If you follow Apple, you know by now that the company just made its biggest phone announcement in years. There’s the iPhone 8, a pretty update to the line that began with the iPhone 6 in 2014. Then there is the iPhone X, a major overhaul that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook called “the future of the smartphone.”
Let’s go over the major differences:
1) Phone Dimensions:
Apple has had two sizes for a while, the standard phone with a 4.7-inch screen and the Plus model with the 5.5-inch screen. Both iPhone 8 models keep nearly the same screen sizes and overall dimensions as their predecessors, though they pack in a bit more weight. The iPhone X, with its spacious 5.8-inch screen, has a body that is only a tad larger than the standard iPhone, though substantially heavier.
2) Screen: The crown jewel of the iPhone X is its screen—a 5.8-inch display that uses OLED technology (similar to that on Samsung phones) rather than traditional LCD. It also packs in more pixels: 2436 by 1125, with a density of 458 pixels per inch. The LCD on the iPhone 8 Plus, like its phablet predecessors, has a pixel resolution of 1920 by 1080, at 401 pixels per inch.
The big design news
of iPhone X is that there is no home button. Which means no Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple introduced its replacement, Face ID, which uses a front-facing camera array and infrared technology to capture a 3-D scan to determine whether the face belongs to the phone’s owner or a stranger. The user looks at the phone, and it unlocks if it likes what it sees. Face ID can be used with Apple Pay AAPL -0.40% and apps that are Touch ID compatible. The iPhone 8 still uses Touch ID.
4) Battery and Charging: Apple says the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have battery life comparable to their predecessors, while the iPhone X lasts up to two hours longer than the iPhone 7. (These metrics are always a bit fuzzy, which is why we test them ourselves during our review.) But both the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 models support fast charging via a USB-C power adapter. Apple says this will charge up to 50% of the battery in 30 minutes.
Apple also introduced wireless charging, using the Qi open standard, with all the new models. This means that by resting on a compatible charging pad, the phone can replenish without plugging in. Apple says it will sell its own charging pad next year.
5) Camera(s): When Apple introduced the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, only the larger model got the dual camera. This provided a 2X telephoto lens and the ability to pull off tricks like Portrait Mode, which artfully blurs the background of a close-up shot. The same thing happened with the iPhone 8 models; while both get new sensors, only the iPhone 8 Plus has a dual camera. And like before, only one of the iPhone 8 Plus’s cameras has optical image stabilization.
The iPhone X has a redesigned dual camera—this time both have optical image stabilization. For the two new dual-camera models, there is a new beta feature called Portrait Lighting, which can change the lighting effects around and on the face of a photo’s subject.
6) Price and Availability: These may be the biggest differentiators for some. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, while its big sibling, the iPhone 8 Plus, starts at $799. This is a tad pricier than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but in the same ballpark. Both of these phones will be available for preorder Sept. 15, and will be in stores on Sept. 22.
Meanwhile … The iPhone X will start at $999 for a 64GB. If you want a 256GB version, the cost jumps to $1,149. Yes, that is the costliest iPhone ever. And you will have to wait longer for it. Pre-orders start Oct. 27, and the phone will be available in stores Nov. 3—while supplies last.