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This week, everything you wanted to know about the 10th-anniversary edition iPhone, the iPhone X. Plus, a new Apple Watch is coming, and there’s a better Apple TV, too.

Apple’s announces three new iPhones, including iPhone X

The main features of iPhone X are the new screen (edge-to-edge, OLED), Face ID (facial recognition security and features), and wireless charging. It will cost $1,319 or $1,529 when it releases on November 3.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are updated versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, adding wireless charging.

Read more about the new phones in my article at the Straight.

Apple Watch Series 3 goes cellular

I’m very excited about the new Apple Watch, because Series 3 is swimproof and also gets cellular functionality. You still need an iPhone to make the Apple Watch work, the watch uses the same number as your iPhone, but now you can use the Apple Watch more independently. Read more about the Series 3 in my article at the Straight.

The way this is expected to work is that you’ll pay a surcharge on your wireless plan to be able to use your data on your watch.

It’s $519 in Canada when it comes out next Friday (September 22), but the catch is that only Bell is supporting the Series 3 cellular, and not in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where Bell doesn’t sell mobile devices. Telus support is “coming later this year,” and Rogers isn’t on Apple’s list of carriers at all.

I’m a Rogers customer, but if they can’t get on board to support the Apple Watch Series 3, I’m switching.

Apple TV ups the stakes on resolution and range

The new model is Apple TV 4K, and it not only delivers the higher-definition resolution, but also supports high-dynamic range (HDR) imagery. So if you’ve got a TV that can display the better picture, Apple TV 4K, with the same chip that is in the iPad Pro, will give you that picture.

The price of buying TV episodes and movies will not change despite the bump in visual quality. And if you bought an HD version of a film, you get the 4K version at no charge.

Canada is also getting the TV app, which means you can use your Apple TV as a tuner to access your local channels.

Live sports and live news are coming to the Apple TV app, too.

Apple TV 4K is available to preorder today, and will ship next Friday (September 22). It will cost $229 for a 32 GB hard drive, and $249 for a 64 GB hard drive.

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Everybody seems to think it’s crazy that Apple might be pricing the iPhone X at US$1,000 (about Can$1,200).

Here’s the price of the other premium handsets right now:

  • Essential Phone: $1,050
  • Google Pixel: $899 or $1,029 with more memory
  • Google Pixel XL: $1,049 or $1,179 with more memory
  • LG V20: $1,000
  • Samsung Galaxy S8: $1.035
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+: $1,115
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8: $1,300

$1,000 seems to be about the going rate, doesn’t it?

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Essential Phone debuts in Canada, Sin City goes all-in for VR, and five groups of Canadian students have qualified for the James Dyson Award. But first, how Waze is helping to keep our kids safe.

School’s back in session, and Waze wants you to slow down in school zones

People need to slow down in school zones. No matter where you are in Canada, the speed limit in a school zone is 30 km/h.

Now maybe the people I see speeding through school zones just haven’t seen the street signs. You know the ones, with the silhouette of a couple of kids walking?

Waze, my favourite navigation app, has incorporated school zone data, and is now sending an alert to users whenever they enter a school zone.

The initiative is supported by Honda Canada, and it’s a fantastic idea. Waze users have no excuse for speeding through the school zones any more.

Essential Phone looks to make a dent in premium smartphone market

While everyone’s talking about the new Samsung Galaxy Note8, released last week, or the new iPhones from Apple that will be revealed on Tuesday, a new high-end smartphone has been quietly released.

The Essential Phone sports an edge-to-edge display, 128 GB storage, dual cameras, and is constructed of ceramic and titanium which, the manufacturer suggests, makes the device strong enough that you don’t need to buy a protective case.

Thinner and smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus, the 5.7-inch screen is actually bigger. Essential has a 19:10 aspect ratio, which makes it more square than the Galaxy S8.

Modular accessories for the Essential Phone, like the forthcoming 360-degree camera, attach to the device with magnets and are hot-swappable: click the camera on the handset and it works; remove it and the functionality turns off.

Essential, the company, was created by Andy Rubin, who founded Android, which was later acquired by Google and became the company’s mobile operating system. His new phone is available in Canada exclusively at Telus. It will cost $290 on a two-year plan, and $1,050 outright.

Virtual reality arena opens at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Vegas is already a playground, and now you can go to Sin City to fight zombies.

Today, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas opened up a free-roaming VR experience in Level Up, the resort’s gaming lounge.

Up to eight players can be in the 2,000 square foot room. Each player wears a VR headset attached to a backpack computer. The experience are 30-minutes long, and there are three adventures: two of them are shooters in which players fight against either zombies or killer robots, and the third is a physics-based puzzle game.

The VR is provided by Australia-based Zero Latency, which has VR gaming arenas across the U.S. as well as in Madrid, Melbourne, Osaka, and Tokyo.

Level Up sessions cost US$50 per player.

Canadian winners of the James Dyson Award

Projects from five groups of smart Canadian students are moving on to the final round of the James Dyson Award.

Robert Brooks and Justin Wee, two PhD students at the University of Toronto are the Canadian winners. Their project, ForceFilm is a thin material that can be used by surgeons to provide real-time feedback on how much force is being applied through surgical instruments.

You can see how ForceFilm works in the video below.

The four runners-up in the Canadian competition were selected from 41 projects submitted for consideration.

A panel of engineers from Dyson will select 20 projects from the international finalists, and one project will be awarded the grand prize, Can$50,000 for the students and $8,500 for the school.

Canadian scientists, engineers, and innovators tend to do well in this competition. In the past three years, a Canadian team has made the shortlist of 20 finalists.

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