Apple kicks off event; $1,000 iPhone is expected
Apple has kicked off a September product event at which it is expected to unveil a dramatically redesigned iPhone that could cost $1,000.
It's the first product event Apple is holding at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Before getting to the new iPhone, the company unveiled a new Apple Watch model with cellular service and an updated version of its Apple TV streaming device.
The event opened in a darkened auditorium, with only the audience's phones gleaming like stars, along with a message that said "Welcome to Steve Jobs Theater." A voiceover from Jobs, Apple's co-founder who died in 2011, opened the event before CEO Tim Cook took stage.
"Not a day that goes by that we don't think about him," Cook said. "Memories especially come rushing back as we prepared for today and this event. It's taken some time but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness."
The souped-up "anniversary" iPhone, which would come a decade after Jobs unveiled the first version, could also cost twice what the original iPhone did. It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.
WHAT A THOUSAND BUCKS WILL BUY
Various leaks have indicated the new phone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or "bezel," that currently surrounds most phone screens.
It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet, too.
All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than $1,000, but Apple's sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible—and worth the extra expense.
"Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.
Apple's latest Watch has built-in cellular service. The number on your phone will be the same as your iPhone. The Series 3 model will also have Apple Music available through cellular service.
"Now, you can go for a run with just your watch," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer and in charge of Watch development.
Apple is also adding more fitness features to the Watch, and says it is now the most used heartrate monitor in the world. Now, Apple Watch will notify users when it detects an elevated heart rate when they don't appear to be active. It'll also detect abnormal heart rhythms.
The Series 3 will start at $399. One without cellular goes for $329, down from $369 for the comparable model now. The original Series 1, without GPS, sells for $249, down from $269. The new watch comes out Sept. 22.
APPLE TV GETS UPGRADE
A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper "4K" resolution and a color-improvement technology called high-dynamic range, or HDR.
Many rival devices already offer these features. But there's not a lot of video in 4K and HDR yet, nor are there many TVs that can display it. Apple TV doesn't have its own display and needs to be connected to a TV.
Apple said it's been working with movie studios to bring titles with 4K and HDR to its iTunes store. They will be sold at the same prices as high-definition video, which tends to be a few dollars more than standard-definition versions. Apple said it's working with Netflix and Amazon Prime to bring their 4K originals to Apple TV, too.
The new Apple TV device will cost $179 and ships on Sept. 22. A version without 4K will cost less.
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