It is September 13th, the day after the much anticipated Apple Special Event held at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Traditional media and social media are full of statistics, opinions and comparisons and we could not let the day pass without adding our two cents on the newest Apple products and features. Here we compare flagship products between industry leaders for a fair assessment.
Apple’s new flagship phone, the iPhone X (pronounced “10”, not “ex”), is full of high-quality upgrades from the previous iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Here is what’s new in the iPhone X. It features facial recognition technology with a “super retina” display of 2.7 million pixels on a 5.8 inch OLED display screen that spreads from edge to edge. Though impressive and ground-breaking for Apple, in this regard the company is playing catch up to its competitors such as Samsung, who has already been using the OLED screens for its phones. And as per its specifications, Samsung Galaxy S8 actually has a higher resolution and sharper image than the iPhone X.
The iPhone X purportedly has two more hours of battery life than its predecessors and it boasts wireless charging capabilities due to its new glass design. How this plays out in real life, however, we are yet to see, as the iPhone battery has always been a sore point in the high-end devices. Also, wireless charging is hardly revolutionary, as it has already been featured in Samsung devices. So, again, Apple has only just caught up with its competition in this regard.
As anticipated, Apple has done away with its iconic home button in the iPhone X and users can now unlock the new phone with FaceID, a facial recognition technology that Apple says can identify users with just a glance and with only a one-in-a-million chance of mistake. Samsung, on the other hand, uses face unlock, iris scan, and fingerprint scan on its Galaxy S8. Though this sounds impressive, Samsung’s face unlock function has had some issues and the fingerprint scan seems to be the most popular way to unlock Galaxy S8 devices. It will be hard to compare this aspect till Apple’s FaceID function is properly tried and tested.
The new iPhone X has optical image stabilization (OIS) for its two rear 12-megapixel camera lenses and a Portrait Mode with a portrait lighting feature on the front-facing 7-megapixel camera. Samsung Galaxy S8’s 12MP camera (not dual camera) also has optical image stabilization. It seems that Apple might have a one-up on the competition with its front-facing TrueDepth camera feature that uses multiple cameras and sensors to enable FaceID and secure payments via its Apply Pay platform.
As its name implies, the Apple TV 4K will be able to stream sharper 4Kresolution content with HDR support. These elements, however, are not new to the market, and there are many such options available to consumers, such as Roku Ultra and Google Chromecast Ultra. HDR comes in two main formats, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and Apple supports both, while Google and Roku only support HDR10. Both standards are excellent and having only one is not viewed as a problem as most video content comes in only HDR10 or both HDR formats.
With all its pros and cons, the price of the Apple TV 4K is one of the highest of the group, leaving consumers with many other high-quality and more affordable options. Though costing more than its competitors, Apple may have an edge with its first-party content. Roku, though very popular, does not have its own media library for users to purchase video content. And while Google does have plenty of content via Google Play, users can only access Chromecast Ultra with a smartphone or tablet, as opposed to Apple TV 4K’s convenient on-screen interface.
The new Apple TV will have 4K movies available through iTunes and, in a shrewd marketing move, the company is offering users free 4K upgrades to their previously purchased content. Also, they will not be charging more for 4K versions of movies on iTunes. Apple is also collaborating with Netflix and Amazon Prime to acquire 4K content for its product. And to add to all this, Apple will also be supporting live sports and newsfeeds later on this year. All these points lead us to believe that the Apple TV 4K may just have an edge over competitors in this market.
As we predicted in our previous blog post, the new Apple Watch Series 3 will have cellular LTE capabilities built in thanks to eSIM patents Apple acquired a few years ago. The company reported that the new Apple Watch SIM numbers would match that of the user’s iPhone. This means that you could be completely untethered from your phone – you could leave it behind while still staying connected. There will, however, be two models launched; the one with LTE cellular connectivity will only be available in the US and Canada for the time being. Countries like the United Arab Emirates will initially only be able to purchase the model that does not have eSIM capabilities.
Samsung has previously used LTE technology to make its smart watches independent of phones, so Apple has not revolutionized the smart watch market with their latest upgrades. Despite lacking the latest technology, to date Apple Watches have ruled this sector and the new changes and upgrades should only solidify its position as the market leader.
Though there were very few surprises at this year’s Apple Keynote event due to accidental leaks of information, the event has finally confirmed many of the tech world’s predictions. We look forward to seeing the new products in the market for a more thorough analysis.