Though the rumor mill took some of the suspense out of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) i Phone launch event, it still packed a few surprises and filled in some key details about what the company's latest devices do, how they're priced and when they ship. The edge-to-edge OLED display on Apple's latest flagship phone was as good as rumored, with those getting their hands on the device raving about its image quality.
With a million-to-one contrast ratio and support for Apple's True Tone display tech -- it adjusts a device's display in response to an environment's lighting -- the display should at least hold its own against the OLEDs found on high-end Android phones.
The i Phone X's polished build, with front-and-back glass panels held together by a stainless steel band, is also going over well.
The same goes for its quick and accurate Face ID unlocking/authentication system, as well as its dual 12-megapixel rear cameras, which are accompanied by two optical image stabilization (OIS) modules and large-aperture lenses (good for sports and low-light shots).
The 6-core A11 Bionic processor powering the i Phone X, as well as the i Phone 8 and 8-Plus, keeps up Apple's legacy of top-notch chip engineering.
With the help of new CPU cores, a proprietary GPU (a first for the company) and a performance controller, Apple promises a 25% performance gain for its high-performance CPU cores, a 70% performance gain for its low-power cores and a 30% GPU performance gain relative to the A10 Fusion processor inside last year's flagships.
There's also a dedicated image processor and video encoder for photo and video recording, and (as rumored) a dual-core "Neural Engine" for handling machine learning algorithms.
One disappointment: While the front camera features a 3D sensing system -- Apple calls it True Depth -- that relies on an infrared camera and dot projector to help create a 3D model of a user's face that can be used by Face ID and augmented reality apps, no similar technology was built into the rear camera. (LITE) , believed to be supplying lasers used by True Depth, sold off during Apple's event.
Also, though this wasn't a surprise, Apple never said the i Phone X -- of for that matter, the i Phone 8 and 8-Plus -- will support Gigabit LTE, which is now supported by several high-end Android phones.
This is reportedly a product of Apple once more using both Intel Corp. (QCOM) modems within its flagship phones, and throttling the top speed of the Qualcomm modems to keep them from surpassing that of the Intel modems. Not previously reported: Apple will be charging an extra $150, rather than the usual $100, to get more storage (256GB vs. And the company shot down hopes that something of value, such as an Apple Music subscription, Air Pods or a wireless charging pad, would be bundled with the X.
The i Phone 8 and 8-Plus, meanwhile, feature starting prices ($699 and $799) that are respectively $50 and $30 higher than those the i Phone 7 and 7-Plus carried a year ago.
And they, too, feature 256GB models that carry a $150 premium relative to 64GB base models. In addition to suggesting the X's production constraints are no joke, it means that Apple will need to lean on i Phone 8 and 8-Plus -- pre-orders start on Sept. 22 -- to meet its September quarter guidance for 4% to 11% annual revenue growth.