iPhone X revolutionizes the smartphone all over again

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iPhone X
Apple's tenth anniversary iPhone has landed.
Photo: Apple

During its very first event in the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple today unveiled the much-anticipated iPhone X.

The device is a celebration of the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, and it comes with an all-new design and exciting features that hope to breathe new life into the lineup and revitalize falling sales.

iPhone X sports a stunning edge-to-edge Super Retina display, advanced facial recognition, wireless charging, and lots, lots more.

Forget about everything else; this is the smartphone you’ll want next.

Apple revolutionized the smartphone in 2007, and over the past ten years, it has changed the face of the mobile industry. Those who were giants back then — Nokia, BlackBerry, and Motorola — are shells of their former selves after failing to prevent the iPhone’s rise.

But in recent years, selling the iPhone has become more difficult for Apple. Fans have become somewhat bored of its incremental upgrades and familiar designs, and demand has fallen. Apple reported a second drop in iPhone revenue in May after failing to meet expectations.

But you have to believe that its apparent lack of attention to recent iPhones was due to its intense focus on a special, tenth anniversary upgrade. iPhone X delivers the very best of what the company has to offer today, with no expense spared and no corner cut.

iPhone X
iPhone X is simply stunning.
Photo: Apple

Stunning design, spectacular features

iPhone X is made of glass reinforced by copper and stainless steel, and held together by a surgical-grade stainless steel frame. It’s the strongest glass ever used in a phone, Apple says, and it’s microscopically sealed for dust- and water-resistance.

Beneath its fancy new glass panels, the handset packs an edge-to-edge Super Retina display that gives us more space inside a similarly compact footprint. It’s the iPhone’s first OLED display, which means it’s brighter, more vibrant, and more power efficient than ever before.

It’s also sharper than previous iPhone displays with a 2436 x 1125 resolution at 458 pixels-per-inch. It boasts the same True Tone technology found on iPad Pro, which adjusts display temperature based on ambient light to make content more comfortable to look at.

This display leaves no room for a Home button, so we now have gestures instead. Simply swipe up from the bottom to go Home or view the app switcher. This makes the fullscreen experience more immersive for watching movies and playing games, with nothing to get in the way.

That means the beloved Touch ID is gone, too. Apple has replaced it with Face ID, a facial recognition system that uses advanced 3D sensors and infrared to identify you. Apple says it’s faster, more reliable, and more secure than those found on rival smartphones.

Face ID
Face ID on iPhone X.
Photo: Apple

In fact, Face ID is even more secure than Touch ID. Apple says there’s a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that a random person could look at your iPhone X and unlock it with their face. In comparison, it’s a 1 in 50,000 chance for Touch ID.

Just like the fingerprint scanner, Face ID can be used to unlock your phone. Simply look at your iPhone, swipe up from the bottom, and it opens. It will also unlock apps, authorize App Store and iTunes purchases, and make Apple Pay payments.

Face ID works just fine in the dark, and when your iPhone is wet — unlike Touch ID. It can also identify you when you’re wearing hats or glasses — but Apple promises it can’t be fooled by photos or masks. Not even ultra-realistic Hollywood movie masks, which Apple tested.

To make Face ID possible, Apple is using all kinds of fancy new sensors, like a flood aluminator that lights up your face, and an infrared camera that creates a mathematical model of it. A brand new neural engine that can perform 600 billion operations a second is used to power all this.

Face ID also allows for Animojis. They’re 3D, animated emoji faces that will mimic your facial expressions. There are a dozen options to choose from right now, and you can share them — with audio messages — inside Messages.

Animoji
Animoji brings emoji to life with your own voice and facial expressions.
Photo: Apple

You might wonder why Apple didn’t just put Touch ID on the back of iPhone X, as earlier reports suggested. That’s likely because there’s not enough room there, thanks to a wireless charging coil that finally lets us top up without a cable.

Sadly, it’s not the truly wireless charging Apple has been secretly working on. Instead, iPhone X uses the same Qi standard that’s found inside devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, which means you’ll need a compatible wireless charging pad. Fortunately, there are thousands available.

You won’t need any accessories for great photos, however. iPhone X packs a 12-megapixel sensor that’s even larger for better images in low light. To take that further, Apple is introducing Portrait Lightning, which uses depth maps to perfectly light your subject.

The new camera also boasts deeper pixels, a new color filter, and dual-optical image stabilization. It’s capable of shooting 4K video at 60 fps, and 1080p video at a whopping 240 fps for slower slo-mo. It’s the “highest-quality video capture ever in a smartphone,” Apple says.

iPhone X cameras
The new cameras on iPhone X.
Photo: Apple

This new camera, coupled with a powerful new processor, allows for even greater augmented reality experiences. This is a massive focus for Apple, and the company promises AR you won’t find elsewhere on its latest handsets.

iPhone X’s front-facing FaceTime camera is a 7-megapixel sensor that can take sharper, brighter photos of your face — and shoot 1080p video at 30 fps. And thanks to those Face ID sensors, you can now take Portrait selfies — with Portrait Lighting.

More powerful hardware

Powering all of this is a new A11 Bionic processor with Apple’s first GPU. It’s 25 percent faster than last year’s A10 Fusion chip, with 30 percent faster graphics. That means better games, new options for augmented reality, better multitasking, and a snappier iOS.

The A11 Bionic chip is Apple’s first with six cores. Four of those are low-power cores, which require less power and handle simple tasks that aren’t too taxing. The other two cores are high-power cores, which kick in when you’re gaming or shooting video in 4K.

With the additional low-power cores (A10 Fusion had just two), iPhone X can do more before the high-power cores are required. This means your battery will last longer in between charges if you continue to use it in the same way you always have.

Faster charging and a bigger battery will also help; Apple says you’ll get two more hours of use compared to iPhone 7. And thanks to Apple’s fancy wireless charging pad, AirPower, you can charge iPhone X, iPhone 8, Apple Watch, and AirPods at the same time.

AirCharge
Apple’s awesome AirCharge pad.
Photo: Apple

Apple has also made significant improvements in storage, so you don’t have to worry about getting a measly 32GB with the most affordable model. 64GB of storage is the minimum for iPhone X, but you can opt for 256GB if you’re willing to pay more.

Pre-order yours on October 27

iPhone X will be available to pre-order on October 27, with prices starting at $999. It will be available in space grey with black glass, and silver with white glass.

The device will make its official debut on November 3, at which point you’ll be able to pick one up in your nearest Apple store (if you’re lucky). AirPower will go on sale later next year.

Apple didn’t tell us what availability might look light at launch, but if recent reports are to be believed, iPhone X will be incredibly difficult to get hold of for the first few months. Get your pre-order in online as soon as possible if you want to avoid a lengthy wait.