Death of home button as Apple launches new Face ID-only iPhones

Death of home button as Apple launches new Face ID-only iPhones
PHOTO: AFP

CUPERTINO - Apple sounded the death knell of the home button with the launch of three new iPhones during a media event held in Steve Jobs Theater at the tech giant’s campus Apple Park.

The new iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr all feature full-screen design without the home button that has been a feature since the first iPhone launched 11 years ago.

Instead, all the new iPhones will use only face recognition technology, or Face ID, for user authentication. It is a bold move by Apple, considering many iPhone users are still very used to the touch button, or Touch ID’s fingerprint authentication.

Last year, when the iPhone X was launched, Apple still has the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus that both come with a home button. However, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are still available for sale.

The new iPhone Xs is the direct successor to last year’s iPhone X, sporting the same 5.8-inch Oled screen but with updated and faster A12 Bionic processor, better water resistance, all-new image sensor of rear dual-camera system, improved TrueDepth camera system for advanced Face ID among the improvements.

Catering to users who want bigger screens, Apple also launched the iPhone Xs Max with the similar specifications as the iPhone Xs, but with a bigger 6.5-inch Oled screen.

Both iPhone Xs and Xs Max will be available in silver, black and a new colour option - gold.

However, Apple has not forgotten the budget market with the iPhone Xr. It features the same design and processor as the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, but comes with a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD screen that has less contrast and dynamic range as well as less power efficient compared to Oled screens.

The cheaper iPhone Xr only has a single rear camera, unlike the rear dual-camera system of iPhone XS and XS Max. However, it comes in more colours including red, blue, yellow, black and white.

The price of an iPhone Xs starts from $1,649 for the 64GB version, while the iPhone Xs Max’s pricing starts from $1,799 for the 64GB version. Both will be available in Singapore on Sept 21.

The iPhone Xr will be priced starting from $1,229 for the 32GB version and starts selling on Oct 26 as well. Pre-orders for iPhone Xr starts from Oct 19.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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