Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – September 15, 2017

Everything Apple from a week dominated by the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, plus a little more with new earphones from TrndLabs reviewed. This is the iWrap.


For the week ending September 15, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology podcast wrapping everything up in the time it takes for you to wait for your morning coffee order.

And this week as you stare into your iPhone as you wait for that coffee, you might get the feeling that it’s looking a little long in the tooth, and that’s probably because you’ve heard about the new iPhones.

This week has been dominated by news from Apple, and we can’t imagine a single person with a smartphone has managed to escape the news of Apple’s big deal announcement, because really, it’s been a big deal.

It has graced news sites, lifestyle sites, and of course technology websites, and Pickr is no exception, but if you’ve been longing for a fast explanation streamed right you your eardrums so you didn’t have to read anything, well here it is.

So this week Apple ended months of rumours and speculation with the announcement of not just two phones replacing its now year old iPhones, but three, properly celebrating the tenth anniversary of the iPhone with a newly named iPhone X, a model that basically aims to be the one everyone wants, but will of course cost the proverbial arm and leg.

While the iPhone X is the expensive model, all three of Apple’s new iPhones feature similarities.

For instance, while the phones are all differently sized and priced, whether you pick an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or the coveted iPhone X, you’re buying a slightly refined model of the iPhone with a fully encased glass front and back instead of the usual aluminium design we’ve seen from Apple for the past few years.

You’ll also find the same insides regardless of which model you end up with, as Apple’s new A11 Bionic powers each phone, a new six core processor aimed at delivering improvements to speed, graphics, and performance efficiency. Even the same amounts of storage are to be found, as Apple slims down its storage options and offered either a 64GB model that’s almost entry level — almost — while a 256GB model will undoubtedly be the one you’ll want to go for.

Outside of this core set of specs, the iPhones are all a little different. There’s the 4.7 inch iPhone 8, the 5.5 inch iPhone 8 Plus with two cameras, or the 5.8 inch iPhone X with two cameras and a screen that runs almost edgeless across the front of the phone, something we’ve seen from Samsung and LG this year, but not yet from Apple.

That won’t be for everyone, though, because while it’s a future-friendly phone, it also attracts a price tag of either $1579 or $1829, no small feats.

Plus, not everyone will want a screen designed like that, which will no doubt attract a massive cost in replacing if you ever, you know, drop the thing. To put that into perspective, Samsung’s similarly designed Galaxy S8 carries a screen replacement fee of between $400 and $600, and Samsung is making the screens for the iPhone X, so make your own assumptions there.

All three are waterproof, however, but only the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will sport the fingerprint sensor, as Apple’s screen-based fingerprint sensor isn’t quite there yet, and that’s true of everyone. Samsung even had to move its sensor to the back because of this, but it at least included one.

If you buy the iPhone X, right now you’ll only get Face ID, a unique face-based security system that uses infrared tracking to determine if you are you before it unlocks. That’s different from the regular face unlock system of relying on the iris in the eye to log you in, something Samsung and Microsoft have both dabbled in.

Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised to find out the iPhone X also has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button upon release, because between masks and different types of head-covering clothing, it seems like there would be some easy ways to mess with Apple’s Face ID.

Fortunately, you will get the choice. If you want a new iPhone and prefer a fingerprint sensor, plus the way Apple has done things previously, you’ll find the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. And if you want a bigger screen and a more fashion-y design, there’s the expensive iPhone X. Frankly, we’re just confused by the iPhone 8 — the regular phone — since it’s basically a slightly refreshed regular sized phone.

But hey, you’ll get the choice between them all very soon, with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus arriving September 22, while the more expensive iPhone X will hit stores later, rocking up early November.

And Apple’s iPhone X wasn’t the only big deal Pickr checked out this week, with a nice pair of earphones from a company we’ve never heard of.

We like to be surprised, and surprised we were with TrndLabs’ Nova, a delightful and yet also thoroughly inexpensive pair of earphones that pack in a tremendous amount of value.

As a heads up, Trndlabs’ Nova earphones are those new style of earphones where there is no cord at all, kind of like the Apple AirPods but, you know, not white and toothbrush shaped, so consider these Bluetooth, wireless, and lacking any physical connection to a phone.

And that’s kind of what we like and want to see more of, and the Nova have a few neat tricks, too.

For starters they’re super small. These are basically minimalist earphones with a battery and a Bluetooth receiver in them, and one button controls. You do have to press the button on each to sync them up each time you wear them, but that’s a minor issue we can get around because another trick is the price: at $99, the Nova earphones are amazingly inexpensive, basically as cheap as wireless cheap earphones get.

And yet, they don’t sound bad either. We do feel they could do with a bit more bass, as they’re a little under where they should be, but they’re not the usual tinny crap you expect cheap earphones to be. Rather, they’re warm, with nice mids and good highs.

There’s one more trick we’re fans of: like all tiny wireless earphones, they come with a battery charging case. Unlike the rest, however, Trndlabs has provided a 2800mAh battery in the case to charge up other devices if you so choose.

So you can either keep boosting the 3 hour life of the Nova for a good 10 or 20 recharges, or you can charge your iPhone up. Maybe even that new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or iPhone X.

That’s it for us, though, because we’ve run out of time. Tune in next week for more news and a review, and we’ll catch you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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