The OLED display — an iPhone first — is called the Super Retina Display and measures 5.8 inches, with a resolution of 2,436 × 1,125 pixels. Apple says it rectifies the problems with brightness and color accuracy that have sometimes plagued OLED screens in the past, and that it features Dolby Vision and HDR10 for stunning high-contrast video playback. The iPhone X also boasts TrueTone dynamic white-balance adjustment, a feature of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the new iPhone 8 models.
The iPhone X is designed to be intuitive despite one big omission: The physical home button on the front. Instead, it’s a swipe up, a raise-to-wake gesture, or a tap on the screen to wake up the iPhone X. These work across the operating system, for multi-tasking. Siri is still activated by voice or by using a multi-function side button, and a double tap on the side sleep/wake key activates Apple Pay.
Our iPhone X hands-on reveals how impressed we were with the phone, but it’s unclear why no other company made the iPhone X before Apple. Little of its tech is new, after all — here’s a list showing which phones originated some of its innovations.
Price and availability
Rumors put the iPhone X’s price at $1,000, and that turned out to be correct. It will be available in either 64GB or 256GB configurations and will be available to pre-order on October 27, with deliveries beginning on November 3. Apple will sell the iPhone X in 55 countries around the world.
But those dates could change. The iPhone X’s Face ID sensor is reportedly taking more time to assemble than expected, according to The Wall Street Journal, contributing to shipping delays. The problem lies in an “imbalance” between the so-called Romeo module, an infrared dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a depth map of faces, and the Juliet module, which analyzes the pattern produced by those dots.
According to Christopher Caso, a chip analyst with Raymond James, assembly of the iPhone X isn’t set to start until mid-October, with production ramping up in the December quarter. And a report from KGI Securities estimates it could take well into 2018 for Apple to fill all iPhone X orders.
The iPhone X was the third phone announced by Apple on September 12, joining the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. It followed the Series 3 Apple Watch, which comes with built-in cellular connectivity. The event also featured other new devices.
Camera, A11 Bionic chip, and AR
The iPhone X’s camera has a dual-lens 12-megapixel rear camera with dual optical image stabilization, consisting up of a wide-angle f/1.8 aperture lens and a telephoto f/2.4 aperture lens. The 7-megapixel front camera supports Portrait mode and has auto image stabilization and exposure control. Apple’s new image signal processor provides advanced pixel processing and a new color filter, and both cameras use the new Natural Lighting effect introduced on the iPhone 8 and ARKit augmented reality features. Finally, video has also been improved with 4K resolution movies at 60fps and slow-motion video at 240fps.
The iPhone X retains the A11 Bionic chip from the iPhone 8, a 64-bit super efficient processor with a new Apple-designed graphics unit, which has 30 percent more speed than the existing unit. It has six cores and better performance than the A10 Fusion chip, and while Apple typically doesn’t publish RAM specifications, filings from China electronics regulator TENNA show the iPhone X has 3GB of RAM. Apple says the high-performance cores to provide a 25-percent speed increase and a 70 percent boost from the four performance cores.
In terms of battery life, the iPhone X lasts about two hours longer than the iPhone 7 Plus on a single charge. That’s not terribly surprising; according to Chinese electronics regulator Tenaa’s filings, the iPhone X’s has a 2,716mAh battery, which isn’t far off from the iPhone 7 Plus’s 2,900mAh. It supports wireless charging via Qi-compatible accessories and Apple will introduce a proprietary charging solution called AirPower early next year.
Apple’s new facial recognition technology, Face ID, makes its debut on the iPhone X. It works using the TrueDepth camera system hidden in the notch at the top of the display. Glance at the iPhone X and it illuminates your face with an infrared dot array, allowing the infrared camera to identify it. It even works in the dark. Using the iPhone X’s six-core A11 Bionic processor paired with 3GB of RAM, a neural engine processes the image in real time, mapping the contours and shape of your face mathematically.
Apple claims Face ID isn’t confused by hairstyles, hats, or beards. According to Apple software chief Craig Federighi, the iPhone will be able to recognize your face through “most” sunglasses too, as long as they let through enough infrared light. Protections against masks and pictures are in place, and face data is stored in the secure enclave inside the A11 Bionic chip.
Don’t worry about Face ID being less secure than other biometric systems; it’s not. The chance of someone other than you unlocking your phone with Touch ID is one in 50,000, Apple says, but for Face ID it’s one in a million. Apple Pay requires you to look at the phone when you go to pay, and it works with existing apps that use Touch ID for authentication.
On top of that, Apple has implemented some software protections against people stealing your phone and simply holding it to your face to unlock it. For starters, if you don’t stare at the phone itself, it won’t unlock. And if you grip the buttons on both edges of the phone, the device will temporarily disable facial recognition.
If you remember when Apple first implemented Touch ID, you’ll remember some bumps and bugs at first — but many of those bugs shouldn’t exist with Face ID. In fact, developers won’t even have to worry about implementing it — if an app uses Touch ID, it will automatically also use Face ID. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software, said as much in an interview with John Gruber on Daring Fireball.
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Update: The iPhone X may be delayed because of production issues with the Face ID sensor, according to The Wall Street Journal.