Apple’s $999 iPhone X packs an edge-to-edge display and dual cameras
The iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) is real, and it’s finally here. CEO Tim Cook just unveiled the biggest redesign of the iPhone we’ve seen yet, at today’s event in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s brand-new campus. As expected, the phone is dominated by a massive screen that takes up the entire front of the display. Just as on Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the bezels are barely there, though the iPhone X has a slightly odd “cutout” at the top of the phone to allow for the front-facing camera and sensors. The lack of bezels means the phone isn’t that much bigger than the iPhone 7.
The “Super Retina” display is 5.8 inches, with a 2436 x 1125 resolution — that works out to 458 pixels per inch, by far the highest ever seen on an iPhone. Phil Schiller also notes that it’s an OLED screen, the first that’s “good enough” for an iPhone. The screen supports HDR, and naturally includes 3D Touch technology and the “True Tone” display found on the iPhone 8 and iPad Pro.
To accommodate this giant display, Apple has ditched the home button and Touch ID. You can raise the phone to wake it up, but you can also tap the screen to do the same. Given that every iPhone has had a home button, this change might even be a bigger deal than the bigger screen. To get home, Apple has added gestures like the ones we’ve seen on the iPad for years — a swipe up from the bottom gets you back to the home screen, while swiping up and pausing will bring you to the multitasking menu. To access Siri, you can say “Hey Siri” or hold the side button, which Apple has enlarged. The phone is wrapped with stainless steel and has glass on the front and back; surprisingly, it comes in only two finishes: silver and black.
To replace Touch ID, the iPhone X is locked until you look at it and it recognizes you. Apple is calling this “Face ID.” It uses the front-facing camera as well as other sensors, including an infrared sensor, flood illuminator and dot projector, to unlock the phone. (Apple refers to it as a True Depth sensor.) It’ll update your face scan frequently to account for changes like haircuts, hats and beards. Schiller says it’s a one-in-a-million chance that someone else’s face would unlock your phone, as compared with one in 50,000 for Touch ID.
Face ID will also let you authenticate Apple Pay purchases — by clicking the side button twice and looking at the screen, your phone will make the desired payment. And Apple’s also using the True Depth sensors to let you create and share animated emojis. The company is starting with a dozen different emojis (most of them animals) that you can animate using your face.
As for the camera, it’s a dual camera, much like that on the iPhone 8 — it has dual 12-megapixel sensors with a f/1.8 aperture on the wide end and f/2.4 on the telephoto lens. The big thing to note here is that both lenses have optical image stabilization, while the iPhone 8 Plus has only OIS on the wide-angle lens. It also features factory calibration on the cameras, for augmented reality, as well as the new software-enhanced “Portrait Lighting” mode found in the iPhone 8 Plus.
The processor is the same as the A11 Bionic chip found in the new iPhone 8, and it sounds like a big step up over last year’s processor. It’s a six-core CPU, with two high-performance cores. Those high-performance cores are 25 percent faster than the A10’s, while the four high-efficiency cores are 70 percent faster than the A10’s. Apple also designed the GPU for the first time and says that it’s optimized for the company’s Metal 2 graphics framework.
Despite all the new features and power of the A11 chip, Schiller says that the phone should last two hours longer than the iPhone 7. Like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone X will also include wireless charging for the first time. To facilitate this, the entire iPhone lineup now has glass backs, just like the iPhone 4 and 4S had many years ago. Somewhat surprisingly, Apple is using Qi, one of the biggest open wireless charging standards. That means that plenty of wireless charging pads out there should work with the iPhone X right out of the box.
Naturally, Apple has made its own charging mat that can accommodate the iPhone X or iPhone 8, as well as the series 3 Apple Watch and the AirPods, provided you buy a new wireless charging case for them. It’s called AirPower, but it doesn’t come out until next year, unfortunately.
There are a few changes when it comes to navigating iOS, to accommodate for the lack of a home button. Since swiping up from the bottom gets you home or to multitasking, you now access Control Center by swiping down from the top of the screen. You need to hit the targets on the left or right, where your status and battery indicator live, to do that, though. Apple hasn’t shown the notification center yet, but we’re guessing you can get it by swiping down from the middle of the screen.
One of the biggest questions about the iPhone X has been its cost. It’ll start at $999 for 64GB, and the 256GB model will likely run an extra $100. Pre-orders start on October 27th, and the phone will begin shipping on November 3rd. Start saving your couch change, folks.
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