I’m going to skip over the iPhone 8. It’s not important. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. It was literally overshadowed in a matter of minutes today when soon after its introduction, Apple unveiled its flagship iPhone 10 (stylized as iPhone X). While in terms of looks, this is a huge leap forward from the iPhone 7, the most exciting feature of the iPhone X is not the new design language.
Here’s a quick rundown of the iPhone X’s features:
- 5.8-inch OLED Super Retina Display
- IP67 Water & Dust resistance
- Wireless Charging Capability
- Face ID w/ True Depth camera
- Near bezel-less display
- Improved camera
- 64/256 GB base storage capacity
- Comes with iOS 11
- A11 Bionic chip
While many of these features may be new to consumers who have only used Apple devices, the same features have been familiar to Android users for years. OLED (Organic LED) displays have long been a staple of popular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy and Note series, LG V30, Moto Z2, OnePlus 5, and the Meizu Pro 7 to name a few. Many of these same phones have had wireless charging capabilities for a while. The Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 already reined in the year with their near bezel-less displays.
Of the features listed above and presented today, perhaps the most exciting are the Face ID with True Depth camera and the improved Augmented Reality capabilities.
I was excited to see Face ID added as a new feature. Biometric security is all the rage these days. Not only do they provide an extra layer of security, but they also feel incredibly futuristic. I love the feeling of unlocking my Galaxy S8 with the Iris Scanner; all it takes is a quick glance and I have the world at my fingertips. Apple’s new Face ID uses a similar concept, except it uses its newly improved front sensors to map out the geography of your face. According to Apple, this feature will work even with glasses or different hair styles, and in the dark as well.
Another exciting aspect of today was the demonstration of AR capabilities. Whereas companies like Samsung are going all in on making their phones compatible with VR (virtual reality), Apple is going the opposite direction. I think honestly, at least for the time being, AR is the way to go. Not only is it more fun and less effort, but it’s also more accessible (assuming you can afford a premium phone). After all, getting a comparably priced Note 8 would still mean you would have to purchase a Gear VR separately to experience virtual reality. AR, on the other hand, comes with the phone. It also allows for easy sharing of those experiences by sending those videos and photos to your friends. This sort of sharing is not really possible with VR unless your friends also happen to have VR glasses. Plus, VR glasses are still largely clunky and unwieldy.
The iPhone X is 10 years in the making. Don’t get me wrong; the iPhone X will likely be a remarkable device. If you’re due for an upgrade and have $999 to spare, this is an excellent choice. However, I couldn’t help but feel that on this 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone, the new device was lacking in that wow factor that put iPhone front-and-center in the tech world. This contrast between the first iPhone and the current iteration, was especially stark given that clips of Steve Jobs and the first iPhone were shown right before today’s presentation started.