January 9, 2007 went down in history as the day when Apple outlined the future of smartphones during an unforgettable, 100-minute-long keynote. Steve Jobs himself introduced a hand-held device revolutionary at the time – one that let you effortlessly access the web, that contained the rich multimedia capabilities of an iPod, one that was also a really, really good cellular phone. iPhone, it was simply called.
Today we witnessed the unveiling of a device marking the 10th anniversary of Apple's hugely influential mobile phone. Introducing the Apple iPhone X.
Design and display: simply stunning
The iPhone X is Apple's first iPhone with an AMOLED display
Whether we like it or not, leaks spoiled the fun by showing us what the iPhone X (pronounced "iPhone ten") would look like weeks ahead of its official announcement. But nonetheless, it is a product worthy of excitement. The standout design feature of the iPhone X is its display filling most of its front side. It is an AMOLED display, as predicted: a so-called Super Retina Display combining all the benefits of OLED technology, such as the great contrast and deep blacks, with the color accuracy Apple's screens are known for. If you're curious to know the technical details, resolution stands at 2436 x 1125 pixels, while the panel itself measures 5.8 inches in diagonal.
While the Super Retina Display is impressive enough already, Apple has also thrown in its True Tone display technology, borrowed from the iPad Pro. What this means is that the iPhone X will automatically adjust the color temperature of the screen depending on the lighting around you. HDR10 and Dolby Vision support are present, letting you enjoy those gorgeous high dynamic range videos.
As for the body of the iPhone X, it is built with a stainless steel frame and a reinforced glass at the back – the strongest glass on a phone, Apple claims. Using glass instead of metal is one of the keys to enabling Qi wireless charging on the device. As before, the smartphone is resistant to dust and water damage and features stereo sound through its built-in speakers. Curiously, the power button on the right is elongated, just as the rumors predicted – convenient as a double-press acts as a shortcut to Apple Pay. And not surprisingly, the headphone jack is still missing, but you do get a dongle in the set if you really need one.
The iPhone X will be available in two colors: space grey and silver. Here is what they look like:
Face ID: next-gen facial recognition
Since the screen occupies all of the iPhone X's front, there's no traditional home screen button. There's no more Touch ID for unlocking either. Instead, the phone uses a new technology called Face ID and a new TrueDepth camera system, which work as the names imply.
The iPhone X uses an advanced array of sensors and software to recognize its owner's face. Readings are performed in three dimensions, which is why fooling Face ID with a mere photo would be really, really tricky. There's a 1 in a 1,000,000 chance that a random person would be able to unlock your iPhone X through Face ID. Naturally, this feature will be used instead of Touch ID for authentication while using Apple Pay.
Software and interface: say Hi to Animoji
The omission of a home button brings forth a new way of unlocking the iPhone X – tapping on the screen now wakes the device. But as before, you can also just bring up the phone to unlock it. More interestingly, swiping up from the bottom takes you to your home screen, and once you're in an app, a flick upward would take you back to the home screen. We hope that the iPhone X would be able to reliably distinguish between a "take me home" gesture and, let's say, a simple swipe when you want to scroll down a web page.
On the topic of software, Apple is introducing a new feature called Animoji with the iPhone X. Think of these as animated emoji, but here's where things get interesting. Using the advanced array of face-scanning sensors at the front, the iPhone X can animate the cartoon character to match your facial expressions and speech. These fun-looking Animoji will be available in iMessage and will let you interact with your buddies in a cool new way.
Processor and hardware: Apple's most powerful ever
As expected, Apple is introducing a brand new system chip with the iPhone X. It is called the Apple A11 Bionic – a six-core SoC comprised of two high-performance and four low-power cores, all of which can run at the same time. The high-power cores are 25 faster than those on the A10, while the power-saving ones deliver 70% more performance. Apple brags about its in-house-developed GPU as well – 30% faster than the previously used design. The Apple A11 Bionic does not only deliver the performance that next-generation games would require. It also powers a number of forward-looking applications, including machine learning and augmented reality processing.
Storage starts at 64GB for the iPhone X, which is on par with what other smartphone makers, Samsung and LG included, offer on their top phones. For those demanding extra space there's a 256GB model as well.
Camera: dual cams with light effects
As always, the camera of the iPhone X is a major highlight. At the back we have a dual camera arrangement similar to that of the iPhone 8 Plus, with a regular 12MP F1.8 camera for all conditions and a 12MP F2.4 2X zoom telephoto lens. The sensors are bigger and faster than the ones the previous-generation iPhones used, which enables cool tricks like 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. What's also new is the addition of optical image stabilization to both camera modules. The result – clearer images, even when zooming in low light.
Portrait Mode is on board, naturally, along with new real-time lighting effects allowing you to dramatically alter the look of your subject. The trio of images below demonstrate how a regular photo compares to one with a Dramatic effect applied. And the effect on the right is called Stage Light, separating the subject and placing it against a flat, black background.
For the first time on an iPhone, Portrait Mode is enabled on the 7MP front-facing camera as well. In this case, the TrueDepth camera is used in tandem with the standard one to separate subject from background and to apply bokeh or lighting effects to the image.
Battery life: improved, with fast and wireless charging on board
Apple did not reveal the actual charge capacity of the iPhone X battery. What we know, however, is that it should last 2 more hours than an iPhone 7.
Two charging features (that took longer to arrive than they should have) are available on the iPhone X. One of them is quick charging: 30 minutes on the charger gets you topped up to 50%, and presumably a more powerful charger is bundled in the set. Number two: wireless charging. The iPhone X supports the popular Qi wireless charging, so there's already plenty of charging mats that will work with it. Apple has its own. Known as the AirPower mat, it has enough room and capacity to charge the iPhone X, the Apple Watch, and the AirPods (with an optional wireless charging case) – all at the same time.
Price and release date: brace yourselves
The iPhone X will not be cheap. It will start at $999 at launch for the base 64GB model, making it $300 more expensive than the base iPhone 8. The 256GB variant is priced at $1149. You can place your pre-order on October 23. The iPhone X will be made available only days later, on November 3.