Today Apple made their big announcement about several products including the much-anticipated (and much leaked), iPhone 8/Plus and iPhone X. The event took place today at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA, and was streamed online. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Android user. I tried the iPhone 7, overall it is a great product, but it still wasn’t quite there for me. It felt like it was missing features compared to my S7. It also doesn’t help that I love customization, and “unapproved” software, still something Apple seems to frown on. With that said Apple is moving in the right direction with today’s announcements, and maybe one day they will make a believer out of me. Here are my takeaways from today’s event, and various Apple press propaganda.
The iPhone 8 and 8 plus announcement was, at least to me, rather lackluster. It just seemed like a polished up version of the iPhone 7. That is not to say there is not some new stuff to look at, such as the very attractive looking glass back. Another new feature facilitated by that glass back, is wireless charging (finally). Any QI certified device will be able to charge the device. Additionally Apple has come up with a multi-device chargeing platform they call Air Power, but more on that another time.
There is notably faster hardware in the new lines of phones. Apple is moving from the A10, 4 core chip to the new A11 6 core. Interestingly, unlike the iPhone 7, the 8 will be able to use all of the processor cores simultaneously. This and the improved speed of the chip provide a significant performance boost, especially for CPU intensive applications. When not needed the performance processors idle, conserving battery life. Additionally,the 12mp camera from the iPhone 7 has also been upgraded slightly, and a new flash has been added, improving photo quality, says Apple.
Aside from that the iPhone 8 series is much the same as the 7 series. There are notable changes, including iOS 11, which I won’t cover here. Nonetheless, Apple is moving in the right direction to keep pace with developments on Android. However, there is nothing show stopping here, at least not enough to justify shelling out $699-$799. If you are a happy iPhone user who is due for an upgrade, or who has a free upgrade program, there is enough here to justify a trip to the store.
Honestly there is not all that much to say about the iPhone X. One very notable difference is in the price tag. The iPhone X will be selling for a hefty $999, for the 64GB version. This is $200 more than the 8+, and $300 more than the regular 8. I’m not sure the differences justify the price. iPhone X is running virtually the same hardware as the iPhone 8+. It has the same A11 Bionic chipset, storage, and likely RAM. The key differences are in the screen, front camera. Which to some users is worth the extra money to have.
The screen on the X is an edge to edge “Super Retina” display. It gives users 57 more pixels than the “Retina HD” display on the iPhone 8, and is .3 inches larger. One of the more interesting features on the iPhone X is the front facing camera. It is 7MP, just like the 8, but it features depth sensing technology. This technology enables the phone to use facial recognition (”Face ID”), instead of fingerprints (“TouchID”) as a security method. In addition the depth sensing camera enables you to produce what Apple calls Animoji. These are emoji like animations that use the
depth sensors to map your face. The software then records your facial expressions and movements and imparts them onto the Animoji. Once done you can send the messages over iMessage. I will concede that this is a pretty novel use of the technology, although its usefulness I question.
The bottom line is that the iPhone 8 and iPhone X was much hyped, but isn’t really that special. Aside from the very good processor, and iOS specific features, Apple is offering nothing that revolutionary. It looks to be a well-designed product, with even better marketing. I do look forward to getting my hands on it to try it out, but so far I haven’t seen anything that would sway me to come back to Apple.