Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Tech & The Web

Would You Pay $1,000+ for Apple’s iPhone X?

Depending on where you live, the big news of the day Tuesday was either recovery efforts from a hurricane or the introduction of Apple’s iPhone X.

Apple showed off its newest product plans at their annual event Tuesday, including the iPhone X, which is read as the “iPhone Ten.”

Two other new versions of its iPhone skipped the expected naming convention and will be known as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus instead of iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.

The first impression for someone like me (with a barely-detectible dose of OCD) is annoyance with the fact that we have an iPhone 8 and 10, but no iPhone 9.

Apple is touting the iPhone X’s wireless charging, higher screen resolution, better cameras, and its all-glass front and back. But more than anything else, it’s touting facial recognition technology.

Here are a few of my takes on the prominent features, with the understanding that I have not, as yet, actually seen an iPhone X in person or actually held one to toy around with it. (Then again, most of the others who are opining about it haven’t either, so at least I’m in good company.)

Wireless charging seems like a nice convenience, especially if you’re tired of dealing with cables. But at the same time, you ditch the cable for a wireless charging, so one way or the other, you still have to have something to deal with to get the phone charged.

A higher screen resolution is nice, too, but my current iPhone’s screen resolution is sufficient; given that I don’t screen HD movies on a phone, that’s not necessarily a top priority for me. My iPhone 6S Plus has a 4.7-inch screen; the new phone has a 5.7-inch screen. That, at least, would seem like a much better bonus, even if it were the same resolution I have now.

Better cameras are always an important offering from a new phone. As camera technology advances, smartphone cameras never seem to be quite good enough. Though I certainly think digital photography is almost always done much better on a digital SLR camera, it’s nice to have a reliable, quality backup that you can use if you happen to stumble onto something worth photographing when you don’t have a DSLR with you.

The obsession with an all-glass phone is a big concern for me because I often encounter ground surfaces that happen to be made of concrete. Glass, when dropped on such a substance, generally doesn’t do so well. That means I’d be putting my phone into a protective case like the Otterbox, which could also impact performance, especially when an all-glass body like the iPhone X’s also sports an edge-to-edge screen. Honestly, I don’t mind a nice metal body and enough of a margin for a screen edge to sufficiently protect the unit. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people think all glass is so cool when it’s potentially the very feature that’ll cause significant damage at the worst moment. Granted, they claim this is the “most durable glass” ever used in a smartphone. The question is, will it be durable enough?

Then we come to facial recognition. On the surface, this seems like a really cool, high-tech security feature of the future. On the other hand, it feels like a really unnecessary gimmick. Apple says facial recognition is far more secure than fingerprint recognition, though I can’t recall hearing even once about someone being able to access someone else’s phone by fooling the fingerprint scanner; maybe it has happened, but I just don’t recall hearing that it has happened. If it has happened, since fingerprints are supposed to be unique, that calls into question the reliability of the older phones’ fingerprint scanners, which should then call into question the reliability of the new facial recognition technology. My sense — without being a security expert — is that it should be easier to fool facial recognition than it would be a fingerprint scanner. But maybe I’m wrong.

The iPhone X vs. The iPhone 8 Plus

If I were going to get a phone other than the iPhone X for my next upgrade, the next obvious choice would be the iPhone 8 Plus since I already have the iPhone 6S Plus and my fat fingers like the larger screen when I’m typing. (No, I’m not a huge fan to speak-to-text because I’m one of the few people who actually prefers to use proper spelling and punctuation even in text messages.)

CNet conveniently provided this side-by-side comparison for the various recent iPhone models.

The differences between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus seem few.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a home button while the iPhone X does not. Personally, I like the home button because I’m used to it. That’s not to say that I couldn’t get used to life without a home button, but it’d be a big adjustment. Since the iPhone 8 Plus has the home button, it still relies on fingerprint scanning to unlock. As I already stated, facial recognition is cool, but doesn’t strike me as justification to pay the higher price.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. A screen size difference of 0.3 inches isn’t a deal-breaker for me.

The iPhone 8 Plus is slightly taller and wider than the iPhone X. To me, that’s neither here nor there because the iPhone 8 Plus would presumably provide a little more room between the edge of the screen and the edge of the phone so that I can use a protective case.

Both phones will use iOS 11, both have the same A11 Bionic chip, the same M11 motion coprocessor, the same camera megapixel values front and back, and the same memory size options.

But the iPhone 8 Plus offers, according to battery life tests, an additional hour of internet use and video playback on wireless.

Given the “edge to edge” screen and facial recognition are the primary selling points for the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus, for me, seems like the better option.

If you were in the market for a new smartphone, would you consider either one of the new iPhones?

2 Comments

    1. Good point, Ian…I’m sure there will be bugs with this new model as there are with just about every other. My two-year contract is up later this month, so I don’t know how well I’ll be able to resist the temptation, even if only for the 8 Plus!

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.