September 11, 2017 2:58 pm
Updated: September 11, 2017 3:18 pm

iPhone X: What we think we know about Apple’s Sept. 12 product launch

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Apple’s big day is tomorrow. The company is expected to make a slew of announcements from its new, futuristic Cupertino headquarters about anything from Apple TV to the Apple Watch and, of course, the new iPhone.  The event is attracting even more hype than usual after the Silicon Valley giant let it be known in a financial forecast issued last month that something big was coming down the pike.

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Of course, what everyone wants to know is what the new iPhone is going to look like. But while such details are usually shrouded in secrecy prior to the official launch, recent leaks have uncovered a wealth of information about what might be in store.

READ MORE: Apple expected to unveil iPhone 8 at Sept. 12 showcase

Here’s what we think we know:

Name

Though there will be an iPhone 8, Apple’s new flagship phone will allegedly be called iPhone X. The company will also introduce an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as successors to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The new phones will run on iOS 11, which will make it even harder for law enforcement to extract users’ data without their consent, according to Wired.

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Facial recognition software 

There are a slew of reports suggesting Apple will unveil facial recognition software to replace fingerprint identification. So-called Face ID will likely work for unlocking the phone and security features as well as authorizing payments. This isn’t an entirely a new thing. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 already has a face-scanning feature, but users have reported being able to unlock the phone using a photo on another phone. Apple’s Face ID is expected to be better and more secure. After all, unlike Samsung, Apple was also able to deliver a sensibly placed and glitch-free fingerprint scanner.

Things other smartphones already do 

While Apple will likely have the edge on facial recognition, in other respects the iPhone X is expected to catch up to other phones without necessarily introducing significant improvements. The newest iPhone, for example, will likely feature OLED displays, which provide brighter and sharper images. The thing is, OLED displays have long been available on Samsung phones. Indeed, Apple will reportedly have to rely on its arch-rival to supply the displays.

The iPhone X will also probably feature an all-screen design. But that, again, is already available on the Samsung for the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, and LG G6 and V30.

Apple is also said to have done away with a physical home button for the iPhone X. But many of its competitors have already moved on to a dynamic soft key for that.

Likewise, the iPhone X will probably feature the ability to power up batteries cord-free – but other phones already support wireless charging.

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The usual upgrades 

Expect faster processing speeds and a better camera.

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A new voice for Siri 

Apple has been labouring over a less robotic-sounding voice for Siri. Apple’s new digital assistant won’t include many new features or have a repertoire of new jokes, but it will take more pauses in sentences, elongate syllables right before a pause, and change intonation as a real person would do, Wired has reported. The point? “It’s nicer to listen to, and to talk to.”

READ MORE: New iOS update will make older iPhones, iPads obsolete

New 3-D animated emojis 

Dubbed “Animoji,”these emojis can apparently mimic a user’s facial expressions.

$1,000 price tag

The other thing that Apple could debut at tomorrow’s product launch is the world’s first four-digit price tag for a smartphone. Several reports suggest the iPhone X will sell for US$999 or slightly above that in the U.S., meaning Canadians would have to shell out north of $1,000 for it.

Whether consumers are ready to fork out that much for the iPhone X is an open question. The phone might be only marginally better than its leading competitors, but it is also only marginally more expensive. Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy Note 8, in fact, has a starting price of $930.

Longtime Apple expert Gene Munster, now managing partner at research and venture capital firm Loup Ventures, predicts 20 per cent of the iPhones sold during the next year will be the new $1,000 model.

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Wireless carriers eager to connect with Apple’s generally affluent clientele are likely to either sell the iPhone at a discount or offer appealing subsidies that spread the cost of the device over two to three years to minimize the sticker shock, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. Even if Munster’s sales forecast holds true, it still shows most people either can’t afford or aren’t interested in paying that much for a smartphone.

That’s one reason Apple also is expected to announce minor upgrades to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That will make it easier for Apple to create several different pricing tiers, with the oldest model possibly becoming available for free with a wireless contract.

But the deluxe model virtually assures that the average price of the iPhone – now at $606 versus $561 three years ago – will keep climbing. That runs counter to the usual tech trajectory in which the price of electronics, whether televisions or computers, falls over time. “The iPhone has always had a way of defying the law of physics,” Munster said, “and I think it will do it in spades with this higher-priced one.”

– With files from the Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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