Apple took the wraps off of the first part of its much-anticipated new iPhone lineup today with the announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The two new iPhones represent direct updates to last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, featuring a similar physical design that changes from an aluminum to a glass back that’s reinforced by aerospace-grade aluminum and steel, representing what Apple claims is the most durable glass that has yet been used in a smartphone. The new models also include Apple’s new A11 Bionic processor, a 64-bit six-core CPU with 4.3 billion transistors that improves performance by 25 percent over the iPhone 7’s A10 when using the performance cores, and up to 70 percent faster when using the four high-efficiency low-power cores. The new GPU is also 30 percent faster than the A10 at peak, and provides the same performance as the A10 at half the power consumption. A new Apple-designed image sensing processor (ISP) allows for faster low-light auto-focus, improved pixel processing, and hardware multiband noise reduction.
Both iPhone 8 models also feature a new 12MP sensor that provides deeper pixel capture, an improved color filter, and optical image stabilization, with the 12MP dual cameras the iPhone 8 Plus also now providing f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures. More significantly, however, the iPhone 8 models will be offering Portrait Lighting, a new extension of last year’s Portrait Mode that takes advantage of the A11 Bionic processor to perform advanced heuristic light analysis to create professional portrait photographies with a wide variety of lighting effects, ranging from studio lighting to stage lighting. Apple has also enhanced the video encoding capabilities in the new iPhone models, improving video frame rates to allow 4K/60fps and 1080p/240fps capture, with real-time image and motion analysis that can handle two million tiles per second.
The other major update in the new iPhone 8 models is the added support for Qi wireless charging that will allow users to take advantage of any number of charging mats and similar devices that already use the Qi open standard, which Apple has also announced will begin being carried in Apple Stores. The iPhone 8 models also add support for Bluetooth 5.0 and Fast Charging capabilities, although Apple didn’t specifically elaborate on these features, nor was any information provided on Qi wireless charging performance. The iPhone 8 will be sold in 64 GB and 256 GB capacities starting at $699 for the iPhone 8 and $799 for the iPhone 8 Plus, and will be available for pre-order on Sept. 15 for delivery and general retail availability on Sept. 22.