7 ways Apple surprised us at the iPhone X event

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Tim Cook still hid a few surprises up his sleeve for the iPhone X event.
Tim Cook still hid a few surprises up his sleeve for the iPhone X event.
Photo: Apple

Today’s iPhone X event was the most-spoiled Apple event ever, but Tim Cook and Co. still managed to whip out a few awesome surprises for the faithful.

Here are the things we didn’t see coming or couldn’t guess, even after months of rumors and leaks.

iPhone X event surprises

So that's how you pronounce "iPhone X."
So that’s how you pronounce “iPhone X.”
Photo: Apple

How to pronounce ‘iPhone X’

While a massive last-minute Apple leak revealed what the 2017 flagship iPhone’s name would look like on paper, nobody outside Apple was sure how “iPhone X” would be pronounced. Turns out it’s a nod to the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, done up in Roman numerals.

Call it “iPhone Ten,” not “iPhone Ex.”

Selfies get a serious upgrade on iPhone X

There’s a welcome side benefit to the front-facing iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera. While it powers the flagship phone’s Face ID facial recognition technology (and Animojis), it also brings a new sense of depth to selfies.

That’s right, with iPhone X, selfies will gain Portrait Mode’s advanced algorithms to bear. Now you’ll always look as riveting as possible when you snap your mug posing in front of some landmark.

Siri talks on Apple Watch (and so can you)

Apple Watch
Get ready to hear a lot more from Siri.
Photo: Apple

We knew Apple Watch Series 3 would bring LTE cellular connectivity to Cupertino’s (No. 1 selling!) wearable, and we suspected the new model would pack a powerful new processor. However, we weren’t sure the new Apple Watch would be capable of making standalone phone calls.

Well, surprise, it can do that, as illustrated by a keynote scene showing an Apple Watch wearer making a call from the middle of a lake.

Also, we had no clue that Siri would soon be yammering on from our wrists, but Apple Watch Series 3’s new processor, with a 70 percent performance boost over the previous model, makes that possible (among other Siri improvements).

AirPower charging mat is more powerful than suspected

Rumors of wireless charging in 2017’s iPhones naturally made us envision an Apple charging pad (and worry about a delayed release). But we didn’t it’s name — or that it would bring improvements to wireless charging, which frankly doesn’t have such a great rep.

The sleek white charging pad, which Apple calls AirPower, will be more efficient than competing devices. And it will charge iPhone X, iPhone 8, Apple Watch or AirPods (if you plunk down cash for the optional new wireless charging case).

The delay part was real, though — AirPower won’t be available until next year.

A11 Bionic chip sounds like a brawler

A11 Bionic chip is Apple's most powerful smartphone processor ever.
A11 Bionic chip is Apple’s most powerful smartphone processor ever.
Photo: Apple

Getting an upgraded Apple chip inside a new iPhone is old hat at this point. But the custom Cupertino silicon inside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X brings a new name alongside powerhouse specs.

The A11 Bionic chip, with 64-bit architecture, a Neural Engine and an embedded M11 motion coprocessor, sounds like a real mobile monster. It boasts six cores (four “efficiency cores” and two “performance cores”) that can kick in all at once when you “need a turbo boost.” Apple claims up to 70 percent faster CPU efficiency cores and up to 25 percent faster CPU performance cores.

4K video won’t cost you any extra

With the new Apple TV 4K‘s emphasis on 4K and HDR video, you could be forgiven for fearing a wave of high-def price gouging. But don’t worry: “iTunes users will get automatic upgrades of HD titles in their existing iTunes library to 4K HDR versions when they become available,” Apple said in a press release.

An utterly Mac-free Apple event

We knew it would be all about the iPhone X and iPhone 8, but what happened to the Mac? We got no new info on the upcoming iMac Pro, no fanfare about the impending release of macOS High Sierra … basically nothing about the computers that made Apple a household name.

At least Apple updated its website with a macOS High Sierra release date — September 25. Now we’re dreaming about an October surprise, where Apple will show off the “seriously badass” iMac Pro (and the me-too HomePod smart speaker, which also got no love Tuesday).

More on Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 event

Those are the things that shocked us, even though we’ve been knee-deep in iPhone 8/X rumors for months now. What did we miss?

P.S. For details about what Apple showed off Tuesday during the big event, read our roundup post: Everything Apple unveiled at its iPhone X keynote.

  • motif88

    Who doesn’t know how to pronounce X as ten? Do you not remember Mac OS X? It was to Mac OS X it was Mac OS Ten…. are you sure you write for Cult of Mac?

  • Kenny Saus

    Poor layout of your articles.

  • MaxLeopold

    Well, let’s hope for that October Mac Event…

    The MacMini is now 1063 Days or 152 Weeks or 34 months old & needs at least a 7th Gen. Processor – preferably of course an 8th Gen Processor which just got announced by Intel.

    By then we hopefully also get a new iPod Touch 7th Gen. which is now 791days / 113weeks or 25months old.

    Along with an Update, when we can expect HomePod & iMac Pro – hopefully in time for the Holidays?!

    And what they expect to do with the current Form Factor of the MacPro, since they have noted that a new Form Factor will arrive next year – nevertheless I would hope they Upgrade the current Version to Thunderbolt 3, because I like that Form Factor,

    while others most likely which the “CheeseGrater” Aluminum Mac back with upgraded Specs to Thunderbolt 3 & don’t get me wrong that Models internal Design still is great, if they fit the latest + greatest I/O into it?!

    only with the above upgraded this year – we would have a full Line Upgrade seen – done this year!

  • MaxLeopold

    I would also hope that next year
    – we will see the SIM Tray vanish from all iPhones –
    and iPhones receive the same Treatment
    like the “iWatch Series 3 with Cellular” got treated this year.

    But then all National Carriers would need to be on Board right from the Start.