iPhone X: What’s the Big Deal?

iPhone X: What’s the Big Deal?

Seasons change, career goals change, and it’s time to embrace change once again as Apple has released the iPhone X! Today, people are waiting anxiously for their new iPhone to be shipped and others are asking the big question, “Should I upgrade?” This iteration of Apple’s flagship phone boasts lots of change with a larger 5.8in screen, all glass design, Face ID, an infamous notch in the display, and much more.

Currently, I own an iPhone 6s and, although it is starting to get “old”, it does its job for my needs, given my everyday usage. This is coming from someone who develops mobile apps for a living. That isn’t, however, to say that there aren’t new and exciting features introduced in the iPhone X that are tempting me to upgrade.

How do we use it?

Apple focuses heavily on meaningful interactions to make the experience seamless. For authentication, they started with the iconic “slide to unlock” to reach the home screen. Eventually, with fingerprint recognition and the introduction of Touch ID, there was no need to slide the screen to unlock. Now there is a brand new way to unlock the phone with Face ID, using facial recognition software.

With the new interface for the iPhone X, there is no more home button! This results in new and innovative gestures that are introduced in the iPhone X which are absent in the iPhone 8 and older models. Now the interaction is based on looking directly at the phone to unlock, swiping up, raising the phone, or tapping on the screen. To access Siri, you can either activate it by voice via “Hey Siri” or using a long press of the side button located on the iPhone X.

What is Face ID?

Face ID

Let’s talk about Face ID. Apple’s new biometric face scanning technology is likely the most exciting and most revolutionary feature the iPhone X has to offer. This is by far the biggest upgrade the iPhone has seen in a while. An upgrade like this was greatly needed, given the recent trend of minor hardware and software upgrades announced at Apple keynotes.

Face ID is a new technology which is able to scan a person’s face and detect what you look like in 3D, even in the dark – using infrared scanners! That is super cool! By just looking at your phone, you can have it seamlessly unlock to access your favourite apps. You can also use Apple Pay with Face ID, and can even create funny “Animojis” based on your face structure! That’s all novelty though. The real gains come with security. Face ID is touted by Apple to be the most secure biometric security option they’ve ever used. In their keynote, Apple stated that the chances of a random finger unlocking your phone is 1 in 50,000. Going off of that number alone, Face ID is 20x more secure than Touch ID – with 1 in a million odds that an unauthorized face will be able to bypass Face ID. According to Apple, Face ID will recognize you even if you grow a beard, wear glasses or a hat after Face ID is set up. It seems Apple has thought about everything with this one!

What’s up with the screen?

The screen on any smartphone is vital to the experience when interacting with the device. By minimizing the bezel, the iPhone X has the largest screen out of all the phones Apple has created, and the super retina, true tone display is stunning, to say the least.

Apple iPhone X Top

The great thing is that even though the screen is bigger, the size of the device is in between that of an iPhone 7 and 7+. Personally, I tried using the iPhone 7+ when it came out and it was so big it hurt my hand! However, the great thing about the iPhone X is that the width is only 0.15 inches larger than that of an iPhone 7, and the height is only 0.21 inches taller; the increase in size is miniscule to say the least if this was an issue you were worried about. After having held the device I can safely say that the hand-feel of the iPhone X is great. The phone grips well and, with the aid of reachability, is easy to use. The iPhone X has gorilla glass on both sides of the phone.

Another big change in the screen is the introduction of OLED technology. The iPhone X makes the big switch over to OLED screens, which allows for sharper images, true blacks, and vibrant colours. The screen has a 2436 x 1125 resolution (458ppi), which is a higher resolution than any other iPhone! For anyone who truly values a vivid, bright, crisp display I’ll say the iPhone X is a definite heavy hitter… but for one thing. The infamous notch!

Reducing the bezel on the display while adding new hardware is a challenge that comes with costs. The biggest one here being a notch that penetrates the display and can impede certain views – particularly in fullscreen mode. Is this a big deal? The answer, in my opinion, is not as much as you might think. Most developers are aware of the notch and are taking it into consideration in their designs.

Does it last longer?

The iPhone X introduces wireless charging and a better battery life than other models; specifically, Apple claims that the iPhone X provides up to 2 hours more than the iPhone 7. Additionally, the X supports Qi wireless chargers which are commonly found in hotels and cafes. This makes it more convenient to charge your phone when you are away from home.

Apple AirPower Mat

Apple is also introducing the AirPower mat which lets you charge multiple devices such as the iPhone X, Apple Watch, and Airpods at the same time. The AirPower mat is expected to be released in 2018.

Interestingly, even though the iPhone X is capable of supporting fast charging (50% battery charge in 30 minutes), the iPhone X does not ship with the USB-C adaptor which makes this possible.

How’s the camera?

The camera is an important aspect of the iPhone experience and is one of the most compelling reasons to purchase the iPhone X. The iPhone X introduces an updated camera system which can shoot 4K video at 60fps. Image stabilization is supported to ensure that you have clean, crisp, images and videos.

The iPhone X has an excellent camera that allows for portrait mode on both the front and back cameras. This means that you can capture vivid images while also controlling the blur effects from both the front and back lenses.

You can also simulate studio lighting, which allows you to change where the light is coming from or remove the light in the background completely to capture unique photos that will surely wow your friends.

iPhone X portrait mode stage light mono

Is it faster?

In this day and age, speed is key. This is something Apple is well aware of. The iPhone X features a brand new A11 Bionic processor which results in 20% faster dual-core speeds, and 70% quad-core speeds. This is a significant increase in speed from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone X.

Is it more secure?

Apple is often commended for their excellence when it comes to security. They understand that security is paramount for their users and take exceptional care to ensure that their devices are equipped with security features that leave users at ease. The iPhone X is no exception.

With Face ID, no one else can view notifications that pop up on the lock screen. Just by looking at the device you can unlock the phone and view your notifications; then you can access your home screen and everything else just by swiping up.

Apple states that:

“The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID).”

Face ID is definitely more secure than Touch ID overall. However, with all revolutionary technology, even Face ID isn’t perfect by any means. Two sets of identical twins tested out Face ID, only to find false matches in both cases; you can find out more here.

That being said, these tests are early and if Apple can reinforce the accuracy of Face ID, it won’t just be secure, but also a more natural way to interact with your phone.

So, should I get it?

The iPhone X is a great phone with a whole set of new features. That being said, there are a lot of changes that will take some getting used to. It is definitely different not having a headphone jack, home button or fingerprint scanner. With Face ID, it should be a lot easier to have access to the phone, but we will miss those conveniences. However, having to learn a new set of gestures can be quite cumbersome and there may be a steep learning curve for some.

If Face ID is as robust as people believe it to be, and if you need an upgrade for better videos, the iPhone X is a great phone to purchase… if you can get over the price point.

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