Apple's first-ever event at its new Steve Jobs theater just wrapped up and, as expected, the company announced new entries in its Watch, iPhone and TV platforms. The highlight of the show was the much anticipated iPhone X (pronounced "ten"), which boasts a 5.8-inch OLED "Super Retina" display that is edge-to-edge on the phone.
It's technically presenting a 2436 x 1125 pixel screen, powered by a new A11 Bionic chip - that's a six-core SoC design with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The device also uses a custom Apple GPU and with its new camera, featuring facial recognition and tracking, it's built from the ground-up for AR. Wireless charging was introduced as well.
All this technology comes at a price. Pre-orders begin on October 27 with the phone launching on November 3, and the iPhone X starts at the MSRP of $999. If that's too rich for your blood, Apple also unveiled two other upgrades over last year's devices in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which launch at $699 and $799, respectively. The iPhone 8 offers the smaller 4.7-inch display while the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. Importantly, some of the new internals of the iPhone X are shared with these cheaper phones, including the A11 bionic chip, Apple's new GPU, 12MP dual cameras and wireless charging capability. Preorders for these two start in just a few days on September 15 and the phones are expected to ship on September 22.
From a gaming standpoint, Apple was happy to push its ARkit technology again during this event. A few AR games were demoed, starting with a new version of Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade from developer Pixel Toys. The demo centered on giant mechs sparring on a real-life basketball court. There was also more footage on display for AR strategy game The Machines, from Directive Games. It's a solid example of what Unreal Engine 4 can do in the AR realm. It'll be interesting to see how Apple's ARkit ultimately fares against Google's ARCore as both companies strive to bring AR experiences into the mainstream.
On the traditional gaming front, we also saw Journey developer thatgamecompany debut a new IP called Sky. Based on the video (see below), the new title feels and plays a bit like Journey, as players fly through the clouds to collect light. The studio said Sky is coming first to Apple iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, but other platforms were not mentioned.
On the developer's blog, thatgamecompany further explained, "Sky has been a few years in the making. After the release of Journey, so many fans wrote to tell us how much they enjoyed playing the game with their spouse, children or loved ones, and asked if we could create a game where they could play together. We wanted as many people to love games, and so we were encouraged to explore this idea at thatgamecompany. Which brings our games, for the first time, to mobile - a platform that many have access to, the world over."
Elsewhere during the Apple event, the company boasted that Apple Watch had become the top-selling watch in the world as it introduced a new Series 3 version that now includes cellular functionality (it syncs up with your existing iPhone number), and Apple also introduced the 4K Apple TV. The Series 3 Watch will start at $399 when it launches on September 22, while the 4K Apple TV (which supports HDR) will sell for $179, also shipping on September 22.