Apple took the wraps off its iPhone 8 on Tuesday, and it looks set to make big waves in the world of artificial intelligence. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus include wireless charging, new augmented reality capabilities, advanced cameras and an altered design. At its core is an A11 Bionic processor, a high-performance chip that can enable new experiences.
“This is the most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone,” Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, said during the event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.
The new chip has two performance cores, 25 percent faster than the chip found in the iPhone 7. It also has four high-efficiency cores that are 70 percent faster than its predecessor. Controlling it all is a second generation performance controller that enables 70 percent faster multithreaded workloads. An Apple-designed graphics processor uses a three-core design that’s 30 percent faster than the previous generation. In other words, this phone is incredibly fast.
The device comes in two configurations, a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display powered by what Apple calls “Retina HD.” A wide cinema quality color gamut is backed by the same “true tone” technology that debuted on the iPad Pro, adjusting the colors to improve accuracy depending on the environment.
The new device uses a glass back that enables wireless charging. Qi, the wireless charging standard used by Apple, is not the same as the types touted by Ossia and Energous that can charge your phone from several feet away, but instead depends on the user placing their phone on a special pad. This pad-based technology has been seen in such flagship devices as the Essential Phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Apple’s new device also places augmented reality at its heart. The augmented reality toolkit for developers, ARKit, was announced as a component of iOS 11 in June. Developers have come up with a number of uses for the tools using existing hardware, including an interactive version of A-Ha’s “Take On Me” and an app that lets you preview the Tesla Model 3 in your garage.
The company held its iPhone event at the Steve Jobs Theater, located on the new Apple Park campus in Cupertino. Drone footage and Snapchat Map posts gave the public a glimpse at the new construction coming together. At the start of the event, Cook described the role Jobs played in its construction.
The iPhone 8 is available for pre-order from September 15 and starts shipping on September 22. The phones ship in 64GB and 256GB configurations starting at $699 for the 8 model and $799 for the Plus model. Color options include silver, space grey and gold. iOS 11, the software that powers the devices, will be available on September 19.