Apple delivers ‘one more thing’ with iPhone X
Friday, September 15, 2017
After his return to the company in the 1990s, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a habit of getting most of the way through his Apple Event keynote addresses before coming to a natural stopping point, only to state that there was "one more thing" he wished to announce.
The list of Jobs' "more things" ranges from the trivial, like a special edition U2 iPod, to the iconic, like the debut of the MacBook Pro and iPod Shuffle.
Where the fiery and boastful Jobs used the phrase multiple times per year most years from 1999 to 2011, his reserved and contemplative successor, Tim Cook, had used the remark just twice in his tenure before 2017 — announcing the Apple Watch in 2014 and Apple Music in 2015. Those two launches represent two of Apple's most important new products in recent years.
Thus, at the Sept. 12 Apple Event keynote, when Cook followed the presentation on the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with a proclamation of, "But we're not stopping there. We do have ... one more thing," the crowd at the new Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's megacampus in Cupertino, California, roared, knowing something big was on the way.
Cook then announced the iPhone X (pronounced "ten"). The phone uses new innovation and recent trends in smartphone development, and could possibly shake up the market as much as any phone this decade. It also represents a likely coup for Apple, whose "one more thing" days were hailed as finished by some observers just hours before the event.
The iPhone X takes cues from recent phones like Android founder Andy Rubin's Essential Phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8 in manufacturing a phone that uses the vast majority of the front of the phone as a larger display screen, without a physical home button. The iPhone X also uses a 5.8-inch display, larger than even the Plus models of recent years.
The iPhone X uses nearly all of the front of the phone as a display screen, without a physical home button. (Image: Apple)
But where the phone climbs above others currently on the market — and where it likely derives a healthy portion of its $999 price point from — is what it does with that display.
For the first time in an iPhone, the screen will feature organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. While other phone makers like Samsung and LG have used OLED before, it appears that Apple has done a better job of utilizing it for a smartphone with multiple observers hailing the new display.
The technology is also being used in new premium TVs. The iPhone X will utilize High Dynamic Range (HDR) resolution in media, which is expected to grow in adoption in the coming months and years, including in the near future on shows and movies bought from Apple on iTunes.
Also, the iPhone X's Face ID technology will replace the current fingerprint-unlocking Touch ID on current models by using a scan of the user's face. However, that feature has probably been the least well-received part of the X, due to security concerns and a failed demo at the Apple Event.
The iPhone X won't hit shelves until Nov. 3, but the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will each be available in the coming days, starting Sept. 22. In many ways, the iPhone 8 is a natural progression on last year's 7, but the new phones do feature a new A11 Bionic processor and introduces wireless charging to the product line.
The iPhone 8 features a new A11 Bionic processor and introduces wireless charging to the product line. (Image: Apple)
As is custom after September iPhone launches accompanying Apple Events, a new version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, will debut with the new hardware. The latest, iOS 11, will combine the lock screen and Notification Center, take advantage of augmented reality (AR) technology, have a redesigned App Store, and feature better integration with Apple CarPlay, among other new features. The OS will be available on iPhone 5S and newer models, and on iPads since the iPad mini 2.
Smartphone launches have tended to be a bit formulaic in recent years, and the most popular phones have looked mostly identical to their immediate predecessors. After Apple's announcement of the impressive — and expensive — iPhone X, a new era in visual smartphone technology appears to be on the horizon.
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