Date
22 September 2017
Latest models: (from left) iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iPhone 8. Photo: Reuters
Latest models: (from left) iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iPhone 8. Photo: Reuters

Is iPhone X a game changer?

Apple has just unveiled a series of products ahead of the holiday season, and the focus is on iPhone X, which marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the device that has changed the world over the past decade.

The latest iPhone, which has no home button to provide an edge-to-edge screen, could be a game changer in the smartphone market as it has new built-in features that could change the way people use the device.

It will be available on Nov. 3 and open for pre-orders on Oct. 27 at prices starting from US$999.

While iPhone fans have been loyal to the brand over the past ten years, the company continues to try its best to attract users from the Android camp to enjoy the unique iOS experience.

That’s why Apple brought a larger screen to the device three years ago, attracting many Android users with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

However, the company did not bring new features to the iPhone in the past two years in terms of size, function and design. That’s why many fans were expecting the latest iPhone to carry a new look and offer a new experience.

And we think users will not be disappointed with iPhone X, the first time Apple is offering a button-less hardware.

The design is likely to elicit a “wow” feeling from iPhone fans. The screeen will take up almost the entire face of the device, except a small portion on the top for the earphones and the front camera.

Such a radical design gives iPhone X a 5.8-inch display screen with a much smaller phone size, compared with the 5.5-inch display of iPhone 7 Plus.

Without the “home” button, Apple users will have to get used to swiping the screen of the phone to return to the home screen. That’s a lot easier than having a virtual button to replace the home button.

Of course, some diehard fans may look at these new features as a desecration of Steve Job’s original vision. Some may not like the full-screen design and find it strange or even ugly. But then there’s iPhone 8 which still carries the traditional design for them.

One of the key selling points of iPhone X is the material for the display panel. It uses a technology called OLED, which makes for more vibrant color reproduction and deeper black and white.

However, Apple is still relying on its longstanding manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Group for the supply of the display panel this year, which means the company is likely to source the material from its main competitor Samsung Electronics, which is a leading OLED maker.

Such an arrangement could be quite ridiculous for both Apple and Samsung as they are competing head to head in the smartphone market.

Some analysts, in fact, are blaming Samsung for setting the price of OLED too high, which in turn makes iPhone X the most expensive iPhone to date.

Also, there might be an issue here. How will Samsung manage its OLED manufacturing capacity for its own products and external customers like Apple? Market analysts note that the supply of OLED display is critical for Apple in the shipment of iPhone X before the holiday season.

On the application side, Apple is not known for being an early adopter of advanced technologies and applications. It tends to bide its time until the technologies are mature enough for mass rollout.

The debut of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in iPhone 5s is an example. This year, Apple may take a big step forward in biometrics authentication by introducing the Face ID and doing away with the Touch ID on iPhone X.

Face recognition is not new in smartphones. Samsung Electronic introduced the function in its S7 series last year. But unlike the Samsung function, Apple’s Face ID can create a 3D scan of a user’s face and recognize its unique shape. That should help prevent thieves from using the owner’s  photo to unlock the phone or do mobile payments.

But many iPhone users have gotten used to using their fingerprint sensor to unlock the device. So Apple may be pushing a daring innovation here.

Some analysts also fear that Apple could turn into a Big Brother by collecting all the facial details of users of the new device. This may be a bit of a stretch, however, because Apple has proved to be quite trustworthy in handling sensitive personal information.

Besides, as in the case of the Touch ID function, the user’s fingerprint is saved only in the device, and the information is not sent to the company.

The camera function is crucial in any smartphone. The new iPhone is equipped with a pair of dual cameras vertically positioned in the left-hand corner at the back of the device.

The camera, together with the iOS built-in augmented reality compatibility, provides the user with a new experience: the integration of the real and virtual worlds. The function will allow a user, for example, to virtually place a desired furniture at home before deciding whether or not to buy it. It will also allow users to derive more enjoyment from playing mobile games like Pokémon GO.

A new six-core A11 Bionic processor with an Apple-designed GPU and a slew of other enhancements for display and video/audio capture will also be a boon to future generations of mobile games.

Is the iPhone X a game changer? Yes, if developers can make use of the new iOS platform to develop more augmented reality applications, bringing the world deeper into the merging of the real and the virtual.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG

EJ Insight writer

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