Closed Apple iPhone 10th anniversary launch: as it happened

Apple Inc. Debuts New iPhones At Product Launch Event

Apple is testing iPhone price thresholds by launching a new $999 iPhone X (ten) with a new camera and a face that is all screen, doing away with buttons, as well as AirPower wireless charging and updates to the Apple Watch, TV box and AirPods. Last. but not least, it showcased the latest products at its new headquarters in Cupertino, where Tim Bradshaw is following the action along with San Francisco bureau chief Richard Waters

https://twitter.com/tim/status/907618711703478277

Apple is holding what some have hailed as its biggest event in a decade. It is expected to launch a new – pricier – iPhone X, with a new camera and a face that is all screen doing away with the need for buttons, as well as updates to the Apple Watch, TV box and AirPods.

Last, but not least, it will be showcasing the latest products at its new headquarters in Cupertino, where Tim Bradshaw is following the action along with San Francisco bureau chief Richard Waters

@tim : Apple’s event begins with almost 1,000 attendees in the Steve Jobs theatre being asked to turn their phone screens off and shut their laptops. (Sometimes, apparently, there are moments when we should not be looking at our iPhones.) In almost total darkness, we heard a recording of Apple’s late co-founder talking about how the company’s culture and attention to detail is what “keeps Apple, Apple”.

@tim: Tim Cook comes onto the stage backed by a slideshow of Jobs. “It’s taken some time but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness,” Mr Cook says. “Steve’s spirit and timeless philosophy on life will always be the DNA of Apple.”

@tim: Tim Cook talks about the new campus, whose big reveal today is almost as interesting as the products. With 9,000 trees and powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, Apple Park “brings the outside in” – not usually something we associate with this super-secretive company.

The visitor centre, which opens later this year, will have “augmented reality” overlay for its scale model of the headquarters.

@RichardWaters: First up: Angela Ahrendts, head of retail, who is getting a rare platform to talk about the latest thinking about Apple stores.

She talks about the stores as though they’re cities in their own right: there is lots of talk about “plazas” (open-air areas in the biggest stores), “forums” (inside spaces designed for people to collaborate and connect) and “genius groves” (billed as a “more relaxed service experience” – so you wont have to line up and wait your term at a desk, you can sit among indoor trees).

Bottom line: there’s a lot of work going into making you want to hang out more in these places.

@tim Tim Cook says Apple Watch is now the top selling watch in the world. that’s all watches, not just smartwatches, although data source unclear

Jeff Williams, chief operating officer, introduces Apple Watch Series 3 – now with added cellular wireless connectivity, a faster processor and beefed-up battery.

“Now you have the freedom to go anywhere with just your Apple Watch,” Mr Williams says. A bright red spot on the “digital crown” button denotes the mobile connection.

Your phone number will be the same as your iPhone, allowing incoming calls to be routed to your wrist. The more powerful dual-core processor means Siri can now talk. Apple Music subscribers will be able to stream music on-the-go using their AirPods.

The general design remains unchanged, apart from the red dot – with a small increase in size in the back crystal to allow for a larger battery. The extra demands of the processor and cellular wireless means the battery life stays about the same, though.

Quite a fun live demo of a watch-only phone call to an Apple employee in the middle of a lake on a paddleboard. “That’s darn close to magic,” says Mr Williams.

Apple has always made much of the Watch’s style as well as function. Series 3 comes in a new ceramic grey finish, and there are new bands too, including some from luxury brand Hermes.

Price of Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular is $399, without cellular $329, and Series 1 is still available for $249. It is out on September 22.

Putting wireless in the Watch is one of those moments we might look back on one day and see as a critical turning point – the moment wearables started to cut their ties with the iPhone. But Siri has to get a whole lot better first.

Now on to Eddy Cue, services chief, to talk Apple TV.

The new Apple TV box features 4K, also known as ultra high definition, and high dynamic range, for richer and more vivid images on compatible TV sets. 4K movies will be available for download on iTunes for the same price as a standard high-definition film. Streaming companies such as Netflix will also support the upgraded box.

Another important change on the content side: Apple’s TV app will support live news and sports, including alerts for teams you follow.

The new Apple TV 4K will cost $179 when it goes on sale later this month – that’s a big premium to the 4K models of Roku, Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast, all of whom it lags behind in US sales at the moment.

Tim Cook is back to talk about the main event today: iPhone.

“No other device in our lifetimes have had the impact on the world that the iPhone has. Nothing else has become so essential or put so much power in so many people’s hands,” he says. “Over the last decade we’ve pushed forward with innovation after innovation after innovation.”

A video intro confirms that the new model is indeed called iPhone 8.

This model of the new iPhone looks broadly similar to the template set by the 6 in 2014, but now with a glass back – harking back to 2010′s iPhone 4.

There is also a new gold colour, plus better displays, processors and speakers. The new chip at its heart is called “A11 Bionic” – I’ll spare you the technical details but it’s faster, harder, more… as you would expect.

Apple’s Phil Schiller is rattling through the features and stats here pretty quickly. It’s almost as if this isn’t going to be the really big new iPhone news today…

The dual cameras of the iPhone 8 Plus (the twin lenses are still only available on the larger model) now offer a new special effect: Portrait Lighting, which allows photographers to artificially adjust the lighting effect, both on the face and the background. That builds on the blurred-background Portrait Mode, as the iPhone edges closer to capabilities that would otherwise only be able to be achieved with a professional camera.

Now we are on to the new iPhone’s AR capabilities.

“We custom tuned each iPhone for augmented reality,” says Mr Schiller – new gyroscopes and new accelerometers are tuned to ARkit software. The A11 Bionic chip helps with world tracking – the ability to “fix” a digital image to a real-world object, like putting a virtual coffee cup on a table.

We are seeing demos of AR apps, including MLB baseball that overlays stats on a real game and a guide to the night sky that shows stars and constellations overlaid onto the real sky. A tabletop sci-fi game lets players peer into caves, with the sound of spaceships and gunfire getting louder as they get closer to the phone’s position.

“It’s like you’re not just controlling the game, you are in the game,” says its developer, Atli Mar, CEO and co-founder of Directive Games.

The glass back of the iPhone 8 means it has wireless charging. Not having to plug in a cable is “so much nicer”, says Mr Schiller, predicting that wireless chargers will soon pop up in coffee shops, airports and cars.

Unusually for Apple, instead of creating its own proprietary standard, the iPhone uses the Qi standard, which is already being used by the likes of Mophie and Ikea in their accessories. (It’s pronounced “chee”, by the way.)

Apple is giving the iPhones a price hike.

iPhone 8 will start at $699 and 8 Plus $799.

For that price, Apple is giving more memory – starting at 64GB instead of 32GB as was standard last year – but nonetheless it means an entry level, brand new iPhone is now $50 more expensive than it used to be.

Tim Cook returns to the stage to utter the words every Apple fan looks forward to: “One more thing.”

It will “set the path of technology for the next decade,” he says. “This is the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”

Yes, it’s the iPhone X – pronounced “ten” for the tenth anniversary.

As the leaks have long suggested, iPhone X has a front that is “almost all screen”, says Phil Schiller, with a glass and stainless steel casing.

A small notch at the top contains the earpiece and cameras. The circular home button is gone, replaced by a thin white line at the bottom of the display.

So with no home button, how do you go “home”?

Mr Schiller is addressing this straight off the bat, describing it as an “opportunity to rethink how iPhone should work” and “a big step forward in the iPhone user experience”.

The answer: swipe up from the bottom to go home.

“It’s that simple, it’s that easy,” he says. It works from anywhere, including the home screen or inside an app. To call Siri, tap the side button. Tapping the iPhone screen when it’s off wakes it up.

Looking forward to testing whether this really is as simple as they say when we get to the demo room later.

Instead of the fingerprint-based Touch ID, the new iPhone is unlocked by looking at it through a system Apple calls ‘Face ID”.

This is powered by a lot of fun new buzzwords… I mean, impressive new innovations: a “flood illuminator” and an infrared camera that scans the face with 30,000 dots. These are then passed through neural networks, thanks to a new “neural engine”.

The camera slowly learns its owner’s face, so that it is not thrown off by a beard, a new haircut or glasses, Mr Schiller says. All the processing is done on-device, so it can’t be intercepted by hackers on its way to servers in the cloud.

If your eyes are closed or you are looking away, the device will not unlock.

Face ID works with third party apps (anything that already supports Touch ID) and Apple Pay. I wonder how that will work when you are waving your iPhone onto a checkout terminal? We haven’t had a demo yet.

A less serious feature: Animoji – emojis you control with your face, as the camera scans 50 points of your expressions.

So much of this was leaked over the weekend and here in the room, it does seem to have taken some of the normal iPhone launch excitement and enthusiasm away.

The atmosphere is a little flat.

Head of software Craig Federighi is working through an X demo. Face ID gets the most enthusiastic reaction.

Appearing as an Animoji avatar to send a voice message is also pretty cool, though definitely weird to see Tim Cook appear as a floating alien’s head

Mr Schiller is back to enthuse about the A11 Bionic chip in the X. He admits that all this power comes with a hit to battery life. So Apple has increased it: X will have two hours more duration than the 7.

Wireless charging: he says Apple has come up with something called AirPower so that its charger can handle an iPhone, Watch and AirPods all at the same time – something existing wireless charging standards can’t handle. It sounds like Apple is going to make this available as a standard for other manufacturers.

And finally: the price. The X starts at $999

So the complete range of iPhones now runs from $349 to $999 and up (no price announced for the X with extra storage – maybe Apple didnt want to be seen showing off a sticker price at over $1,000)

It’s the final fact of the day, and perhaps the most important.

Wall Street is expecting that stretching the price band for the iPhone will push up the average selling price significantly.

Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley has pencilled in $775 for the holiday quarter. That’s a big jump from the record $695 it hit last year.

Apple stock is now off nearly 1 per cent on the day. It was up more than 1 per cent earlier, but slumped as the presentation came to end.

Not clear what more Wall Street was hoping for, the X was very much as expected, though the starting price was a little higher than some analysts had predicted.

The X doesn’t start shipping until November 3rd, though. There has been plenty of speculation that Apple has been having problems making this machine, and the late date seems to confirm that.

That looks like the main disappointment for the stock market.

With so many leaks about the new iPhone’s features and technology, the bigger question for Wall Street has become how many of the new X model it can make and sell before the holidays.

At its most recent earnings, Apple’s guidance was better than analysts had expected, which promoted most to assume the device was on track for the normal late-September launch.

The November 3 ship date will come as a big disappointment and raise questions over just how many units Apple can produce in time for Christmas.

If that $999 price looks steep from here in California, customers in the UK are set for even greater sticker shock. Apple has swapped the dollar sign for a pound icon and is selling the iPhone X for £999.

As one British reporter sitting next to me here put it just now: “hashtag brexit”.

Not mentioned in Apple’s presentation or press release: the top price for the iPhone X will be $1,149, including 256GB of storage, according to its website.

That really is new territory for smartphone pricing – almost twice as much as most people spend on a PC these days.

Not surprisingly, to justify that price, all the focus today was on the innovations in the X.

But it all made the new 8 look like a rather boring, Plain Old iPhone – and the price for that has just gone up $50 as well.

Analyst reaction is starting to come in. Ben Wood at CCS Insight calls the iPhone X a “super premium” device.

“The iPhone X and iPhone 8 models are very strong additions to Apple’s portfolio that address increasing competition from Samsung and others. Rivals will be watching how quickly Apple can meet demand for the iPhone X and begin to build margins on a new design with new components.”

“The iPhone X is the blueprint for the iPhone’s new hardware direction. An OLED display and the new design is likely to standard on future iPhone models, but Apple must first tackle the challenge of obtaining sufficient supply. The relatively high prices of the iPhone X are a necessary and important mechanism to control demand in the near term.”

Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insight and Strategy, was effusive about the new launch:

“The iPhone X is truly an engineering marvel, especially when compared to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, and is not just a late copy of the competition. Apple did it their way by perfecting the experience, and on their timeframe. Its singular weakness is not using the fastest gigabit LTE modem available. Even at a $999 opening price point, customers will wait in very long lines to get one.”

For the last few years, Apple events have been accused of feeling a little flat, prompting complaints of incremental innovation and me-too features.

This year, Apple really has reset expectations for what a smartphone can do – while also raising the bar in terms of price.

This may not have felt like the most earth-shattering event since the original iPhone launch – months of leaks meant that was never likely to be the case. But it certainly feels like the biggest step forward since 2014′s iPhone 6.

The main questions, though, went unanswered onstage today: how many people will spend more than $1,000 on a smartphone and how many iPhone X devices Apple can make in time for Christmas?

Now, time to get hands on with the new iPhone and see how the X really works in practice.

Side-by-side: the iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iPhone 8 models (left to right)

Apple chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive gives Tim Cook some talking points as they show off the new iPhone X to the gaggle of press and developers