PASO ROBLES, Calif. — Sorry folks, the Apple assault isn’t over. It’s just getting started.
On Tuesday, the company invited journalists and analysts to its new, sci-fi themed spaceship campus in Cupertino to show off new iPhones and an updated Apple Watch.
In the next week, products start hitting store shelves, along with an important software update that brings new features to your older phones and iPads.
ICYMI, here’s the skinny. Apple released three new phones, with the headline grabbing iPhone X getting the most ink. It’s the largest iPhone ever, at 5.8 inches and the most expensive, starting at $999. It features a beautiful edge-to-edge OLED screen, eliminating the bezels on the side of the phone, and scraps the physical home button. And it has a controversial new way to unlock the phone—with your eyes, causing all sorts of privacy concerns. (If you don’t want to use FaceID, you can always just type in a passcode.)
Meanwhile, that phone won’t be out until November.
What’s being released Friday Sept. 22 are the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are updates to last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. They have glass backs, faster processors, the ability to buy a new $59.99 accessory for wireless charging and for the 8 Plus, an improved camera (says Apple) that shoots better images in low light. Wireless carriers have responded with new deals for shoppers.
Do you really need a new iPhone? My Talking Tech video report attempts to answer that question.
Meanwhile, Apple’s new $399 Series 3 Watch adds cellular connectivity, meaning you’re no longer tied to the iPhone for listening to streaming music or answering a call. But it will cost you $10 a month for an extra wireless plan once the promotions from the carriers end.
And if none of the new iPhone features make you want to ditch your old phone in a hurry, but you still want a new one, good news: Apple has lowered prices on older models. We’ve got the complete guide here, with commentary on which phone could be right for you. For bargain hunters, it’s hard to beat the 4-inch iPhone SE, now selling for $349. It’s a good, reliable phone with the latest software and it plays current apps.
Speaking of software, the iOS11 mobile operating system upgrade is set for Tuesday. There are several new features, but the star attraction is augmented reality, the technology behind last summer’s smash hit, Pokémon Go. Some 10,000 new apps are expected to launch this month, bringing animation into real life.
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To use augmented reality features in iOS 11, you’ll need the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or the 6S phones and the small, economy priced SE. No earlier model will work with the AR apps. Any phone after the iPhone 5 and 5C will be able to use iOS 11.
Remember that when Apple turns on the iOS switch, millions of people jump in, usually causing a bottleneck. And sometimes there are problems that Apple needs to come in with a quick fix for. So you might wait a few days for the download.
In other tech news this week:
— Pinterest, the visual social network where people “pin” their favorite photos, now has 200 million members. The company attributes its growth—some 38% year to year—over a shift to mobile.
—Don’t mess with bodegas. The founders of a new company that vowed to bring the corner store to a location near you found that imitation is not always seen as flattery. They opted to name their service Bodega, the common word to describe a small market in the Latino community. The Twitterverse took it as an insult to hard-working Latino families.
“Despite our best intentions and our admiration for traditional bodegas, we clearly hit a nerve this morning,” said Bodega co-founder Paul McDonald in his Medium apology note. “And we apologize to anyone we’ve offended. Rather than disrespect to traditional corner stores — or worse yet, a threat — we intended only admiration.”
—Sony announced a successor to the photo/video maker that we have in the past described as the “greatest travel camera ever,” the RX10III. The specs for the RX10IV are almost identical, a massive 24-600mm zoom lens in a small compact body, but the focus is said by Sony to be faster. The camera sells for $1,699 and we can’t wait to test it out when it ships next month.
— AT&T said it would throw in a free subscription to HBO GO if you sign up for cellular service with the number two carrier. Specifically, you need to opt for the Unlimited Choice plan, which provides a single line at $60 per month.
— PewDiePie apologizes. Another day, another apology from the controversial YouTube star. This time, it was for using a racial slur during a live video stream broadcast on his channel. PewDiePie — whose real name is Felix Kjellberg — said he is “really sorry” for offending, hurting or disappointing anyone with his use of the N-word, claiming it happened in the heat of the moment. But he’s had to apologize for anti-gay and anti-Semitic comments in the past, too. PewDiePie was ranked the No. 1 YouTube star by Business Insider for 2017, bringing in $15 million to his channel.
Your week in Talking Tech Audio
—We kicked off the week with an preview of Apple’s upcoming iOS11 mobile operating system update for Tuesday, when it launches. Financial Times technology correspondent Tim Bradshaw joins the conversation.
—Futurama is back. Again! The animated futuristic sitcom set in the year 3000 was a Fox series, then canceled, revived on Comedy Central, then canceled, and resurfaced as a mobile video game, featuring the original cast and writers. Now, the crew has added to the mix with two new episodes–as a podcast. Co-creator David X. Cohen fills us in.
—What about those new iPhone features? I run them down, and frankly, I’m just not that excited.
—JibJab Camera. The maker of the JibJab app, for putting your face into funny, musical situations, has a new app, Camera, for creating visual stories for Instagram and Snapchat. Co-founder Gregg Spiridellis tells us all about it.
—Do I really have to spend $1,000 for a new iPhone? It’s a question many readers asked us this week, so Edward C. Baig and I debate the question, on #TalkingTech.