Apple today unveiled the tenth-anniversary iPhone X, in possibly the most anticipated product announcement since Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007. The new phone–pronounced “iPhone 10”–is meant to be a departure from previous iPhones and an evolution in the way we use smartphones.
The “X” contains a number of features that are completely new to iPhones, including 3D facial recognition technology and an OLED display.
It’s a departure visually, too, forgoing the rounded metal edges and back for an all-glass front and back with a stainless steel frame around the edges.
It’s the first iPhone with a super-bright 5.8-inch “Super Retina” OLED display with 2436 x 1125 resolution (supplied by Samsung). The front of the phone is almost completely taken up by it. The edges of the display curve downward into the design of the sides of the phone. There’s a small rectangular inlet at the top of the phone for the front-facing cameras and facial recognition sensor. The display is brighter, more colorful, and more power-efficient than the LED displays of past iPhones. It also uses Apple’s TrueTone, which adjusts white levels and brightness based on the ambient light around the device, and it supports HDR video.
Under the hood, the iPhone X is powered by a new 6-core A11 Bionic processor, which also appears in the iPhone 8.
The iPhone 7 line was somewhat waterproof, but was not guaranteed as such by Apple. The company now says the iPhone X is water and dust resistant, but at the moment it’s unclear whether it has an IP68 rating as previously rumored.
In the absence of the home button and TouchID, the new iPhone X uses new 3D facial recognition technology–branded as “Face ID”–as the main authentication method for unlocking the phone and doing Apple Pay transactions. Apple says the method has a 1 in a million chance of being unlocked by someone else’s face.
The facial recognition sensors have some fun applications, too. New 3D “Animoji” for Messages that move with the movements of your head, mimic your facial expressions, and can even say your words. The head and face movements are tracked by a new 3D laser/sensor on the front of the phone.
Home Button Functions
The functionality of the home button has been distributed to other parts of the phone. How do other basic phone functions work without the home button? Users can tap the screen to wake it from sleep and swipe up to get back to the home screen. A thin horizontal bar at the bottom of the phone’s apps will serve as a place to swipe up to move between apps. The iPhone’s side button will also get some new duties. Double clicking the button will bring up Apple Pay, while pressing and holding the button will activate Siri.
The iPhone X features two 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras, with quad-LED flash and optical image stabilization. The front facing camera is 7-megapixels and includes a background-blurring Portrait Mode similar to what debuted on the iPhone 7 Plus last year.
The “X” comes with a significantly larger battery than the iPhone 7, lasting two hours longer on a charge. It also features Qi wireless charging like the iPhone 8, but Apple is also creating its own mat that can charge multiple devices (including an Apple Watch). The mat is coming next year, and Apple says it’s working with Qi to incorporate the underlying technology, called AirPower, into other wireless charging devices in the future.
iPhone X starts at $999 with 64 GB of storage. Preorders begin on October 27, and the phone starts shipping on November 3.