To mark the iPhone's 10th anniversary, Apple revealed its most expensive smartphone ever, iPhone X.
On Tuesday, the world's most valuable company announced updates to its Apple Watch and Apple TV. But after unveiling a new line of smartphones, the iPhone 8, Apple CEO Tim Cook added "one more thing" to close the event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.
Starting at $999, the iPhone X (yes, the company skipped the iPhone 9) has some of the most significant updates to the gadget since 2014.
With its edge-to-edge display and buttonless face, the new iPhone looks remarkably different from past iPhones. At 5.8 inches diagonally, its screen is taller and larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone, but smaller than the larger 5.5-inch iPhone Plus. The Galaxy S8–esque screen has a hardly noticeable border around it, making all kinds of content — video, articles, apps — appear full-screen.
The display’s immersiveness is largely due to the fact that instead of a home button, there’s just more screen.
It’s an update that’s likely to be just as controversial as the removal of the headphone jack last year, and the change from the 30-pin to Lightning connector in 2012.
No home button means that the way you interact with the phone will be different. Instead of tapping the button to see your homescreen, you’ll flick up from the bottom of the screen. To force-restart the phone, you’ll now long-press the power and volume-up buttons, and to invoke Siri, you’ll double-click the power button.
But the real change is the screen.
The iPhone X has an OLED screen, versus the LCD (liquid crystal display) in older models, which Apple is calling the “Super Retina Display” (that’s 458 pixel/s per inch, for you nerds). It also supports HDR, including Dolby Vision and HDR10 standards.
OLED screens display darker blacks, brighter whites, and more vibrant colors, and Apple is including a number of new wallpapers to show off the display. These screens are also more power-efficient and thinner than LCD screens, because they don’t require an always-on backlight layer. Both Samsung and LG have implemented OLEDs in various devices. In fact, the new iPhone’s display is reportedly made by Samsung.
True Tone, a feature that makes the screen easier on the eyes and was originally announced for the iPad, will also be available on the iPhone X. It can detect the color temperature of the room. So, for example, if the room has warm, yellow lighting, the phone’s display will look warm too (the same way a piece of white paper reflects the light around it).
The display has rounded screen corners (older iPhones have square corners) and completely covers the front of the device, except for a thin notch at the top. Because of this notch, the time has been moved to the top left, while the wireless icons are on the top right. This notch houses the earpiece (for calls) plus a new array of cameras and sensors designed to detect your face. Your FACE. Which brings us to...
Apple is the latest to add face-scanning tech to its phones with what it’s calling Face ID.
The new phone has a "TrueDepth camera system" (flash and an infrared sensor for low-light detection) in the front of the device to, first, validate that it is actually you who is using the phone and, second, unlock your phone. Previously, the only form of biometric authentication (aka using your body’s data) on the iPhone was through Touch ID on the home button, which sensed your fingerprint.
The A11 Bionic neural engine inside the phone powers the machine learning algorithm processing for Face ID. It can perform 600 billion operations per second, allowing it to understand your face with a different hairstyle, with glasses, at night, and during the day. Apple claims that it can't be duped by a high-res photograph.
Compared to Touch ID (which fails 1 in 50,000 times), Face ID fails 1 in 1,000,000 times. That's the chance that a random person can unlock your phone. It can work with Apple Pay and all apps that work with Touch ID.
This same tech is also used to customize a new form of emoji, called Animoji, which projects your facial expressions and voice onto emojis.
There are dual 12-megapixel cameras — just like the iPhone 8 Plus — but oriented vertically instead of horizontally.
It also has dual optical image stabilization (for *both* wide-angle and telephoto lenses) for more stable photos, especially in lower light. There's a quad-LED True Tone flash for two times more uniformity of light.
The selfie camera on the iPhone X can also take "Portrait Mode" (adds blurry background to photos) and "Portrait Lighting," which simulates different lighting effects, and is only available on the rear camera of the 8 Plus.
The battery life has been increased, too, to two more hours than the iPhone 7 (14 hours with LTE use).
Like the 8 and 8 Plus, the new iPhone supports wireless charging and is water- and dust-resistant. Apple is also releasing a charging pad that can charge the iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, and new AirPods case.
The iPhone X comes in 64GB ($999) and 256GB ($1150) sizes in silver or space gray, and can be preordered starting on Oct. 27. It ships on Nov. 3.
Nicole Nguyen covers products and personal technology for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Nicole Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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