Apple unveils iPhone X, but will you pay $1,000 for it?

By Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay - AP Technology Writers | September 13th, 2017 11:30 am

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

With a price starting at $999 and a host of new features, the phone will be a big test for both Apple and consumers. Will people be willing to shell out really big bucks for a relatively fragile device that’s become an essential part of daily life?

Overwhelmingly, Times Leader readers said: “No thanks.” About 75 percent of people responding to a TL Facebook posting about the new iPhone said they would definitely not be interested.

On Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook called the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward” since the first iPhone. (“X” is pronounced like the number 10, not the letter X.) It loses the home button, which revolutionized 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 colors and less distortion, particularly in low-light 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.

Apple shares were mostly flat after the announcement, down 64 cents to $160.86.

Honoring Jobs

This was the first product event for Apple at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. 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 event opened in a darkened auditorium, with only the audience’s phones gleaming like stars, along with a message that said “Welcome to Steve Jobs Theater.” A voiceover from Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011, opened the event before CEO Tim Cook took stage.

“Not a day that goes by that we don’t think about him,” Cook said. “Memories especially come rushing back as we prepared for today and this event. It’s taken some time but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness.”

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.”

Blau also praised the extended battery life for the phone, saying “you don’t often get that” with new smartphones.

Other analysts such as Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies, don’t believe the $1,000 price tag will present much of a hurdle to Apple buyers, at least to those with means or access to installment plans. And people who won’t spend that kind of money, she added, have a choice of other products that will keep them “within Apple versus looking at the competition.”

Watch upgrades

Apple’s latest Watch has built-in cellular service. The number on your phone will be the same as your iPhone. The Series 3 model will also have Apple Music available through cellular service. It won’t need a new plan, but will require a data add-on to your existing plan.

“Now, you can go for a run with just your watch,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer and in charge of Watch development.

Apple is also adding more fitness features to the Watch, and says it is now the most used heartrate monitor in the world. Now, Apple Watch will notify users when it detects an elevated heart rate when they don’t appear to be active. It’ll also detect abnormal heart rhythms.

The Series 3 will start at $399. One without cellular goes for $329, down from $369 for the comparable model now. The original Series 1, without GPS, sells for $249, down from $269. The new watch comes out Sept. 22.

Cellular plans for smartwatches typically cost $5 to $10 a month. AT&T says its plans are $10 a month. T-Mobile said the Watch connection will be free for the first three months and $10 a month after for unlimited talk, text and data.

The iPhone X, unveiled Tuesday on the new Apple campus in Cupertino, Calif., will use facial recognition to unlock the phone. (AP Photo | Marcio Jose Sanchez)
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/web1_118458952-3f999131472445bf99742b94bc468e9d.jpgThe iPhone X, unveiled Tuesday on the new Apple campus in Cupertino, Calif., will use facial recognition to unlock the phone. (AP Photo | Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay

AP Technology Writers


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