Apple has announced the iPhone X, pitched as “the future of the smartphone”. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are marginal improvements over their predecessors, the iPhone X takes a giant leap both in terms of design and the technology it offers. Apple is also asking a lot of money to get the iPhone X, which starts at Rs 89,000 for the base version and goes up to Rs 102,000 for the top-end model.
The iPhone X is Apple’s most distinctive smartphone I’ve seen personally. Yes, it is a sophisticated piece of engineering, but the latest – iPhone X – is far from being called a revolutionary device. Rather, I’d say the iPhone X brings in more of an evolution. The truth is, you can already find many of these features on a number of smartphones – both from the current-generation lot, and some even from the bygone era. I’ve made a list of six such features that have existed for a while now.
Apple had been using a standard LCD panel for all of its iPhones, and even the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are still on the same display technology. However, the iPhone X is the company’s first smartphone to use an OLED display. But Samsung has been using AMOLED displays for many years. In fact Samsung’s first smartphone with an AMOLED display was the original Galaxy device (also known GT-I7500 in some countries), which came out in 2009. And the latest Galaxy S8 and Note 8 also uses SAMOLED screens. In fact, Samsung’s subsidiary Samsung Display is widely believed to be the sole supplier of OLED panels for the new Apple iPhone X.
It was Sharp that actually kick started the bezel-less smartphone trend with the release of the Aquos Crystal in 2014. The popularity of edge-to-edge displays further soared with the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which was announced last year. Ever since the launch of the Mi Mix, a number of companies including LG, Samsung and Essential have tried to incorporate slim bezels, without increasing the size of the smartphone. So the iPhone X isn’t really the first smartphone to feature a bezel-less design.
Apple has yet followed its counterparts – again, this time with the release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. All three iPhones feature wireless charging technology for the first time. The technology has been around for a while now, but it never took off. Attempts have been made in the past to popularise wireless charging, with the release of Google Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 1020 and Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL.
In recent years, Samsung has also adopted the wireless charging technology. Its high-end phones, be it the Galaxy S8+ or Galaxy Note 8, support wireless charging. In fact, in India, Samsung has added a free wireless charger with every purchase of the Galaxy Note 8, which will go on sale in India on September 21. Apple may be late to the wireless charging era – but it has better chances to make the wireless charging technology widely popular.
Unlock the phone using your face
The iPhone X arrived with something called ‘Face ID’, Apple’s new biometric unlocking mechanism. Face ID is seen as a replacement of Touch ID, as it claims to be more secure and accurate to unlock the phone. I’m ready to buy Apple’s claims, despite the company’s failure to demonstrate the function properly during the iPhone X presentation earlier this week.
Apple’s facial recognition system may be more advanced and precise, but the general idea of unlocking the phone using your face is not new. Google first added the facial recognition feature into its Android-powered phones since the time it released Ice Cream Sandwich way back in 2011. The feature was optional (it completely depends upon an OEM to implement it), but many smartphones have been using the tech for a while now.
Similarly, Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL had built-in facial recognition abilities, thanks to Windows Hello. Then there is Samsung, which made major advances to secure the smartphones with its proprietary iris scanning technology. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (now defunct) was the first smartphone to use the company’s iris scanning technology that works by identifying the patterns in your irises. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 also come with iris scanners and face recognition scanners.
Dual OIS cameras
With the latest iPhone X, Apple added the dual optical image stabilization (OIS) in its rear cameras. However, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 too has optical image stabilization (OIS) on both its rear cameras. Technically, Samsung beat Apple by rolling out the feature first in the market. For a consumer, it’s definitely a good news as the inclusion of OIS on both rear cameras should result in more stable and sharper shots, videos.
UI gestures reminds of webOS, BlackBerry 10 OS
Since there is no home button on the iPhone X, the user interface around the screen makes use of gestures. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to go from your lock screen to home and hold to go into multitasking. To access the Control Center, simply swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen. The user interface has been implemented well for an all-screen device – but it definitely reminds you of webOS running on the Palm Pre, which was launched way back in 2009.
Similarly, BlackBerry had come up with the idea of gestures when it launched the BlackBerry Z10, its first phone to run BlackBerry 10 OS. Like the iPhone X, the Z10 had no home button on the front.