The rumors are now a reality. Apple has announced a new premium model in the iPhone line dubbed “iPhone X” (pronounced iPhone 10) in a nod to the iPhone’s 10 years of existence. This device is a more advanced device compared to the newly announced iPhone 8 and 8 Plus that, in Tim Cook’s words, “will set the path for technology for the next decade.” Here’s what you need to know about it.
It Features a 5.8-inch “Super Retina” Display
The iPhone X’s biggest distinction over the new iPhone 8 is an edge-to-edge OLED display boasting a 2436×1125 resolution and HDR compatibility. If you do the math, that’s 458 pixels per inch — or the highest pixel density in any iPhone ever. Other spec high points include a contrast ratio of one million-to-one and like the new Apple TV 4K, the advanced display supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 content. It also includes the True Tone display technology originally launched in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro line that automatically adjusts the screen’s color tones based on the surrounding lighting to adjust the white balance.
The iPhone X Doesn’t Have a Home Button (Or Touch ID)
Bezels aren’t the only prominent iPhone screen feature murdered by that glorious new display. The iPhone’s iconic home button was also sacrificed in the name of progress. As a result, basic interactions like reaching the home screen on the iPhone will now work by swiping up from the bottom of the screen on the iPhone X. You also wake up the screen by just tapping it. Those are just two of many adjustments buyers will have to learn with the launch of iOS 11.
The iPhone X Unlocks Using Your Face via “Face ID”
The new iPhone X swaps fingerprint scanning to unlock the device in favor of face scanning. This new feature involves a bevy of hardware upgrades including a “TrueDepth” imaging system comprised of an infrared camera, a so-called flood illuminator, another front camera and a Dot projector all of which are packed into the small lip at the top of the screen. Face ID apparently works in the dark and in real time thanks a dedicated “neural engine” powered by a dual-core custom chip design, and it will even evolve to identify your face as it changes — say by growing a beard.
Apple has also anticipated a major obvious concern with this technology and worked hard to introduce a variety safety measures that prevent people from tricking this sensor via using a picture of you, or even a Hollywood-grade mask reproduction of your face (seriously, they actually showed examples of these during the Keynote). The result is a security level that’s actually twice as secure as Touch ID according to Apple. It’s also why Apple feels comfortable leveraging Face ID to authenticate Apple Pay purchases as it did with Touch ID.
The iPhone X Includes a Completely Redesigned Dual Rear Camera System That’s Even Better Than the Newly Announced iPhone 8
Like the iPhone 8, the iPhone X includes a new 12-megapixel dual rear camera system. Visually, it looks different compared to the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus since the lenses are vertically stacked instead of horizontally. Specs-wise, the iPhone X’s camera system features a brighter, telephoto lens (f/2.4 vs f/2.8 on the iPhone 8 Plus). Both lenses on the iPhone X also feature optical image stabilization to reduce image noise, while the iPhone 8 only includes this on the wide-angle lens.
A new quad-LED True Tone Flash with Slow Sync that supposedly offers “twice the uniformity of light” splits the two lenses, which Apple states is useful “in low light when you want a brighter foreground subject with a properly exposed background”.
On the video side, the iPhone X is capable of “delivering the highest quality video capture ever in a smartphone” in Apple’s words, including the option of shooting 4k video at a whopping 60fps, or 1080p slo-mo at up to 240 fps. It also supports HEIF and HEVC compression standards for reducing the storage burden of heavy video files.
Finally, the iPhone X also includes all of the new photo software updates touted in the iPhone 8, including an expansion on Portrait Mode called “Portrait Lighting” — which leverages “depth-sensing cameras and precise facial mapping” to create “striking studio-quality lighting effects”. Unlike with the older iPhone 7 Plus, all portrait mode shooting also works while using the iPhone X’s 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera.
It’s Capable of Creating Snapchat like “Animojis”
The hardware used for Face ID along with augmented reality technology allows iPhone X owners to create animated emojis that track the movement of over 50 facial muscles on their face in real-time. This essentially transforms emojis from static images into animated cartoons you can manipulate at will. Prepare thyself accordingly.
The iPhone X Includes Many Useful Upgrades Found on the New iPhone 8, Including Wireless Charging
The iPhone X shares a variety of specs with the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus including the same A11 Bionic chip, which is a six-core CPU, with two high-performance cores. Also like the iPhone 8, the iPhone X includes Apple’s own in house GPU for improved graphic performance. Since the front and back of the device are made of glass, wrapped by “surgical-grade” stainless steel around the sides, the iPhone X is also water and dust resistant and capable of wireless charging.
In a welcomed move, Apple decided to support the Qi charging standard, which is the same one found on Samsung devices. That means a variety of existing wireless charging pads should work with the new flagship phone.
Apple thinks they can still improve on this technology though and teased a tweak to the Qi standard they are calling “AirPower” which it hopes to launch early next year. It’s supposed to be capable of wirelessly charging an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods all at the same time. Apple intends on launching a charging mat that can do just that called AirPower early next year.
Apple Claims the iPhone X Has 2 More Hours of Battery Power vs. the iPhone 8
Exact details are still hard to pin down right now, but Apple exec Phil Schiller did acknowledge that the iPhone X’s new screen drained more battery power than the LCD displays on other iPhones. As a result, they’ve improved the iPhone X’s battery life to supposedly provide two more hours of use time over the basic iPhone 8.
The iPhone X Will Ship a Later Than the New iPhone 8, On November 3rd & Starts at $999
Presumably because of rumored supply constraints, pre-orders for the iPhone X will open on October 27th, with actual shipments starting on November 23rd. There are two color options of space gray and silver. Prices will start at $999 for the 64GB version. That’s $300 more than the base price of a new iPhone 8 and $200 more than the base price of the iPhone 8 Plus. A bigger 256GB version of the iPhone X will also be available, but pricing hasn’t be revealed.