Apple unveils $999 iPhone X with facial recognition

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple has broken the price barrier with its latest and most expensive phone, the iPhone X.

 

With a price starting at $999 and a host of new features, the phone will be a big test for both Apple and consumers.

On Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook called the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward” since the first iPhone. (“X” is pronounced like the number 10, not the letter X.) It loses the home button, which revolutionized smartphones when it launched; offers an edge-to-edge screen; and will use facial recognition to unlock the phone.

Apple also unveiled a new iPhone 8 and a larger 8 Plus with upgrades to cameras, displays and speakers.

Those phones, Apple said, will 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.

Both iPhone 8 versions will allow wireless charging, a feature already offered in many Android phones, including Samsung models. Some Android phones have also previously eliminated the home button and added edge-to-edge screens.

Apple shares were mostly flat after the announcement, down 64 cents to $160.86.

This was the first product event for Apple at its new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Before getting to the new iPhone, the company unveiled a new Apple Watch model and an updated version of its Apple TV streaming device.

The event opened in a darkened auditorium, with only the audience’s phones gleaming like stars, along with a message that said “Welcome to Steve Jobs Theater.” A voiceover from Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011, opened the event before CEO Tim Cook took stage.

“Not a day that goes by that we don’t think about him,” Cook said. “Memories especially come rushing back as we prepared for today and this event. It’s taken some time, but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness.”

The iPhone X costs twice what the original iPhone did. It sets a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.

Apple’s latest Watch has built-in cellular service. The number on your phone will be the same as your iPhone. The Series 3 model will also have Apple Music available through cellular service. It won’t need a new plan, but will require a data add-on to your existing plan.

Apple is also adding more fitness features to the Watch and says it is now the most-used heartrate monitor in the world. Now, Apple Watch will notify users when it detects an elevated heart rate when they don’t appear to be active. It’ll also detect abnormal heart rhythms.

The 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.

Cellular plans for smartwatches typically cost $5 to $10 a month. AT&T says its plans are $10 a month. T-Mobile said the Watch connection will be free for the first three months, and $10 a month after for unlimited talk, text and data.

A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video at “4K” resolution – a step up from high definition – and a color-improvement technology called high-dynamic range, or HDR.

Many rival devices already offer these features. But there isn’t 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.

 

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