A decade after its first iPhone, Apple unveils the X

Apple has unveiled three new phones — including a premium version that starts at $1579 in Australia — as well as a 4K Apple TV and new watches as the company commemorated its 10th anniversary of the iPhone.

Apple opened the event, which took place at the Steve Jobs Theater in the new "spaceship" Apple campus, by asking the audience to cover their screens as an audio clip of the late Apple co-founder played. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said that it was fitting that Jobs opened the theater.

"His greatest expression of his appreciation for humanity would not be a singular product, but rather it would be Apple itself," he said.

The bar is very high for Apple. Most of its revenue is generated through the smartphone. Cook promised that the company's new phones would make a splash by defining the future of the smartphone.

The new iPhone X has no Home button and is almost entirely screen on the front. Photo: AP

The new iPhone X has no Home button and is almost entirely screen on the front. Photo: AP

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

About midway through Apple's event, Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller showed off the upgrades to the main iPhone line. Clad in glass front and back, with aluminium sides, the new devices are speedier thanks to a new A11 Bionic chip, and have nicer screens with the True Tone technology seen on iPad Pro. They come in grey, silver and gold.

The phones also have better battery efficiency and will accommodate wireless charging. They use the Qi charging standard, so will work with some third party chargers you might find in cafes or cars, although Apple will be introducing its own charger in 2018.

The top cut-out of the iPhone X screen houses an array of sensors. Photo: AP

The top cut-out of the iPhone X screen houses an array of sensors. Photo: AP

The new smartphones have new cameras that can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second, and super slow-mo 1080p video at 240 frames. The dual cameras on the 8 Plus have a new trick called Portrait Lighting, which makes a depth map of your subject to let you play with the lighting style in real time.

The new smartphones have new cameras that can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second, and super slow-mo 1080p video at 240 frames. The dual cameras on the 8 Plus have a new trick called Portrait Lighting, which makes a depth map of your subject to let you play with the lighting style in real time.

Apple is bumping up the base storage of an iPhone 8 to 64 GB, and in Australia it will start at $1079. The larger iPhone 8 Plus will start at $1229. Both will be available for order on September 15 and will ship on September 22.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products on Tuesday. Photo: AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products on Tuesday. Photo: AP

The iPhone X

After the iPhone 8 presentation, Cook retook the stage to offer, in Jobs's iconic words, "one more thing" —the iPhone X.

The phone, he said, was the "biggest leap since the original iPhone." (The company is pronouncing it the iPhone ten).

The iPhone X will start at $1579 in Australia, considerably more than the base price of previous models. The 256GB version will cost $1829. It will be available for order on October 27th, and won't ship until November 3.

The new high-end smartphone has a 5.8-inch display that covers the entire surface of the phone. It comes in grey or silver and sports a "super" retina display, which Schiller said was much sharper than any other iPhone because it uses OLED display technology. Also making use of True Tone, the new display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision for video.

Notably, there also is no Home button. Users must swipe and use gestures to return home or open the app switcher. Calling up Siri can now be done with a new side button.

The new iPhone X comes in grey or silver.

The new iPhone X comes in grey or silver.

The iPhone X has an advanced array of cameras for facial recognition, which allows the phone to become unlocked just by looking at it. The cameras can learn a user's face and note gradual changes, and it can be used at night or day. This 'Face ID' replaces Touch ID for authentication and Apple Pay.

But Apple promised that it would not collect the data on all of those faces. The information would only be kept on the smartphone, not sent to Apple servers.

The facial recognition technology has other applications as well. Apple introduced "animoji", animated emoji that imitate your facial movements and let you record animated messages through texts.

The iPhone X boasts updated cameras as well, with the same features of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as the capability to take better selfies. Battery life is two hours longer than the iPhone 7.

Like the new iPhone 8, the iPhone X can be charged wirelessly.

Apple Watch Series 3 includes cellular service

The first product up for discussion was the Apple Watch. The new Watch — called the Series 3 — will have its own cellular connectivity, said Apple's chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, who is also in charge of Apple's Watch division. The Watch will be able to receive calls, and can support apps including Maps and WeChat. The new Apple Watch will also be compatible with Apple Music, meaning you can use it as a music player on its own.

Williams said the new watch can play up to 40 million songs using Apple Music. Siri also gets a boost on the watch. Conversations with Apple's artificial intelligence can happen without even lifting an arm.

The Watch will have up to 18 hours of battery life across LTE, Bluetooth and WiFi. Starting September 22, the cellular version of the Watch will go on sale starting at $559 in Australia. Without cellular connection, it will cost from $459.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone were confirmed as Australian mobile carriers that will offer service for the new watch.

Apple TV

Apple is making a big push to create its own shows and shore up its position in the living room. The Apple set-top box, Apple TV, is now going to support 4K HDR video, the company said. The company is also adding live news and live sports sections to the Apple TV app.

The box itself is getting faster processors. The company showed how it could connect eight people online and have them play a video game together.

Versions of films and shows filmed in 4K will cost the same as HD videos on Apple's iTunes store, and customers' existing HD videos will be upgraded to 4K when available. The new Apple TV 4K will ship from September 22, and in Australia it will start at $249. While 4K adoption has been slow to get started, analysts say it's beginning to reach a tipping point.

Washington Post, with Fairfax Media