10years after Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone with the “One more thing” line, Tim Cook did the same in the new Steve Jobs Theatre to announce iPhone X (Ten). iPhone X is the culmination of a decade of technology changes and adaptations and it looks to shape the decade ahead. I take a look at what the iPhone X brings to the table.
Design & Build
The original iPhone banished the keypad and replaced it with a single home button on the front, 10 years later Apple has gone ahead and taken away that famous button and left only the screen to interact with. The display is a 5.8inch edge to edge AMOLED screen which allows the phone to have a larger screen estate than the iPhone plus but contained within a smaller body. The screen being front and centre, Apple introduced “Super Retina Display” which takes it up to a Quad HD+ with a 2436 x 1125 resolution delivering impressive pixel density and sharper clearer pictures. They managed to fit the large screen in the small body due to employing the 2017 trend of going virtually bezel-less. No home button means no more need for the chin on the phone, allowing the screen to take over. Only a small strip protrudes the display at the top encasing a multitude of sensors and the front facing camera.
The iPhone X continues with IP68 rating making it water and dust resistant. The back panel is now also a sheet of glass making wireless charging a possibility via the AirPower pad due to be released in 2018. The phone will come in two colour variants, Space Gray and Silver.
The absence of the home button means Touch ID is now redundant, Replacing Touch ID is Face ID. A simple look at the screen and the phone unlocks. Apple claims this is the future of unlocking phones and says it’s a more secure method compared to fingerprints utilised in Touch ID (Although it did fail on stage during the demo). Face ID takes advantage of the front facing TrueDepth camera which is able to project 30,000 dots and map the user’s face. The success of Face ID will depend on its accuracy, speed and resistance to fakes. Apple is backing this new technology and has incorporated it into Apple Pay to work as an authenticator much like Touch ID was in previous models.
With no physical home button, the iPhone X will now be navigated through a series of gestures;
- Swipe Up – Returns to home screen from any app
- Swipe Up and Pause – Opens up multitasking
- Swipe down from top – Opens Control Centre
- Press & Hold on side button – Activates Siri
- Double Click of side button – Starts up Apple Pay
This will take some getting used to but all seem intuitive enough and with time will become second nature.
iPhone X comes back like previous models with a dual camera setup. This time the two 12MP lenses return with a redesigned larger and faster sensor. One camera provides a wide angle lens and the other comes with a telephoto lens, but what’s different from previous models is that both lenses are now equipped with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) reducing blurred photos from occurring even when zooming in on a subject. To make use of the improved camera Apple has introduced Portrait Lighting, pushing the limits of Portrait Mode further. This new feature will let you actively change the lighting while focused on the person in real time, effectively applying filters before shooting.
Speaking of cameras, up front the iPhone camera has a 7MP TrueDepth sensor. As previously mentioned this will be used to make Face ID work but there’s more. The Selfie camera now incorporates Portrait mode which was previously only reserved for the main camera modules on the back of the phone. This will now let its user produce BOKEH effect selfies and also enables the user to apply the new Portrait Lighting feature. It’s clear that the front camera and sensors have been a main area of focus at Apple for the iPhone 10 and it is going to be integral to the functioning and success of the device as a whole.
Combining the camera, with face tracking and proximity sensors, Apple has given emojis life in the form of Animoji. Animoji takes the detailed face tracking/mapping and applies this to some of the most common emojis including the Poo emoji, letting the user express their thoughts and feelings through an animated emoji.
iOS 11 has now created the largest AR ecosystem and its firmly embedded into the iPhone X. Apple is driving ahead with AR as being a core component of the future with AR Kit introduced to developers at WWDC and now incorporated into iOS 11 its means that iPhone is a core platform to build games, apps and tools that take advantage of AR and really push the boundaries of what’s currently available. This inclusion also gives developers a huge market and user base to which their apps and games can gain exposure to, Apple relies on its developers and this a is a key route to keep them engaged and within the ecosystem.
Having new hardware and features is well and good but there needs to be something powering all this good stuff and that is all down to the new A11 Bionic chipset. It is the most powerful and smartest chip placed in an iPhone ever, with a neural engine that is capable of up to 600 billion operations per second. Four efficiency cores in the 6 core setup, make up the CPU and is 70% faster than the preceding A10 Fusion chip. The remaining two cores act as performance cores and are clocked up 25% faster to manage all the new features and functions available to the user. A new 3 core GPU is 30% faster than the A10 Fusion and gives smooth gameplay throughout and rapid transitions between apps within the operating system. The battery has also received some improvements through a custom design and a second generation performance controller that achieves an extra two hours of battery life between charges compared to the iPhone 7.
iPhone X will be available in two versions, 64GB and 256GB which will be priced at £999 and £1149 respectively. Pre-Orders start on 27/10/2017 with a release date of 03/11/2017.
In the end 10 years later Apple has delivered the iPhone X a shift from the norm for an iPhone but an iPhone nonetheless. The new hardware and components all look good but are not mind blowing, what will make the difference is what Apple have always been excellent at and that is execution. Apple take features seen in phones across the market and execute them in a way that just makes it easier or more simple that lets the user fall in love with the device as a whole and I feel this will be the deciding factor again.
Tech Off Melon!