Wednesday 23 May 2018

Buying into iPhone 'X' factor will cost you a cool €1,000

iPhone through the ages: (left to right) the 7 Plus, 6, 5, 4 and the original model.
iPhone through the ages: (left to right) the 7 Plus, 6, 5, 4 and the original model.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple's new flagship iPhone is set to cost more than €1,000, a price that will test the loyalty of Irish consumers.

The new 'iPhone X' will be launched today on the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone.

The handset will have a new larger screen that increases battery life, while not increasing the overall size of the device.

It will also have improved new cameras and facial recognition functionality.

Apple is also set to ditch the phone's 'Home' button, replacing it with gesture controls on the screen.

New software under the hood will open up a new world of 'augmented reality' apps, as well as animated emojis that can accurately mimic facial expressions.

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: AP
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: AP

The new iPhone X is set to be one of three new models unveiled by Apple today.

The company is also expected to launch two additional iPhone models, based on more conventional upgrades to existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. Set to be called the iPhone 8 and iPhone Plus, these are likely to cost the same as existing iPhones but may not have the same screen upgrades as the top model.

Apple is betting that a large proportion of its notoriously loyal user base will cough up more than €1,000 for the flagship device. On its cheaper handsets, the company estimates that smartphone users will stick with its ecosystem rather than move to similarly-priced handsets from Samsung that have incorporated advanced new edge-to-edge screen technology.

Irish software developer Steven Troughton Smith recently uncovered details hidden in an Apple firmware update, which indicated some of the new features in the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple is also set to launch a new version of the Apple Watch which will have 4G mobile connectivity built into it. The new device may be aimed at runners, cyclists, swimmers and other fitness enthusiasts, who do not wish to bring a phone exercising.

The Watch might work in the same way as Amazon Kindles, with connectivity provided by a local operator either by paying Apple a monthly tariff or a higher price at purchase.

The new iPhones are being launched as smartphone penetration has plateaued in Ireland and Europe. With aggressive new rivals such as Huawei on its tail, Apple needs to maintain its famously high sales margins, which reach almost 50pc of the overall phone's cost.

However, the tech giant is investing a lot in 'augmented reality' for its iPhones. The new models' beefed-up cameras are said to have depth-sensing ability that can accurately measure a person's face, allowing users to unlock the device by looking at it instead of using the Touch ID fingerprint system.

This may also be used to create new emojis based on a person's own facial expressions. Emojis are the fastest growing area of text communication among all age groups.

The iPhone launch is happening on the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone sale, released in 2007 by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Some 1.2 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide in that time.

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Irish Independent

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