What's New About The iPhone 8? Apple Has A Few Surprises In Store

At its launch event on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to plenty of fanfare. On its 10-year anniversary, Apple announced new features for the iPhone 8 that may surprise some.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, unveiled the slick iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in three colors: silver, space gray, and gold. The new design features even-layer color processing glass front and back that's reinforced by steel and aerospace-grade aluminum framing. The aluminum alloy, and internal steel and copper structure has commentators calling it the iPhone 8 one of the most durable iPhones ever. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are water resistant like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, rendering waterproof cases obsolete to a certain extent — the iPhone 8 can be submerged up to one meter underwater for 30 minutes without damage. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a higher water resistance rating and can reach up to 1.5 meters water depth.

And just like the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus, the 8 and 8 Plus have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. The new displays boast of True Tone technology that adapts color and temperature to ambient light, making colors more accurate and providing a similar array of tones at cinematic films. The new stereo speakers are also 25 percent louder than the iPhone 7, with a deeper bass.

Along with improvements in glass durability, display quality, and speaker strength, Schiller announced what many people were buzzing to know: The iPhone 8 has Qi wireless charging. Apple will begin selling charging pads in their stores.

Schiller also announced an A11 "bionic" chip — the "most powerful chip ever in a smartphone." The A11 chip holds two performance cores that are 25 percent faster than the previous A10 chip, and four efficiency cores that are 70 percent faster, Apple says. The 12mp sensor is said to provide 83 percent more light, but with more power efficiency. The A11 also has a new image processor that gives the phone a faster low-light autofocus and reduces hardware noise, a bonus for iPhone photographers.

For those who see camera quality as the make-it-or-break-it when it comes to their smartphone upgrades, the iPhone 8's 12mp camera boasts of deeper pixels, image stabilization (only on the regular iPhone 8), a new color filter, and apertures of f/1.8 and f/2.8 for telephotos. Better camera specs are a given, considering that Apple has presented a better camera with each new iPhone. The iPhone 8's new dual-camera now has a "Portrait Lighting" feature that sense depth and adapt lighting as you compose your shot. The iPhone 8 has a menu so you can select your lighting effect. At the promo event in Cupertino, several examples of portraits taken by the iPhone 8 appeared on the screen and Schiller pointed out that the photos did not have filters applied to them: "These aren't filters. This is real-time analysis of the light on your subject's face."

Apple also boosted the video features on the iPhone 8 line, with faster video frame rates, new video encoder, and better slow-motion capabilities. Augmented reality was also heavily promoted at the Apple demo. Schiller described the the iPhone 8 as the first smartphone created especially for augmented reality (AR), although Google would protest whether it's the first smartphone designed for AR. Google already released its second AR phone early August.

What "created for AR" means, in Apple's case, is cameras calibrated for AR, accurate motion tracking, real-time lighting, and realistic graphics. To demonstrate, Apple showed several games and the Sky Guide app that shows the constellations in the actual sky. Directive Games CEO Atil Mar took the stage to present a new AR game that will arrive later this month, Machines, where players can battle their friends online or in the same room even.

The 64GB version of the iPhone 8 retails for $699, and for the iPhone 8 Plus it's $799. There will be 256GB versions of both. Preorders begin Friday, Sept. 15th for a Sept. 22nd arrival.