Apple Inc unveiled its most important new iPhone for years to take on growing competition from Samsung Electronics, Google and a host of Chinese smartphone makers.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook showed off the iPhone X with an edge-to-edge screen during an event at the company’s new $5-billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday. Cook pronounced the name "ten," but it’s written as "X". The device, coming a decade after the original model, is Apple’s first major redesign since 2014 and represents a significant upgrade to the iPhone 7 line.
Apple shares have gained about 40 per cent this year on expectations the new phone will reignite sales growth after a rare revenue decline last year. The iPhone accounts for almost two-thirds of total sales, and it’s a hub for most of Apple’s other products and services.
The iPhone X, which will come with storage of 64GB and 256GB will start at $999, a pricey psychological threshold for consumers that Apple will try to overcome with augmented reality features and other new technology.
“With expected innovations around AR, wireless charging, viewable screen size, OLED, and more, the next iPhone is clearly poised for its largest upgrade cycle yet,” Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Securities USA Inc., wrote in a note to investors ahead of the event.
Apple Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller introduces iPhone X. Photo: Reuters
New Apple TV
Apple also upgraded its Apple TV set-top box to handle higher-quality video as competition from Amazon.com, Roku, and Google heats up in the living room. The new Apple model can stream 4K video, which is much higher resolution than standard 1080p video, from the iTunes movie catalogue and other apps such as Netflix and Amazon’s video service, Apple said during the event. The box will also support HDR video, which shows a more accurate representation of colours. It starts at $179, versus $149 for the current model. The new box will be available for order on September 15, Apple said.
The updated box, called the Apple TV 4K, has a new processor that’s twice as fast as the existing box and four times faster for graphics. Apple also previewed deeper integration of live television, allowing users to navigate between live news and sports streams via the company’s new TV app.
CEO Tim Cook speaks after the Apple TV 4K was revealed at the event. Photo Reuters
Apple has been trying for years to revolutionise TV in the same way it changed phones. But it has so far struggled to make a big impact. The Apple TV is part of the company’s "Other Products" unit that accounts for just 6 percent of revenue. However, the product is a key accessory to the iPhone and the centerpiece of Apple’s emerging video content strategy and Services business. Apple has pledged to invest $1 billion in original video.
Apple executive Eddy Cue said on Tuesday that all major movie studios have signed up to deliver 4K movies through the box. All high-definition videos previously purchased from Apple will be upgraded for free to 4K, he added.
Watch can make calls now
Apple also unveiled a new Watch on Tuesday that can make calls and access the internet without an iPhone nearby, freeing the device from a limitation that had given some potential buyers pause.
The new version, called Apple Watch Series 3, will use an existing iPhone phone number when making calls, Apple said. It supports the LTE high-speed mobile wireless data standard so users can stream music and check digital maps on their wrist. Previous Apple Watches needed to be tethered wirelessly to an iPhone. The LTE Watch starts at $399 and will be available September 22.
It has a new processor that is 70 percent faster than last year’s chip, Apple executive Jeff Williams said at the product’s introduction. Apple shares rose 1.1 per cent to $163.30 after the company discussed the Watch.
COO Jeff Williams during the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3. Photo Reuters