2017 marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most significant consumer technologies in the 21st century, the iPhone. It was during the Macworld Keynote of 2007 when Steve Jobs enlightened the world with a device that changed the outcome of the mobile industry. To celebrate this important milestone, Apple introduced iPhone X (pronounced ten), a bezel-less and home-button-less smartphone, during their annual September event. The announcement of iPhone X was foreshadowed by its less-famous siblings known as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
The tech community has mixed feelings toward the introduction of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Both devices feature an A11 Bionic SoC that promised to deliver 25% more performance than A10 Fusion. With the inclusion of a glass rear, the iPhone 8/8 Plus became the first iPhone to adapt Qi-standard wireless charging. While the critics praised the performance of A11 Bionic, they were harsh on the exterior design, which remained visually unchanged since the iPhone 6. The iPhone 8/8 Plus also maintained a relatively large bezel when compared with other flagships of 2017. Clearly, the iPhone X has stolen the VIII’s spotlight and made them “obsolete” within half an hour.
Now let’s put our focus on the iPhone X, which is currently available for purchase (Expect 5-6 weeks shipping at the time of this journal). Although iPhone X shares the same chipset as its “predecessor” iPhone 8, its unique exterior design has completely changed what we used to think about iPhone. Apple has eliminated the iconic home button and enlarged the screen to the edge. Although the device shares a similar dimension with the iPhone 8, the screen size (5.5″) is actually larger than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5”). iPhone X is the first iPhone that carries an OLED True Tone display with 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi.
The other highlight of the device would be the dual camera system located above the screen. Apple calls it the TrueDepth Camera and its functionalities have surpassed any Android smartphone of the same category. With the removal of the home button along side TouchID, Apple decided to use your face as the password to authenticate your ownership. The TrueDepth Camera contains three other components other than the front facing camera. The Dot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots on to the user’s face in order to construct a unique facial map. The Inferred Camera reads the dot pattern and captures an infrared image of the face before verifying with the initial data in the Secure Enclave of A11 Bionic. The Flood Illuminator helps the smartphone to identify facial features in the dark.
Apple claims that the TrueDepth Camera is able to recognize its user’s face regardless of their head-wears or makeups. Additional functions of the TrueDepth Camera includes the ability to take Portrait selfies and make Animoji. Animoji is the animated version of standard emojis that carries your emotion. Just imagine yourself creating a Pixar movie with a smiling poop face!
As you can see, the iPhone X does carry a variety of “cool” features that easily lure the consumers. However, the price tag is a bummer for everyone considering this smartphone. The iPhone X starts at $999 USD or $1319 CAD without taxes. It is perhaps the most expensive consumer smartphone in the world.
The sole implementation of FaceID is a major factor that might disappoints some users. Traditional TouchID (Can’t believe I have to use the word traditional here) provided users with an convenient way to unlock their devices and authenticate Apple Pay. FaceID on the other hand is a bit of a bummer when you use it with Apple Pay. You’ll have to take an extra step of starring at your device whenever you try to pay. Facial recognition technology is not at the stage where consumers can safely rely for security authentication. A fingerprint reader is still faster and necessary for most authentications. Apple should really consider the possibility of implementing an under-screen fingerprint scanner for TouchID. In order to achieve the best result in smartphone security, FaceID should work alongside with TouchID instead of replacing it.
Another design flaws in my opinion would be the camera cutout at the top of the iPhone X. It is very awkward to see “bangs” appearing on a perfect display. Although the cutout houses some of the most advanced sensors on the iPhone X, it appears as if the screen is missing a part when a full screen application is launched. I wish Apple can find better solutions to house their front facing sensors. Solutions such as the integration of sensors on the screen edge are viable as proven by other smartphone vendor. Apple should consider lowering the vertical dimension of the screen in order to make room for the sensor. It is always a wise idea to retain a rectangular screen for the ease of programming. Ever since its debut, the iPhone X has made every app developers to scramble their code for the “bangs makeover”.
You might ask, what’s the purpose of releasing iPhone 8/8 Plus when Apple has the iPhone X. Well, they are simply transitional devices designed for old fashioned users who are not ready for the big overhaul. I wouldn’t recommend iPhone users to consider this generations of product especially if you are on a device that’s equivalent of iPhone 6s or later. The iPhone X on the other hand is a concept phone that represents Apple’s vision for a wireless and buttonless future. It is Cupertino’s response toward its Android competitors (Mostly Samsung, LG and Xiaomi) who came up with bezel-less smartphones before September.
Wait until Apple universalize their iPhone lineup into a family of bezel-less phones before stepping into a buttonless future. Until then, stick with your current iPhone and enjoy iOS 11! The iPhone X is great, but wait until it becomes the greatest.