iPhone X Preview


WhistleOut
12 September 2017

What's new?


An almost full screen display

Other than a small notch for a speaker and front-facing camera, the front of the iPhone X is all screen. This has allowed Apple to plonk a 5.8-inch display - the largest in any iPhone yet - into a body that's just a little bit bigger than the iPhone 7. It runs at a resolution of 2436 by 1125 pixels, and has a pixel density of 458ppi - Apple's highest to date.

True Tone technology, first introduced with the iPad Pro, also makes an appearance, and will automatically adjust the colour temperature of the iPhone X's display to match the ambient lighting of your environment. 

Since the iPhone X's front is almost all screen, there's no home button. Closing apps (and returning to your home screen) is now down with a swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone X's display. Swiping up half way will open the multitasking menu, and you can swipe left and right along the bottom of the phone to jump through active apps. 

These changes mean that to get to the Control Centre you’ll need to swipe down from the top right hand side of the screen, while notifications are a swipe down from the top left hand side. It sounds like there'll be a bit of a learning curve, but hopefully it won't take too long to get used to the new gestures. 

Facial recognition 

Rather than move the fingerprint to the back of the iPhone X or incorporate it into the power button, Apple has decided to kill it entirely in favour of facial recognition. Dubbed Face ID, the iPhone X uses a "TrueDepth camera system" consisting of a dot projector, infrared camera, a front-facing camera, and a flood illuminator.

After you enrol your face during setup, Apple says the iPhone X will continue to recognise you even if you change your hair style, wear glasses, put on a hat, grow a beard, or if you're in the dark. We'll be keen to put this through the paces. Importantly, Apple says a photo of your face won't fool Face ID. 

While Apple says there's a one in a million chance of someone else's face unlocking your phone (compared to one in 50,000 for fingerprint), it went out of its way to note that this would be lower for relatives, especially identical twins. 

Face ID will be used to authenticate Apple Pay in lieu of a fingerprint reader; you'll double tap the iPhone X's side button to bring up your card, look at your phone to authorise, and then tap the terminal to pay. This seems a little more convoluted than the current system (where simply you tap your iPhone on the terminal while holding your finger on the home button), but we're hoping it won't be too much of a hassle. 

Third party apps will also support Face ID authentication. For example, if your banking app asks for a fingerprint to unlock it, you'll be able to unlock it with your face instead. 

Facial recognition will also you to create "Animojis", animated emojis based on your facial expressions. There's 12 different emojis to pick from - including a cat, unicorn, and pile of poop - and once recorded, these can be sent to friends as a video message

New and improved rear cameras 

iPhone X is set to tout the best camera configuration of the three new iPhones. Once again, there's two cameras on the rear, both backed by 12MP sensors. 

The primary wide-angle lens has an aperture of f/1.8, while the telephoto zoom lens has a slightly slower aperture of f/2.4. Both the iPhone X's rear-facing cameras have optical image stablisation, which should further improve lowlight photography. 

An improved portrait mode is making a return, allowing you to blur the background behind your subject. In addition, you'll also be able to rework the lighting in your shot; essentially, image fakery that allows you to recreate shadows and highlights you'd typically achieve with studio lightning. Apple says this isn't a filter, but a real time analysis of the light over your subject's face.  These portrait features also carry over to the iPhone X's front-facing 7MP selfie camera.  

In terms of video, you're now able to film 4K footage at 60fps and 1080p slow motion video at 240fps. The cameras have also been optimised for augmented reality apps.

Wireless charging

The iPhone X's glass and stainless steel design have allowed Apple to add in wireless charging. Thankfully, Apple is using the existing Qi standard, rather than creating its own. Qi wireless charging has been used in smartphones for a number of years now, which means that most existing Qi charging pads should work with the iPhone X. 

Apple will be launching its own multi-device wireless charger next year, but manufacturers such as Belkin will have wireless pads on sale from next week. 

Hardware

The iPhone X is powered by Apple's new A11 Bionic processor, which is a six-core chip said to provide as much as a 70% performance increase over last year's models.

In terms of battery life, Apple says the iPhone X will provide up to 21 hours of talk time, 12 hours of internet usage, 13 hours of video, or 60 hours of audio playback. Fast charging is another new addition, and you'll be able to recharge as much as 50% from a 30 minute top-up when the phone is plugged in. Wireless charging will almost certainly be slower. 

The iPhone X is rated IP67 for water-resistance. 

How is the iPhone X different to the iPhone 8?


The iPhone X shares a lot of its internals with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but is different in many ways. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus build on the same design as used by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone X is the most radical departure from the iPhone design language Apple first introduced ten years ago. 

The screen is edge-to-edge, the home button is gone, and there's no more fingerprint reader. 

On top of the edge-to-edge display, the iPhone X is the only new iPhone to have facial recognition. 

The iPhone X also has the best camera configuration out of the three new iPhones. The primary 12MP wide-angle camera is the same as in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but secondary zoom lens has a wider aperture and optical image stablisation. 

When will the iPhone X be available?


While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus go on sale September 22, iPhone X will be arriving a little later. Pre-orders will start on October 27 ahead of a November 3 release date. 

How much will the iPhone X cost?


The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone yet. A 64GB model will cost you $1,579 while the 256GB model is a staggering $1,829. 


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