHONE 8/8+

  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • Front and back are both glass; available in silver, space gray, gold
  • iPhone 8 = 4.7″ screen; iPhone 8+ = 5.5″ screen (same sizes as current iPhone 7/7+)
  • New A11 “bionic” chip (ooooo, bionic!) — makes things run faster
  • True Tone Display — adapts color and temperature to ambient light
  • Faster, faster, faster
  • Plus model has the dual cameras (if you’re at ALL interested in taking photos with your phone, it’s totally worth getting the bigger model just for this alone)
  • 12MP, f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures (for you photography nerds)
  • Camera has better low-light autofocus
  • New dual camera feature called “Portrait Lighting”: the dual cameras sense depth and rework the lighting while you compose the shot (5 different options); NOT filters, the camera is simply adjusting the lighting effect; provides real-time analysis of the light on your subject’s face (read: AWESOME)
  • Better video; can shoot 4K 60 fps; 1080 240 fps slo-mo (the technical part isn’t important, just know it’s faster and better)
  • Designed for AR (augmented reality)
  • Gaming upgrades (if that’s something you’re into)
  • LTE Advanced (= better?), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Glass back for wireless charging! (3rd party wireless charging pads available now, Apple’s model available early next year)
  • Qi wireless standard — important because it’s the open wireless standard and is used by restaurants, cars, shops, airports, etc.
  • Still uses TouchID to unlock your phone (and for Apple Pay)
  • iOS 11 coming September 19
  • iPhone 8 = 64GB $699, 256GB = $849
  • iPhone 8 Plus = 64GB $799, 256GB = $949
  • Pre-Order September 15, Available/Ships September 22
  • Official Technical Specs

IPHONE X (10)

  • Future of the smartphone! (Apple’s words, not mine)
  • Front and back are both glass
  • OLED screen (if you care why this is different than past iPhones!)
  • Available in space gray and silver (both have a black front though)
  • Dust and water resistant
  • “Super” Retina Display — great contrast, high resolution, thinness, brightness, wide color support, color accuracy
  • 2436 x 1125 resolution; 5.8″ screen (bigger than the iPhone 8, smaller than the iPhone 8+, but with the biggest screen of the three)
  • 458 ppi (highest pixel density available on an iPhone)
  • 3D Touch
  • True Tone Display (see explanation above)
  • No home button! Instead, you tap on the screen to wake it up
  • To go to the home screen you just swipe up from the bottom; same gesture for same for multitasking
  • Side button is now larger (double tap for Siri)
  • FaceID! You will now use your FACE to unlock your iPhone; when you look at your phone it projects 30k invisible IR dots, the cameras fire, and checks that pattern against the image stored in real time (fancy!)
  • Apparently cannot be spoofed by a photo of your face, OR an extremely realistic mask (yes, they tested this!)
  • Will work with (most) sunglasses, hats, and even if you grow a beard
  • Only compatible with one face at launch
  • Twins can fool it!
  • Apple says there’s a 1 in 50,000 chance that a random user could unlock your phone with TouchID, 1 in 1,000,000 with FaceID 
  • It will also adjust over time if you change your “look” (thank goodness!)
  • Needs user attention to unlock it (need to be facing the screen) — called “Attention Detection”; won’t work with your eyes closed (or someone pointing your phone at you when you’re sleeping); can be disabled
  • Any apps that use Touch ID should work automatically with Face ID
  • Works with Apple Pay and apps — double click side button, authenticate by looking at the phone, then tap to pay (a few more steps than the current process)
  • Animojis — animated emojis that adjust to your facial expression (super cute!)
  • You will still swipe down for Control Center
  • 12MP dual camera; larger faster sensor, new color filter, deeper pixels, f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures; dual optical image stabilization; quad LED True Tone Flash
  • Portrait mode selfies!
  • New A11 “bionic” chip (still no idea what this actually means)
  • Battery lasts 2 more hours than the iPhone 7
  • Qi wireless charging (see explanation above)
  • Apple charging pad (AirPower) that supports iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods with optional new wireless charging case — coming next year
  • Will work even if your phone is in a case
  • iPhone X 64GB = $999, 256GB = $1,149
  • Apple Care = $199 (Sadly, I feel like this is a must for a $1,200 phone)
  • Pre-Order October 27 (12:01 am PDT), Available/Ships November 3
  • Official Technical Specs

 

APPLE WATCH SERIES 3

  • Looks almost exactly the same; the crown (the knob/dial on the side) is now red
  • Variety of new case and band colors
  • Available with cellular service! (LTE); there WILL be an extra charge for this from your carrier (boo); available on all phone carriers
  • GPS
  • Waterproof
  • Bluetooth and Wifi; as a result, you can attach AirPods (my fave gadget ever) and stream Apple Music without carrying your phone. Freedom! Let’s hope Spotify will be available at some point too.
  • Watch OS4 will be available September 19 — this is the software that the watch runs! Some very cool updates here, and it’s available for older Apple Watch models too (yay!).
  • Redesigned fitness app, enhanced features for swimmers, better heart-rate monitoring
  • Apple looking to eventually be able to track afib and sleep apnea (interesting!)
  • Will alert you when it has detected a high heart-rate when you don’t appear to be exercising (likely caused by reading your friends’ political rants on Facebook)
  • The phone # attached to the watch will be the same as your iPhone
  • New altimeter built in — good for hiking and skiing (before you had to have your phone with you to calculate this)
  • Only 0.25mm thicker than the Apple Watch Series 2 (two sheets of paper, apparently)
  • Apple Watch Series 3 = (starts at ) $329; with LTE = (starts at) $399
  • Pre-Order September 15, Available/Ships September 22

 

APPLE TV 4K

  • 4K HDR video
  • New version of tvOS – the software/user interface that you see when you use it
  • New processor (typically just makes technology run faster!)
  • Working with big Hollywood studios to get all of their iTunes content in 4K
  • Will be the SAME PRICE as HD movies/shows (big!)
  • Previous purchases upgraded to 4K automatically (also big!)
  • Regular Apple TV 32GB = $149, 4K Apple TV 32GB = $179, 4K Apple TV 64GB = $199
  • Pre-Order September 15, Available/Ships September 22

 

And here are some fun/helpful articles if you’re interested in reading more about the new iPhones and torturing yourself before the pre-orders begin:

An Editorial: Dear iPhone: Here’s Why We’re Still Together After 10 Years

Leaks are inevitable, and they are almost always, mostly, correct

And why that isn’t always a bad thing

Details on how much adding an LTE enabled Apple Watch to your wireless plan will cost

Apple Care Prices for the New Phones (note: they are longer all the same price)

 

170912 iPhone X Lineup
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X were the big announcements, but Apple is keeping the SE, 6s, and 7 in the lineup in case you’re interested in paying a lot of money for outdated technology
170912 iPhone X, Apple Watch, AirPods
This is the AirPower charging pad that will be available in 2018. Literally $2,000 worth of electronics sitting on what is likely at least a $150 piece of plastic! Apple, you own me.
170912 New iPhone Models
Left: iPhone X; Middle: iPhone 8 Plus; Right: iPhone 8
170912 New iPhone Size Comparison
Size comparison between the three new phones (L-R: iPhone 8, X, 8+)
170912 iPhone X Facial Recognition
And a creepy photo of Apple illustrating how facial recognition works to close things out!

 

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