7 highlights from Apple’s special iPhone event

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New iPhones, the next generation of the Apple Watch, and a sophisticated facial recognition system.

Here are 7 highlights from Apple's special iPhone event:

1. No introductory remarks on politics

Tim Cook gave tribute to the man who preceded him during the Apple event September 12. (Apple)

While chief executive Tim Cook used Apple's stage to defend the company's position last year during the high-profile legal battle with the FBI, there were no such remarks Tuesday. Cook has recently taken a vocal stance against anti-immigration efforts, and Apple has pledged to provide support to the company's DACA-status employees.

2. Watch Series 3

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The new Apple Watch Series 3 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple unveiled its next-generation watch, the Series 3. The new Apple Watch, priced at $399, can be used for calling, messaging and streaming music from the wrist without being linked to an iPhone. The operating system for the Apple Watch gets an upgrade, too. WatchOS4 comes with a redesigned workout app and new “smart” activity coaching. For customers focused on logging their health and fitness, the new operating system offers refined heart-rate measurements including resting and recovery heart rates.

3. Apple TV 4K

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about Apple TV during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Priced at $199, the next version of Apple's streaming device is playing a bit of catch-up to high-end TVs that already offer 4K resolution. Netflix and Amazon offer some content in 4K as well, and Apple announced that it will be partnering with both streaming services to offer their programming in super-high resolution. Customers will also be treated to an updated menu display. The Apple TV 4K is to be available Sept. 22.

4. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

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An iPhone 8, left, and an iPhone 8 Plus are displayed during a launch event in Cupertino, Calif. (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

Perhaps the biggest changes to the iPhone are an upgrade to the camera system and built-in augmented-reality features. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come with what Apple has described as the most durable smartphone glass. And its speakers are 25 percent louder than the iPhone 7's. The iPhone 8 will come in two configurations, at 64GB and 256GB, starting at $699. The 8 Plus will sell for $799 and will also offer two versions, including 64GB and 256GB. Both phones are to be available Sept. 22.

5. iPhone X.

From an improved camera to augmented reality, from Face ID to a full-phone screen, take a look at Apple's three newest iPhones, hitting stores late 2017. (Apple)

Not only did Apple unveil the incremental improvement on its flagship phone, it also launched what it said would be the “biggest leap since the original iPhone,” the iPhone X.  Pronounced as the iPhone 10, the premium device starts at $999, hundreds more than the base price of its other models. The iPhone X has a revamped design. Gone are the home button and a bevel edge. The phone has an edge-to-edge glass design, and users must swipe and use finger gestures to close applications. Siri can be activated by using voice commands or pressing a new side button. The iPhone X is equipped with an advanced array of cameras for facial recognition, and in another major innovation, the user can unlock the device by looking at the phone rather than by typing in a passcode or using a fingerprint. A new charging pad allows recharging of the batteries of multiple devices at once, including the iPhone X and the Apple Watch. The iPhone X is to start shipping Nov. 3.

6. FaceID

Apple's new iPhone X will feature facial recognition technology that will create a three-dimensional mathematical map of a face. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Since the surface of the iPhone X is all glass and no longer has a home button, Apple redesigned the means by which customers can secure the device. Rather than using a fingerprint, the iPhone X uses what Apple has dubbed FaceID. In a major departure for the company, customers can now secure and unlock the device using face recognition. The phone uses an advanced bundle of cameras to verify the identity of its owner, and by looking at the phone for only a moment, customers can get instant access. Apple said that the sensing system works even when users wear accessories such as glasses, scarves, or hats; if they grow facial hair; and even at nighttime. The chance of a random person unlocking an iPhone X belonging to another person is 1 in 1 million, Apple said, but those chances increase if the “impostor” is related to the owner. Apple recommended that customers who have an “evil twin” instead use a passcode to protect the device.

7. “Animoji”

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Apple Senior Vice President for Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller shows Animoji during the launch event. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Now iPhone X owners will be able to send videos of animated emoji that mimic their facial movements. These animated messages work like emoji masks. Users can select emoji such as a fox or an alien and speak into the phone while making facial gestures. The message then appears as if the animated emoji are speaking to their recipients in looping videos. The iPhone's enhanced camera array also can be harnessed by developers, Apple said. During the stage presentation, Apple demonstrated Snapchat's animated face filters using the iPhone X, emphasizing precise facial tracking and lighting effects.

Read more:
First impressions of the iPhone X: What I noticed about the screen, facial recognition and augmented reality

How Apple is bringing us into the age of facial recognition whether we're ready or not

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Article 7 highlights from Apple’s special iPhone event compiled by Original article here

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