With its major announcements all ruined by rumors, Apple delivered a curiously rote press event on Tuesday, announcing the iPhone 8, iPhone X, the Apple Watch Series 3, and the Apple TV 4K.
Frankly, very little of this is particularly interesting, and not just because literally every major product announcement already leaked. But I did want to call out one amazing nugget from today’s event. And it regards Apple TV 4K. Yes, a product Apple should have shipped two years ago.
The hardware itself is nothing special. But what Apple is doing with 4K content in its iTunes Store is special. Rather than charging extra for 4K/UHD content like other online stores are doing, or charging customers an upgrade fee for their existing movie libraries, Apple is instead just going 4K/UHD across the board. So you will get 4K/UHD content for the same price as 1080p content was before. And all of your existing content will be upgraded to 4K/UHD for free.
Folks, that is amazing.
OK, here’s a quick rundown of the hardware that Apple announced today. I’ll provide some follow-ups later this week as/if required.
Apple Watch Series 3. Apple Watch Series 3 utilizes the same form factor as its predecessor, but adds (optional) built-in LTE cellular capabilities, a faster dual-core processor, improved water resistance, and a new barometric altimeter. Thanks to improvements in watchOS 4, the Apple Watch Series 3 can stream the entire Apple TV music library. It becomes available on September 22 with prices starting at $329 (GPS) or $399 (GPS + cellular).
Apple TV 4K. The Apple TV 4K utilizes the same form factor (and, sadly, remote control) as its predecessor but adds support for 4K/UHD and HDR (Dolby Vision and HDR 10). It’s powered by the new Apple A10X chipset, and will ship September 22 for $179 (32 GB) or $199 (64 GB). Preorders begin September 15.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These two devices should have been named iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, but they add new glass and aluminum designs, (barely) updated cameras, Qi wireless charging capabilities, three new colors—Gold, Silver, and Space Gray—and new Portrait Mode capabilities (in iPhone 8 Plus only). Nothing meaningful, in other words. Pricing starts at $699 (iPhone 8, 64 GB) or $799 (iPhone 8 Plus, 64 GB). You can preorder on September 15, and the devices will become available on September 22.
iPhone X. The “future of of the smartphone” provides an all-glass design with a near-bezel-less 5.8-inch “Super Retina” and True Tone display, a slightly improved rear camera with dual OIS lenses, Face ID facial recognition, and Silver and Space Gray color choices. Pre-orders start October 27 and the iPhone X will be available for sale starting November 3. Pricing? Yep, it starts at $999.