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The iPhone 8 Is the Real Show-Stealer

Featuring the “most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.” Plus a pretty great camera, too.

Apple unveiled three next-generation iPhones: the iPhone 8 ($699+), the iPhone 8 Plus ($799+) and the iPhone X ($999). While the latter is the most jaw-dropping of the three, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are the two smartphones you’re more likely to buy, seeing as they’re more affordable and available sooner. Both look similar to the now-old iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — same size and form factor — but Apple’s newest offerings boast some substantial internal upgrades on their predecessors. If you’re someone who annually upgrades to the latest-and-greatest iPhone, here’s everything you need to know about your future pocket companion.

The most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.
Both smartphones are upgraded with Apple’s new A11 Bionic processor. According to Apple, it’s 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion processor found in last year’s iPhones. Apple also redesigned the GPU chips found in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are 30 percent faster and almost twice as energy efficient than the previous GPU chips.

Improved cameras for even better portraits.
The iPhone 8 has a single 12MP rear camera that is larger and faster than the iPhone 7’s camera. It has a built-in optical image stabilizer, too, which will help shaky-handed photographers. The iPhone 8 Plus has a dual-camera system, like the iPhone 7 Plus, but it has two 12MP lenses (f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures). The improved lenses of the iPhone 8 Plus absorb 83 percent more light for better low-light shooting. It also enables the 8 Plus’s new advanced portrait mode, called “Portrait Lighting,” which uses machine learning to adjust the lighting on people’s faces.

Shoots 4K video at 60 fps.
The cameras on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have the “highest-quality video capture ever in a smartphone,” according to Apple executive Phil Schiller. Both can capture 4K video at 60 fps and can grab slow-motion videos at up to 1080p at 240 fps. (The iPhone 7 could only handle 120fps.)

A beautiful Retina display with True Tone technology.
Apple has upgraded the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with Retina displays that feature True Tone technology, the same tech found in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen depending on the environment you’re in. The display can replicate the “paper white” of a notebook so it’s more comfortable on your eyes.

Apple’s real bet is on AR.
The new processors and cameras on both iPhone 8s are designed specifically for augmented reality. As an example, which was shown during the presentation using the “MLB at Bat” app, you’ll be able hold your iPhone, point it at the baseball field, and see real-time stats about the players. If you haven’t experienced AR experience, you will in the near future.

Glass on the front and back.
Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are “redesigned” in the sense that they have glass backs instead of aluminum. The change is mainly to enable both smartphones for Qi wireless charging. Apple said it’s the most durable glass ever used in a smartphone. The charging standard is widely used, so if you already have a Qi charging station, you’ll be able to use it with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Wireless charging.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support Qi wireless charging. This also means that you won’t be totally out of luck if you forget your Lightning charging cable. The future is going wireless, so it might as well charge that way too.

No headphone jack, still.
Like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus before them, both next-gen iPhones lack a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll need a pair of Bluetooth or Lightning headphones (or a nifty dongle) if you want to use traditional headphones.

Bigger and better stereo speakers.
Both new smartphones have stereo speakers that are, according to Apple, 27 percent louder than the speakers on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

The familiar feel of the iPhone 7.
Like their predecessors, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus both have a dedicated home button and support Touch ID (the iPhone X does not). They are also water- and dust-resistant. If you adored your last-gen iPhone, these are the smartphones for you.

The iPhone 8 starts at $699 for 64GB. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799. Preorders start on September 15. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be released on September 22 and come in three colors: silver, space gray and gold.

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