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Another Year, Another Generation of iPhones

Photo courtesy of AppleInsider.com

Photo courtesy of AppleInsider.com

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Every year, a new generation of iPhones is released. Every year, millions of people buy those new iPhones. But what makes the 2017 lineup of new iPhones so impressive? And how do they differ from last year’s lineup?

On Sept. 12, Apple held their first event in the new Steve Jobs Theatre located in the brand new Apple Park. Here, Apple unveiled a new Apple Watch with LTE, a new Apple TV with 4K capabilities, and finally, the star of the show, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. But then, Apple had “one more thing”, the iPhone X (pronounced “ten”).

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are basically improved versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The only design change comes on the back of the phone, which is now glass on the 8 compared to the aluminum on the 7. The glass allows for wireless charging on the iPhone, which will open up new opportunities for businesses as well. Many companies, like Starbucks and McDonald’s, will be putting wireless charging into their stores for customers to use. So while you’re enjoying a coffee or a burger, you’ll be able to lay your new iPhone down on a wireless charger.

Another new feature on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is a True Tone display. This allows for the screen to change tints based on the surrounding area. For example, if an iPhone user is inside, his or her screen will gain a warmer tint, and if outside, the screen will turn a colder tint. To the naked eye, it is difficult to notice these tints, but if one compares the 8 and 8 Plus screen to an older iPhone model, it will be apparent.

And finally, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will have a new software feature called Portrait Lighting. This is an improvement upon the Portrait Mode that was in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which focused on a subject in the foreground and blurred the background. The new Portrait Lighting will add professional effects to photos, making them look like they were taken in a studio. For example, the Stage Light effect will make the photo look like the subject is being illuminated by a spotlight with a pitch black background.

On release day, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus didn’t sell very well, and it’s not because they’re bad phones or because people just didn’t see them worthy of an upgrade, it’s because they are standing in the shadow of a much bigger and more advanced product: the iPhone X. The iPhone X boasts an edge-to-edge display, finally getting rid of the the top and bottom bezels (the white/black space above and below the display which houses the home button and the front facing camera). Since these bezels are gone, that means the home button has also been removed, replaced with on-screen gestures (a swipe up from the bottom of the display) to unlock the phone. Since the home button was removed, so was Touch ID. A facial recognition system, or Face ID, is the new way to unlock the iPhone X.

When Face ID was announced, many people were concerned about the security of this new technology. Could a face, which might be easily tricked with a photo or even a mask, be more secure than a finger print? Apple addressed these concerns by saying that Face ID is two times as secure as Touch ID was, and will not be fooled by pictures or masks. In order for the iPhone X to work, the eyes need to be open and facing the phone, so somebody “holding up the phone to your face while you sleep” will not be possible either.

The iPhone X will also include the previously stated features that the iPhone 8 will have (a True Tone display, wireless charging, and the Portrait Lighting feature). While the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus comes in three color options: space grey, silver, and a new gold color, the iPhone X will only come in two colors, space grey and silver.

The iPhone X doesn’t come out until Nov. 3, and while millions will be hoping to get one on release day, reports say that it may not be widely available until early next year due to a high demand and low production rates.

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