If you follow Apple, you know by now that the company just made its biggest phone announcement in years. There's the iPhone 8, a pretty update to the line that began with the iPhone 6 in 2014. Then there is the iPhone X, a major overhaul that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook called "the future of the smartphone."
Let's go over the major differences:
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1) Phone Dimensions: Apple has had two sizes for a while, the standard phone with a 4.7-inch screen and the Plus model with the 5.5-inch screen. Both iPhone 8 models keep nearly the same screen sizes and overall dimensions as their predecessors, though they pack in a bit more weight. The iPhone X, with its spacious 5.8-inch screen, has a body that is only a tad larger than the standard iPhone, though substantially heavier.
2) Screen: The crown jewel of the iPhone X is its screen -- a 5.8-inch display that uses OLED technology (similar to that on Samsung phones) rather than traditional LCD. It also packs in more pixels: 2436 by 1125, with a density of 458 pixels per inch. The LCD on the iPhone 8 Plus, like its phablet predecessors, has a pixel resolution of 1920 by 1080, at 401 pixels per inch.
3) Biometrics: The big design news of iPhone X is that there is no home button. Which means no Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple introduced its replacement, Face ID, which uses a front-facing camera array and infrared technology to capture a 3-D scan to determine whether the face belongs to the phone's owner or a stranger. The user looks at the phone, and it unlocks if it likes what it sees. Face ID can be used with Apple Pay and apps that are Touch ID compatible. The iPhone 8 still uses Touch ID.
4) Battery and Charging: Apple says the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have battery life comparable to their predecessors, while the iPhone X lasts up to two hours longer than the iPhone 7. (These metrics are always a bit fuzzy, which is why we test them ourselves during our review.) But both the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 models support fast charging via a USB-C power adapter. Apple says this will charge up to 50% of the battery in 30 minutes.
Apple also introduced wireless charging, using the Qi open standard, with all the new models. This means that by resting on a compatible charging pad, the phone can replenish without plugging in. Apple says it will sell its own charging pad next year.
5) Camera(s): When Apple introduced the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, only the larger model got the dual camera. This provided a 2X telephoto lens and the ability to pull off tricks like Portrait Mode, which artfully blurs the background of a close-up shot. The same thing happened with the iPhone 8 models; while both get new sensors, only the iPhone 8 Plus has a dual camera. And like before, only one of the iPhone 8 Plus's cameras has optical image stabilization.
The iPhone X has a redesigned dual camera -- this time both have optical image stabilization. For the two new dual-camera models, there is a new beta feature called Portrait Lighting, which can change the lighting effects around and on the face of a photo's subject.
6) Price and Availability: These may be the biggest differentiators for some. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, while its big sibling, the iPhone 8 Plus, starts at $799. This is a tad pricier than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but in the same ballpark. Both of these phones will be available for preorder Sept. 15, and will be in stores on Sept. 22.
Meanwhile ... The iPhone X will start at $999 for a 64GB. If you want a 256GB version, the cost jumps to $1,149. Yes, that is the costliest iPhone ever. And you will have to wait longer for it. Pre-orders start Oct. 27, and the phone will be available in stores Nov. 3 -- while supplies last.
Write to Wilson Rothman at Wilson.Rothman@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 12, 2017 16:32 ET (20:32 GMT)