There is a flood of articles on the iPhone X, and I’m sure you are pretty tired of reading them already. To be honest, so am I, but I continue to read them because, well,…. it’s sort of a hobby and part of my job. After having read a slew of articles from the usual suspects, I realized no one is really speaking to why I am going to shell out $1,200 to buy the new iPhone X. So, here it goes. Ready? Bear with me. I will keep this short and painless.
Everything you want in an iPhone 8 Plus in something a just slightly larger than a iPhone 8.
That’s it. Simple.
Since the iPhones with the bigger screens came out, I always wanted an improved iPhone 5S. I have always thought that the iPhone 5 was the perfect smartphone design. Actually, I thought that the iPhone 3G had the perfect screen size and dimensions, and nice feel in the hand with the curved back. I was pleased when they released the iPhone SE (which I lost in a cab in Shenzhen), but it lacked one key thing that I yearned for in the iPhone 7 Plus – the dual rear-facing camera.
But what about the screen and the TrueDepth forward-facing camera/sensor array? Yes, very cool and a great expression of thoughtful innovation, but still, not the primary reason why this guy is getting the iPhone X. But consider how difficult it was to figure out how to squeeze the six TrueDepth camera sensor components into that small “notch.” Personally, I think the Essential phone’s dot looks a lot better, but it is just a simple forward-facing camera, not an advanced array of sensors which is the Apple’s TrueDepth camera system. Though many “technical experts” panned the Animoji-demo (which I initially thought was silly), it was a magnificent demonstration of a very advanced sensor fusion application (likely one of many to come in the near future), which likely made product managers of competing smartphone manufacturers get an early start on their weekend.
What about the beautiful edge-to-edge OLED screen? Yes, it is a bonus and great that Apple put a screen that is bigger than the one in the iPhone 8 Plus into a design that is just a little bigger than the iPhone 8. Let’s be real, the LCD screens on the iPhones are and have been fabulous. My eyes can’t tell the difference between 300 PPI versus 400 PPI. It just doesn’t really matter. Do I care about OLED? No. I do care about battery life. Debating specs and technology choices rather than outcomes is frankly trivial and has been proven inconsequential as Apple has proven time and time again.
At the end of the day, the iPhone X represents a significant, marketing-leading advancement in density. As I mentioned in my article “The Passing of The Torch,” density is the key competitive “metric” for device manufacturers, whether it is the processor, sensors, or the overall system design. The ability to pack more performance and capability into a smaller form factor wins the day (which is why I never though the advent of the phablet was innovative), and demonstrates engineering innovation and craftmanship that seems to go largely unnoticed or unappreciated by the tech press. To my knowledge, there isn’t another smartphone on the market with a dual rear-facing camera system that is not a plus-sized phablet or near phablet.
No, Apple was not first to market with some of the features in the iPhone X. However, there is no smartphone out there that is as advanced in overall system design and capabilities. Of course we will need to examine the first series of teardown reports, but I have no doubt that Apple has some impressive engineering under the hood that they lightly mentioned during the September Special Event.
Is the iPhone X the future of smartphone? Maybe the smartphone of the next year or so, but our future has a “Next Big Thing’ in store for us, and it is not any permutation of the smartphone in my opinion. For the moment, I’m just waiting for an smartphone the size of the iPhone SE with a dual, 3D camera with laser sighting and a X12 telescopic lens. Next year, anyone?