Wednesday, September 13, 2017

iPhone X

This seems like a device that you’d really have to try in person to evaluate. The screen is presumably great (OLED, P3, True Tone), but I can’t tell how much better from photos or videos. Does the larger screen provide much benefit given the odd shape? How hard is it to reach different parts of the screen, e.g. the top right corner for Control Center? How does it feel to gesture instead of pressing the home button? Is it uncomfortable to hold without a case like the iPhone 6s? How useful is Portrait Lighting? Switching apps by swiping the bottom of the display does look incredibly useful.

The main appeal of Face ID to me is that Touch ID sometimes has trouble with wet or dirty fingers, and it doesn’t work at all with gloves. However, if it’s true that Face ID doesn’t work with sunglasses or winter clothing that would be worse. And will having to look at it feel burdensome or slow? With Touch ID you can unlock the phone before it’s even facing you.

The notch seems to be the new camera bump, only worse. It doesn’t look good, it cuts into the content, and it seems to bring a lot of software complications and compromises. I can’t tell whether this is something everyone will get used to and forget about or whether it will be relentlessly mocked until Apple eventually changes the design.

Given the price and availability of the iPhone X, I think Apple succeeded in that the iPhone 8 looks perfectly fine in comparison. I will be really interested to see how well the iPhone 8 Plus sells. It does not seem to be obsoleted by the X.

If I were getting a new iPhone today, I would get another iPhone SE. I just love that size and how comfortable it is in the hand and pocket. I hope it gets an update soon, though. The design is fine, but I’d like to see a faster processor, wireless charging, water resistance, barometer, 3D Touch, and better cameras, display, and speakers. It’s a good deal at the current price, but I wish Apple didn’t couple the size and price.

Update (2017-09-15): Ken Segall:

Months ago, I suggested that this would be Apple’s big chance to right the naming ship after all the S silliness of the past. It would have been an extraordinary act of common sense to unite the entire 2017 iPhone family under a single umbrella.


Face ID looked amazing, and it’s not hard to imagine this technology being key to a more secure future.

But there was one little “huh?” moment. I’m talking about the two-step process of getting into the iPhone X. You show it your face, then you swipe up to see the home screen.

That’s one more step more than it takes with Touch ID.

John Gruber:

There were, of course, early attempts to embed a Touch ID sensor under the display as a Plan B. But Apple became convinced that Face ID was the way to go over a year ago. I heard this yesterday from multiple people at Apple, including engineers who’ve been working on the iPhone X project for a very long time. They stopped pursuing Touch ID under the display not because they couldn’t do it, but because they decided they didn’t need it.


I was wrong about what Apple would call it, but I still say every single point I made arguing that they would and should pronounce it “ex” was correct.


But what I dislike more than the notch isn’t the notch itself but that Apple is fully embracing the notch in software. I really wish their software design rendered the “ears” with black backgrounds while using apps. […] In landscape, the notch looks like a joke. I think Jony Ive either lost a bet or lost his mind. It looks silly, and to pretend otherwise is nonsense. I’m OK with this because I never use my phone in landscape other than when using the camera, watching videos, looking at photos, or playing games — and iOS 11 hides the notch with black bars by default in those use cases. But this looks just awful — and that screenshot was taken from Apple’s own video advising developers on how to handle the notch in their UIs.

Dean Jackson:

Apple has made a proposal to CSS about how to design for iPhone X's round corners and notch.

Craig Federighi:

Most sunglasses let through enough IR light that Face ID can see your eyes even when the glasses appear to be opaque.

Nick Heer:

With the iPhone X, though, both of the new charging features feel like a bit of a tease: neither a faster charger nor an inductive charging mat are included with the most premium, tomorrow’s-world-today iPhone model. I’m not complaining about the price of the iPhone X, for what it’s worth, nor am I necessarily making a value-for-money argument. But, given the premise of the iPhone X, I feel like bundling at least one of the two new charging features would have been welcomed.

See also: Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone X’s Controversial Notch, 50 New Features in iPhone X.

Update (2018-04-09): Mark Gurman:

Will the AirPower charger beat the Apple Watch for longest time between an Apple product announcement and release? If released after April 21st, then: Yes. It’s been a whopping 209 days since it was announced.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

My one thought watching the keynote was, "Is this the one where the SE gets the axe?"

One thing I don't understand is why they didn't just have a full width top bezel and avoid the "notch" - which is so wide anyway the little bits of screen at either side are hardly useful (or elegant).

Something like this perhaps:

(please forgive the poor quality mockup...)

On the other hand for cold climate regions. I can unlock the phone and look at the notifications without removing the gloves from my hands (since I only show previews when the phone is unlocked). Or perhaps buy gloves that work with touchscreens and interact with the phone without removing the gloves at all.

The SE is still a fantastic deal for those wanting a more than basic cell phone for not a whole lot of money....if you can find one of the prepaid deals currently floating about. Unlocking might prove troublesome and the phone might not be supported by other compatible MVNO and parent carriers out of the box either....but it's like $140-$199 right now.

I know, I know, "more than a basic cell phone" is a strange description for this 6s in 5 clothing, but if your primary computing device is your cell phone, I would argue 4" is a little small. For people with a tablet or PC, sure, the 4" size isn't a deal breaker.

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