It’s official. Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone is finally here and it’s called the iPhone X. The phone’s bezels have been basically eliminated, and its screen is bigger. And returning to a design element from years past, the new phone has a glass back, something we haven’t seen since the iPhone 4s.
The iPhone X will be available in space gray and silver, and like last year’s models, it’s both dust and water resistant.
For those of you who don’t often take a look outside of Cupertino’s walled garden, the iPhone X not only improves on previous iPhones, it also closes the gap even further between Apple’s phones and flagship Android devices thanks to new features such as wireless charging, facial recognition, and a stunning OLED display.
Design: A massive screen and a return to glass
Sporting an OLED panel instead of an LCD like on previous Apple handsets, the iPhone X’s Super Retina Display is not only more colorful than before, it also has more contrast and has a 2436 x 1125 resolution that’s higher than any iPhone before it. The most striking facet, however, is the iPhone X’s slim bezel-less design, which lets Apple pack a high-res 5.8-inch display into a body that’s smaller and more compact than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8.
Around the outside of the screen on what’s left of the tiny bezels that Apple couldn’t eliminate, are tiny black borders that appear to help blur where the screen ends and the rest of the phone begins. Some iPhone loyalists make take exception to the tiny cutout at the top of the screen where it bends around the X’s earpiece, but I think it’s a refreshing new design direction that simply lets the iPhone get the most out of its displa real estate.
Specs and features: Better performance, but where’s my home button?
On the performance side, Apple’s new A11 “Bionic” chip has a new six-core architecture that features two cores for heavy lifting, along with another four cores for improved energy efficiency. Then again, iPhones have never been a slouch in the speed department, so we’ll need some in-depth hands-on time to see if the A11's increase in performance is actually noticeable.
The addition of wireless charging is a big deal. Not only is it the first time Apple has included it on an iPhone, it’s a nod to the future and a boon to everyday usability. And with the success of Apple’s AirPods, it’s not inconceivable that an iPhone X could now go its entire lifetime without ever being plugged into to anything or having anything plugged into it. It also goes without saying that Apple didn’t bring back the headphone jack.
By this point, some of you may be wondering where the Apple’s traditional home button is. The answer is that it’s gone, killed in part by the X’s bezel-less design, which leaves no room for a Touch ID sensor below the screen. But don’t get too sad, because despite being the first iPhone without a home button, Apple has included new 3D facial recognition tech called Face ID which can unlock the phone just by seeing your face. When you want to actually go home, you’ll have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead tapping a button.
And unlike similar setups on other phones, Apple’s face-scanning tech uses multi-point infrared sensors to ensure that a simple photo of your face won’t grant access to someone shady. In fact, Apple says there’s just a 1-in-a-million chance that its Face ID sensor will be fooled by someone else’s mug, and the system is so smart, it can even tell when you are looking directly at it, or just in its direction.
Cameras: Apple’s dual cameras get even better
Around back, like the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X will also sport 12-megapixel dual rear cameras that both come with optical image stabilization. This will allow for a true 2x optical zoom along with Apple’s new beta Portrait Lighting photo mode, which creates a depth map to separate the subject from the background and then adjusts the lighting between foreground and midground to get the best results, all in real time.
Animoji: WTF are these
Apparently old-school, non-moving emojis aren’t good enough anymore, so Apple is upping its game with new emojis animated by your face, or Animjois, that will really bring your messages to life.
Price and availability
The iPhone X will start at $999 and will be available in 64GB or 256GB capacities. Pre-orders start October 27, with shipments going out on November 3.