Today, as if no one was expecting it, Apple announced the new iPhone X (pronounced iPhone “Ten”). The phone marks the biggest redesign to the iPhone since its introduction.
Starting with that design, the iPhone X is made entirely out of glass and stainless steel. It’s pretty much the classiest iPhone to date. There’s an edge-to-edge 5.8-inch Super Retina display with a resolution greater than 2K. It supports HDR and a wider color gamut. There’s also a notch at the top which houses the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors.
Oh yeah, Face ID. Since there’s no Home button and no room for a Touch ID sensor, Apple has included a new facial recognition system called Face ID which recognizes your registered face to unlock your phone. It’s pretty complex, but essentially, Face ID utilizes a new TrueDepth camera system consisting of a dot projector, infrared camera, and flood illuminator. This configuration allows the system to create a mathematical reconstruction of your face and even works in low-light situations. Those with a similar face, a picture of your face, or even a mask made out of your head won’t be able to unlock your phone which is pretty impressive. Apple says they’ve scanned billions of images to ensure its users won’t be hacked through this unlocking system, while the chance of others getting into your iPhone X are one in a million, according to the company. Additionally, everyone’s faces are stored on a neural network based in the A11 Bionic processor which powers the technology. Essentially, since this function is replacing Touch ID, I think it’s safe to assume it’s as secure and as fast as scanning your fingerprint, even though some may find Touch ID more convenient.
Because there’s such a large display on the iPhone X, Apple had to omit the Home button. Some may find this move confusing and wonder how they’ll ever get back to the home screen, but Apple has you covered. Rather hitting a button, users will swipe up from a gray bar at the bottom of the screen to navigate home. You can swipe half way up the screen to access multitasking while swiping down from the status indicators in the top right-hand corner of the screen will bring up Control Center. To unlock your phone, scan your face with Face ID and swipe up. Overall, the software is pretty different on the iPhone X, so it’ll be interesting to see just how much of a learning curve there is for users.
There’s also a new button on the iPhone X. Well, at least a new name for the existing power button: the side button. It’s longer than usual, but can be used to activate Siri if “Hey Siri” isn’t your thing. It can also be used to quickly access Apple Pay to pay for goods at retail stores. Right now, it remains unclear how users can expect to lock and shut down their phones, but we’ll let you know when we gain insight.
As for cameras, the iPhone X has a similar array on the back to the new iPhone 8 Plus. There’s a pair of 12mp sensors, with the main wide-angle sporting an f/1.8 aperture and the second telephoto sensor having an f/2.4 aperture for 36% more light over the 8 Plus. Both sensors come with optical image stabilization which the 8 Plus doesn’t come with. Rather, this device is more on par with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 in terms of camera features.
With the cameras, you can take Portrait photos and use optical zoom. Portrait Lighting is also supported which lets users choose different lighting effects for Portrait shots. Not only can the rear cameras take these types of images, but the 7MP slefie shooter can as well since it houses the necessary components for depth sensing with Face ID. Additionally, the cameras are capable of taking better HDR photos, there’s a new quad LED flash, a new color filter and deper pixels are on board, and a fresh Apple-designed image signal processor helps with processing the pixels. Faster autofocus, a wider color gamut, and other enhancements are also here.
Additionally, users can shoot videos in 4K at 60 frames per second alongside slow-mo videos at 1080p/240 FPS.
Of course, with the company’s newly-established focus on AR, the cameras on the iPhone X are optimized for use with ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality platform. “The A11 Bionic CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition, and the GPU enables incredible graphics at 60fps, while the image signal processor does real-time lighting estimation,” says Apple. “With ARKit, iOS developers can take advantage of the TrueDepth camera and the rear cameras to create games and apps offering fantastically immersive and fluid experiences that go far beyond the screen.”
The new cameras on the iPhone X are also used for a new feature called Animojis. Essentially, the sensors which help identify your face for Face ID security can be used to create little animated emojis which mimic your voice and facial expressions which can be recorded and sent to friends. There’s a bunch available, but I know the only one people are gonna wanna use is the poop emoji. Seriously, who doesn’t wanna be a pile of talking poo?
As for some specifics surrounding the internals of the iPhone X, Apple is packing its hexa-core A11 Bionic which utilizes four high-efficiency cores and two high-performance cores. It’s paired with an Apple-designed GPU which uses three cores for up to 30 percent faster graphics performance. There’s also 3GB of RAM on board. Since the body of the phone is glass, Apple is also including Qi wireless charging. Next year, the company will introduce a wireless charging mat called AirPower which can charge your iPhone X (or 8/Plus), Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods with a special new wireless charging case at the same time. No word on pricing or availability, but stay tuned.
The new iPhone X will start at a whopping $999 and will come in 64 and 256GB storage capacities. It’ll be available in Space Gray or Silver and will be available for pre-order starting October 27th. It’ll be available for purchase on November 3rd.