Last month’s release of the iPhone X predictably caused no shortage of hype, criticism, and speculation from a variety of camps. However, over a month later, the lines have died down with the buzz and we’re left with a group of people that have used the device for about a month and now have a pretty good idea of its capabilities, features, and downsides.
Previous iPhones have proved consistently worth examining, as they have often set the pace for smartphone development in the coming years. Plus, some of the X’s features may hint at trends that are currently just out of reach. We’ve got a while until the advent of the next iPhone, so let’s look ahead at what the X might mean for the future!
So let’s start with the latest in a series of measures intended to boost security: face recognition. Despite concerns that giving your phone access to a record of your face might hurt privacy, reception to this new feature has been fairly positive. This is likely due to its seamlessness; users have praised face recognition for working even in low-light areas. The feature can be used to unlock a phone and add an additional layer of security when making purchases. Face ID has completely replaced touch ID, a staple of other recent iPhones, though it is speculated that Apple may integrate a mix of the two. Other phones have adopted touch solutions that work on any part of the screen—something that Apple might adopt due to their phone screens becoming more expansive.
This desire to create a bezel-less display has also driven Apple to remove the home button, which has been a central feature of all of their past devices. In its place is a gesture interface that, despite being fairly intuitive, has taken some time for users to get accustomed to. As a result, its reception has been mixed, leading for some to suggest that a happy medium exists in the form of a virtual home button. With all of the extra real estate freed up and existing haptic feedback, it would make sense for a virtual catch-all button to conform to existing mental models without hampering the interface.
Still, the general consensus is that the interface looks great. The OLED screen delivers a level of image quality never before seen in an iPhone. The screen is nearly unbroken, save for the controversial “notch” that contains the phone’s forward-facing camera. However, criticism of the notch has dried up in the weeks following the phone’s release, as users become used to the interface, only disruptive when watching something full-screen.
Apple has also embraced the role of AR, with the TrueDepth camera allowing for better facemapping. While this is something of a novelty, it also allows developers to further push the envelope of what is possible in AR. Apple has displayed a noted interest in this technology in the past, and the iPhone X’s new camera is likely a harbinger of more improvements to come.
Other features of the iPhone X include more of an emphasis on wireless, from the removal of the headphone jack to new charging options. This is perhaps one of the least surprising developments of the X, and also the most likely to be adopted en masse as the technology becomes easier for consumers to afford.
Apple has always strived to be at the forefront of mobile technology, and the iPhone X is a cavalcade of technological innovations on display. With a significant shift in hardware, changes in interface, and adjustments in design, the X will likely be a baseline for the next decade of iPhones.