Apple's iPhone 8 Plus comes with an upgraded processor and improved camera abilities at a premium price.
When does the iPhone 8 Plus come out? Pre-sales from 15 September 2017, available from 22 September 2017
What’s new about the iPhone 8 Plus ? A11 Bionic processor, improved dual lens camera
How much does the iPhone 8 Plus cost? $1229 (64GB) or $1479 (256GB)
What is the Apple iPhone 8 Plus?
Apple's standard for its iPhone lines stretching all the way back to the iPhone 3G/3Gs is to release a full number upgrade in even-numbered calendar years, followed the next year by an iterative improvement with an "s" suffix. Except that in 2017 it has dropped the 's' upgrade plan in favour of phones simply called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Which, if you're curious, is pronounced as 10.
The iPhone 8 features a 5.5 inch "Retina HD" display, although it's worth remembering that "Retina" is an Apple marketing term, not some kind of scientific standard. In resolution terms you're looking at a 1920x1080 display at 401ppi. Apple's claim for the iPhone 8 Plus screen is that it incorporates its "True Tone" technology. True Tone dynamically adjusts the white balance of the display relative to your surroundings to keep colours natural as you look at them on the display screen.
Apple will produce the iPhone 8 plus in three colours, silver, gold and space grey. The space grey model features a black front bezel where the gold and silver variants both have white front bezels. While the iPhone 8 Plus is identifiably an iPhone in design terms, looking fairly similar to last year's iPhone 7 Plus, the new design element is glass at both the front and back of the phone. While Apple has had previous iPhone models with glass backs, here it's not just a visual element but also an assistive one for the iPhone 8 Plus' wireless charging capability.
The size of the iPhone 8 Plus isn't markedly changed from last year's iPhone 7 Plus, measuring in at 158.4x78.1x7.5mm with a carrying weight of 202 grams. Or in other words, it's a large phone, and markedly one of the heavier handsets in the market today.
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Is the iPhone 8 Plus powerful?
All of Apple's new iPhones for 2017 run on the same core A11 Bionic processor, which is a 6-core, 64-bit 10nm chip. Apple hasn't noted how much RAM each model will come with, but if it follows previous trends, the iPhone 8 Plus may be a little better equipped in this department than the iPhone 8, but possibly in a lesser position compared to the iPhone X.
Apple's claims around the A11 Bionic is that it's up to 70% more efficient than previous iPhone processor generations, and while that's a claim that needs careful testing, it certainly shows promise. Apple is heavily hyping the use of Augmented Reality via its ARKit platform, and that will need some serious processing power behind it.
Will the iPhone 8 Plus have a good camera?
One of the primary reasons to opt for the iPhone 7 Plus over the iPhone 7 was the inclusion of a dual lens camera with 2x telephoto lens, opening up the possibilities for iPhone photography even further.
That's a trend that has carried through to the iPhone 8 Plus, which features dual rear 12MP cameras, with the wide angle carrying an f/1.8 aperture while the telephoto lens boasts an f/2.8 aperture. New this year is what Apple's calling "Portrait Lighting", which allows the camera to dynamically adjust lighting to suit user's taste based on analysis of the scene in front of it.
Apple has generally been a very strong competitor in the smartphone camera space, and we'd expect this to continue for the iPhone 8 Plus, although it's saving the very best of its camera smarts for the iPhone X.
How do I charge the iPhone 8 Plus?
Like its predecessors, the iPhone 8 Plus will charge via Apple's own Lightning connector for cabled charging purposes, but the new feature this year is the inclusion of wireless charging using the Qi standard. Any Qi charger should work for the iPhone 8 Plus, although Apple will also develop its own accessories for wirelessly charging its peripherals.
Apple never officially releases battery capacity figures for its phones, so we'll have to wait for third-party teardowns to see exactly what kind of battery the iPhone 8 Plus is packing. Apple's claim for the iPhone 8 Plus is that it "lasts about the same as iPhone 7 Plus", and that's decent news given that the 7 Plus was one of the first iPhones to offer decent and feasible all-day battery life.
Is the iPhone 8 Plus water resistant?
The iPhone 8 Plus is IP67 rated for water resistance. Apple doesn't recommend charging the iPhone 8 Plus while it's wet, and specifically calls out water damage as something it doesn't cover under warranty in Australia, however.
When will the iPhone 8 Plus be available in Australia?
Apple will open up pre-sales for the iPhone 8 Plus at 5:01pm on 15 September 2017 with retail availability from 22 September 2017. Those times and dates are also when major telcos will open up plan-based pre-orders and delivery for the iPhone 8 Plus as well.
How much does the iPhone 8 Plus cost?
Apple's entire positioning for every iPhone is that it's a premium luxury product, and that means that they're never inexpensive. That's especially true for the larger iPhone 8 Plus, although it's very much eclipsed by pricing on the iPhone X.
Specifically, the iPhone 8 Plus will cost $1,229 outright for the 64GB version, while the 256GB variant will set you back $1,479. That actually represents a very small price cut against its predecessors, where a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus would cost you $1,269 outright and the top tier 256GB variant retailed at $1,569.
iPhones are phenomenally popular here in Australia, and all the major carriers, including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile will offer iPhone 8 Plus handsets on contract terms as well. At the time of writing, only Vodafone has announced what it will charge for a contract-based iPhone 8 Plus handset, but we'll update as soon as the other carriers announce their plans.
Given Apple's pricing and market position, expect significant handset repayment premiums on top of your contract. We'll update as each carrier announces its iPhone plans so you can easily compare.
iPhone 8 Plus Specifications
- Product Name
- iPhone 8 Plus
- Display Size
- 5.5 inches
- Apple A11 Fusion
- Operating System
- iOS 11
- Front camera
- Rear camera
- Dual lens 12MP with dual optical image stabilisation
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