VR News and Info

Apple announces iPhone 8 and iPhone X with augmented reality features


iPhone X features depth-sensing camera for augmented reality
iPhone X features depth-sensing camera for augmented reality

At Apple’s Keynote today September 12, Apple announced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and the iPhone X, which are designed for augmented reality.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus

iPhone 8 is optimized for augmented reality
iPhone 8 is optimized for augmented reality

After launching the next Apple Watch and the Apple TV 4K, Apple announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus. The phones feature lenses in the same configuration as the iPhone 7 and 7 plus, with a faster processor and improved cameras. The iPhone 8’s key feature is that it was optimized for augmented reality, with cameras calibrated for augmented reality (AR), with low light capability and 60fps frame rate, a new gyro and accelerometer and accurate motion tracking. The processors (CPU and GPU) are tuned for AR.

In addition to its AR features, the iPhone 8 and 8 plus have LTE Advanced, BT 5.0 and wireless charging via the Qi open wireless standard.

The iPhone 8 and 8 plus will be available September 22 for $699 and $799 respectively, with preorders beginning September 15.

iPhone X

iPhone X features depth-sensing camera for augmented reality
iPhone X features depth-sensing camera for augmented reality

Apple also announced the iPhone X (iPhone “Ten”), which they described as being the future of iPhones.  It has a display that covers almost the entire surface of the phone, like the Samsung S8 and Essential phones.  As rumored, the lenses are stacked vertically (lengthwise) instead of horizontally as in the iPhone 8 and 7.

The iPhone X’s display is a 5.8 inch screen with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 (458 ppi).  By comparison, the Samsung S8, which also has a 5.8-inch screen, has a resolution of 2960 x 1440 (570 ppi).

Because the iPhone X doesn’t have an unlock button, it will instead use Face ID facial recognition.  The iPhone X features a depth-sensing front camera and a powerful processor, so it can view your face in 3D in real-time.  According to Apple, it adapts if you have eyewear, or if your face changes (e.g. with a beard), and it can’t be fooled by a photo of you.  Apple said it is much more secure than Touch ID, with a random user having only a 1 in 1 million chance of unlocking it (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID).  I don’t know what happens with identical twins…

With the iPhone X’s depth-sensing camera, can read your facial expression ad use it to animate an emoji to match your facial expression (animojis).    The depth-sensing camera can also apply 3D filters for photos, such as masks.

iPhone X will be available for preorder on October 27, starting at $999, and will ship November 3.

Summary: what’s the difference between iPhone 8 and iPhone X?

The two main differences between the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are the depth-sensing cameras and the display.

Depth-sensing cameras: Although both iPhone 8 and iPhone X have augmented reality features, iPhone X has additional sensors in its front camera that can detect 3D depth with greater precision.  The iPhone X’s depth-sensing cameras are accurate enough for Face ID, and can be used for effects such as Animojis.  The iPhone X also has a dual rear camera just like the iPhone 8 plus.

Display: iPhone X is about the size of iPhone 8, but its screen size (5.8 inches) is much larger than the iPhone 8 screen (4.7 inches), and is about the size of the iPhone 8 plus display (5.5 inches) because the screen covers almost the entire face of the phone.  The iPhone X also has a HDR (high dynamic range) display with a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio compared to the 1,300 to 1 contrast ratio of iPhone 8 and 8 plus.  It will therefore be able to show brighter highlights and deeper shadows without losing detail.

Compatibility with 360 cameras

I asked Insta360 if the iPhone 8, 8 plus, and X will be compatible with the Insta360 ONE and Nano, and they said they think it will be but will need to check.

I will also try to find out about Giroptic iO compatibility.

Apple also announced that iOS 11 will be available September 19.  I’ve been using the iOS 11 beta version and so far it appears to be compatible with the Insta360 Pro app, and now has live view (earlier versions didn’t have live view).

Opinion: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and iPhone X vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 plus for 360 / VR shooters

I have been an iOS user for the past 10 years but this year, I switched to a Samsung S8 plus for its 360-related features (see below).  Here are my thoughts on iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

I am optimistic that augmented reality will be much more popular and could become mainstream in 2018 because of Apple’s ARKit, Android’s ARCore (similar to ARKit), and Facebook’s similar augmented reality platform.

Having said that, Samsung S8 and S8 plus still offer many advantages for 360 / VR shooters, such as:
– compatibility with Samsung Gear VR
– compatibility with Google Daydream (the only phone compatible with both Gear VR and Daydream)
– compatibility with AR Core
– fully compatible with Samsung Gear 360 2016 and 2017, including live streaming.
– can render Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere videos at full resolution
– Insta360 Air can be used in 3K mode
– The S8 and S8 plus screens have a a higher pixel density than the iPhone X (this is important for viewing in VR headsets).
– full compatibility with Google Photos (including the ability to search and view 360 photos within Google Photos).

On the other hand, Garmin Virb 360 live streaming works only with iPhones.  But in my humble opinion, I think that is not enough to offset the long list of features that the Samsung S8 has for 360 shooters.  Nonetheless, those benefits are only one factor among many others for choosing a smartphone, and the iPhone 8 and iPhone X look like exciting upgrades for iPhone users.