Apple unveils $999 phone, new Face ID technology

CUPERTINO, Calif. — IPHONE X

Apple is releasing a super-premium iPhone with a super-premium price tag, starting at $999. The new iPhone X — pronounced like the number 10 — will have a screen with higher resolution.

It will also lose a distinct home button to make more room for the 5.8-inch display. That’s slightly more than the Plus model’s 5.5 inches, though the phone’s size is closer to the regular iPhone model.

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 instead.

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. An executive initially failed to unlock the phone this way in a demo Tuesday, though.

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 unveiled its own super-premium phone, the $930-and-up Galaxy Note 8.

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IPHONE 8

Apple is refreshing its lineup of iPhones with camera, display and speaker improvements.

The new phones promise to shoot pictures with better colours 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

Apple is bucking its traditional naming convention by calling the new phones iPhone 8 rather than 7S. The S designation might have given consumers the impression that the new phones are mere incremental updates from the current iPhone 7. That’s especially so this year given that Apple is also expected to announce an anniversary edition with additional features and a higher price tag.

The Plus version will continue to have two camera lenses and now has the ability to optimize lighting as you shoot.

Both versions will allow wireless charging. Many Android phones, including Samsung’s, already have this.

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APPLE WATCH

Apple is coming out with a new smartwatch designed to be less dependent on the iPhone. A new model will still require a companion iPhone, but comes with cellular access. That makes it possible to do more — like receiving messages — while the phone is at home. The watch will use the same number as the phone. The feature will require a $5 or $10 data add-on to an existing phone plan.

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 that will provide more analysis of your heart rate. The Series 3 also delivers warnings for elevated heart rate when you don’t appear to be active.

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APPLE TV

A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper “4K” resolution — a step up from standard high definition — and a colour-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 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 original programs to Apple TV, too.

The 4K version of Apple TV will cost $179 and ships on Sept. 22. A version without 4K will cost $149.

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