On September 12th of 2017 Apple set out to announce the newest model of iPhone as happens almost every September. We got the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are evolutionary iterations over last year's iPhone 7. As the event wrapped there was One More Thing...
(pronounced ten, not ex)
The iPhone X is what amounts to an anniversary model. It was 10 years ago in January 2007 that the iPhone was announced and it later went on sale in June of that year. The smartphone market was never the same after that.
The iPhone X is a revolutionary change to the iPhone line compared to previous years evolution changes. The iPhone X is revolutionary for a number of reasons. Eagle eyed watchers will say what they usually say, the iPhone X isn't revolutionary, certain manufacturer has been using OLED displays for years. Or others have moved towards a bezel-less display as well. The iPhone X is revolutionary for these reasons and many more.
The large display of the iPhone X is its core feature. The large edge to edge display forced a number of design considerations. First and foremost this meant that the home button as we knew it was going to be removed. Secondly the screen of the iPhone X is an OLED screen which makes it one of the most vibrant ever used in an iPhone. Yes -- OLED screens have been used in smartphones before Apple's design methodology makes it unique. Thirdly and perhaps most surprisingly (for now) the finger print reading system known as TouchID has been removed and replaced with a new technology called FaceID.
Anyone who knows me will know that I have long awaited the day when we would get an iPhone with no buttons. We're almost there, the iPhone X still has volume and a lock/power button. This is what makes this iPhone revolutionary, for 10 years anyone who has used an iOS device has had the comfort of knowing that the single button at the bottom of the device will bring you back to the home screen. That's not the case anymore. the home button and its surrounding features have been replaced with a set of gestures. For example, to return home one now swipes up from the bottom of any application. Anything accessible through a button is now accessible via a touch gesture.
For a long time Apple's displays were the choice of media professionals. If someone was working in the photo or video industry, there's a good chance they were using an Apple display. The iPhone 4 was the first Apple device to use a "Retina Display", a high DPI screen that prevents the actual pixels from being seen at viewing distance. Just like high resolution displays were available prior to the iPhone 4, the weren't ubiquitous. The iPhone X adopting OLED displays is a sign that going forward this is the technology that Apple sees as important for display technology.
The finger print reader and TouchID has been removed. This was most surprising and it remains to be seen if the replacement, FaceID is as easy to use and as secure. Nonetheless there were reports of technological limitations of getting a finger print reader to work through the display, hence why the feature was omitted. Apple could have elected to put the finger print reader on the back of the device but that's something that Android devices have done and isn't very Apple like. So how is the removal of a feature revolutionary? It paves the way for FaceID to become a main stage feature or it allows for the finger print reader to be re-added to a future version of the iPhone X line of devices once the technological barriers of having a finger print reader in the screen are solved.
For the last decade Apple has been a mover in the smartphone and portable computing industry. It wasn't until the last couple years that the competition has started to catch up. That catch up took Google making its own hardware and shipping Google-experience Android phones. It also took Microsoft completely re-thinking their mobile strategy and coming out with Windows 10. It also took the cloud infrastructure of the modern internet to make smartphones truly mobile.
The iPhone X is to what the original iPhone was in 2007. The iPhone X is a premium smartphone with advanced technology, it's almost a technological preview of what the future has in store. While the price is high today, remember in 2007 that the original iPhone was sold sans-contract and still gained a massive following. Later that technology became mainstream and fit so very nicely into our hands. We can expect the same for the iPhone X.