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First field report of iPhone X (wired.com)
109 points by steven on Oct 30, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 268 comments

Even though the overall tone of this review was upbeat and positive, it seemed that the baseline conclusion was: "hopefully we find a use for the minor iterative improvements that will make this more than just the next release in a series of underwhelming releases." For one of the first, selectively-chosen reviews of what is supposed to be a ground-breaking product, the article essentially told us 1) the pictures look better; 2) Apple finally imitated Samsung's Infinity Display; 3) my fingers learned new motions that were useless with other Apple products; 4) FaceID became familiar and even worked sometimes; 5) I could put my face on a pile of poo, which required some cool technology.

Not that those features or the article suggest the iPhone X is a bad product, or bug-ridden, non-usable, or anything else. But how in the world are people--is Apple--still not embarrassed pretending that this is a revolutionary device? Even if FaceID is intensely innovative and unparalleled new technology - that is just the feature that people use to get to the features they actually want to use. No one is going to buy a phone to play around with the unlocking mechanism, they buy it for what that phone can do for them once it's unlocked. Hyping on FaceID is like saying, "We are revolutionizing mobile computing by entirely overhauling the millisecond process by which you gain access to a slightly improved version of the product you already have."

There's no room for revolution in smartphone space anymore. The market is too competitive and everybody is tracking it too closely. Revolution can take place in overlooked product categories (think tablets when iPad was introduced - I'd claim that was true revolution since it took significant time for the competitors to really catch up with Apple).

On one hand this is pretty sad. There's no wow factor, no truly exciting product releases. On the other hand the frequent releases mean that you can upgrade whenever and you always get pretty much latest available technology thanks to the yearly incremental updates vendors are releasing.

I'm getting suspicious if anything revolutionary can happen in the consumer electronics space. Companies are too eager to release early instead of keeping the stuff under wraps until it is amazing. Take wearable augmented reality devices as an example. We saw Google Glass years ago and then Microsoft Hololens. Now if somebody actually delivers a reasonably good mass market device in 2019 it hardly feels revolutionary after these prototypes. Same thing with VR headsets and smart watches.

Have there ever been any truly revolutionary products on the market that came out of nowhere? Before the iPad there were quite a few attempts at tablets (e.g. Apple Newton) that tested out certain features and got market feedback. The main thing Apple did was to learn from other failures and create an appealing package.

I bet at some point someone will learn from all the attempts at wearable devices and develop something users actually will like. Or maybe we will decide that something like Google Glass simply doesn't work and move on to something else.

The next revolution could be in software that is only possible with the power available in the iPhone X, that will be mainstream for other phones in a couple years.

I had an app called Vindigo on a Handspring Visor and later a Kyocera 6035 in the early 2000s that gave the location and mapped pretty much every restaurant, bar, and museum in New York long before maps were an obvious part of your phone.

I think the possibilities of AR are amazing, even though I don't think whatever the killer will be has been released yet.

I loved Vindigo! People forget how useful and powerful the Palm devices were. All they really needed was an always-on network connection.

There's no room for revolution in smartphone space anymore. The market is too competitive and everybody is tracking it too closely. Revolution can take place in overlooked product categories

What about in overlooked user interface technologies? I think FaceID would be great for unlocking the a MacBook laptop. Also, the face that Apple can now get ahold of those sensors for cheap and at scale probably opens up the opportunity for user interface innovation. People like to use touch for certain operations on current laptops with a touch screen, but some of those might be better done with a gesture away from the screen the doesn't cover up the view of the screen. (Or require the user to lift their hands up from the palm rest to avoid gorilla arm.)

Tablets existed before multitouch and the first iPad. It was a thinner form factor enabled by better battery and more frugal processors combined with multitouch which made the iPad what it is.

> I think FaceID would be great for unlocking the a MacBook laptop.

This is in absolutely no way revolutionary. Not least because some Windows laptops have been able to do it for some time (HP? I forget who did it, but it was awful)

I'm not sure that "been able to do it for some time, but it is awful" counts as being able to do it. Imagine if your MacBook recognized faces correctly 100% of the time, and would automatically login to your account, your wife's account, or your kid's limited accounts depending on who it was that opened the lid. I don't know if that's revolutionary, but it sure would be easy to use.

> I don't know if that's revolutionary, but it sure would be easy to use.

You can do this already for a few years now. Surface Pro 4, Surface book, Surface Laptop all have it. Works flawlessly.

I don't think so. The iPhone was revolutionary because suddenly you had a lot of sensors and the power to use them in creative ways. There are still sensors that could be added to devices of this price range that, coupled with new apps, would make them cool again: infrared vision, range finder, molecular scanner, etc.

Imagine pointing your camera to find an A/C leak inside the wall, or scanning fruit for their ripeness, or measuring furniture at the store to see if it fits in your house/door. Hell, it could even alert you if you have bad breath.

The tomato thing has been done by SCIO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_5Al294Nak

which apparently is now available as an extra sensor small enough to build into ordinary phones, with just one obscure Chinese manufacturer showing a prototype (at $299 for the handheld, it's probably too expensive for now).

The yearly upgrade cycle has truly made cynics of us all. Those of us who will go from a iPhone 6 to an iPhone X will be amazed. Those of us who take every iteration every year will be annoyed.

What was so revolutionary about the original iPhone? I don't think anyone could point at any single feature throughout the whole smartphone revolution and claim it was "revolutionary." It was always a combination of features and design decisions that made the phones so easy and pleasant to use. There were many phones before the iPhone that were way more capable, yet nobody talked about them.

Siri, TouchID, FaceID, capacitive touch screen, great cameras, app store, full fledged browser, LTE, etc...

Any of these features by themselves aren't "revolutionary" until you combine it all into a cohesive experience where you look at your phone to unlock it, take a photo that until very recently could only be produced by a DSLR, upload it nearly instantly to a social network within 5 taps, and then receive real time notifications when other people comment on it, all on a device you can hold in one hand.

Sure, you could say this is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but again, I don't believe there was this time where it was revolutionary to the extent you claim. It's always been a slow iterative process.

I've always upgraded my iPhone only for the camera and I've never regretted that. There are so many photos I have from a long time ago that I wish were higher quality, so I'm always willing to spend $ to make sure that today's photos are as good as they can be. 90% of the time I don't have my proper camera with me, so the phone is what it is.

Tangentially, after seeing some NFL replay highlights this weekend, I really wish HD high-frame rate cameras had been invented when Barry Sanders (perhaps the most electrifying football player of all time) played.

Yep, I'm more excited about the 56mm-e camera getting a wider aperture and image stabilisation than I am FaceID in the immediate sense.

But I am interested in what app developers will be able to do with a miniature 3D scanner!

It's as simple as it is overlooked: by building off of OSX, Apple delivered a phone that could actually work with all the files and protocols that people used on desktop. PDF, HTML, MP3/AAC, MP4/H264, ... Not to mention frameworks and APIs that were battle hardened.

It took competitors years to catch up, everyone's forgotten how much of a joke Android was until v4, and how Black Berry only caught up just as they were about to die. Things like low latency audio, large image support, GL, crypto, battery life, ...

Very very notable comment.

One of the first remarks from Blackberry's CEO when he first saw an iPhone was; “They’ve put a Mac in this thing,”. https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/excerpt-...

Before the iPhone, the best smartphones were Symbian or Blackberries. The iPhone was ridiculously better in every aspect.

The market was ripe as people realized they wanted to trade battery life for more powerful devices, after the success of the iPod and the iPaq (not a typo, the PDAs from Compaq/HP).

It was a revolution then, and it happened so fast Nokia and RIM were left in the dust.

The original iPhone? You know, it's been so long I can't really remember. What I do remember is before the iPhone my boss had been trying to get me to get a mobile phone (on the company dime), but I wasn't interested. Then the iPhone was announced. I don't remember what the competition was at that time (probably Blackberry, I don't recall hearing about Android until sometime after the original iPhone came out), but I do recall being excited by a phone for the first time. Mainly it was that it came across as not just a phone, but an actual pocket computer. I did end up letting the company buy me one, and I did feel like it lived up to the hype. For the first time a browser actually worked, and worked well, on a mobile device (the first time I tried zooming in and out on a web page - this was in the days before mobile/responsive websites - blew my mind). Apps started coming out that were actually useful. Google maps actually worked the way I would expect it to work. And so on. I still feel like there was nothing else like it at the time (I'd looked around at other phones at the time, but was very underwhelmed - they mainly seemed to target business/sales/manager type people).

iPhone was revolutionary because it went full touch screen and went full browser.

The phone as a mini-tablet changed smartphones significantly.

it wasn't just that it was full touch screen. palm pilots were full "touch" screen (or stylus) long before. it was that the things on the screen behaved fluidly when you manipulated them, without lag, allowing you to use the interface _while forgetting that there was an interface there in the first place_.

all you have to do to remember what interacting with a device before apple provided a good example is to find a fairly shitty, poorly-specced android device [0] and interact with it and get frustrated at the ever-present-and-yet-inconsistent lag.

[0] tablets are a good place to look, partly because they usually have more pixels to push than phones

"it was that the things on the screen behaved fluidly when you manipulated them, without lag, allowing you to use the interface _while forgetting that there was an interface there in the first place_."

This. Playing solitaire by easily flicking the cards away was magic back then.

I am not saying the phone is revolutionary, I am saying that Apple and some supporters/reviewers call it revolutionary. See Apple's own page for the X[1]. The use the slogan, "Say hello to the future", and for the FaceID section, literally call it "A revolution in recognition" (emphasis mine). The point that I was drawing out from the review was that all the hoped-for fulfillment of Apple's marketing seems to rely on 3rd-party developers making this new hardware useful, but Apple itself has not really delivered to the hype. It is as if the English colonists in America had written the Declaration and then the Constitution and said, "Hopefully in the future some nations out there will know what to do with democracy and can make it successful, but we'll stick with being slightly more-autonomous subjects of King George for now." Some "revolution" that would have been.

[1] https://www.apple.com/iphone-x/

It had multi-touch. Pinch to zoom was pretty awesome the first time I tried it. When you compared the original iphone to Win-Mobile it was night and day. You didn't need a stylus. It was pretty fluid. Its web browser was a full browser. The whole feel was pretty revolutionary compared to the windows ce.

The X is Apple playing catch up feature wise, but they seem to be catching up the way they always do; being a leader in the pack. Fastest phone by far, arguably the best camera (really comes down to preference vs Pixel), but what I'm excited about is for stuff I've dreamed of from Apple - OLED (dark themes matter now!), thicker phone for more battery life and Plus features without the ShoePhone size from a company that is actively trying to protect my privacy.

If they complete the whole package and make it all work great, then like the iPod, it doesn't need to be first to market to be revolutionary. Just be better than all the other implementations and UX thus far. Though iOS 11 doesn't seem like that's all coming together super great but their pros still seem to outweigh all their competitors cons for what I want from a device. And of course, marketing is marketing.

Apparently the OLED display is a 1st generation(older) OLED from Samsung...It really felt to me they made a big deal just like they did with 4K on Apple TV.... same technology like the competition, one year later. The camera on Samsung seems to be better too. The only thing that keeps me on Apple ecosystem is iOS and MacOS...

Citation? I cannot imagine that my years old Nexus 6 has a more recent display than the new iPhone X.

Check the specs. It's AMOLED vs OLED. Also check the ppi, brightness etc. It was so embarrassing to watch the keynote when Phil was explaining that it took longer to upgrade to OLED because they had to perfect the technology. I guess that's why they haven't upgrade Mac Pro line for so long either...same with Mac Mini and 4K on Apple TV..they are perfecting it... The truth is that the old LCD was cheaper and now after they upgraded to OLED they bumped the price as well.

The issue is/was that Samsung effectively is the only company that makes OLED phone displays, so they'd charge out the ass for one and could always just sell last gen displays to make their new phone more attractive.

Iirc Apple and some other companies threw a bunch of money at LG so they can get in the game as well, which will be nice in the future but atm obviously screen quality is worse and costs are higher due to R&D cost.

Your citation is that Apple’s marketing group thinks OLED is a better term than AMOLED?

PPI is not a fixed number determined by generation and isn’t relevant. Brightness is an interesting point but my Nexus 6 was AMOLED (oh my) and <400 nits so significantly dimmer than the iPhone X.

It’s very possible, even likely, that Samsung’s latest flagship phones use newer display tech than the iPhone X. It is exceedingly unlikely that the iPhone X is using first generation tech.

The camera "seems" better in your subjective opinion, or is better as measured by professionals?

In the tests I've seen the iPhone comes out on top in almost all situations vs. the Pixel, as a representative example here of a very good Android camera, with the notable exception of extreme low light conditions.

Well, I don't take photos very often but recently at a campfire I took few shoots(with my Iphone 6s) and for some reasons my photos were rubbish while Samsung (note 7)'s were awesome. There was no question that my beloved iPhone's camera was inferior and I think Samsung's display was better too(i.e. OLED). Now I'm convinced Apple is selling inferior hardware at inflated prices. It's OK though but I don't upgrade that often anymore as I used to do. When they launched the 4K Apple TV and made such a big deal that it supports 4K it was clear to me they have no shame in pushing old stuff or on par with the competition(1 year later) as it's a revolutionary technology.

Sounds like the very low-light problem I was talking about. That's a very specific situation, and you must admit 99.9% of the time most people aren't next to campfires so you're testing with an edge-case here.

FaceID is extremely uninteresting but the hardware used for it could be game-changing. A depth camera on 100m devices in the world is pretty novel. I can imagine pretty cool gaming and communications apps that project a user's face into the virtual world, and held backwards you could use the depth camera to scan a room.

I keep my entire music collection on my phone, and my 128 GB 6S is tapped out (almost entirely music). That requires me to do some storage juggling every time I want to update. So I'll probably buy one for the bump to 256 GB alone. Double the storage should last me for quite awhile.

The other features are largely irrelevant (except perhaps the inductive charging), but I'll get the X instead of the 8 because it will be 3-4 years before I update again.

For what it's worth, the 6S's 128 GB and bump to 2 GB RAM (making Safari usable again on JavaScript-clogged sites) were what motivated me to buy that one. The X, incidentally, bumps that again to 3 GB. The 8 remains at 2.

Apple could literally release a phone with zero changes to it over the previous "generation" and billions would still want it.

>Apple could literally release a phone with zero changes to it over the previous "generation" and billions would still want it.

Yes, but not because of the mindless sheep angle you seem to want it to be. Lots of people are comfortable using iPhones and like how they work. They don't want to to switch to something else. The End.

> Yes, but not because of the mindless sheep angle you seem to want it to be

How do you explain the iphone x?

> Lots of people are comfortable using iPhones and like how they work. They don't want to to switch to something else

ok? That's not at all what I was talking about.

> The End.

Oh please, get over yourself.

> How do you explain the iphone x?

Is this related to the "zero changes to a phone and billions would want it" or "mindless sheep angle"?

What is there to explain about the iPhone X? It's the best new phone from Apple. If you keep a phone for two years and use it daily, then the hardware costs around $2 / day so it's affordable.

If that's the ecosystem you are in and want a new phone, then that's a pretty reasonable choice.

Less than $2 a day with resale value. And service costs more than $2 a day. So if you are given a free phone, you are still spending more than half as much as an iPhone X. If you get a "cheap" $500 phone you are spending at least 80% as much as an iPhone X.

I'm upgrading from my iPhone 6+, so in my case 3 years. And it works out to about $1 a day. Which is in the whatever category.

Expensive, sure, but at this point skipping every other generation or every every third generation is fine. The main reason for upgrading is the battery is starting to ghost. Its max charge is 1900mah from its original 2800(ish? i forget exactly)mah.

Call me a sheep if you want but I've tried my friends android phones and even have a nexus tablet. It just doesn't do it for me. Plus getting rid of all my high scores in games is no bueno. I've spent many years in lines perfecting them.

While I love the phone and find it a big improvement over all current market phones (not that innovative though), I wonder how many people will die trying to unlock their phones while driving.

And they will unlock it while driving.

I would say similar to the amount now, and less than passcode-based unlock

Using your phone while driving is reckless, regardless of the authentication mechanism.

"Using your phone while driving is reckless, regardless of the authentication mechanism." -- true. Nevertheless, Numbers show that people do use their phones while driving.

"I would say similar to the amount now, and less than passcode-based unlock" -- For now this is just a claim. This is why I'm wondering... Yet, imagine needing to place your phone in front of your face, instead of just using your finger.

I use apple carplay and it still asks me to unlock my device sometimes. With touchId I can do this without taking my eyes off the road.

however the touch id does not require you to look at your phone to unlock and unconsciously people will look at an X to unlock it even though it only needs to see you, not the reverse.

neither is a good idea but Apple recently pushed out lockouts for Do not disturb while driving. I have not tried this feature and it defaults to off. So how well it works, well it won't stop me from using the phone as it appears to be not allowing the phone to interrupt me.

> unconsciously people will look at an X to unlock it even though it only needs to see you, not the reverse.

That does not seem to be the case as the reviewer puts it. Even when he was looking at his iPhone X he could not always get it unlocked: "There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me. (Apple tells me that perhaps I wasn’t making what the iPhone X considers eye contact.)"

You’re looking at it wrong.

> people will look at an X to unlock it even though it only needs to see you, not the reverse.

It explicitly will not unlock by default unless you are looking at the phone (or have disabled the "attention detection" feature), it detects the direction of your eyes presumably to prevent someone from surreptitiously pointing your phone at your face to unlock it while you are focusing elsewhere.

> By default, Face ID requires eye contact in order to work, but Federighi says you can disable the “attention detection” feature and Face ID will work whether you look directly at it or not.


I am not sure why it is different from any other phone. Yes, unlocking the phone with fingerprint does not require taking your eyes off the road. But aren't your going to look at the screen of the unlocked phone anyway?

Not to use Siri.

Not to unlock for my kids in the back to play music.

Siri is activated by side button. Passing a phone to the kids in the back probably more dangerous then glancing at the screen. Don't do it, please.

> Passing a phone to the kids in the back probably more dangerous then glancing at the screen

Hmm, why? Looking at the screen takes your eyes off the road. Passing a phone back allows you to keep your eyes on the road. Why would that be more dangerous?

If we're going down this rabbit hole:

Glancing at the phone screen (that you can bring in front of you) will take a second and is very similar to glancing at the navigation screen. Now try to pass a phone to a kid behind you in a child seat or using a seatbelt. For starters, just try 'passing' a phone behind your chair without dropping it why looking into your computer screen.

I have two kids and have had to pass things back to them almost daily. My eyes don't go off the road and my hand stays on the steering wheel. So not sure what you're talking about...

I keep reading about how the "notch" is ugly and annoying, but "you get used to it". Like sitting behind someone with a big hat in the movie theatre, after awhile, you don't even notice. Personally, I change seats in that scenario.

I just find it hard square claims of "the future of the smartphone" with reviews like "you get used to it".

I don't have the iPhone X yet, but I'm actually kind of excited about the notch and the round corners for a (perhaps) silly reason: it brings us deeper into the sci-fi age where screens are organic objects with shape, rather than just hard, rectangular squares. It feels more exciting, more human, somehow.

(Also, all the various status bars will now finally have the same height; basically no software properly responds to the double-height status bar when something special is going on.)

"organic objects with shape, rather than just hard, rectangular squares"

"all the various status bars will now finally have the same height"

Pick one.

Meaning the GPS and phone call background process status bars will no longer be taller than the standard status bar. This caused lots of issues with third party apps whose developers didn’t test the auto layout edge cases.

not even just third party apps, many of apple's as well!

> I keep reading about how the "notch" is ugly and annoying…

If you think of it as a "notch", sure. Another way to think of it is that the screen has a little extra space in the form of "ears", used for instruments (time, signal strength) that would otherwise eat screen space used by apps.

This is why I think that screen space shouldn't be useable. It should be reserved by the OS to show the status, have a black background (which would work really well with the OLED), and from an app's perspective the screen is just a rectangle.

Then again... maybe you do get used to it?

Like how our parents got "used to" prior technology's "annoyances"?

I'm not saying this is a "get off my lawn" annoyance, but... I'm curious to see how phones evolve after this notch.

Everyone got used to OSK's but I'd still prefer a physical keyboard.

I think the point the OP is making is: what is the advantage to "getting used" to it? It's not immediately clear what this oddly shaped screen provides in terms of functionality.

"the most anticipated product in years"... stopped reading there. Anticipated product in years ? Really ?? not even "most anticipated Apple product in years " ? For a phone with a missing button and a face recognition feature nobody cares about ??

I am an iOS developer, and i generally love apple product, but frankly it's time everyone, including hard-core apple fans, agree that apple has been under-delivering those last 3 years.

If i had to say "anticipated" about something, i'd say the watch 3 is far more interesting and opens more application use.

Considering the iPhone 6S is the best phone I ever had, I can see how you might feel like they're under delivering. But maybe it's just because we've reached a point where phones are so good that we don't notice updates that much. On the other hand, what would really be a revolution in the mobile landscape would be to have long-lasting batteries. Recharging a phone every day is still a huge pain.

Reactions to the last Apple event at my generally Apple-loving and Apple-hardware-heavy place of employment:

Apple Watch 3 — Holy crap that's amazing, I may get rid of my phone for this and just buy a nice stand-alone camera! Oh, you still need a phone. So much for that.

iPhone 8 — Meh. Not as big a jump as the 7. Looks... fine.

iPhone X, after the ultra-hype leading up the announcement — The hugely revolutionary, world-changing thing is a second, slightly better phone? Am I accidentally watching a parody?

iPhone X was especially a let-down after the almost-awesome but then totally-not Watch 3 thing—which was (the Watch 3, that is) still the most interesting thing they announced, despite being like 20% as interesting as it initially appeared to be.

I agree on the Watch 3. Leaving my phone at home feels like the future is here. The shared SIM solution is very elegant but requires carriers to cooperate. But once established many IoT manufacturers can enjoy it.

Interesting PR strategy by Apple, considering the general review embargo hasn’t been lifted yet (I’m assuming more than a few of the usual suspects got review units...this past Friday, maybe?)

This is certainly the way Apple would like the X to be perceived, and Levy makes sense as someone likely to be on their wavelength.

I am excited for this phone (as a lifelong Android user) because of the large screen in the small form factor. I really appreciate high resolution screens but I'm tired of needing ginormous phones to get it.

This device seems to have a great screen in the perfect form factor for me.

I'm waiting to see some reviews before purchasing but the iPhone X is probably going to be my next phone.

Sidenote, anybody have any tips on migrating from android to iOS?

I agree it would be nice to have a 5" height smartphone with 85 to 90% screen coverage. Doesn't look to happen. And iphone X is really no different size wise to its current/recent competition.

The S8 is slightly taller (5mm) and slightly narrower (3mm) with a very slightly larger screen at higher dpi. The V30 screen is 10% larger, higher dpi but at cost of additional 8mm height and 5mm width. For comparision, the diameter of a dime is 18mm. (data from GSMArena)

Think its a reach to say iPhone X competitors are some how 'ginormous' in comparison. Sounds like an iPhone 7/8 is more the physical size you are looking for if wanting to leave the Android world.

I was mistaken about the competitors, I didn't realize how close in size the V30 and S8 were. I was comparing with my current phone, the nexus 6P. I was mostly looking at the "+" phones for the higher resolution displays. I was probably foolish not to look more closely at the other competitors.

The galaxy s8 and LG V30 also have large screens in relatively small form factors - are those too big for you?

For whatever reason I was under the impression that those phones were larger than they are. Thanks for pointing those out to me!

I'm still probably going to switch to Apple because I've been working towards being more privacy conscious in the last several months and Apple's stance on privacy and encryption is appealing.

I was an android early adopter who switched in 2012 - and I'll explain why.

At the time I had a T-Mobile G2 which was approaching the end of its natural lifecycle, I was also dissatisfied with the software quality of android overall - at the time I was looking for another android phone running stock android with a keyboard (something that didnt exist effectively), because the android on screen keyboard at the time was so awful - so I started looking at the iPhone - at the time I expected the same difficulties with iOS that I had with android (android always felt like it was half-done, for example non-scrolling context menu's that scrolled off the screen) - but I found overall that the software quality was just better with iOS - and added benefit is, my iPhone largely 'just works' - I spend all day repairing and building technology, the last thing I want to do is have to invest cycles to keep my own kit working.

With iPhone when it doesn't work (or has an issue), I take it back to the 'fruit store', and they make it all better, without me having to be much involved in the process - however with iOS this has happened precisely twice (once for a software bug, the other for a hardware issue), versus in two Android phones, I was performing a factory reset of the device about once a year due to software bugs (text messaging DB, apps that wouldnt uninstall, having to perform space management with a SD card and internal storage, email that would just stop syncing randomly, digitizer would stop working, etc), as well as a lack of updates to still new-ish hardware. While I realize with Google I have much more control and flexibility with how I can use my device, for me at least this added control is largely unimportant for my use case - yes there have been a few cases I wish I could do things with my iPhone that it doesnt do, but these are mostly edge cases, when I want to use my phone in a non-typical use case.

In addition with Apple, I know what the product they're selling is - and its not me. With Google, I've got a sneaking suspicion that I'm the product - don't get me wrong, I use Google, I like Google, but the relationship between Apple and I is much more clear cut. I also trust Apple as more likely to keep my data secure, and to stand at my side if someone (specifically the government) wanted at it.

This mirrors my own experience.

As a Samsung Note 2/4 owner I used to give myself a lot of excuses as to why iPhones were "bad" -- non-expandable storage (even though I never maxed out the storage that came built in with my Android phones), non-user replaceable battery (even though my battery hardly ever dips below 50%, as whenever I'm in a place where I can plug it in, it's plugged in), a more restrictive ecosystem (even though I barely use more than the web browser and a few other common apps on any phone).

My tipping point was visiting Canada one time with data roaming turned off. Despite this, Sprint decided overnight that my Note 4 needed to download the Sprint NASCAR app that I did not request or have any intention of ever using. The download, since I was roaming in another country, cost me about $20 on my next statement.

Shortly thereafter I got an iPhone 6S Plus and haven't looked back. I'm still with Sprint, but thanks to iOS's restrictions I don't have to have any of their junk installed on there, which couldn't be removed from my Note 4 without rooting it.

I will say, however, that I'm still not a fan of iPhones killing the headphone jack, so I don't intend to upgrade until it becomes strictly necessary.

I only use the headphone jack for a wired headset telephone style headset, I only very rarely listen to music on my phone. For my use case, getting a charging headphone adapter dongle and leaving it hooked up to the headset I use, will serve my needs perfectly.

And that may be how I go, but for now I have no need to upgrade. iOS 11 hasn't given me any of the issues on the 6S Plus other people talk about (perhaps because I use my iPhone in a more limited capacity than many other people).

It's clear to me that the RAM limitations of my 6S are present, I'm more often then not seeing apps starting fresh rather than resuming state.

Android is much tighter these days

I'm in a similar boat as you. I was an iPhone user who switched to the HTC One for Android, and had problems. I then went to a Nexus 5 thinking it would fix my issues, but still had various problems. When the large screen iPhones came out I gave up my experiment, switched back, and wondered why I ever left.

People tell me Android has improved since then, but it always felt not quite done. I'm still happy with the iPhone. Meanwhile, a co-worker in the office received his new Pixel 2 XL and RMAed it the same day because the proximity sensor doesn't work.

I consider hardware quality to be about equal across smartphone vendors, aside from obvious bugs in new hardware.

The LG G2 was released in September of 2013, even allowing a year for life cycle would be late 2014?

It wasn't an LG G2, it was an HTC Desire Z rebranded as a T-Mobile G2


Switching to Apple doesn't really seem like a good way to move towards being more privacy conscious. Even if you don't mind the walled garden and lack of control of your own device (you should if you really want to care about privacy), recent revelations like silently granting special permissions to Uber app should remove any remaining appeal there may have been in them.

I'm not looking to build the fort knox of phones or anything, I'm trying to take the path of least resistance to having a more private, secure device.

I'd rather have a phone/OS built by a company whose primary source of revenue is not user data.

From my, admittedly limited, understanding of the issues between iOS and Android it seems like iOS is more secure/privacy oriented with some obvious caveats like the Uber app issue you mentioned.

All I'm saying is that you'll just be under a delusion. False sense of security is way worse than no security at all.

If you really want/need to stick to the big two systems, some AOSP build with microG is way better option that iOS, where you can do almost nothing to actually get your privacy back into your own hands.

If that's your only reason for changing, Samsung's Knox suite is considered to be highly secure, and is permitted for DoD use et cetera.

Yea I was just about to mention that as well. I never liked touchwiz but I just got the s8 and it's a nice phone. Maybe I just don't like the default icons and design? I'm not sure, but I customized it to look more like regular Android.

I use Nova Launcher, it's much nicer; I highly suggest it. there's so much more flexibility especially for these huge screens (I'm a Note 8 user). For icons, check out the Samsung Themes app. You can apply icon sets from different themes without touching the rest of the UI.

Slightly OT: I am most impressed by Apple‘s bold move to drop the iPhone‘s decade old, iconic symmetric design while establishing a new iconic asymmetric design almost over night.

As odd as the new design feels, Apple already owns this design, this buckle, this asymmetry.

Edit: Why the downvotes (just wondering)?

I downvoted you because I thought your comment was without content. What does it mean, to own the design? What alternate world would cause you to feel differently about the design?

Not gp, but it means to me that when someone looks at the layout they unmistakably know it is an iPhone X, in the way the phone’s top and bottom bars used to mean iPhone.

Apple probably owns the design because most other manufactures hopefully see that you shouldn't be looking at a notch every time you are viewing a video. I've been an iPhone user since day 1 but the screen shape on this phone just makes so little sense.

It wouldn't be the worst if Apple made it that iOS scaled everything so media wasn't blocked by the notch but instead if I get the iPhone X I have to wait for app developers to fix the issue. Seems like a poor decision.

Marco Arment nailed this: https://marco.org/2017/09/18/courage

The iphone had an instantly recognisable silhouette for 10 years: symmetrical forehead & chin, with a big round home button. Going to very thin bezels necessarily throws this trademark away. Making lemonade, as it were, they've chosen to embrace the notch to create a new trademark.

To me, what made the iPhone great for so long was more than its look physically. It was the integration between the software and the hardware. Everyone saying that the notch is a new trademark is explaining away the fact that isn't the case anymore.

Thank you, that was the blog post I was looking for in vain when I found Cybart's tweet.

The initial reports I read, indicated that the sensor block was not used as part of the video playback area, because the screen measured without the sensor block is 16:9.

My understanding is that media fills the screen in the same way it does on any other iPhone. A double tap will change the zoom setting such that it will letterbox and not cut off any part of the video. This setting is supposed to be saved when you view another video.

And because this screen has such a wide aspect ratio, in most cases you can zoom out and only have black bars on the notch side and opposite side (left & right when in landscape mode).

That being said, I do find the designs that “embrace the notch” (especially in landscape) repulsive. I’d much prefer if that area just stayed dark to blend in with the notch.

From what I understand (from a 'The Talk Show'/John Gruber podcast, IIRC), the default view for fullscreen landscape video has black bars on the left and right. It's only when you double tap to go to full screen (and thus cropping the top/bottom) that the notch interferes with the video. He made the point that Apple showing the notch covering video was them kinda going out of their way to highlight that the notch was there.

It's not only about the notch it's also the curved lines at the edges. Those would still cut out your video if the notch wasn't there. In my opinion the usable area of the phone is much smaller than it seems at first sight and the iPhone 8 Plus is a lot better in that respect.

I do like the fact that they managed to restrain themselves from abusing the rounded edges for display, that was something I always hated about the Samsung Edge family.

That was my source as well :) Couldn’t remember if it starts with black bars or not, but the important point is that it’s trivial to toggle.

If the setting is saved I could see it being manageable. I think the bigger issue is if you have apps or games that stretch and get parts of it blocked by the notch. That is where you really can't do anything about it.

The area to the left and the right of the notch would be best served by a mini task bar or in the case of videos play/pause/FF/FR icons.

>I have to wait for app developers to fix the issue

Only the app developers who don't follow the guidelines:

"Don't attempt to hide the device's rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. "


What about apps that are slow to update or relatively abandoned? Guidelines are all well and good and I assume everyone here thinks they should be followed. The problem is though that not everyone will update on time.

Take for example when the iPhone 6 and 6+ first came out. It took my banking app until the 6s came out to finally update their app to fill the screen. Now granted those apps weren't unusable, they just looked wrong. On the iPhone X with the notch there is a very real possibility that until they are updated they may have unusable functionality.

> shouldn't be looking at a notch every time you are viewing a video.

For what it's worth, the iPhone X doesnt have a 16:9 display, so by default video displays pillar-boxed. Just like on iPad (which also doesnt have a 16:9 display), if you zoom in on the video you can make it occupy the full display, but cutting off a portion of the video.

>the screen shape on this phone just makes so little sense.

It is the only design that makes sense. The other manufacturers just put a bar down the bottom that has no purpose at all. No one cares about a notch. Obsessive personalities are just fixating on it.

You easily could have just not put the notch in, and left a slight bezel on the top. Saying no one cares about the notch is a bit much. If it bothers someone, it bothers someone. If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother you. People are allowed to have different opinions.

Here is what I think is the real purpose of the notch: Phones, and especially iPhones, are status symbols. A brand new iPhone only works as a status symbol if the people you want to impress can actually see at a glance that you have the latest model. It's the only strong and clear reason for this weird design I can think of.

People are forgetting that Steve Jobs was always about the tech and the marketing. In his mind the marketing and putting the customer first was every bit as important as the product. Apple really was a synergy of product and marketing from the get go.

A lot of work went into the notch, I doubt that Mr Ive et al. thought the marketing angle first but you are right, the biggest thing about the notch is people 'bikeshed' over it and talk about it. It gets noticed. And yes it does identify you as having the latest model. That takes you into the marketing that Apple is 50% about (with tech being the other 50% in how Steve Jobs did products).

Although we no longer have Steve Jobs at the helm his vision lives on in the team that he built.

Agree and well articulated!

so IOS will not create a black bar to fill the areas adjacent to the notch?

It’s not allowed. Apple does not allow to hide the notch except when watching videos. There is some guide for app developers about this.

Positive observations regarding Apple, factually correct or not, seem to attract downvotes. The downvotes on this comment in particular really baffled me: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15538585

> it took me awhile to get the hang of pressing down on one of the little cards representing an app in order to evoke a minus sign that allowed me to close it.

You're not supposed to perform this action regularly.

> I knew I’d mastered the gestures when I found myself trying to use them on my iPad. Oops. My finger no longer drifts to the home button, but pathetically swipes upwards, to no avail.

This should work on iPad if you're running iOS 11.

If my $300 Moto G5+ (temporary replacement for my bootlooped Nexus 5X) were to, well, f-ing receive timely updates, I'd stick with it for a while. 4 GB / 64 GB (and the option to add a MicroSD card), Snapdragon... 625, IIRC. And a decent IPS display. It's just fine.

I'd love to have a better camera, but not at 3x the price.

Yeah, this isn't an "Apple" comment. But it is a "US$800 - $1200" comment. And an "it's not really your device" comment. Not when we are at the "mercy" of vendors to provide necessary updates -- or, more often, not to.

On that front, Apple is clearly winning. But a grand is a lot to pay for it.

P.S. My G5+ has a headphone jack. Useful that now Bluetooth is borked until it receives the update/fix -- IF it ever receives it.

Yeah, I'm a broken record... But it's a song these vendors ripely deserve.

My two questions are:

1. Is the X worth the extra $200/$300 on top of the 8? 2. Is the X worth the $1k+

I know "worth" is relative and depends on your personal requirements, but from someone who's likely a software dev on this site, is it really worth spending that kind of money?

No, it is not. It’s stupid money. If you need a phone that will do 99% if everything that this phone does get a Moto G5plus at 1/4th of the price. But then again wave goodbye to your private data if you do.

Having said that, I still preordered one. It’s sexy and highly desirable for no specific reason for me.

Personally - I picked the X because of a desire to try something new. Also, as a photographer, the new camera looks fairly impressive as well, in addition I expect the larger screen in a small form factor to enable me to use my phone for even more things - beyond that, its upgrade time for me anyhow, the price difference between a 256 gig iPhone 8 and iPhone X is effectively rounding error, as in, its not a significant amount of money for something I use every single day for so many tasks and activities.

Not to be one of those guys, buuuut... using T-Mobile as a carrier, the 8plus with 256GB is $949 and the X is $1149, which is 21% increase. You're still sepending around a grand though so I see your point.

I appreciate your reply. Thanks!

I'll be in the market for a new phone in the next year, and I've got to say I can see the appeal, but the price tag is pretty high.

For me, the major features are the look-to-unlock and water resistant features. Whether those are worth the $300+ premium, is certainly under debate in my mind... I guess I'll have to wait and reevaluate when the time comes to actually make the change.

I'm really not into the whole photography / Instagram scene, so the camera is less of a selling point for me, but you can't exactly get a phone these days without a camera, so it may as well be a nice one for those rare occasions when I do want to take a picture...

The only real point of concern I have is that for $1000+ (more, considering it'd be in CAD for me) how long is the phone going to last me? If it's on the planned obsolescence timeline of 2 years, that's a hefty fee... If, instead, they made it more truly "premium" and as such would last 3-4 years then it becomes a lot more agreeable. But I guess there's no way to know that without taking the plunge. :(

The $200 is worth it just for the form factor - smaller than the plus yet a bigger screen. That is, if I compare it to the 8. If you're locked the Apple ecosystem, then I'd say yes.

Nitpic. It’s roughly the same size screen. Can’t just measure diagonals.

You should go to the store and experience the iPhone X for your self and make that determination . Also factor in that you are buying a 1.0 product.

How so? It's the latest iteration of a product first released 10 years ago.

New case design and screen with Touch ID makes it a 1.0 product (maybe I should say 10.0 product ) I would wait a month to see if there are any glaring issues regardless . I suspect the OLED screen may have the most issues .

Since Touch ID only works for me maybe 40-60% of the time, yes, it's worth it for me personally.

Is ios11 as sucky on it as it is on 6S for me is the real question me thinks.

Be patient. I have iOS 11B5 and it is much improved. Battery life is close to 10.3.3 (I have archived screenshots to compare.). By close I mean 15 min difference over a day usage.

It still has lots of stupid bugs. Calculator is just broken. Misaligned text. Rotated screen when awakening. Things like that.

Speed is fast on B5 also. Compared to the sh&$show that 11.0.X was it is refreshing.

IOS on the 7 has been rock solid. What is wrong on the 6s?

Random freezes, phone calls not having sound, and for me as a podcast/audiobook listener that side is awful, widget not working, having to restart the app or the whole phone, bluetooht connectivity being very unreliable. Usability gone much worse regarding audio.

In situations where with ios9 I could rely that I put my headphone on and push the button on the headphones the correct thing would start playing immediately this got worse with ios10, things started to not work always and with ios11 it's so bad that I can't bring myself to spend money on a new ios device. When my 6s dies I hope there will be something other then the duopoly available.

It is as bad as you report (I run both a 6 and a 7 as daily drivers). I'm running the latest iOS 11.1 beta on my 6 for it to be usable, highly recommend doing so; its superior to the non-beta 11.0.*

https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/redemption (Apple ID login required)

The situation is perhaps even worse on iPhone 6, which I have. It feels like Apple doesn't test iOS on older hardware. For example the camera app has rotation freezing problems [1] half the time I open it. It's not a rare occurance, it's a constant issue. It's not a case of slow hardware either, because there are still plenty of times when everything works smoothly.


[1] When I rotate the phone, half the UI elements react to the rotation and update, but the other half of the UI remains at the previous mode. So I have a UI which is half landscape, half portrait. Depending on the mood of the iPhone, the UI will fix itself in either a second, 5 seconds, or not until I restart the app.

I'm still clinging to iOS 10 on my plain 6. It sounds like you'd recommend I don't update; is that true?

If you're using Apple CarPlay, don't upgrade (yet?). On iOS 11 it cannot even keep up playing music without glitches. Crashed twice on me when receiving a phone call. Never had those issues on iOS 10.3.

Rebooting helps. Feels like trying to use Windows on a cheap desktop to watch an HD movie in 2001.

I have a 6+ and it's been pretty slow since iOS 10. Sucks. Everything else with the phone is great, it's just dog slow now on modern iOS. =(

1 GB of RAM :-(

Basically the iPhone 6S was perfect as a phone (meaning I can see myself using it for the next 5 years) until the update. Now some apps will freeze and it gets really annoying. I've seen my friends using it on an iphone 6 and you can't even text anymore.

My wife and I both have iPhone 6s. She upgraded and has regretted it since. Very slow wake up, unlocking, and app switching are just some issues. There's a lag with most actions. Random app crashes (even those updated), and battery life has dropped significantly.

Ios11 is a disaster, half the battery life of previous versions, safari video looping, and constant lock screen crashing. First time I’ve been unhappy with my phone.

Can't help wondering if FaceID's more of a PITA than a help. Do I always have to stop and stare at my phone? What if I'm walking?

It'll be awesome for people with sweaty hands or in warm or cold climates.

Gotta take the bad with the good. Im optimistic.

Don't you need to look at your phone to use it anyway ?

No. Often my phone is on a desk. So with Touch ID I can walk back into the room, lay my finger on the phone and it wakes and shows me if I have any messages. I don’t have to pick it up, move it, stare directly at it or anything.

I get that most people don’t work this way but for me it’s great.

Disclaimer: mine hasn't arrived yet, but you should be able to walk into the room, tap the phone, and it will unlock but leave you at the lock screen to see your notifications.

You don't have to be facing it directly, you don't have to lift to wake it.

Welp, apparently you do have to lean over it, per reports. A shame.

might depend on a your personal usecase. touchid just never worked reliably for me, so i'm excited to try faceid...

My biggest issue with it is finding out that the aspect ratio has changed and so even thought the screen is roughly the same length diagonally as iPhone 6/6S/7/8 Plus it's width is really like that of a iPhone 6/6S/7/8 and not a Plus. So for Plus users, there's no replacement here it seems.

Good point. Here's hoping for an iPhoneX+ next year.

A surprisingly honest take on the phone. Faceid will take some revisions to get right but overall he seems to like the phone and looks forward to app developers to make use of its killer features.

I always have some sort of dream that one year I’ll watch the keynote knowing nothing, but in reality I read every article or rumor leading up until the event.

The price is revolutionary. It is a low cost vehicle for high cost signalling.

I wonder if that protruding sensor block can be used for touch ID somehow?


How enlightened to not belong to the "sheeple" merely by buying a competitive brand!


Maybe he doesn't buy a $800 Android ? And doesn't buy every new release ? There are new $200+ Android phones.

I often wonder what people do with these super expensive phones to be honest.

I have a cheap Xiaomi phone and it runs the same apps everyone else does.

My guess is that the expensive phones are bought primarily for their cameras. I'm not big into photography but I can see how that makes a stronger argument for the likes of the iPhone X and Note 8 etc.

Camera for photos of the kids is certainly my self-justification. My SLR takes better photos - but all the best photos of my kids are on my phone - because it’s what I have in my pocket.

This. 20 years from now you will be happy you have the best possible pictures of the kids.

20 years from now you will be happy with the best possible pictures of the kids, true. Where 'best' is defined as 'pictures showing the children as they were, doing what they were doing where and with whom they were doing it with'. Whether those pictures were taken with, say, a Motorola Defy (5 MP sensor, takes good pictures as long as there is enough light but gets noisy in low-light situations) or a Samsung Galaxy S8 or Google Pixel (which take good pictures in most situations) is of less importance unless you are in the habit of taking pictures of your children in near-darkness.

Personally, I just like to use the latest technology – I live and breath it every day in my job and I like to keep up on trends. I don't go out and spend a ton of money at clubs, bars, and fancy restaurants, I go to the movies maybe once a year, I drive a sensible car. For me, hardware like the latest smartphone or computer is what I like to spend my discretional income on – simple as that. To each his/her own.

I do nothing with my expensive phone (Pixel 1 XL atm, soon to be iPhone X). Nothing to justify the price, at least. I buy them because I enjoy the quality feeling, which is partially real and partially self enforced.

With that said though, I've been with Android since the G1 (literally all of the Nexus lines), and few cheap phones compare to the high end phones for me.

My best phone of all time? The Nexus 4.. or was it 5... I honestly can't remember now. It was one of these $200 phone. It felt cheap as hell, but it was a very nice compromise on features vs price. Yet, that's going back to what I was saying above. Despite me loving that phone, and it being an amazing phone for $200, it was still a compromise of quality. If you show me a phone that has the OS and build feel of my Pixel 1 XL, I'd happily buy it. However, I've not ever seen this. Same goes for my Macbook Pro. It's far from perfect, and definitely feels overpriced, but the OS and Hardware combo has no competition from my perspective. Unfortunately.

So back to your original question, I definitely don't do anything with the phone to inherently justify the price.

>I often wonder what people do with these super expensive phones to be honest.

For one, some might make so much, that it's not "super expensive" to them -- just a phone, and they buy whatever they like, whenever they like.

Second, some might use it as a status signal that they have such a phone. Which might not be as effective as a house or an expensive car, but combined with other such stuff, works wonders socially compared to not having it. This depends on your social aspirations of course (e.g. caring to play this game, climb some social ladder, for small "status" differences etc).

Others are interested in gadgets, and can save and sacrificice other stuff to have the latest phone/PC etc, even if they don't make as much money.

Others are hobbyists (or semi/pros) and use them for their camera, video, music creation, drawing, etc capabilities.

For others yet it's a fashion accessory. The buy expensive phones for the same reason they wouldn't want to be seen with old cheapo sneakers (this is similar to the "social status" thing).

I, like most people, use my smartphone a LOT. It's worth at least US$1/day, and I'll use it for probably 3 years ... making a top-end iPhone X amortize out to dirt cheap. At that low low price, why not get the best UI/UX I can?

I'll spend more on coffee than I will on an "expensive" phone during the same time.

I'm an iPhone user, but my primary reason for upgrading in the past was the camera. These days, the cameras are good enough, so I hung onto my 5S for an extra year or two and expect I'll keep the 7 for 3+ years as well.

Status/feel-better-inside, cameras, stupidity (dont know what they want so they get best), don't know what to do with money, some people need it for their job (marketing stuff, you HAVE to be cool) etc etc.

>stupidity (dont know what they want so they get best)

How is that stupid? It's not like a brain surgeon who just gets what's the best out there (or considered top) is in any way stupid because they're not a tech-geek to care to do a full "market review" on their own...

I'm buying it primarily for the camera, yeah. I'm not 100% convinced that I'll get on with Face ID and the lack of a home button, mind.

>Maybe he doesn't buy a $800 Android ? And doesn't buy every new release ? There are new $200+ Android phones.

If you have the money, and use your phone a lot, then why not buy a a $800 phone (Android or iOS) with every new release?

Except if not having enough money or being tight with money even if one has plenty of them, puts one in the "enlightened" category -- or is that only when it comes to mobile phone purchases?

> why not buy a a $800 phone (Android or iOS) with every new release?

I think this is a terrible mindset, personally. There is so much waste, these are perfectly good phones but everyone is convinced to do a 2 year contract lifecycle.

Do you imagine that people who buy a new phone every year smash the old one once they've restored their backup? Or do is it more likely that they pass them on to others via sales or gifting? In which case those perfectly good phones are still perfectly good phones...

And then what happens to the phones those people had? We don't do this with laptops, desktops, or monitors. What makes phones so special?

Actually, yeah, I do do that with laptops and desktops and monitors. My entire family uses laptops that I once owned. And I'm using a laptop (as a server) that my parents once owned. My old monitor is now my nephew's monitor. etc.etc.

I am saying, do you buy the new model of the same laptop or monitor every single year?

Oh, ah, I see your point now. Apologies.

Not every year, no. Laptops are about every other year. Monitors are infrequent, yes.

Equivalent to 64 then-$40M supercomputers in my pocket for 1/6th the price of my first bare-bones IBM PC.

It's how you make REAL money. See Fifa, Office, etc etc. You need your cow product.

>The iPhone X (pronounced “ten,” not as in X-ray)...

Do people really not know Roman Numerals anymore?

Lack of an iPhone IX might have confused some. And plenty of people pronounced "OS X" as the letter "x", and in that case there was an actual Mac OS 9 to justify the jump from 9 to 10.

I'll look it up on my Moto X.

it’s pronounced “decem”, not “ten.”

One thing to Apple PR credit is faceid. For me it's hot needle replacement for failed attempt to integrate touchid into display, but for most people it is innovation.

Why is TouchID superior to FaceID? I just want to understand why you think FaceID is a failure?

If FaceID lives up to Apples claims it will have less friction and higher security, so win win, and I'm sure Apple are aware of how popular TouchID is, I don't see them replacing it with a dud.

Because it can be unlocked in your pocket for SOS use cases.

Because it can be unlocked under the table or at a very low angle to be used in places such as a restaurant, meeting room, theater etc.

Because one can use TouchID for Apple Pay much quicker and more reliably in a crowded/rushed situation such as paying for public transport.

Becuase TouchID actually allows multiple users on the same device if if that is not an intended feature.

The list can go on....

There are edge use cases, I think 99% of the time your interaction will have less friction and more security.

For the edge cases generally a pass code will work (under the table / multiple users). I'm not sure what you do with your phone unlocked in your pocket...

TouchID being quicker is your opinion, and as neither of us (I assume) have used it, we'll see if it is quicker.

I just think there were lots of negativity about TouchID when it was announced, and look how successful that is, would Apple risk that success? I don't think so...

Edge cases are the most important ones to consider when talking about usability since all other cases are irrelevant.

The least used interactions are the most important? Really?

I would say the opposite, the interactions that the most users use the most often are the most important.

Edge cases are not the least used interactions, and even if they are it's not what makes them edge cases.

Edge cases are defined as what happens at the edge of operating parameters the classic example of a speaker that is played at the bottom or top 10% of it's output, edge cases do not have an intrinsic definition of occurrence rarity. It might not relevant to you, but if you like blowing up your house with all that bass or you have very thin walls and you have to listen to music very quietly then these are still edge cases but they are not rare cases for you.

In reality and in practice edge cases are pretty much anything that goes out of the (pretty narrow) definition of how a device or a service should be used (the classical remark of "you are holding the iphone wrong" comes to mind).

On your daily usability the edge cases are also much more important for the general satisfaction and subjective usability values of the device. When you are in a perfect position/condition to use your phone the environmental conditions overcome any design flaws, and you experience pretty normal usability.

When you say hold the phone on the floor by your bed to avoid the light creeping all over the room, under the table during a meeting, or as close to the floor when possible at a theater is when the flaws in usability start being apparent. That's when things like the placement of the fingerprint reader (or lack there of), weight, size, screen readability at low brightness and odd angles start to become more and more relevant.

Same goes for other things, you don't care about how much leg room there is in the back of your car until you need to fit 5 people over the weekend, despite you using it more times solo during the work week.

I still fail to see how it is not possible to unlock with your passcode for the two use cases you mention.

I think I understand the point you are getting at, design for tricky situations and the normal situations will be easier, but I think you are failing to see that you cannot design for every scenario, eventually you have to weigh up the feature sets of two technologies and pick the best one for most use cases and users, which Apple obviously thinks is FaceID.

I think FaceID will allow features simply not possible with TouchID, and expand across the Apple product line, and to other manufacturers, to the point where in 5-10yrs time we just expect screens to recognise us. This is an important step towards this.

> Because one can use TouchID for Apple Pay much quicker and more reliably

Until people actually have the phones in their hands, how can you claim this?

Sure. TouchID can't be used if your fingers are wet or wrinkly. Since I found out about FaceID I've noticed a bunch of scenarios where TouchID falls short and I have to drastically change how I'm using the phone or what I'm doing to accomodate unlocking using a specific finger.

> Because one can use TouchID for Apple Pay much quicker and more reliably in a crowded/rushed situation such as paying for public transport.

Since moving to the UK I was keen to give Apple Pay a try on the tube and I was disgusted at how slow it is. I think mobile-based contactless options are always going to be slower than passive card-based contactless.

> Since moving to the UK I was keen to give Apple Pay a try on the tube and I was disgusted at how slow it is.

I noticed this as well. Android pay is rock solid, Apple Pay required a few tries to work right.

It could just be an implementation detail of the Tube's readers. Or it could be the case on the phone, or it could actually be the phone, but there was a difference.

> Sure. TouchID can't be used if your fingers are wet or wrinkly.

Sounds like a reason to improve the tech behind TouchID.

TouchID doesn’t work with gloves.

Is there some reason TouchID and FaceID can't both exist? They clearly cover a different set of situations, so wouldn't it be best to have both?

SOS functionality is baked in by pressing combinations of the side buttons. Way more realizable than pocket texting.

You’re not fooling anyone in meetings or at restaurants by using your phone under the table. We know you’re doing stuff with your phone. Everyone knows. Still, if you want to pretend to be slick, use the passcode.

You have no idea if faceid will be slower than Touch ID. You have no idea if faceid will limit the phone to just one user.

You’re out on some pretty weak limbs with this list of nothingburgers that goes on.

Ok, you unlock in your pocket for SOS, what then? You can't see what you are doing anyway.

I can quite reliably send a text or make a call from a pocket, but fine switch a pocket to a purse....

If you can send a text reliably from your pocket (something I've never even heard of anybody attempting), you can unlock it with the 6-digit passcode reliably.

... because it's dark and facial recognition is going to be problematic without an external light source. Or am I off-base?

"Face ID works by projecting more than 30,000 infrared dots onto a face and producing a 3D facial map."[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_ID

But in reality how many times do you unlock your phone and not look at it?

I do it constantly i also unlock it at very odd angles all the time from when sitting on the toilet to when sleeping to not wake my SO up.

> Because it can be unlocked in your pocket for SOS use cases.

I will constantly downvote comments that make this point because unlocking your phone in your pocket is not a feature, it's a painpoint.

> Because it can be unlocked under the table or at a very low angle to be used in places such as a restaurant, meeting room, theater etc.

Do you use your phone without looking at your phone? Back when phones had buttons perhaps, but on tactile device this is almost impossible.

> Becuase TouchID actually allows multiple users on the same device if if that is not an intended feature.


You appear to be assuming that integrating Touch ID into the display was Apple's first choice. If face ID works as promised I can’t see why anyone would prefer Touch ID over Face ID. Even if your assumption is correct Face ID is still innovative.

Depending on the performance, when I use TouchID from my pocket, the device is unlocked by the time I get it in front of me to use (because I pick it up and hold my thumb over the fingerprint sensor)

TouchID requires me to touch the device. I _know_ when I'm identified. FaceID works at a distance, data could easily leak to any number of surveillance programs, corporate or governmental.

> FaceID works at a distance

Do you know what distance? I mean, literally no-one has an iPhone X right now to test this.

> data could easily leak to any number of surveillance programs

Never leaves the Secure Enclave on the phone - same as Touch ID.

> I mean, literally no-one has an iPhone X right now to test this.

You're commenting on an article written by a guy with an iPhoneX

True but which mentions nothing about Face ID working at a distance or whether he even tested that.

EDIT: I understand your response now. Thank you for providing such an example.

The data won't be leaked.

There are fairly plentiful leaks from Apple indicating that they attempted to get an "under display" fingerprint sensor to work.

I don't know that "Apple" had a first choice at all, and I suspect that there was diversity of opinion within Apple about which authentication method would be superior if both were technically feasible.

People might reasonably prefer fingerprint to facial recognition for speed reasons, allowing the phone to be unlocked by the time you look at it.

If it’s done right then I would expect Face ID to be as fast, fewer false positives, fewer fails. I don’t know if Apple has accomplished these goals but if they did then I'd consider their implementation innovative and would not assume it was done due merely to an inability to integrate Touch ID into the display.

It's impossible to be as fast as "already unlocked by the time you see the screen." It could perhaps be "only imperceptibly slower," but it can't be as fast.

This review suggests that it's not "only imperceptibly slower," with its talk of the De Niro look.

For me Touch ID has been only slightly better than using a code for unlocking the phone. It can be as fast as Touch ID in the sense that by the time you can physically get the phone in position to do something it’s unlocked. You can’t unlock it when it’s in your pocket like you can with Touch ID but with Touch ID you still have to look at the phone to verify whether or not it has been unlocked. And most things you do with the phone require looking at it.

I don't understand why they did not put the touch sensor on the back.

Because that's a bad place for the sensor. If I have to pick up my phone and touch the sensor on the back, I might as well use FaceId.

Well, unless you're taking your phone out of your pocket.

Seriously, the "back of phone" placement for the fingerprint sensor has downsides when it comes to "phone on the table," but it's awesome for the pocket. I just got a Pixel 2 XL, which has a more reliable fingerprint reader than any other one I've used (comparison points: Nexus 5x, iPhone 6+, 2017 Macbook Pro touchbar), and it's amazing. My phone is utterly reliably unlocked by the time I clear it from my pocket.

And a back fingerprint reader + the FaceID system would be great in combination. The FaceID system could compensate for the back-of-phone fingerprint reader's weakness when it's on your desk (or when wearing gloves/hands wet).

My 7+ also unlocks fast and reliably every time. I sometimes purposely use a different finger to make sure it still works.

I've tried the back of phone ones and they just do not work for me. For me, back of phone is a downgrade. I guess having both FaceId and back of phone would not impact me, but only going back of phone would have me sticking with the older phones as long as possible.

I think they regard that as surrender to Android.

I think driving is a good example -- if your phone is mounted on a holder on the dashboard, you can easily and reasonably safely unlock it with your thumb, but face ID will be fiddly and dangerous.

They probably figure that people should be using CarPlay, though.

Please do explain why you don't view Face ID as an innovation over existing technology.

It's innovation -- but it's also at the expense of taking away a feature I regularly use.

I frequently unlock a phone that's flat on a desk that's at an arm's length. Now, to unlock, I suspect I'll need to lift and point that device towards my face in order to authenticate. Since I haven't tried the iPhone X yet, I'm not sure how liberal they are with the angle required to capture your face, but it seems unlikely this can be done with the device flat on a desk.

To me, that's unfortunate ... and it's a feature change that having TouchID integrated into the display, as was rumored to be their original intention, would have avoided.

Not to be blunt but why get the phone if it’s going to make your life miserable in a sense?

Miserable? I don't think that's likely to happen. It's only a phone. I'm speaking about convenience.

I'm not certain I'm getting the phone. But if I do, it'll be for the camera. It's my number one use case of my phone, and it seems like it's got a great camera. I know there are good alternatives from Android, but I'm largely married to the Apple ecosystem.

If you're an Apple user, you don't really get a choice over whether to adopt this new stuff. You'll either buy it now, or you'll have to buy it anyway the next time you upgrade because there won't be any other options. Or you switch to Android.

Often this is fine because the new stuff is unambiguously great. Sometimes it's miserable. That's life as an Apple customer.

I bought an iPhone 6 on eBay about a month ago after another one broke. It's good as new, works perfectly, was super-easy to purchase.

So don't worry: the Apple upgrade cycle really isn't that bad.

Do you think you'll still be using a 6 in two years' time, though?

> It's innovation

Microsoft SP4 have had that for 2 years (unlocking with 3D scanning of the face), so I'd not call it innovation. But regardless, a sensor on the back would be better IMO.

…which would not help in that gentleman's case. How good is a fingerprint scanner in the back of a phone when it's lying flat on a desk and the user doesn't want to lift up the phone?

I'm kind of surprised on this because it's been around on various Android and Windows devices for a while. I understand that it might be more reliable and faster, but that's incremental rather than revolutionary.

"Reliable and fast" is exactly why TouchID was so great when they introduced it. They aren't just nice-to-have features, they're the bare minimum requirements for this kind of thing -- a feature that you use constantly, and which gates your access to all other features.

> "Reliable and fast" is exactly why TouchID was so great when they introduced it.

Although it wasn't particularly either when it was first introduced.

I think you misremember. Here’s Daring Fireball on the iPhone 5S (https://daringfireball.net/2013/09/the_iphone_5s_and_5c):

“Once you’ve added a fingerprint, subsequent scans of that finger are nearly instantaneous. Touch ID is way faster than “fast enough”. I’d call it “I can’t believe it works this quickly” fast. It’s also very accurate — only a handful of times over the past week have I had to try a second time, and each of those times, I hadn’t really squared up my finger with the sensor.”

I know many people regard DF as overly biased, but as I recall, the general reception for Touch ID was very positive. Let me know if you find a review that says otherwise.

> Let me know if you find a review that says otherwise.

Personal experience from having got a 5S at launch. And every iPhone with Touch ID since.

Fair enough! It works great for me.

Oh, I can't deny it's absolutely amazing and almost invisible now - my 7 only has trouble when there's moisture involved. But the early iterations were definitely clunky (but still fairly amazing as a technology, I can't deny that!)

I'm expecting Face ID to be the same - kinda clunky but amazing on the X, almost frictionless on the XI, and then almost completely transparent on the XII.

I wouldn't class it as revolutionary either, but it /is/ innovative.

Unlocking your phone with your face has been a regular feature of many smartphones for at least 5 years.

Being able to unlock someone else's phone with a picture of their face has been a bug for the same length of time.

The innovation is in implementing it well. I have no idea if Apple has implemented this feature well but if they did then it’s innovative. The innovation is not in being first it’s in doing it well first.

EDIT: It is innovative to do things well for the first time.

No wonder Android people do not understand why people pay good money for very locked down iPhone, to them crappy implementation for hardware and software is good enough.

Why the troll comment? There are good and bad points to both ecosystems. For instance the Fingerprint reader on my Pixel is faster and more accurate than the TouchID on my iPhone 7. That doesn't make me go, iPhone sucks. The implementation on Facial Recognition may not be as great on the android phones that support it, but that doesn't mean you should bash a whole ecosystem and community of people.

It appears you haven't touched a decent android phone before. I think you probably should before making these kind of comments.

You mean with a picture of your face....

Not OP - but it's not innovation for me personally. Not technically, I mean it's not a feature that I expect to make an impact in my life, and if the iPhone 12 (or w/e) has support for Display TouchID then I'd never use FaceID again.

This is all speculation of course - and likely outside of the scope of this conversation, hopefully I'm not detracting too much though :)

I'm asking same question. How is faceid innovation over touchid? But to answer your question. With touchid you can unlock your phone immediately you bring it out of pocket. I don't see any additional value over touchid. For me it's actually inferior, because I have to grab the phone even for simple tasks, like reading new message. So why should I accept this? Because of larger screen, which is not even bezel to bezel? Also don't act as face recognition is apple thing. They didn't invent it or weren't first to use it. Innovation is when you bring something new and unique to the table. PS: I'm apple fan, but not sheep to accept anything they bring blindly.

It was raining a bit yesterday and that made the fingerprint sensor on my phone basically useless. I forgot how much it was used (unlock, banking apps, payments).

I'm reminded how finicky it is every time I step out of the shower. Even a bit of humidity seems to ruin the accuracy. Can't wait to try FaceID

It's definitely a bit flaky with wet fingers and touch button, but the occasional passcode isn't a huge burden.

You make a good point, but to counter, can modern touchscreen phones be used without looking at them? Volume buttons and power off / on can be used without looking, but you can also use those without unlocking your phone.

I don't speak for others, but yes I can navigate from locked phone to messages and type a full message to my wife without looking at the screen, thanks to qwerty knowledge and GBoard's "swipe" typing.

How do you deal with your phone being in different states before unlocking?

For example, if you have an app open in a folder, you'll have to press the home button 3 times: once to exit the app, another to exit the folder, and a third to go home (unless the messages app is on the dock, then you can press twice to reach it).

I'd be worried about messaging the wrong person, and I also have fat fingers so that's no help :(

Just to get this out there, faceID uses a depth "camera" (right??) Previous approaches on Android, etc use image rec from the front camera.

Yes, I think the FaceID (a culmination of their purchase of PrimeSense in 2014) is along the same lines as Google's Project Tango.

Project Tango looks amazing but will it ever get beyond the developer-edition phones and tablets and into our pockets?

As much as I admire them, Google seems to do hardware launches very badly.


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