The 10 Most Important Apple Announcements: Fall 2017

Apple's Big Day

Sept. 12 marked what was probably the most significant product event for Apple in years. Inside the Steve Jobs Theater at the company's new headquarters, Apple unveiled a new special edition iPhone, dubbed the iPhone X, with a fresh design and a range of new features. Apple also debuted two other new iPhones – the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – along with the Apple Watch Series 3. In the following slides, the CRN Test Center digs into the major advances Apple announced during its Sept. 12 event.

iPhone X: Display And Body

Apple is aiming to catch up to Samsung and a few other premium smartphone makers by offering a design that mostly removes the bezels above and below the display. The iPhone X features a 5.8-inch display – the largest display offered on an iPhone – and the device is almost entirely screen on the front, except for a space reserved for a camera and sensors at the top. Apple is also echoing Samsung by introducing bright and colorful OLED technology for the iPhone X display, which Apple has dubbed the "Super Retina Display." Meanwhile, Apple has also designed the iPhone X with a glass-and-steel body instead of the aluminum used in the iPhone 7.

iPhone X: Face ID

The redesign of the iPhone X display also means the end of the Home Button, which no longer has a place with the screen taking up the front of the phone. Since the Home Button is where the Touch ID fingerprint reader has gone, Apple has devised a new method for unlocking the iPhone X called Face ID. The facial recognition technology is fast and accurate, according to Apple, and will work even in less-than-ideal conditions such as near darkness.

iPhone X: Price

Due to factors such as the cost of the OLED display, the iPhone X is coming with a sizable price increase over other iPhones. The iPhone X will start at $999 for the model with 64GB of storage. By comparison, the iPhone 8 has a starting price of $699 and the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799.

Wireless Charging

Apple will bring inductive charging to the iPhone X, as well as to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Induction uses a charging pad or mat, rather than being able to charge over longer distances. The new iPhones will use the Qi inductive standard from the Wireless Power Consortium. Apple said it plans to debut the AirPower wireless charging mat in 2018, which will be able to charge iPhones, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously.

A11 Bionic

Apple said the iPhone X – along with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – would get a major boost in horsepower over past models. That's thanks to the inclusion of a next-generation processor, the A11 Bionic. The processor features six cores compared to the previous four-core A10 Fusion. And Apple is again segmenting what the different cores focus on. Two of the cores are for high performance, offering 25 percent faster processing than the A10. The other four cores are for maximizing power efficiency of certain tasks, and are 70 percent faster than on the A10, Apple said. Additionally, the A11 Bionic integrates the first Apple-designed GPU, which offers 30 percent faster graphics over the A10.

Augmented Reality

Apple announced that the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus would come with cameras that are designed to enable augmented reality. The cameras will be specially calibrated for AR apps, and the phones will include sensors such as a new gyroscope that will help with AR usage, Apple said. Also, the performance of the new A11 Bionic chip is critical in enabling augmented reality on the new iPhones, the company said.

iPhone 8

Apple also announced the iPhone 8 as an incremental successor to the iPhone 7. The device keeps the same 4.7-inch display size of the iPhone 7 but will share a few of the advances coming to the iPhone X, including inductive charging and the A11 Bionic processor. The iPhone 8 features glass on the back as well, which enables the new "wireless" charging, instead of the aluminum of the iPhone 7. Steel reinforces the glass design, and the iPhone 8 also includes newer, louder speakers. The iPhone 8 has a starting price of $699 for the model with 64GB of storage. The iPhone 8 begins pre-orders on Sept. 15 and will start shipping on Sept. 22.

iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 Plus will serve as an incremental upgrade to the iPhone 7 Plus, maintaining the 5.5-inch display size and dual-camera setup. The new camera features for the iPhone 8 Plus includes "portrait lighting," which improves the lighting of the contours over a subject's face in real time. And like the iPhone 8, the 8 Plus will get the A11 Bionic processor, a glass backing, and wireless charging capabilities. The iPhone 8 Plus has a starting price of $799 for the model with 64GB of storage. The 8 Plus begins pre-orders on Sept. 15 and will start shipping on Sept. 22.

Apple Watch Series 3: Cellular

Apple on Tuesday announced a third-generation model for the Apple Watch, which comes with the new capability of connecting over cellular. That means the smartwatch won't need proximity to an iPhone any longer, including for uses such as making phone calls and using Siri. Other changes with the third-gen Apple Watch include a new dual-core processor that offers a 70 percent improvement in performance, according to Apple. And, the case is not any larger than the second-gen model, the company noted.

Apple Watch Series 3: Price

The Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular will have a starting price of $399, while a non-cellular version of the device will be priced at $329. Pre-orders start Sept. 15 and the device will be available Sept. 22. Since users will need a separate data plan to use the cellular version, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile will be the initial carriers for the Apple Watch Series 3 in the U.S. Carriers will be offering a "special introductory offer" for the data plan on the device, Apple said. The company also noted that it will be dropping the price of the original Apple Watch to $249, from $269.