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Apple has made its iPhone X flagship as elusive as possible ahead of its Nov. 3 market release. Details about the iPhone X are available, thanks to hands-on demos from Apple’s Sept. 12 launch event, but in-depth reviews for the device likely won’t be available for several weeks.
Major publications were allowed to publish reviews for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Sept. 19, just days before their Sept. 22 release. In turn, further details about iPhone X likely won’t be available until about Oct. 31; however, Apple has not confirmed when reviews will go live.
While this has likely driven demand for the iPhone X, there are many questions about the device that fans and pundits are anxious to have answered. Here’s some of what we expect to learn once the iPhone X has come out of hiding.
How well does Face ID work?
While Apple insists that its first ever Face ID demo didn’t actually fail, those outside of Apple haven’t had any real life experience with the feature. Official reviewers should take note of Face ID’s failure rate, if the mechanism can be spoofed and whether angles or lighting can affect authentication.
How bright is the OLED display in real time?
Apple has hailed the iPhone X display as being the best OLED screen on the market; however, there are already some concerns about its brightness. Apple indicates that display brightness goes up to 625 nits on the iPhone X. Meanwhile, competitor devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 exceed 1200 nits in brightness. Official reviewers should take note of how the iPhone X display appears at maximum brightness and how brightness on competitor devices should be adjusted to compare. Is viewing comfortable for the eyes at maximum brightness? How well are images, videos and words presented on the display?
Is the top notch annoying in everyday use?
The top notch on the iPhone X has been one of its biggest criticisms. Though it houses all of the special front-facing sensors on the iPhone X, many have especially complained that it takes away from the aesthetic look of the device. Early demos have revealed that the notch does not account for the scroll bar when the handset is in landscape mode. Official reviewers should take note of whether the notch gets in the way of the device’s full-screen viewing experience and how long it takes to get used to the feature. Should users worry about the landscape scrollbar being hidden behind the notch?
Is battery life actually extended by two hours compared to the iPhone 7 Plus?
While Apple claims the iPhone X has an improved battery life, compared with the iPhone 7 Plus, recent reports indicate the smartphone has a smaller battery than its predecessor. A recently leaked government filing suggests the iPhone X has a 2,716 mAh battery, while the iPhone 7 Plus has a 2,915 battery. Official reviewers should take note of battery depletion in general use in comparison to older iPhones, as well as battery drain when idle, while browsing, playing videos, and in comparison to devices running older versions of iOS.
There will likely be countless iPhone X Animoji demos come Nov.3, but it will be interesting to see how often the feature is used in the days, weeks and months after the device becomes available.
Apple announced the iPhone X Sept. 12, showcasing Face ID and Animoji as use cases for its new facial recognition technology. Animoji will allow iPhone X users to create animated gifs of their own facial movements and voices after they have mapped their likeness with Face ID. However, even without being widely tested, Animoji feels like a gimmick, which may quickly be forgotten by users.
Currently, it appears that Animoji is likely not backwards compatible with older iPhones, particularly the iPhone 8, iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s. These devices lack the hardware components needed to enable the feature. The iPhone 8 runs the A11 Bionic chip, which includes the neural engine that powers Apple’s new AI technology. However, it lacks the iPhone X’s True Depth front camera to allow for facial mapping. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s are missing both of these features.
Perhaps iPhone X users would be able to send Animoji to other iPhone users, but these users would not be able return the gesture, causing fragmentation among the smartphones. Or, Animoji could in fact be completely exclusive to the iPhone X. The intent would be to increase its value proposition, encouraging more Apple fans to buy the iPhone X to converse with their friends in Animoji. The fallback would be, without availability across the entire Apple smartphone lineup, iPhone X users may find themselves at a loss when friends are unable to see or return their Animoji. They could quickly fall out of practice of using the feature. Animoji may not truly catch on until 2018 and beyond when Apple releases other devices that run the feature natively and more enabled handsets are on the market.
Animoji also takes a step back from Apple’s simplified iOS user experience. YouTube reviewer, TechSmarrt noted that the whole point of Apple’s iMessage app is to communicate quickly and to the point. However, users would have to take the time to record an Animoji to communicate a message that could easily be conveyed with an emoji or a gif. Additionally, iOS users have long had other applications, such as FaceTime, on which to make funny faces at their friends. Animoji may be novel for a while, but again, could quickly be forgotten in favor for more tried and true modes of communication.
Animoji seems like an olive branch to users for getting rid of Touch ID. It seems as if Apple has said — let’s get rid of a long tested and trusted feature, but give people the ability to make poop talk. Real opinions of Animoji won’t be available for another month, but in terms of popularity, the odds don’t appear to be in its favor.