(Source: arstechnica.com)

CUPERTINO, Calif.—At the first event held in the Steve Jobs Theater on its new campus, Apple announced the iPhone X handset today. The original iPhone turned 10 this year, and in true Apple fashion, the company celebrated by debuting a totally new iPhone that shows how far the device has come in its tenure.

Design

As soon as Apple announced the iPhone X, its deviations from the traditional iPhone design were remarkable. The iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) has an edge-to-edge OLED, “Super Retina” (2436×1125, 458 PPI) display on the front of the handset. This display has the highest pixel density of any iPhone, and it supports HDR content. Apple claims it addressed the issues that traditional OLED displays have with brightness and color accuracy with its Super Retina display technology as well.

Further Reading

Liveblog: Apple’s September 2017 iPhone eventAs rumors suggested, the iPhone X is made of glass on both its front and back, with a layer of stainless steel in between. The X measures 5.8 inches on the diagonal on its front, putting it in line with the “Plus” iPhone models. The design was made to be water- and dust-resistant, and it comes in two finishes: space gray and silver, going back to Apple roots.

Apple removed the physical Home button on the iPhone X, confirming another rumor that Touch ID as we know it is not included on the high-end smartphone. To wake the display, you simply need to tap it and swipe up from the bottom. With the nearly bezel-less design, there’s barely any space separating your fingers from the bottom of the display, so this is being billed as one easy, swift motion.

Face ID

With the Home button and Touch ID gone, Apple’s new way of unlocking the iPhone X is called Face ID. The feature uses the new front-facing camera setup, which includes the lens, a new IR camera, a flood illuminator, dot projector, and ambient light sensor, along with 3D-sensing facial recognition software to identify your face and unlock the handset. This system virtually projects 30,000 IR dots on your face that are then stored on the smartphone. The phone references that dot-map whenever you look at the front of the device so it can identify you as the correct owner and unlock itself. Apple is calling the new technology system that enables Face ID its “True Depth Camera system.”

Apple says it took over 1 billion images to develop the accuracy of Face ID. Using the new neural engine on the A11 chip that powers the iPhone X, the device uses machine learning and can perform up to 600 billion operations per second. You’ll only have to set up Face ID once; after that, Apple says the phone will recognize your face even if you’ve gotten a haircut, put on glasses, or did something else to modify your head. Over time, the neural network and the device’s machine-learning capabilities will learn your face. If you start to grow a beard or change your hair color, it will still be able to recognize you as it identifies those small changes over time.

Apple claims Face ID is more accurate and more secure than Touch ID. The company said the chances that a random person could use their fingerprint to unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000. But the odds of that happening using Face ID facial recognition is 1 in 1,000,000. The iPhone X isn’t alone in using Face ID; Apple Pay will use it as well. It will also be compatible with third-party apps, including Mint.

A lot of seriousness is involved with Face ID, but Apple interjected some fun with the inclusion of Animojis. This feature was rumored to be included using the improved front-facing camera setup on the iPhone X. Animojis are customizable emojis that can sense and mimic your facial expressions, so you can send a scowling monkey face to your friends whenever they do something you don’t particularly like.

Not all emojis can be turned into Animojis, but there are a number of compatible emojis including the alien, fox, panda, and, of course, the infamous pile of poop emoji. You can also record a voice message to send in Apple’s Messaging app with an Animoji: not only will the recipient have your facial expression, they’ll have your voice. In addition to Animojis, Apple demoed a few “3D masks” that can be mapped onto your face in real-time while you’re looking at the front-facing camera.

Rear camera setup

Another rumor involving the iPhone X’s camera was also confirmed: the rear, dual-camera setup has been switched to a vertical orientation instead of the horizontal orientation on the iPhone 7 Plus. Both are 12MP lenses, and both support optical image stabilization. The new cameras have larger and faster sensors, deeper pixels, a quad-LED True Tone flash, and f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures. The new system should provide better low-light zoomed photos and improved video stabilization.

The rear camera setup also supports the new Portrait Lighting mode that Apple explained when debuting the iPhone 8 models earlier in the presentation. This feature actively senses the scene in which you’re taking a portrait and automatically adjusts lighting and contours around the face to produce a better shot.

SoC and wireless charging

As mentioned before, the iPhone X is powered by Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip. It’s a natural upgrade from the A10 chip found in the iPhone 7 handsets, featuring two low-performance cores and four high-performance cores. The regular cores should be 25-percent faster than Apple’s A10 chip, and the high-performance cores will be about 75 percent faster.

With the improved A11 Bionic SoC, the iPhone X is estimated to last at least two hours longer than the iPhone 7 on a single charge. Like the new iPhone 8 models, the iPhone X supports Qi wireless charging with an optional accessory pad. This accessory will let you charge an iPhone X, an iPhone 8, a Series 3 Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods all at the same time. Apple only described its new wireless charging technology as “AirPower,” and it will be available starting early next year.

The iPhone X will start at $999/£999, and it comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options. You can preorder it on October 27, and it will start shipping on November 3.

More Info: arstechnica.com

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