Monday 19 March 2018

Get taste of new reality with next generation of iPhone

Adrian Weckler demonstrates the mixed-reality function of the new iPhone 8
Photo: Tony Gavin
Adrian Weckler demonstrates the mixed-reality function of the new iPhone 8 Photo: Tony Gavin
The new phone can charged wirelessly
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple hopes to kick start a new wave of 'mixed reality' with its latest iPhone 8 smartphones.

The new handsets, officially launched this week, will be used as a platform for new apps which let users virtually manipulate the rooms, parks or streets around them.

Mixed reality apps from home, building and game companies are already filling up the App Store. One app from Ikea lets you select furniture to 'test' what it looks like as a live installation in a room.

The iPhone 8, which does not have facial recognition like its €1,200 iPhone X big brother device due in November, may also cause camera sales to further decline due to the phone's new larger sensors and improved lenses.

The new phone can charged wirelessly
The new phone can charged wirelessly

Camera industry figures show that powerful camera phones have caused sales of ordinary standalone cameras to fall by 85pc in the last five years, while sales of interchangeable lens cameras have fallen by 35pc.

This could be exacerbated by new features on the iPhone 8 Plus, such as an enhanced 'portrait' mode that can separate the person being photographed from their background.

The gadget also has more advanced video controls and better low-light photo capability, two features that usually attract people to standalone cameras.

The Irish Independent got to grips with the new model and in our tests, we found the iPhone 8's camera to be the best yet from a smartphone and an adequate replacement for many cameras.

However, while battery life matches that of the iPhone 7, our testing indicated that it has not significantly improved over the iPhone 7, a significant concern for many people. Nevertheless, the new device is the first iPhone to have wireless charging built in. The feature means that the phone can be set down on a number of different wireless charging pads during the day or night instead of using the existing power cable.

Wireless charging is currently being built into cars such as Toyota's Prius and furniture such as Ikea lamps.

The new iPhone also comes with Apple's latest software upgrade, iOS 11. This includes a 'Do Not Disturb' feature that works in cars. Whenever the iPhone is connected to a car's Bluetooth audio system, it will remain silent for calls and messages, reducing the temptation for the driver to use the phone while driving.

The new operating system will also let iPhone users transfer money from iPhone to iPhone using Apple Pay.

Other new features include louder speakers, a slightly improved screen and resistance to water and dust.

Apple has kept the price of the new iPhone 8 models within a similar range of its existing iPhone 7 models.

The manufacturer raised eyebrows earlier this month when it announced that its top iPhone X model, available in November, will cost €1,179 in Ireland. Industry research suggests that despite the high price, Apple may be making less of a margin on the iPhone X than the iPhone 8, because of the extra cost of materials in the flagship model.

Apple is releasing the new iPhones at a time of intense competition from Android rivals such as Samsung and Huawei. However, new figures show use of iPhones and iPads has overtaken Android in Ireland. Dublin-based Statcounter's latest research shows that 51pc of active Irish mobile devices use iOS, compared to 48pc for Android devices.

Irish Independent

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