Apple announces iPhone X with Face ID and Qi wireless charging, ditching home button for facial recognition

Apple's iPhone X. (Apple)

At a media event today Apple released its new iPhone X device, which features wireless charging, an OLED screen and a facial recognition system. The device eschews the traditional iPhone home button for an edge-to-edge screen that requires users to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead of pressing a button to access the device’s main screen.

Apple’s Tim Cook described the company’s new iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) as “the future of the smartphone.” He added that the device “will set the path for technology for the next decade.”

“It is the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone,” he said.

Perhaps most impressively, the device uses “specialized hardware built for a set of machine learning algorithms” in order to recognize users’ faces. Apple’s Phil Schiller explained that the device includes a neural engine that relies on real-time processing for the company’s Face ID service, which essentially replaces the company’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which sat on previous iPhone home buttons. To use Face ID, users first train the device to recognize their face, and it can still work in the dark or when users wear hats, grow beards or otherwise change their appearance.

“It adapts to your face,” Schiller said, explaining that Face ID can’t be fooled by photographs or masks.

Interestingly, though, Apple’s Craig Federighi was initially unable to unlock his iPhone X with his face during his demonstration of the device, and he quickly moved to a second, backup demonstration iPhone X device that did unlock based on his face.

Apple executives also boasted of other specifications for the iPhone X, including the gadget’s camera and its OLED screen. The company’s wireless charging service works on the open Qi charging standard and can charge the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as Apple Watch Series 3.

Apple also announced an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which essentially represent an upgrade to the company’s previous iPhone 7 devices. The new devices offer basically the same physical design with upgraded specifications. The iPhone 8 will start at $699 and the iPhone 8 Plus will start at $799.

The iPhone X will start at $999 and go on sale Oct. 27, shipping Nov. 3.

During its media event, Apple also announced a cellular-capable version of its Apple Watch.

RELATED: Apple adds LTE, UMTS to Apple Watch for extra $70

Expectations for Apple’s iPhone X, alongside its iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, are high.

"Apple has perfected the holiday season sales strategy and this year may be the strongest quarter in the company’s history by far!” said Frost & Sullivan analyst Todd Day just prior to Apple’s announcement.

“Based on the current landscape, this holiday season is shaping up perfectly for Apple. The company’s primary competitor—Samsung—is at one of its weakest points in recent years, leaving Samsung customers up for grabs. This year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, so a third version—or iPhone X—will provide yet another option to loyal Apple fans,” said Day. “Finally, with the synergies of the expected release of the Apple Watch 3 and a 4K Apple TV, Frost & Sullivan expects the fourth quarter of 2017 to be the most successful quarter in the history of the company. According to the Apple Performance Tracker, Frost & Sullivan expects Apple to sell over 82 million iPhones and generate over $82 billion in revenue in the final quarter of the year.”

Apple didn’t immediately disclose the wireless technologies it is building into its iPhone X, though it’s likely the gadget supports a range of carrier spectrum bands and network technologies.

Further, it's likely that the nation's wireless carriers will roll out significant promotions around the iPhone X and iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in order to garner new wireless customers and keep the ones they have. Indeed, last year wireless carriers instituted a number of major promotions around the release of the iPhone 7.

Apple’s iPhone X largely aligned with rumors prior to the release of the device, including that it would sport an OLED, edge-to-edge screen, facial recognition and wireless charging.