Apple Announces New iPhones, Other Products, as Expected

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, Music + Videos with 95 Comments

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.

More soon.


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Comments (95)

95 responses to “Apple Announces New iPhones, Other Products, as Expected”

  1. Stooks

    Honestly nothing really wowed me.

    All good stuff but nothing worth moving off my 7 month old iPhone 7. Until the watch has 3-4 days of battery life and offers a round option I will not even consider it. The Apple TV is nice, but my current version is already an excellent dust collector.

    No news on Siri getting better, or that home pod. No announcement like unlimited photo storage if you have a Google photos.

  2. veroach

    Well if Microsoft had any ideas about releasing their mobile miracle -- the door is now open

    Will MSFT step up?

  3. glenn8878

    Apple TV is adding support for live TV. That's a plus.

  4. veroach

    I just watched the entire presentation. I have a strange sense that we are seeing the end of the smartphone. One can communicate via the watch and bring a more size appropriate device for general computing. For me that would not be a six inch phone. I'd more likely carry an ipad or maybe what we are soon to see from MSFT with a much thinner and lighter big screen, always on snapdraggon pc. Thoughts?

    • red.radar

      In reply to veroach:

      I had the same thought, but I figured that the watch doesn't have the battery to really use the LTE modem 100% of the time. I bet the watch only turns the modem on if it detects it can't bluetooth pair with a phone.

      However I agree with the idea. with wireless headphones, perhaps the watch is all i need for phone calls. This vision becomes more of a reality if AI/Machine learning improves contextual voice inputs to the point you can reliably talk to your device for all commands.

  5. Darmok N Jalad

    Anandtech posted a pretty good summation of the iPhone X. The camera modules are indeed all new:

    "One camera is f/1.8, while the other is f/2.4, with both having larger and faster sensors with deeper pixels than previous iPhones to aid in image focus. Like with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple will use the embedded Neural Engine to assist with photo taking, such as adjusting skin-tone mapping in real-time depending on the environment. The camera also supports dual Quad-LED flash."

    That's the extent of the details so far, but to quickly dismiss them as "barely updated cameras" is careless at best. With competitors making advances in this area, I highly doubt Apple would ignore the camera. I think it's far wiser to reserve judgement until the device is in hand. After all, when I first saw the specs of the Pixel camera, I didn't think it would do so well.

    • Martin Barnard

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      “to quickly dismiss them...”

      You’re new around here, aren’t you? Dismissing Apple products without even seeing them is actually our day job.

      But seriously, all snark aside, I believe you are right. That section was irresponsible at best. Definitely not a serious take.

  6. wright_is

    Any news on Watch battery life? That is the one thing I like about my FitBit Charge 2, it is "smart enough" and only needs charging once a week, a reasonable trade-off.

  7. SvenJ

    So is it real, industry standard, Qi charging? Or is it an Apple Watch sorta kinda Qi charging that requires an Apple, or Apple licensed, charger?

  8. nbplopes

    I just want say this. Don't confuse cinicism with intelligence. There seams to be too much of the first and that is what harmed Windows when looking at Apple.

    The thing that disturbs me the most is the increasing prices year of year of the latest model of the iPhone. But hey, as long as people buy them ... TC will be right. I'm eagerly waiting for the rope to break to bring back some sanity to the iPhone pricing.

  9. Harrymyhre

    can we enact laws to ban these things on buses and trains? People are going to be video chatting on their watches at restaurants.

    at least in Europe some of the cars on a train are designated as QUIET.

    invariably some loud Americans get in those cars and ruin the whole trip!

    conductor walks in and a loud SHHHHHH!

    stuns the Americans.

  10. James Wilson

    What happens to those on the Apple up to date program. Do they just get an iPhone 8 now instead of an iPhone X? Isn't that moving the goal posts a bit? You join the program hoping to get the latest and greatest each year but now you don't?

  11. red.radar

    Paul, Thanks for pointing out the free upgrade to 4K content. I thought that was the most amazing part of the whole day. That and the price drop for 64G Iphone.

    Yes, I am ignoring the X. I am not interested in being an Apple Insider beta tester.

  12. Win74ever

    Apple is officially behind Samsung now. Couldn't implement the fingerprint reader in the "futuristic" iPhone X. Finally using OLED after years being in other Samsung phones. I don't buy the "now OLED is finally up to the iPhone" crap. They were saving this feature to use as hype. OLED is doing great for years. The iPhone X is also ugly compared to the Note and S8. They're losing their touch since 6s. They now have 4 phones looking basically the same (6, 6s, 7 and 8).

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to Win74ever:

      Apple is always behind Samsung and everyone. They can't even do hi-res audio and probably never plan to. I remember my old LG G3 used to do that.

      An AppleTV casting device costs $179+. I can get a ChromeCast for about $35 that does all I would use an AppleTV for. The apps on that never get updated (I still can't use DirecTV Now in the Comedy Central app to authenticate even though the Android app lets me)

      They have not done anything highly revolutionary since Steve Jobs died. Everything is just evolutionary and they're putting so much attention to AR when I think it's just a passing fad as it is now.

      Why? Because they have nothing new to offer and no reason to do so. The Apple fanpeople will still buy their stuff as it is. The changes from iPhone 1 -> iPhone 3G -> iPhone 4 -> iPhone 4S actually were reasons to upgrade to the next model. These just aren't and that's been true since 6 did the larger screen size (which was the only reason to get it)

      • lvthunder

        In reply to alissa914g:

        Apple isn't always behind. They were the first successful company to come out with a phone with no keyboard. They were the first to come out with a fingerprint reader that wasn't terrible. So now they are trying with the face recognition.

        Who says everyone has to be revolutionary all the time. To go from selling 0 watches to selling more watches than anyone else is quite an accomplishment. I also think the HomePod is going to be a nice product for those who want a voice assistant to mainly play music.

        How can it be Apple's fault if the Comedy Central App isn't updated? That is Comedy Central's problem.

        There is a big difference between a 1st through 4th generation of a product and a 9th or 10th generation. If you are still making massive improvements 10 years later your device was garbage to start with. Phones are becoming like PC's now.

  13. Waethorn

    I think Apple got one thing right: leaving a bezel around the iPhone X.

    Because cases.

    How else would you get a protective case to hold onto that $1319CAD phone (seriously, there's a Macbook Air that's cheaper!) without some leeway around the screen edge? What else are you going to use? Double-sided tape??

  14. JustMe

    $999...for a phone...? One word: no. If it works for you, I wish you well and sincerely hope you enjoy. Me? It most definitely does NOT work for me. The sad thing? Its Apple, so they'll likely sell a ton of these, unless it turns out the phone melts the third time Face ID fails or something.

    Apart from that, while I am intrigued by a near-bezel-less device, that price point is just beyond anything I personally would consider for a phone. The 8 and 8+ are iterations on a theme, and I have zero interest in the watch or TV. I do know myself well enough, however, to know that even while I was setting up the phone for the very first time - the instant Face ID did not let me have access to my phone, I would want to throw it against the nearest brick wall at an unnaturally high velocity. I sincerely hope that if Face ID proliferates to other devices in any way whatsoever that there is a way to turn it OFF.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to JustMe:

      No. Realistically it's $1,149.00 for a phone.

      Since Apple still refuses to allow memory expansion you have to buy the one with as much storage as you'll ever think you'll use and nobody is going to spend a grand and be locked in to 64GB of storage in a device. The small versions of the new iPhones are pretty much just so they could put up the pricing slide.

      The real prices are:

      iPhone X - $1,149.00

      iPhone 8 Plus - $949.00

      iPhone 8 - $849.00

      • Jeremy Woodruff

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        64GB is plenty for a phone. If you need more than that you are doing it wrong in 2017.

        • t.linn

          In reply to Bleached:

          Nonsense. If you 1) have constant access to LTE and; 2) can afford unlimited data, your case is a strong one. For anyone who budgets data, doesn't want to pay to rent music, or routinely travels outside of cell coverage, one can fill 64GB with just offline maps. Where Apple screwed consumers is eliminating the 128GB tier. One must choose between suffering with too little storage or overpaying for more than is needed.

        • Win74ever

          In reply to Bleached:

          Doing it right actually. This isn't 2005 with 5 MB phones. I like to have as much music and movies as possible in my phone.

  15. wocowboy

    In the past few days leading up to Apple's event yesterday, I heard many pundits praise the fact that Apple's upcoming announcements were already known and praising the Apple employee who leaked all the unknown features of the iPhone X, because leaks were the lifeblood of tech journalists and should be justly praised, etc etc blah blah. Now, after the event has ended, these same tech journalists, including Paul, whine about being unimpressed, they grouse that none of Apple's announcements are "significant", they moan about the fact there were no surprises yesterday, and they gripe that nothing new and unexpected happened. Talk about hypocrisy!

  16. Tony Barrett

    The only thing that remotely interested me was the fact that Apple's push for 4k as the standard may force other streaming companies to do the same. Amazon for example, may have some of their own produced shows available as 4k, but their price for 4k movies is completely outrageous.

    Other than that, absolutely zero interest for anything else. The iPhone X is just the most obscene, ridiculous, stupidly priced device in the history of smartphones, and I believe it will seriously test the loyalty of even the most ardent Apple fan. As usual though, Apple have tried to offset the mediocrity of the devices shown with the usual 'style over substance' desirability factor to try and win people over. Unfortunately though, this pricing has set the bar for the future. If people are stupid enough to pay those prices (and many will), other manufacturers will try the same.

  17. the_risner

    Concerning the automatic upgrade of movies to 4K ... If a movie collection is shared via UltraViolet or Disney Movies Anywhere, then does that content get upgraded to 4K? Or is it only for HD movies actually purchased via iTunes?


    Ugh... my iPhone 7 is now TWO generations behind. Thanks Apple! The AppleTV timing could not have been better, i Just upgraded the TV in my Home Theater to 4K, now I'll upgrade my Apple TV as well. Perfect Timing!

  19. TheDude

    So Apple is copying Microsoft's big innovation of moving directly from version 8 to 10? Shameless.

    • Louis Brauer

      In reply to TheDude:

      The number 9 is a bad number in Asia:

      9: Just as the number four has a bad-luck soundalike in Chinese, 9 is feared in Japan because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering.

      Many companies skip the number 9 as a version number. So it's not about copying.

  20. Patrick3D

    Nothing really exciting, I hoped for new subscription options from network TV channels and free Beats streaming from all wireless service providers. Oh well. Just some incremental hardware upgrades that I don't need at this time. Maybe next year.

  21. Bats've got to be kidding? 

    THAT'S IT ?

    All of this is already on Android, particularly the Samsung Galaxy phones. 

    I wonder what else is from Samsung. Perhaps parts of the A chip? In the past Apple did use a Samsung processor for that. How about the screen? It's usually either Samsung or LG. As for the hard drive, it's probably Samsung SSD, since they do make the best and most popular SSD drives in the says Leo Laporte (lol).

    LOL...Not just that,...but....."SPACE?" Was "Galaxy" taken? Oh yeah...I forgot. It is...LOL.

    Facial Recognition? Samsung had facial recognition even before Microsoft came up with Windows Hello. 

    Wireless Charging....are you kidding me? It's 2017. Not 2015.

    • Jules Wombat

      In reply to Bats:

      Has Android got Amijogies <sp>?

      Cos they may be really silly, but that feature itself will sell a lot of phones amongst all the rich kids, as the laets 'must have'

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Bats:

      Wireless Charging....are you kidding me? It's 2017. Not 2008.

      Yes. 2008. Qi wireless charging came out the same time as the iPhone 3G and their first App Store.

      For that matter, the Nokia (yes, Nokia) Lumia 810 running Windows Phone 8 had Qi charging and an OLED screen in 2012 and that was hardly unheard of even back then.

      • PincasX

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        That's a good point. If only Apple had Nokia's keen intuition and focused on wireless charing and OLED displays rather than the App Store and 3G. They might have been able to make themselves a real player in the market rather than conceding it Nokia.

  22. Jules Wombat

    To be fair, the iPhone 8 comes with upgraded A11 six core processor, to optimise AR functions. Apple certainly have the AR developer interest, with Minecraft type game demos, which are much more practicable than Microsoft fading HoloLens.

    Seems like Apple skipped 9 just liked Microsoft. (Perhaps in couple years they will announce an iPhone 9 as their mid range device upgrade). The iPhone X may be ridiculously priced, but it will still sell very well to the core Apple fan base, because it is a really well styled device.

    The Apple Watch is finally getting interesting with LTE connectivity, but remains butt ugly.

    • ym73

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      Why does LTE connectivity on a watch make it interesting? You have to pay an extra monthly fee for that. The users of that Apple watch will still have the phone in their pocket. There are just too many things that are better done on a large screen. If you have the phone in your pocket, that will provide the LTE connectivity for the watch for free.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      Yeah, it was amazing to see them copy even the numbering scheme from Microsoft. And seeing that they didn't talk about weight or thickness perhaps in this case it was 10 that 8 9.

  23. jjaegers

    Face ID is going to make the iPhone less secure after people turn it off because they are tired of starring at their phone and waiting for it to unlock... really any phone with the fingerprint reader on the back can be unlocked and going before you even get it to your face... having to hold up your phone and look at it is really going to suck. I get Windows Hello... your are sitting down looking at a computer... When I use android pay I don't even look at my screen... just hold the phone up because as I was pulling it out my pocket I unlock it with my finger and boom... paid... iPhone X... just hold it to your face and wait for it to unlock... then pay...

    This may be one of the biggest mistakes Apple has made in years...

  24. RobertJasiek

    Good: years after my recommendation, the iPhone X drops the superfluous home button.

    Bad: a display with recess and the camera bump.

    Needs testing: water + dust resistance, related warrancy, wireless charging

    Still unclear: what can, or can't, Files do in comparision to Windows Explorer?

  25. F4IL

    It's the new iPhone X(erox)

    All joking aside, i don't see why someone would give up freedom of choice for such an expensive device.

    • ym73

      In reply to F4IL: Their not really giving up freedom of choice. Most accessories that work on andriod will also work on iphone. For example, a fitbit will work with both ecosystems. The reverse is not always true. Many apple devices won't work with android. You do have proprietary cables, but there are plenty of cheap third party cables that work fine. So, they are not really giving up much, except the inflated price on the phone. If you are talking about sideloading apps, most users never do this.

  26. Darmok N Jalad

    I tried to watch a decent amount of the keynote, and I thought that overall the products looked good. Nothing revolutionary, but what exactly were people hoping for? Apple updated Watch, TV, and 3 iPhones today, all at their new campus. Watch gained cellular to be a completely independent device (the demo was impressive), which I think may be a bigger deal than people expect. AW already is the number one watch, and this will only improve adoption. TV gained speed upgrades and 4K with no upcharge, and keep in mind Apple's 1080P already looked better than many competitors' 4K. All iPhones got new SOCs, an updated design, added features, more camera functionality, and reportedly better battery life. Did every product announced improve in meaningful ways? Absolutely. Whether those improvements are for you depends largely on your needs. Personally, a bezelless screen looks nice, but I'm not paying the premium any of the current options demand for the privilege.

    • ym73

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad: You really thing people will pay an additional monthly cellular charge to make the watch independent? These same people will have an iphone in their pocket. Why pay extra every month to have an untethered device?

      • wright_is

        In reply to ym73:

        It depends where you are, some carriers here make a one-time charge for a multi-SIM on the account. Others do take 5€ or 9€ a month extra for a multi-SIM, that is true.

        My old T-Mobile account included 3 multi-SIMs in the monthly price of 49€ (4GB data, flatrate calls and SMS).

      • James Wilson

        In reply to ym73:

        because they have more money than sense.

      • Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to ym73:

        Yes, the kind of people willing to spend $399 on a watch will likely have no problem with the $10/mo fee. I totally see it selling well to fitness people who have had to strap phones to their arms when they run. It's not going to be for everyone, but the increased independence could be quite valuable for those that can't always have a phone on them, but still want the connectivity.

  27. rameshthanikodi

    who the heck is actually going to buy the iPhone 8? Who is it for? And why isn't just called the iPhone 7s?

    Anyway, the iPhone X looks great. It would be more impressive if Samsung wasn't already out there with TWO bezel-free phones this year already, but at least Apple is now here. But to be honest, the iPhone X's screen doesn't quite look like it goes as much edge-to-edge the same way other phones like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and Essential PH-1 do. And that's not even counting Samsung's edge.

    Apple made a big deal and threw buzzwords like neural networks, machine learning, bionic processor, blah blah blah. What really matters is if or not the FaceID Face Unlock works properly. Waiting on the reviews for this. All of the fancy Animoji stuff won't make up for the loss of the fingerprint sensor if the alternative isn't as good.

    I still can't help but to think that the iPhone X's pricing is totally out of whack. Most people are going to think twice about putting down that amount of money.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      It's not a 7s because they changed the case. All the s models kept the same shape and materials for the case.

      The people will buy the 8 when they can't get the X and when they don't want to drop a grand on a new phone.

    • ym73

      In reply to FalseAgent: I bet the facial sensor will work fine. However, it will probably have the same issue that the Lumia phones did. You have to lift the phone up to your face to unlock. If you are in a meeting, it will be difficult to unlock the phone with the phone in your lap. I'm sure you can still use a pin for those situations. I can also see people sticking their faces into their phones while driving and losing sight of the road. Of course, people look down at their phones right now while driving.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      You ask who the iPhone 8 is for and then proceed to say the iPhone X has too many unproven things to take a chance on. Perhaps the iPhone 8 is for you! ;)

    • nbplopes

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      I too was not impressed with the performance of the facial recognition to unlock it. Also there are usability issues related to it that I can imagine that do not seam to have been tackled.

      Time will tell. But a phone at this price needs to have almost no usability issues for me. To be honest I kind of preferred the iPhone 8 and wait for X to mature with one or two generations.

      What really impressed me was the Apple Watch with Cellular. Being familiar with other watches with Cellular, this one truly impressed me. Along with the bet on music and Health Care as well as other services such as Huber the value proposition seams to be spot on. And I am not watch kind of person.

  28. jwpear

    Absolutely surprised by the automatic upgrade to 4K. I was just thinking a few days ago that we'll all have to repurchase the content to get 4K. I've dabbled with Microsoft and Amazon Video, but have pretty much standardized on purchasing videos from Apple. I'm glad I did, and with this news, any cracks in the door for other services just got nailed shut.

  29. rbwatson0

    Did Apple just pull a 'Microsoft', and jump from 8 to 10 (X)?

  30. ben55124

    The 6s models are now priced competitively with mid range androids - so that's interesting. Will be interesting to see how facial recognition works in real life -- the fingerprint sensor will be tough to beat.

    • Polycrastinator

      In reply to ben55124:

      Given how fast and reliable face recognition is on the Surface, I'm pretty confident Apple will have a fast and secure solution on here.

      • ben55124

        In reply to Polycrastinator:

        Still not a given for phones. Your face is likely perfectly aligned when using your surface. Phones are often sitting off to the side or off on an adventure in your hand -- great for fingerprints, but not face scans.

        • Polycrastinator

          In reply to ben55124:

          I've been surprised at how off center I can be with my Surface Book and still have it unlock, TBH. Obviously we'll have to see, but given my positive experience with Microsoft's solution, I expect Apple's to work well.

  31. Jhambi

    I kinda feel bad for them. The tag "one more thing" has lost all of its thunder. It was pretty great a decade ago when apple debut's something out of left field

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Jhambi:

      Let's be fair, saying "One more thing" is all they have. Their "Future of the smartphone" released to celebrated both the 10th Anniversary of their primary product and the opening of their new office building is a collection of features their competitors have had, literally, for 5 to 10 years.

      It's clear even Apple knew it as they filled their auditorium with employees to generate the proper level of applause over a really lackluster set of product announcements.