Apple on Tuesday introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, mostly incremental upgrades to the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, made of aluminum and glass, come in silver, space gray and gold colors. They’re water- and dust-resistant with upgraded displays and studio speakers. They’re powered by an all-new, six-core processor, which Apple calls the A11 Bionic. They will be available in 64GB and 256GB configurations starting at $699 for the iPhone 8 and $799 for the iPhone 8 Plus. They will start shipping on September 22.
A new image processor with quicker autofocus in combination with that A11 chip should result in better photos, says Apple, which stressed the overall camera upgrades on the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Both models comes with optical image stabilization, while the 12-megapixel dual cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus each have a dedicated sensor. A new menu in the Camera app offers iPhone photographers the ability to choose between various lighting effects that change a shot in real-time, rather than afterwards as with typical photo filters.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have video improvements as well. The devices can capture 4K video at framerate of 60fps. They can also capture slow-motion footage at 1080p and 240fps.
Apple says the new iPhones are also optimized for augmented reality, or AR, which is software that makes it appear that digital images exist in the user’s real-world environment. Apple SVP Phil Schiller demonstrated several apps making use of AR technology, from a baseball app that shows users player statistics when pointing their phone at the field to a stargazing app that displays the location of constellations and other celestial objects in the night sky. Gaming will be a major use case for AR as well.
Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus will have wireless charging as well. Users will be able to charge the device by laying it down on a specially-designed power mat on their desk, bedside table or inside their car, similar to how the Apple Watch charges. (Competing Android devices have long had a similar feature.) Apple is using the Qi wireless charging standard for the iPhones.
The iPhone 8 seems to take the place of what might have otherwise been called the iPhone 7s.