Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said at the launch of the iPhone X that this latest offering marked a leap forward for mobile technology. The inclusion of facial recognition, and mixed reality – albeit limited for the time being – certainly seem to substantiate this statement. This new leap forward was joined by the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
The ‘lower-end’ 4.7in and 5.5in iPhone devices are distinguished from their predecessors by having glass rather than metal backs, faster processors, improved camera sensors that help them operate in low light and stereo speakers that are 25% louder than before.
The iPhone 8 ranges from $699 to $849 and the iPhone 8 Plus from $799 to $949.
On the new iPhones, Richard Holway, chairman at TechMarketView said that “The real issue for Apple is whether both the new iPhone 8 (which is just a small evolution) or the iPhone X (which is just a slightly bigger evolution) will make the many iPhone 6 users (like me) decide to upgrade. I – like many others – have already kept my iPhone for 3 years – longer than I normally do. So, not only is there is a big potential market but I, firmly, am it.”
“There were many things I really liked about the iPhone X. The great new cameras, the fantastic Portrait mode (although that is already on the iPhone 7S), its tougher screen (although Apple didn’t say it was unsmashable), very high resolution OLED 5.8inch screen that goes from edge to edge, water and dust resistance etc.”
“But there were other innovations which were rather less impressive. Much time was spent on the new FaceID – which then failed the first time when Craig Federighi tried to demonstrate it live. I can honestly see this feature being a pain.”
On top of the 3D facial recognition software, which will allow users to unlock their phone and use Apple Pay, and the augmented/mixed reality experience built into apps the iPhone X has a number of other features.
It’s (14.7cm) screen has 458 pixels per inch, which makes it the firm’s most detailed phone display to date, described as “super retina”. It also possesses an edge-to-edge display, following on from LG and Samsung before.
The OLED display also means that the phone can produce ‘true black’, and more accurate colours than ever before.
“An OLED [organic light-emitting diode] display and the new design is likely to be standard on future iPhone models, but Apple must first tackle the challenge of obtaining sufficient supplies,” commented Geoff Blaber from the CCS Insight consultancy.
The new screen means the old home button is gone. This is dealt with by requiring users to swipe up to access its apps. To access an improved Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, users have to press a side button.
The camera is also a leap forward. In portrait mode it can blur a photo’s background, while a relighting tool can be used on pictures taken by both the front and rear cameras.
It will also have two hours more battery life than the iPhone 7.
One of the biggest gimmicks that will – analysts predict – be one of the most popular features of the iPhone X is the animojis. The iPhone X can use its 3D face-mapping sensors to let users control the facial expressions of new animojis.
On animojis and Apple’s share price, Holway paints a pretty sceptical picture: “Then we had much time spent on Animojis. I remember Tim Berners Lee saying that if he had known how much time would be spent on the internet watching Cat videos, maybe he wouldn’t have bothered to invent it. Same with Animojis. Seriously, Apple go all the way to installing an advanced Neural Processor with an array of Face detecting sensors and 3D cameras and then thinks we will all use it to animate a pile of dog poo (I am serious – that is one of the animojis available. Apparently it is already the most popular emoji used by ‘young people’) so you can then send a ‘funny’ animated emoji via iMessage to your friends. Words fail me.”
“So will I be waiting in the queue to be first to get an iPhone X? No. I will wait until my trusty iPhone 6 decides to die (or I drop it and smash the screen). Then, because I am hooked on the Apple ecosystem, I’ll almost certainly get – and probably enjoy – an iPhone X.”
“But I am sure that is NOT the reaction Apple wanted. Which is maybe the reason why Apple’s share price went into reverse – falling 1% after the event ended.”
Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at www.cityindex.co.uk is not convinced.
“With Chinese competitors snapping at its heals, Apple has produced a phone that features a symphony of cutting-edge innovations.”
“Key features of the iPhone X, such as face-recognition unlocking, inductive charging and the end-to-end screen, have all been done by competitors before. Only Apple appears to have upped the standard: its 3D face recognition technology, for example, is so sophisticated that it can’t be fooled by a photograph.”
“Apple is certainly confident that the purported high quality of its new products will accelerate demand, having last month forecast an up to 11% increase in fourth-quarter revenue. Perhaps of concern to investors, though, the iPhone X won’t be available until November 3, well after the fourth quarter ends on September 30.”
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