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Apple launches three phones and a new watch

Paul Brislen, Editor. 13 September 2017, 6:58 am

Welcome to our future - animated GIFs that are created based on users' facial expressions.

Yes, it's the Apple event of the year and as it's the tenth anniversary of the launch of the iPhone expectations are high that the new phone will be just as revolutionary as the original.

Sadly, that's not to be the case. 

The smartphone market has now matured to the point where it's very difficult to introduce sweeping new changes that will revolutionise the industry. Instead, it's steady as she goes with incremental updates that won't scare the horses (that is, the shareholders) too much.

Nevertheless, expectation has been running high for the anniversary edition and Apple has managed to opt for both "less is more" and "more is even more" by launching three different iPhones at the one event.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus follow the trajectory Apple launched with the iPhone 6: that is, a "standard" sized phone with a larger screen version that has a different camera set-up and sits somewhat awkwardly between the phone and tablet, kind of like a teenager at the family barbecue, unsure whether to eat with the adults or at the kids' table.

But wait, as they say, there's "one more thing".

The iPhone X (pronounced, in typical Apple style, as "ten") is also being launched and by golly it's … well, actually, it's pretty similar by all accounts, and mirrors what has been carefully leaked over the past few months.

No more home button, instead users prod the screen any old place to bring the phone to life. No more thumb print scanner (a feature I use dozens of times a day) but instead a facial recognition algorithm that requires an infrared beam to probe one's visage before unlocking the phone, although how this will work for authorising payments on the device remains to be seen. Oh and of course we finally do away with the plug-in power cords, moving to the long-promised induction model, based on the Qi standard. Simply drop your device on the charging plate and watch as the battery fills up. 

Augmented reality is this year's cool trick which, much like 3D television, seems to be more of a dream of developers than actual users, but will play a large part in the iPhone's capability suite, apparently, and our old friend Siri gets an actual button to start her up. 

The operating system will also receive an update, and Apple launched some other stuff including a new version of the Apple Watch which untethers itself from the iPhone and allows users to make and receive calls directly from the wrist, only not in New Zealand at this point. Having the same phone number on two devices will prove challenging to our SIM card based telcos.

New Zealand pricing and availability will no doubt be forthcoming.


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