Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Apple launches confirm expectations

EXTENDED WAIT:While the company did add the expected functionalities to its iPhone and smartwatch products, a late shipping date in early November raised some eyebrows

Reuters, CUPERTINO, California

Apple chief design officer Jony Ive, center, and CEO Tim Cook, right, display the iPhone X during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Apple Inc on Tuesday rolled out its much-anticipated iPhone X, a glass and stainless steel device with an edge-to-edge display that Apple chief executive Tim Cook called “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”

The launch contained few surprises, with leaked details the phone and other products including an updated Apple Watch proving largely accurate. However, the phone’s US$999 price still raised eyebrows and its Nov. 3 shipping date prompted questions about possible supply constraints ahead of the holiday season.

Investors and fans have viewed the 10th-anniversary iPhone launch as an opportunity for Apple to refresh a smartphone lineup that had lagged the competition in new features. Last year, the company’s revenue declined when many consumers rejected the iPhone 7 as being too similar to the iPhone 6.

The new Apple Watch for the first time will be able to make calls and access the Internet without the customer carrying an iPhone — a major upgrade that one analyst predicted would more than double watch sales.

The iPhone X has wireless charging, an infrared camera and hardware for facial recognition, which replaces the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone. The home button is also gone, and users instead tap the device to wake it up.

Apple normally ships new products within a week or two of announcing them, although the company said that the later date was consistent with earlier guidance to investors.

“It’s great to have a product, but we’d have liked it sooner rather than later, more like the beginning of October or mid-October,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Apple shares closed down 0.4 percent. They had traded as much as 1 percent higher during the launch event before reversing course. The shares are up almost 40 percent on the year.

New York-based Solaris Asset Management chief investment officer Tim Ghriskey said he was not worried about the shipping date and liked the new phones features, but also flagged a lack of surprises.

“It’s sell on the news,” he said. “They didn’t talk about the evolution of Apple beyond the iPhone and into artificial intelligence.”

The screen on the iPhone X is about the size of the current iPhone 7 Plus, although the phone is smaller. It features richer colors thanks to new OLED screen technology that other vendors are also rolling out.

However, in an embarrassing moment for Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi, the face-ID unlocking did not work on his first attempt during the on-stage presentation.

Apple executives also stressed the phone’s capabilities in augmented reality, in which digital images are overlaid on the real world. However, their remarks suggested that the phone does not have the full panoply of 3D-sensor chips that some had expected.

Wireless carriers in the US, whose fierce battle for customers could tempt them into renewing the practice of subsidizing phones, immediately began to offer discounts.

T-Mobile US Inc said customers on a payment plan can trade in their iPhone 6 or newer and receive up to US$300 off over 24 months.

Apple also introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which resemble the iPhone 7 line, but have a glass back for wireless charging.

The company said it was working on a new device, called the Airpad, which would charge all newer Apple products.

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