London- At Apple’s special event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the company announced upgrades for the iPhone, including a premium model that starts at $999, and the Apple Watch, which will include cellular connectivity in some models.
Q & A:
-I have an iPhone 5S and though it is small…what do I gain from the new iPhone coming out tomorrow? What is the $1K about? I am maybe an overage user of iPhone functions but feel I need a university degree in iPhone to keep up.
*The upshot of the $999 iPhone is that you will have more buying options than you did before. In the past, when Apple announced new iPhones, your options were to get the iPhone with the standard-size screen or the one with the bigger screen. With the addition of the $999 iPhone, known as iPhone X, your options will now be to get the normal-size iPhone, the big-screen iPhone, or the iPhone X with some fancy features that you won’t get on the cheaper models.
What will you gain? That depends on your preferences. If you are a gadget enthusiast who needs the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology, the premium iPhone would benefit you. But if you’re just in the market for a phone that is superior to your iPhone 5S in terms of speed, camera performance and so on, you will be happy with a normal iPhone.
–Will there be a replacement for the SE? Will it be more like the iPhone 7 or the new phones? Will it be available at the same time as the larger phones?
*I have heard there will not be an update for the iPhone SE, the model with the 4-inch screen. That doesn’t mean the product is dead — it could be refreshed at a future event. Or Apple could always release a new one and announce it on the Apple Store website.
–How much longer can Apple sustain creating increasingly expensive iPhones? At some point they will become inaccessible to the average consumer.
*While Apple is adding a premium tier to its iPhone family, the iPhone overall isn’t getting much more expensive. The base model of the iPhone costs $699, up from the $649 starting price of past iPhones.
The big question will be: How good are the normal iPhones compared with the premium one? Will they be so unappealing in comparison that it would be foolish not to get the premium iPhone? I imagine that Apple would want the vast majority of customers to continue buying the $699 iPhone, while the tech enthusiasts gravitate toward the premium one. But we will have to see.
–Once Apple releases this iPhone do you think they will present it as an iPhone edition type product as they did with the Apple Watch and discontinue it after its year of sale do to its price point or do you believe that they will continue this trend of releasing high end products for the niche market.
*It’s a sharp observation that Apple tested this strategy with the Apple Watch. When it released the Apple Watch, the premium gold Apple Watch Edition cost upward of $10,000. Apple quietly discontinued that model about a year later. However, last year it introduced a ceramic version of Apple Watch Edition that costs about $1,300. I presume that Apple used the watch pricing to conclude that a good number of people would buy a $999 iPhone.
–Will the new Apple Watch let one listen to an audio book without needing the iPhone nearby?
*In theory, yes. Apple did not demonstrate an audiobook playing on an Apple Watch at the event, but the point of the Apple Watch gaining cellular capability is that it can work independently from the iPhone. Assuming an audiobook provider like Audible offers an Apple Watch app, you should be able to stream audiobooks with just a cellular Apple Watch.
–Without a home button how will Touch ID work for banking and other apps?
*On the $999 iPhone X, Touch ID has been replaced with Face ID, a feature that uses an infrared camera system to scan your face. That will unlock the phone and also log into sensitive software like banking apps. On the cheaper iPhone 8, which starts at $699, Touch ID remains.
–Any indication whether a data plan for Apple Watch 3 will be necessary to take advantage of cellular connectivity features?
*The Apple Watch will share the same phone number as your iPhone. However, carriers will have different pricing structures, so you will have to look up your carrier on Apple’s webpage to see your options. On AT&T, for example, a feature called NumberSync will fold your watch’s cellular plan into your iPhone’s. Adding the watch to your account will incur an additional charge of $10 a month to share your phone plan’s data, voice and texts on the watch.
–Does the facial recognition work in the dark?
*According to Apple, facial recognition on the iPhone X will be able to scan your face in the dark. It works by spraying infrared dots all over your face to get a good scan. It remains to be seen how well this does in bright sunlight, like at a beach. Experts say infrared gets blown out by bright light.
-Are all the features of the 8 Plus that you write about also available in the iPhone X?
*There are many differences between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. The iPhone 8 Plus has an LCD screen, and the iPhone X has an OLED display that takes up nearly the entire face of the device by eliminating the borders around the screen. Both the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have glass bodies, the ability to be charged wirelessly and a dual-lens, depth-sensing camera system. But the main difference is that the iPhone 8 Plus has a home button and a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device. The iPhone X eliminates the home button and fingerprint sensor and scans your face to unlock the device.
–Will there be an iPhone X Plus ?
*There is only one screen size for the iPhone X: 5.8 diagonal inches, which is bigger than the 5.5-inch screen on the iPhone 8 Plus.
The New York Times