SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Before a jammed-packed audience inside its new Steve Jobs Theater, Apple announced Tuesday it was releasing a super-premium iPhone with a super-premium price tag starting at $999.
While Apple is continuing to update its existing, cheaper models, the new iPhone X — pronounced like the number 10 — will have a screen with higher resolution and “OLED” technology for richer colors.
It will also lose a distinct home button to make more room for the 5.8-inch display, which is slightly more than the Plus model’s 5.5 inches. The features are similar to what Samsung offers.
The new design will enable new ways to interact with the phone. Instead of pressing the button to get the home page, you swipe up like many tablets.
Apple is also offering the ability to unlock the phone with facial recognition rather than a fingerprint or passcode. Though some Android phones offer this, Apple is adding sensors to improve performance and says it worked with mask designers during testing to improve security.
However, an executive initially failed to unlock the phone this way in a demo Tuesday.
The new phone, which is coming Nov. 3, will also permit animated emojis that mirror your facial movements and promises two more hours of battery life than what’s in the current iPhone 7.
Such an iPhone has been widely anticipated for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary and comes just weeks after Samsung unveils its own super-premium phone, the $930-and-up Galaxy Note 8.
Meanwhile, Apple announced it is also refreshing its lineup of iPhones with camera, display and speaker improvements.
The new phones promise to 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.
The new iPhone 8 will keep its predecessor’s size — 4.7 inches — but have a higher starting price of $699, up from $649. The 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799, up from $769. The new phones come out Sept. 22.
When it comes to the new smartwatch, the device is designed to be less dependent on the iPhone. It will still require a companion iPhone, but the new model comes with cellular access, so it will be possible to do more — such as receiving messages — while the phone is at home.
It will require a data plan, which typically costs $5 or $10 a month.
Since the original watch’s debut in April 2015, Apple has been trying to enable more stand-alone features. Last year’s model, for instance, introduced GPS capabilities, so that the watch can measure runs and bike rides more accurately without the iPhone nearby.
The new cellular model, called 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.
Existing Apple Watches will get a software update next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper “4K” resolution and a color-improvement technology called high-dynamic range.
Many rival devices already offer these features. However, there’s not a lot of video in 4K and HDR yet, nor are there many TVs that can display it. Apple TV doesn’t have its own display and needs to be connected to a TV.
Apple says it’s been working with movie studios to bring titles with 4K and HDR to its iTunes store. They will be sold at the same prices as high-definition video, which tends to be a few dollars more than standard-definition versions. Apple says it’s working with Netflix and Amazon Prime to bring their 4K originals to Apple TV, too.
Apple TV 4K model will cost $179. It ships on Sept. 22. A version without 4K will cost less.
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