New devices coming onto the market are met with praise, confusion, hating, loving, and, perhaps most importantly for companies, willing early adopters. As someone who spends a lot of time checking out new digital technologies, Apple’s newest device really piqued my interest.
Ten days ago, I unpacked my shiny new iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) with huge expectations. What has been described as the “ultimate iPhone” and what Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive described as what they have been trying to do for over a decade, the iPhone X is a game-changer in the iPhone product line. Many people in our class have asked me what my impression of the device has been so far, so I’ll take a look at several things here. Although I did indeed have some problems getting my device activated originally, those problems went away quickly and I have been enjoying my time so far with the device.
My previous phone was an Apple iPhone 7, which was slightly smaller than my new iPhone X. The iPhone X is noticeably heavier than my iPhone 7, likely due to the change in materials for the back case (going from aluminum to glass) and the band that wraps around the phone’s edges (going from aluminum to stainless steel). As you know already, the front of the phone is nearly entirely display with the exception of a small area that has become known as “the notch,” which is where the Face ID sensors are located (more on that later). The large display, which is the largest ever put on an iPhone (even bigger than the 6/7/8 Plus models) is stunning in terms of quality and I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to a smaller screen or a phone with large top and bottom bezels again after having experienced this type of edge to edge display.
The Home Button
There is no physical home button on the iPhone X. Apple has replaced the mechanical home button with a touch gesture that requires users to swipe up a large white or black bar (depends on the background of the app) to return to the home screen. Another use of the home button of old was to open up the multitasking menu to easily switch apps. This is still possible, through the use of another gesture which requires the user to swipe up on the white or black bottom bar and hold their finger in place for a brief moment (it can be done much more quickly than the GIF below shows). These two home button changes, while they seem like a major change for users, really only take a few short minutes to get used to and then require no further thought. We are better at adapting to changes than we think! I have had very little trouble adapting to this change as the physical movement is quite similar and still achieves the same simple result.
Goodbye Touch ID
Perhaps the most controversial and worrying part of the iPhone X for consumers is the device’s new Face ID authentication system, which replaces the outgoing fingerprint-based Touch ID. Rather than relying on a direct contact with the device as Touch ID did, Face ID uses a complex system of sensors to create a 3D image of your face and uses this to authenticate and unlock. Face ID data is stored locally on the iPhone just as the Touch ID data was.
My take on Face ID is that it has, for me, easily replaced the Touch ID authentication system. I simply tap on the screen on my device to wake it (no need to press the power button), look at it, and it unlocks and allows me to go to the Home Screen. Easy as that. It does not open the device for my roommates or anyone else, and I do not have an evil twin. Personally, I am not worried about my Face ID being hacked or something through the use of an elaborate mask or anything as has become popular in the media lately, so I find the system to be secure enough for my purposes. There are some people, though, that feel that the system is insecure because there is a chance that a twin or elaborate mask can be used to open it. For this very small percentage of people, either purchasing a different device or turning off the Face ID feature would solve their problems. I have, like the other features, gotten used to the new system very quickly and don’t have any regrets about switching.
The iPhone X, starting at US$999 for the 64 GB model and going up to US$1149 for the 256 GB model, is the most expensive iPhone to be released. This presents a significant $200 premium over similarly-equipped iPhone 8 models and is likely a major barrier to folks who are interested in upgrading to the latest and best iPhone. The price was definitely a major consideration for me, but ultimately my participation in the iPhone Upgrade Program allowed me to upgrade easily and without a huge upfront payment that I was unwilling to make.
I previously had a 128 GB iPhone 7 under the iPhone Upgrade Program that cost me $36.58 per month through a loan that paid for the upfront cost of the phone. After 12 months of paying that, I was eligible to trade in that phone and upgrade. I now have a 64 GB iPhone X and pay $49.51 per month, which is a $12.93 per month increase. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you feel you can justify the cost. As someone who loves having new gadgets to play with, I had no problem with this expense.
My experience thus far with the iPhone X has been very good overall, but there are two things that annoy me:
- Some apps, like Spotify, have not yet been updated to accommodate for the larger screen size and change in display aspect ratio, meaning that there are large black bars at the top and bottom. This is similar to when you watch a widescreen movie on your laptop. Hopefully these apps are updated shortly.
- The battery percentage meter is not visible unless you go into the Control Center, which requires a downward swipe from the top right corner. Battery life has been very good for me so far, so I don’t feel like I need to check this often, but it is a small annoyance.
With those things in mind, I would still definitely recommend the device to anyone looking for a substantial experiential upgrade.
Have any questions for me about my experiences with the iPhone X? Leave them below and I will get back to you with an answer!