iPhone 8 on sale September 22 from $1079, but $1579 iPhone X won't launch until November

13 September 2017

After far too many months of rumours, Apple's finally taken the wrap off its 2017 iPhones, and as expected, we're getting three shiny new devices: iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. 

The iPhone X - Apple's tenth anniversary iPhone - is undeniably the star of the show, and boasts the most radical redesign of any iPhone yet. The front is almost all screen, the home button is gone, and so is the fingerprint reader. It's also the most expensive iPhone yet, with a starting price of at $1,579 for 64GB.

If that's too rich for your blood, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at $1,079 and $1,229 respectively. That's roughly same price as last year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but they don't share the same new edge-to-edge design. 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of each phone, here's the important stuff. You'll be able to pre-order the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus from September 15 ahead of a September 22 release date. 

If you want an iPhone X, you'll have to wait a little longer; iPhone X pre-orders will start on October 27, and the phone will go on sale on November 3.

iPhone X

The iPhone X - pronounced iPhone 10 - is the most radical iPhone redesign to date. Other than a small concave cut out for a speaker and front-facing camera, the front of the iPhone X is all screen. This has allowed Apple to plonk a 5.8-inch display - the largest in any iPhone yet - into a body that's just a little bit bigger than the iPhone 7. It runs at a resolution of 2436 by 1125 pixels, and has a pixel density of 458ppi - Apple's highest to date.

The iPhone X is also the first iPhone to make use of an OLED panel, which allows for higher contrast and more vivid colours. As such, the iPhone X will support HDR video standards including HDR10 and Dolby Vision. 

True Tone technology, first introduced with the iPad Pro, also makes an appearance, and will automatically adjust the colour temperature of the iPhone X's display to match the ambient lighting of your environment. 

Since the iPhone X's front is almost all screen, there's no home button. Closing apps (and returning to your home screen) is now done with a swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone X's display. Swiping up half way will open the multitasking menu, and you can swipe left and right along the bottom of the phone to jump through active apps. These changes mean that to get to the Control Centre you’ll need to swipe down from the top right hand side of the screen, while notifications are a swipe down from the top left hand side.

Rather than move the fingerprint to the back of the iPhone X or incorporate it into the power button, Apple has decided to kill it entirely in favour of facial recognition. Dubbed Face ID, the iPhone X uses a "TrueDepth camera system" consisting of a dot projector, infrared camera, a front-facing camera, and a flood illuminator.

After you enrol your face during setup, Apple says the iPhone X will continue to recognise you even if you change your hair style, wear glasses, put on a hat, grow a beard, or if you're in the dark. Most importantly, Apple says a photo of your face won't fool Face ID, and even went as far as working with professional Hollywood mask makers to put the system to the test. While Apple says there's a one in a million chance of someone else's face unlocking your phone (compared to one in 50,000 for fingerprint), it went out of its way to note that this would be lower for relatives, especially identical twins.

Face ID will be used to authenticate Apple Pay in lieu of a fingerprint reader; you'll double tap the iPhone X's side button to bring up your card, look at your phone to authorise, and then tap the terminal to pay. Third party apps will also support Face ID authentication.

Facial recognition will also you to create "Animojis", animated emojis based on your facial expressions. There's 12 different emojis to pick from - including a cat, unicorn, and pile of poop - and once recorded, these can be sent to friends as a video message. Apple says facial recogonition will also result in even better Snapchat filters. Yay. 

iPhone X is also set to tout the best camera configuration of the three new iPhones. Once again, there's two cameras on the rear, both backed by 12MP sensors. The primary wide-angle lens has an aperture of f/1.8, while the telephoto zoom lens has a slightly slower aperture of f/2.4. This is however 36% brighter than the telephoto lens in the iPhone 8 Plus. Both the iPhone X's rear-facing cameras have optical image stablisation, which should further improve lowlight photography. 

An improved portrait mode is making a return, allowing you to blur the background behind your subject. In addition, you'll also be able to rework the lighting in your shot; essentially, image fakery that allows you to recreate shadows and highlights you'd typically achieve with studio lightning. Apple says this isn't a filter, but a real time analysis of the light over your subject's face. 

These portrait features also carry over to the iPhone X's front-facing 7MP selfie camera. 

Other camera related features include the ability to film 4K video at 60fps and 1080p slow motion video at 240fps, and optimisation for augmented reality apps.

The glass and stainless steel design facilitates the addition of wireless charging. Rather than creating its own proprietary standard, Apple has mercifully opted to use Qi. Qi is an existing wireless charging standard already used by manufacturers such as Samsung, which means that most existing Qi charging pads will work with the iPhone X. Apple has its own charging mat - dubbed AirPower - coming early next year, touting the ability to simultaneously charge a compatible iPhone, a Series Three Apple Watch, and AirPods with a compatible case. 

The iPhone X is powered by Apple's new A11 Bionic processor, which is a six-core chip said to provide as much as a 70% performance increase over last year's models.

In terms of battery life, Apple says the iPhone X will provide up to 21 hours of talk time, 12 hours of internet usage, 13 hours of video, or 60 hours of audio playback. Fast charging is another new addition, and you'll be able to recharge as much as 50% from a 30 minute top-up.

The iPhone X will be available in a choice of silver or space grey. Pricing is as follows: 

  • 64GB iPhone X: $1,579
  • 256GB iPhone X: $1,829

Pre-orders start on October 27 ahead of a November 3 release date. Supplies are expected to be limited.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus don't look too different to the last year's models, the back is now glass rather than aluminium. Apple says the pair are built from the most durable glass found in a smartphone to date, which is reinforced by an internal steel and copper structure. 

The displays are still 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus respectively, but now feature True Tone technology to adjust colour temperature to your surroundings.

The iPhone 8 has a 12MP rear-facing camera with optical image stablisation and aperture of f/1.8. Apple says this lens will let in 83% more light than last year, which should be a boon for lowlight photography. The iPhone 8 Plus pairs this with a f/2.8 telephoto lens for up to two times zoom, but this lens isn't optically stabilised. Portrait mode is back, and features the same improvements found on the iPhone X, including studio lighting simulation. 

Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are powered by the same A11 process found in the iPhone X. 

Other additions include stereo speakers that are 25% louder than last year, and Qi wireless charging.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available in a choice of silver, gold, or space grey (rest in peace, rose gold). The four iPhone 8 models are priced as follows: 

  • 64GB iPhone 8: $1,079
  • 256GB iPhone 8: $1,329 
  • 64GB iPhone 8 Plus: $1,229
  • 256GB iPhone 8 Plus: $1,479 

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus pre-orders start at 5:01pm on September 15 ahead of a September 22 release date.

iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE price cuts

The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE are all sticking around, and more importantly, all getting a discount. Notably, you can now get the jet black iPhone 7 in a 32GB model, but Product(RED) models no longer appear to be available. 

New pricing for Apple's existing iPhone lineup is as follows:

  • 32GB iPhone 7: $849
  • 128GB iPhone 7: $999 
  • 32GB iPhone 7 Plus: $1,049
  • 128GB iPhone 7 Plus: $1,199
  • 32GB iPhone 6s: $699
  • 128GB iPhone 6s: $849
  • 32GB iPhone 6s Plus: $849
  • 128GB iPhone 6s Plus: $999
  • 32GB iPhone SE: $549
  • 128GB iPhone SE: $699

This pricing is available direct through Apple from today.

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