iPhone X Review: Closing Thoughts

Throughout my iPhone X Review series, many topics have been covered including the screen, wireless charging, the camera and sensors, the processor, Face ID, Animoji, and even some developer concerns. In this final article for my iPhone X review, we will look at my overall thoughts on the iPhone X.

I do not think that I had as much delight in using a product as I have with the iPhone X. The delight that I feel is the same as it was with the original iPhone, and that was a whole new product category at the time. Do not get me wrong, I was excited to get a new phone every year, and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Yet the iPhone X had a different feel to it. Each iPhone brings its own features to the product and the iPhone X is no different in this manner.

There have been four iPhones that I have been extra excited to use. They are, in order of release, the original iPhone, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone X. Each of these had their own significance. The original iPhone, because it was the basis for all future iPhones and it was a wholly new product that had not been seen before. The iPhone 4 because it was the first Retina iPhone and seeing just how sharp an iPhone screen could be was a real treat. The iPhone 5s due to ToucH ID, which would become instrumental and a fundamental interaction point with that and future iPhones. The iPhone 6 Plus due to the all new form factor and possibilities with the landscape view. Finally, the iPhone X because of its radical rethinking of an iPhone.

As much as I have enjoyed each iPhone that I have owned, which is all but the 5c and the 8 Plus, the iPhone X is wholly different. The iPhone X is one of the more exciting phones that I have owned. The physical size of the iPhone X allows it to fit more comfortably into a pocket and Face ID is a fundamental change in biometric authentication and works in almost all situations. There have been a few where it has not.

The actual design of the iPhone X is fantastic. After I get an iPhone, I do the initial setup and the immediately put the case, which invariably arrives days before the iPhone, onto the iPhone. I do this not only for protection, but also to keep my phones in really condition. When I take the case off, the actual design of the iPhone X feels great in the hands. The all glass front and back, along with the corners, makes it a nice and smooth band around the edge. It is not only reminiscent of the original iPhone, but also more akin to the iPhone 4 with its glass front and back and the chamfered edges.

Face ID works a lot better, faster, and in many more situations than most might anticipate. The limitation of registering only face for Face ID will be a limiting factor for many individuals, but it is merely a first generation release.

When you use the iPhone X on a day-to-day basis, the notch becomes a non-issue. Sure, you will notice it at first but since your eyes are elsewhere, I know I do not even really notice it, unless I am purposely looking at it. s is because you are generally looking at the screen and with the iPhone X, it is all screen. The OLED screen really does make a difference when you are viewing anything with a black background on it. I did a brief comparison between my old iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone X and when both were at full brightness, and not using night shift mode, I looked at the same picture on both phones. When I did this, you could see the black area to the sides. On the iPhone 7 Plus it appears a blueish gray, whereas on the iPhone X, it is a true black.

If there is an application that has not yet been updated with either a dark mode, or to support the iPhone X, be sure to contact the developer and request that they include a dark mode and update their app to support the iPhone X. Ultimately, it will be a better experience once most applications are updated.

The Future

No one knows 100% sure what the future of the iPhone will hold, nor how long it will be the dominate smartphone on the market. One day the iPhone will be supplanted by another device. Whether it is a smart phone, or another device time will tell.

The iPhone X resets the baseline for all future iPhones. As Apple has stated, the iPhone X is “Tomorrow’s iPhone, today”. It is not easy to put into words, just how going back to an iPhone 7 Plus feels like it is the wrong direction for phones to go. I get that not everyone can afford an iPhone X right now, but Apple’s introduction iPhone X is nearly indicating that this form factor is the way of the future for iPhones. While it will certainly take time for this form factor to trickle down the line, it will eventually be the primary form factor for phones. It will be interesting to see whether Apple releases an even larger version of the iPhone X, with an even larger screen at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

The iPhone X is Apple’s flagship phone and a luxury to boot. The iPhone X is the direction that Apple is taking its most profitable and most popular product. Even with its $999 price tag, it does pack in a significant amount of technology in a small package. The iPhone X is much closer in size to the iPhone 8 than the iPhone 8 Plus. Hence, if you thought a “Plus” sized phone was just too big, the size of the iPhone X may be a good fit.

The iPhone X has the best set of cameras on any iPhone. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone X is the same as the one on the iPhone 8, but the telephoto lens is just a bit better due to the optical image stabilization on both lenses. This allows better videos and pictures, because the pictures and videos will not shake as much.

The inclusion of safe areas also opens up the opportunity for Apple to create other distinct interface designs in the future without having to worry about developers being able to support these new interface designs. It may not be likely that this will occur, but it is a possibility to be aware of.

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, indicated that the iPhone X was originally slated for release 2018. Yet, releasing the iPhone X in 2017 really does mean that we have tomorrow’s technology in our hands today. The iPhone X seems to take all of the best physical features of the previous iPhones and puts them all into one package and yet it brings its own flair and style to the iPhone Line. To be honest the it really is a delight to use the iPhone X. If you are due for an upgrade, and have the monetary means, it really is worth looking at getting the iPhone X. I do not think that you will be disappointed.

iPhone Availability for 12/16/2017 (Morning)

Here is the iPhone Availability for the morning of December 16th, 2017. All iPhones from Apple are in stock and available by Tuesday, December 19th. Hence, there is still time to get an iPhone before the holidays.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 22 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19

Changes for the Carriers

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017

iPhone 8
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
iPhone 8 Plus
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
iPhone X
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19

iPhone 8 – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Gold Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 12/18/17
Gold 12/18/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Gold Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 01/03/18
Gold 12/18/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available 12/22/2017
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 01/03/18
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/27/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X Review: Plus to iPhone X

The sixth article in my iPhone X review series is a bit of an oddity, as compared to the other ones written. This one will cover my personal experience about going from an iPhone 7 Plus to the iPhone X along with some other transitions from the past, like going from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6 Plus.

The iPhone has now had a total of five different screen sizes in its ten year life. For the first seven years of its life, there had only been two; a 3.5-inch screen on the the first five iPhone models, original iPhone through the iPhone 4s, and the 4-inch model on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. In 2014 Apple eschewed the tradition of releasing a single iPhone model and instead released two different sizes of phone; the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The Plus Phones

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus, I knew I would end up getting that model. Besides being a significantly larger screen, 5.5 inches compared to 4.7 for the iPhone 6, and the 4-inch screen that I had at the time, there were some aspects about the iPhone 6 Plus that were not on the other models. The most notable feature is the two-column view, while in landscape.

The two column view could allow developers to present more information to their users. However, this was only available when the 6 Plus was in landscape mode and not in portrait mode. Alongside the two column view, the iPhone 6 Plus had the largest screen available on an iPhone, to that point the largest screen available was the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s.

The last differentiating aspect was the second camera on the iPhone 6 Plus. This second camera allowed photos to be taken with optical 2x lens. This would allow for more a wider variety of pictures as well as zoomed in picture to be a bit clearer. Given that the iPhone has always been my primary camera, having the best camera available was definitely an incentive.

5s to 6 Plus

Let us take a quick detour back to 2014 when I got my iPhone 6 Plus. You can about read my thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus after about 10 days of usage. Side note, why did I do my review after 10 days? That just seems a bit strange now that I think about it. How much usage could I really have in 10 days? Anyways, one of the things that I did not mention in that post was that when I initially got the iPhone 6 Plus I actually thought the size might have been the wrong one to get. The extra inch and a half of screen size was a significant jump. The iPhone 6 Plus took a bit to get used to. However, after a couple of hours of usage I went back to my iPhone 5s and began to think that the 4-inch screen was just too small. The bigger screen real estate was just to compelling and you can quickly adjust to having the extra screen real estate than you had than before. Now, let us look at going the other direction, from a 7 Plus to the iPhone X.

Plus to iPhone X

When I first began using the iPhone X, I immediately noticed the difference in size. The physical size of the iPhone X is much closer to the iPhone 6, 6s, 7, or 8 than it is the plus-sized models. After using the Plus phones for 3 years, it took quite a bit to adjust to the different ergonomics of the iPhone X. This did include a bit of time to get used to typing on the smaller keyboard.

Even a month after using the iPhone X, I still cannot type properly on the keyboard. There are often times that I end up hitting the period instead of the space bar. Depending on what I am doing it can be quite frustrating. If you are very efficient with the iPhone Plus sized keyboard, it may be a bigger problem going to the smaller size. I am not sure whether some of the issue is due to some of the machine learning within iOS 11, or if it is just me. Apple is using some neural networks to predict what your next keypress might be and is expanding the touch area for that key to make it a bit easier to tap that key without needing to be 100% precise. For most users this may be a great thing, although it may not be the best for some users.

During my tenure with using the Plus sized screened iPhones, some changes in habit had to be made in order to accommodate the larger phone. One of the downsides of the Plus-sized phones, is actually the physical size. As an example, during the summer the size of the Plus-sized phone was not generally an issue. This is because I normally wear cargo shorts, and no I do not care if they are not “fashionable”, they are useful when you need to carry all sorts of stuff around. However, as the weather grew cooler a change of clothing was in order. Typically this would consist of a sweatshirt of some sort, or hoodie, along with a t-shirt and jeans.

The iPhone 7 did not always fit comfortably within my jeans. I would prefer to keep the iPhone in my front left pocket, with my keys. Yes, I know it is not the best, but it is what is the most comfortable. I do not wear skinny jeans, so that is not the issue. The Plus phones do not fit well in the front pocket, and therefore I always ended up taking my phone out of my pocket and placing it nearby. If I knew I would be walking around for a bit, the phone would either end up in the pocket of my hoodie, or in the back pocket of my jeans. This arrangement meant that I ended up having to take the Plus-sized phone out of my back pocket before sitting down.

This changes a bit with the iPhone X. The physical size of the iPhone X allows it to fit quite comfortably in the front pocket of my jeans. Even with this, I still end up removing the iPhone X from my pocket and placing it nearby. This is because, like many others, I am constantly using my iPhone for all sorts of things and having to constantly pull out my iPhone X from my pocket would become bothersome, particularly if you are sitting down.Even though the iPhone X is my primary phone, there are those times that I end up going back to my iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone X Back to Plus

Every once in a while I end up going back to my iPhone 7 Plus. When this happens and I look at its design, it appears, to me, to be old technology. In particular, the bezels on the top and bottom of the iPhone 7 Plus seem a bit out of place. The larger physical size take some re-adjusting to get used to it again. I have become quite used to and accustom to the edge-to-edge screen design and it is what I would consider to be “normal” now, and exactly what an iPhone should look like. They do not seem like they should be there. It appears as though the phone is not really an iPhone, at least not to me. I know that people can adjust quickly to technology, and this is a prime example for me.

I do not think the notch is the item in particular, but the rounded corners of the screen on the iPhone X. When I look back at the iPhone 7 Plus, the squared off corner that feel the most out of place, right after the large bezels.

The same does not appear to be the case when I switch between my 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the iPhone X. I do not know if this is due to the iPad Pro being so much larger than the iPhone and the fact that I am not usually not looking at every aspect of the screen all the time, or if it is some other aspect. I will say that when I really look at the iPad, the bezels, even though they are larger than on the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPad Pro’s bezels do not seem as stark of a contrast.

The only rationale I have for this is that the bezels on the iPad Pro are a bit closer in size. The side bezels are approximately 1/2 an inch, and the top and bottom bezels are approximately an inch. This is a difference of about 1/2 of an inch. Contrast this with the the iPhone 7 Plus’, where the bezels are a bit more disproportional. The top and bottom bezels are approximately 9/10 an inch and the side bezels are approximately 1/6 of an inch. The side bezels on the iPhone 7 Plus are a lot more noticeable and I think this really is the reasoning behind the difference in opinion between the two devices. With the iPad Pro being closer in size, the bezels appear more as a frame for the iPad Pro screen than the iPhone Plus does.

When you first look see an iPhone X you notice the notch. It is the most iconic aspect to the iPhone X. Yet, in every day practice it is hardly noticeable and does not not normally get in the way of what you are doing. This is because Apple allows developers to keep their content within “safe areas”. Only once you double-tap to zoom into a video and make it full screen will any part of the content be hidden. When you do this the video will fill up the sides of the notch, but most of the time, this is not an issue. So if you are worried about the notch, do not be, it really is not a big problem.

One of the more difficult things to go back to, with the iPhone 7 Plus, is not being able to swipe up from the bottom to unlock the screen. I have quickly become used to just swiping up to get to the home screen. I understand why Apple makes this gesture unique to the iPhone X, but it really would be nice to have on the other platforms. Particularly if you have already unlocked the iPhone 7 Plus, or iPad Pro for that fact, with Touch ID. It sometimes takes me a second to realize, oh wait, swiping up does not work on this device. I get that it is what it is, but it is easy to get into a habit.

Even with this all of this, long term iOS users really should be able to switch between various iOS devices without too much difficulty. It will take time for other iOS devices to get the same gestures as the iPhone X and by the time that everyone is comfortable with the iPhone X gestures, Apple will change it again.

iPhone X to iPod Touch

Back in 2015, I bought a sixth generation iPod Touch right when they were released. I did this as a way to have a reference device that was running iOS 8. I still have not yet updated the iPod Touch beyond iOS 8. So I do end up having to reference it from time to time. This mostly occurs when I am writing my iOS e-book during the summer, but I do use it from time to time. When I do have to use it, it feels even more cramped than I thought. Similar to going back to the iPhone 7 Plus from the iPhone X, going back to the iPod Touch feels a bit odd. Strangely though, I do not get the same “this feels completely out of place” with the iPod Touch as I do with the iPhone 7 Plus. I do not know if it is because to me the iPod is not a “front of mind” product when it comes to Apple. Just as with the Mac Mini, the iPod Touch is not a product that receives regular attention, it is not known how soon, or if, the iPod Touch will see an update. It would be nice, it may also be nice to see two different sizes, a 4-inch model and maybe a 4.7-inch model, or even a 5.5-inch model.

Final Thoughts

Even though I do not typically have to go between my iPhone X and my iPhone 7 Plus, there are those times when it will be necessary. The likely time that it will be when I am doing development of my apps, I may be working on wwrite or just working on my own utility apps. I completely get that having to go between different types of iOS devices and having to deal with their different gestures is a very first-world problem. Even though the bifurcation of gestures between iOS devices is minimal, it may end up confusing some users. With the iPhone X being the future, it is only a matter of time before all iOS devices use the game gestures, within limits.

If you are on the fence between a Plus-sized Phone and the iPhone X, I would recommend going to a store and comparing both models side by side. You may find that the Plus-sized phone is what you are looking for, however you may also find the the iPhone X is a better fit for your needs.

iPhone Availability for 12/14/2017 (Morning)

Here is the iPhone Availability for the morning of December 14th, 2017. There is still time to get an iPhone X for the holidays, but you should order now.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 20 to Mon Dec 18
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 20 to Mon Dec 18
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 20 to Mon Dec 18
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 20 to Mon Dec 18
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 20 to Dec 22
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 – Dec 18 to Mon Dec 18

Changes for the Carriers

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 15, 2017 to Dec 19, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 15, 2017 to Dec 19, 2017
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 15, 2017 to Dec 19, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 15, 2017 to Dec 19, 2017
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/14/17 to 12/18/17
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/14/17 to 12/18/17
iPhone 8
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
iPhone 8 Plus
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow
Space Gray Tomorrow Tomorrow
iPhone X
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
Space Gray Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
Space Gray Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
Space Gray Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Mon Dec 18 Dec 22
Space Gray Mon Dec 18 Mon Dec 18

iPhone 8 – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Gold Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Space Gray Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 12/18/17
Gold 12/18/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Gold Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Space Gray Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 12/18/17
Gold 12/18/17 12/26/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Space Gray Dec 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 01/03/18
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/27/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X Review: Wireless Charging

The sixth article is my iPhone X Review focuses on a new feature that is not only on the iPhone X, but also on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus; That feature is Wireless Charging.

When you look at all of the new features of the iPhone X, one that might not stand out is wireless charging, given all of the other “shiny” features of the iPhone X. Features like Face ID, the OLED screen, and Animoji. There are those technologies that Apple includes in their devices that when they are initially introduced seem like an “oh, that is nice to have”, but it is just a gimmick. When you first look at these type of features, what you do not realize just how fundamental of a shift it can be.

At first glance Wireless Charging may fall into that category, yet I think it will become a primary mechanism and absolute necessity for iPhones going forward. The fact that it is included with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus means that Apple is making a huge bet on the technology. Although with Apple putting into their latest iPhones, it will end up trickling down the line and eventually be ubiquitous. As with many other things, but it has not always been the case, when Apple implements a technology it quickly becomes a must have in other devices. I think that Wireless Charging may become that type of technology.

History of Power on iPhone

Unlike many other aspects of the iPhone, the ways that it has been powered have remained largely stable. This is likely because changing the connector cable causes uproar amongst the community. In fact, Apple has only changed the power cable once in the ten year history of the iPhone. That began with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Prior to that, the 30-pin dock connector was used. Although, you could use either Firewire or USB with the original iPhone. Firewire support was dropped with the iPhone 3G, but it still utilized the same cable.

Since 2012, all iPhones that have shipped have utilized the lightning cable as their only mechanism for charging. With the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X this changes. These iPhones still support the lightning cable, but it is not the only charging method. You can now use wireless charging to charge your iPhone X.

What is Wireless Charging

When people say “wireless charging” two different images can be conjured in ones mind. The first, and least common, is one where power would both figuratively and literally being transferred through the air, similar to how some images of Nikola Tesla’s laboratory have been shown. These images have electricity flowing across the entire picture. This is not really what people mean. The second possible image, and one that most users mean, is actually what is actually known as inductive charging. To make it easier on everyone, I will use the two terms, wireless charging and inductive charging, interchangeably.

The concept of inductive charging is not new, not by a long shot. Inductive charging is used in a variety of different products. Some of these include motorized toothbrushes, razors, and even some batteries. It has been in use by phones since 2009 when the Palm Pre was introduced. Manufacturers of Android phones have been including wireless charging for quite a while.

For wireless charging there are actually two competing standards. The first is the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) or as it is more commonly called, the AirFuel Alliance. The second standard is the Wireless Power Consortium standard, Qi, pronounced “chi”. Apple has gone with the latter of the two standards for its wireless charging.

The first inductive charging product that Apple released was the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch has never had any other type of charger. The Apple Watch uses a slightly different inductive charging mechanism versus other devices using inductive charging. The difference with the Apple Watch is that it uses magnets to get a secure connection to the charger.

The iPhone X also includes inductive charging. Unlike with the Apple Watch, the iPhone X does not include a wireless charging pad with the iPhone X. The iPhone X, as well as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, uses a wireless charging standard known as Qi, pronounced “chi”. However, given the wide variety of existing Qi chargers, you will not need to spend a lot of money to be able to purchase an inductive charger for the iPhone X.

The iPhone X, with iOS 11.0 or 11.1 has a limited charging speed of 5 watts. This is the exact same wattage that comes with the little power brick that has been included with every iPhone sold since 2007. This changes with iOS 11.2, which should be available now. iOS 11.2 increases the maximum output via the wireless charging coil to 7.5 watts. While the actual difference seems small, this is a 50% increase in power.

Right now Apple only advertises two Qi chargers for the iPhone X, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These are the Mophie Wireless Charging Base and the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad. I picked up the Mophie one the same time I purchased my iPhone X.

Mophie Charger

The Mophie Wireless Charger is a 24.7 watt charging pad, well beyond the 7.5 watts allowed by the iPhone X. The Mophie charging pad comes with its own 24.7 watt power brick. The charging pad brick is not USB. Instead it is a standard electronic plug, one that you would find on many other products. The one benefit of this plug, though, is that it is reversible and symmetrical, so you can plug it in either way and it will work. This is very similar to how lightning cables are, which ultimately means that you do not have to do the “USB Dance” like you might with USB A cables.

The physical size of the Mophie charging pad is approximately 3.75 inches in diameter, so it is not a big device. The pad itself is black and has a bit of grip to it thanks to the rubber that encases the entire device. When you place an iPhone on the Mophie pad the gripping rubber minimizes the movement of the iPhone. One downside to some third-party wireless chargers is that if you receive a message and your phone vibrates, it could vibrate off of the charging pad. This does not happen with the iPhone X and the Mophie Wireless Charger.

One of the more common places for a wireless charging base might be in the bedroom. One thing that humans are not good at is sleeping with the light on. Many electronic manufacturers intend to dazzle their customers with a lot of lights, and one of the potential downsides of any charger is the light that it emits. When there are a lot of lights on a charger, they are likely LED and typically very bright. The Mophie charger does not have this problem. There is one single light that is on the bottom of the charging pad and you are not likely to see it unless you are really looking for it. This is a huge plus, particularly if you intend to use a wireless charging where you sleep.

In my own usage, I have to actively look for the light in order to find it, so it should not be too much of a problem. However, if the light is a problem there is a universal fix for it. You can place some black electrical tape over the light. The benefit of this, is that it will match the rest of the Mophie Charger. Even though the Mophie Charger is pretty good, there is still one improvement, or option, I would like to see.

Wishlist

The one thing I would like to see is the power brick and cord be either a lightning or USB-C cable. I completely understand why they went with the propriety power brick and connector, but it would still be nice to have the option for using a USB-C cable to charge. This would need a 29 watt charging brick, but for those of use who already have that, it would not require another charger since we may already have the necessary equipment. There is another wireless charger that I looked at.

Yootech Wireless Charger

After using the Mophie Wireless Charger for a couple of weeks, I decided to buy a less expensive one to use at work.
I opted to go with a cheaper model at work for a couple of reasons. The exact model that I bought is the Yootech RC100 It is called the “Yootech Wireless Charger”. I opted to go with this model, because it was only $12.99 from Amazon. What I did not know when I ordered it was whether or not if this model had a large number of bright LED lights on it. If it did, it would not bother me at work to have them shining, whereas at home, it most certainly would.

The RC100 does indeed have a lot of LEDs, however they are only on for 30 seconds when you place the iPhone X onto the charging pad. During the day this may not be an issue, nor when you first go to sleep. But if you place your iPhone X on the pad after picking it up in the middle of the night, the lights can be distracting. For my purposes, though, it should not be an issue.

The Yootech Wireless Charger is a much thinner, and much cheaper, wireless charger. It is also a bit smaller compared to the Mophie Wireless Charger. The size of the Yootech charger has an approximate diameter of 3.5 inches, or 90mm. In terms of thickness, it is approximately 1/3 of an inch thick, or 8.4mm. In contrast, the Mophie measures in at 3.82 inches at its diameter, by 0.45 inches, or 11.5mm. The Mophie is 33% thicker than the YooTech.

With its cheaper price, the Yootech does not include a power adapter. It does include a standard micro USB to USB A cable. This means that you can use the power adapter that comes with the iPhone X to power the Yootech charger.

The biggest downside to the Yootech Wireless charger is that it can take 7.5 watts in, but only its maximum output is 5 watts. This means that the Yootech wireless charger does not support fast charging. Just like the LED lights, for my purposes this is not an issue. However, if you are looking to have a Qi charger that will charge your iPhone X, the Yootech wireless charger is a viable option, albeit a basic one.

Actual Usage

I got the Yootech charger on a Friday and I used it around the house over the weekend. I brought it to work on Monday and guess what, I have not actually used it while at work. This is because even with my heavy usage of my iPhone, the battery does not drain like my iPhone 7 Plus did. Granted, as of this writing my iPhone is only four weeks old, but the bigger physical size has allowed for a larger battery. Apple does indicate that the battery on the iPhone X should get you two more hours of usage. Even though it has not yet been an issue, we shall see what happens when the iOS 12 first developer beta is released. First developer betas are notoriously bad for battery life and it may be nice to have the wireless charger when that time comes around.

Downsides

There is a single downside to all of the current wireless chargers. That downside is that you have to place your iPhone X squarely on the middle of the charging pads. With the Mophie charging pad, there is a bit of leeway since the charging pad is wider than the charging area of the iPhone X. Out of all of the times that I have placed my iPhone X on the charging pad, there has only been a couple of time that I missed the charging area the first time. In reality, it should not be too much of an issue.

Future of Wireless Charging

If I am being honest, I know the Mophie Wireless Charger and Yootech RC100 are just stop gaps until Apple releases their Air Power mat in 2018. The Air Power mat will be able to charge the Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone X, and the AirPods, with a new case, all on the same mat. Once the Air Power mat is released, I will likely be purchasing one in order to be able to just place my items down without having to worry. At that point, the Mophie Charger will likely move to another spot throughout my house.

It is possible that Apple could include wireless charging on other devices, and likely will in future iPhones. As for other Apple products getting wireless charging, I do not know it would make sense for other products. Wireless charging requires a coil inside the product, and would make the device heavier. Apple only has a limited number of portable product that could benefit from wireless charging, but these products all have, or soon will have, wireless charging capabilities.

Final Thoughts

When you first think about wireless charging you may think, “how convenient will that really be?”. Surprisingly, it is very convenient. Having the ability to just place your phone on a charging pad and then have it charge, all without having to mess with a cable is an experience that you may not think would be that convenient, but it truly is. I am not going to attempt to say that Apple came up with wireless charging because, as mentioned above, it is not a new technology at all.

If you own an iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or any phone with wireless charging you may seriously want to look at getting a wireless charging pad for you phone. It can completely change the convenience factor for charging your phone. And was wireless charging pads become more ubiquitous you will soon be able to charge your phone at many other places. This is particularly true if you have a number of chargers placed where you are the most.

Also as mentioned above, it does not have to be an expensive proposition to buy a wireless charger. There is another Yootech charger for $11, a Choetech charger for $16, or even a standing model by ElleSye for about $21. If you have an iPhone X, it behoves you to take a look at wireless charging and how well it might be able to fit into your life.

iPhone Availability for 12/12/2017 (Evening)

Here is the iPhone Availability for December 12th, 2017. This information is accurate as of 7:30PM Central time. If you are wanting to purchase an iPhone X before Christmas, order it NOW.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19 to Dec 20
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19 to Dec 20
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19 to Dec 20
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19 to Dec 20
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19 to Dec 20
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13 – Dec 15 to Dec 14 – Dec 18

Changes for the Carriers

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 13, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Jan 2, 2018 to Dec 15, 2017
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 13, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/11/17 to 12/14/17
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/26/17 to 01/03/18
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/11/17 to 12/14/17
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/20/17 to 12/27/17
  • iPhone 8
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    iPhone 8 Plus
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Gold Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    Space Gray Thu Dec 14 Thu Dec 14
    iPhone X
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 14 – Dec 18
    Space Gray Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 14 – Dec 18
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 14 – Dec 18
    Space Gray Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 14 – Dec 18
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 20 Dec 20
    Space Gray Dec 20 Dec 20
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 20
    Space Gray Dec 14 – Dec 18 Dec 14 – Dec 18

    iPhone 8 – from Carriers
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Gold Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Space Gray Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Gold Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver 12/14/17 12/14/17
    Gold 12/14/17 12/14/17
    Space Gray 12/14/17 12/14/17
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Gold Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available

    iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Gold Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Space Gray Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Gold Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver 12/14/17 12/14/17
    Gold 12/14/17 12/26/17
    Space Gray 12/14/17 12/14/17
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Gold Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available

    iPhone X – from Carriers
    AT&T 64GB 256GB
    Silver Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Space Gray Dec 15, 2017 Dec 15, 2017
    Sprint 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available
    T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
    Silver 12/14/17 01/03/18
    Space Gray 12/14/17 12/27/17
    Verizon 64GB 256GB
    Silver Available Available
    Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X Review: Developer Considerations

Fifth in my look at the iPhone X we will tackle an area which will not be prudent to everyone, but may be of some interest to many. That topic is what developers need to look at when it comes to their applications on iPhone X.

The iPhone X represents a number of changes, an OLED screen with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, improved camera, significantly improved processor, and Face ID, just to name a few. Many of these new features require some thought from developers to be able to have the best iPhone X experience for your users. If you have been keeping your application up to date, there may only be a few tweaks that need to be done to fully accommodate the iPhone X. Let us start with items revolving around the screen.

Screen

The iPhone X has an all new 5.8 Super Retina HD screen. This screen is an OLED based screen with a resolution of 2436 pixels tall by 1125 wide with 458 pixels per inch. This means that it has a true 3x screen due to the width being 375 points, and the height being 812 points.

This 3x screen means that developers may need to provide assets at true 3x resolution. It was possible to provide almost 3x resolution assets before since the Plus-sized iPhones were scale down any 3x resolution assets to appropriately fit the screen.

It is not likely that many developers would have not had true 3x resolution assets, but in case you did not, it is important to do so now. Along with this, the iPhone X is its own distinct screen size. Throughout the iPhone’s history there have been a total of six different screen resolutions. These have been:

  • 320 pixels by 480 pixels
  • 640 pixels by 960 pixels
  • 640 pixels by 1136 pixels
  • 750 pixels by 1334 pixels
  • 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels
  • 1136 pixels by 2436 pixels

If you are planning on supporting all of the currently supported devices, you will need to support the last four screen resolutions. Since the iPhone X is quite a bit taller, 216 pixels to be exact, you will need to make sure that your assets support the proper aspect ratios in order to be sure that everything appears correctly on each different iPhone model. There is one thing somewhat related to the screen.

Dark Modes

Each user of any application is unique. While you will never be able to please everyone, there is something that you can do to help a segment of your user base. Some users enjoy customizing the way that things look and for some of these users prefer a darker screen. This could be due to eye issues, or just because these themes are more visually appealing to them. For whatever the reason, it may help expand your user base to include a darker theme. The iPhone X may just give you the impetus to creating one within your application.

With the iPhone X being OLED, burn-in may become an issue over time. Even though Apple has done many things to help minimize burn-in, there is one thing that app developers can do to help; implement a dark mode within your app. With OLED, pixels are only turned on when the color is anything other than black. This means that if your application has a dark mode built-in you can help save a user’s screen. Another side benefit of this is that you can also help save battery life for users since the iPhone X will not need to turn on the super dark pixels. If you do not have a dark mode, it may be a good time to start implementing one, you never know it may just help expand your user base.

Face ID

Starting with the iPhone 5s, Apple has included a biiometric authentication mechanism with Touch ID. Touch ID has allowed for convenience when needing to unlock your iOS device or enter in a password. In order for developers to access the Touch ID sensor, Apple created the LocalAuthentication Framework.

The LocalAuthentication Framework provides two return values, a Boolean for the success or failure, and an NSError object, so you can determine the actual error that has occurred. That is all that you, as the developer receive. Given that the LocalAuthentication framework handles the actual authentication and determines which authentication mechanism to use, there is not much that a developer has to do.

The approach of only providing a success or failure, as well as an error, makes the LocalAuthentication framework infinitely scalable, from a developer’s point of view, and reduces the need for complex code. Ultimately what this means for developers is that they have minimal work to do to support Face ID on the iPhone X. In fact the only work that needs to be done is updating strings to refer to Face ID instead of Touch ID, when on an iPhone X. There are no other code changes necessary in order to support Face ID. If a developer does not have time to update their application right away, their application should continue to work, just with the wrong text showing on the iPhone X.

The Notch

The iPhone X brings a new wrinkle for developers, the notch at the top of the screen. The notch houses the True Depth Camera sensor. The notch actually protrudes into the screen and creates two areas that cannot really be used for anything. If a developer has decided to hide the status bar, there could potentially be option available for usage. However, for most developers they do not do this and will need to accommodate a bit within their application.

Apple has indicated that developers should “embrace the notch”. This means that they should not attempt to hide it with black bars. Apple made this decision, not only because it would create a lopsided application, and it would, but also because iOS 11 on the iPhone X utilizes the areas to the left and right of the True Depth Camera are where users access Notification Center, on the left, as well as Control Center, on the right.

If your application is using standard UIKit elements, those elements should automatically extend up to the notch and if you have any colors applied, those should also extend to the top as well. If you do have custom controls, you will need to extend your colors up to the status bar, to provide a more consistent look and feel to your application. One aspect that is new to iOS 11 directly relates to the iPhone X and that aspect is Safe Areas.

Safe Areas


Due to the notch it is important for developers to be able to know just how their applications will function. Until the iPhone X, if a developer chose to support all orientations, they could be reasonably reassured the they would only have two potential layouts to deal with, one in portrait orientation and one in landscape orientation. The iPhone X adds a bit of complexity to this arrangement.

One of the most important aspect to any application is the content. In order to provide developers with the confidence they need when building their apps, Apple introduced a new concept with iOS 11 called “Safe Areas”. Safe Areas, are just as they sound, they are areas where it is safe to put content.

Safe Area Guides are the actual term used to describe these areas. Safe Area Guides can be used on a controller by controller basis. Safe Areas will allow your content to stay within proper areas, not just on the iPhone X, but across all iOS devices. You can choose to allow some aspects of your interface to extend beyond the safe areas if it is appropriate to your application.

A peripheral item that developers need to be aware of, that relates to Safe Areas, is the new home indicator. The home indicator occupies a small portion of the bottom of the screen and automatically adjusts based on the background color. The home indicator will provide a significant amount of contrast so that it is always visible.

What this means for developers is that any controls need to be above the home button area. The area itself is not very large, but it is present. It is important to allow users to interact with this area. Safe Area Guides will allow developers to more easily determine where their application’s content will be shown, without having to worry about customizing each interface differently just for the iPhone X.

Letterboxed

If you have an iOS application and you have not yet updated it to support the iPhone X, it may be worth your while to do so. If you do not your app will have black bars above and below the primary content of your app. This is because Apple cannot accurately determine how best to show your application. Therefore, they will present it using a compact size class, with a resolution of 375 points wide and 667 points of height, or 1125 pixels by approximately 2000 pixels.

While it will take some time to adapt your applications to support the iPhone X doing so will allow your application look like it belongs on the iPhone X and not like it belongs on an older iOS device. For many users. having a letterboxes application may result in them abandoning that application in favor of another one that is more native to the iPhone X.

Closing Thoughts

The notch on the iPhone X is the biggest impediment for many developers to update their applications. This is particularly true for full screen applications and games. This is due not only to the notch itself and the work that needs to be done but also because their assets may not be able to scale properly due to the new aspect ratio.

Even though it may take some work on a developers’ part, to update their applications for the iPhone X, in the long run it will be well worth the effort, primarily because the iPhone X form factor is not likely to be a one-off model. Additionally, having an application that looks like it belongs on the iPhone X will not only be better not only for users, but also for developers as it will mean less work in the long run. Next let us turn to another new feature, one that is not exclusive to the iPhone X, but is also present on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus; Wireless Charging.

iPhone Availability for 12/10/2017 (Morning)

Here is the iPhone Availability for the morning of 12/10/2017. Sprint and Verizon have the iPhone X available for all models. Now may be the last chance for you to get an iPhone X in time for the holidays, if you order today from Apple.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 14 to Dec 13 – Dec 15

Changes for the Carriers

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 11, 2017 to Dec 13, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 28, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 11, 2017 to Dec 13, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Jan 5, 2018 to Dec 13, 2017
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Available now to Available
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/15 to Available
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Available now to Available
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Available now to Available
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/08/17 to 12/11/17
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/08/17 to 12/11/17
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/15/17 to 12/20/17
iPhone 8
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
iPhone 8 Plus
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Gold Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
Space Gray Tue Dec 12 Tue Dec 12
iPhone X
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 13 – Dec 15
Space Gray Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 13 – Dec 15
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 13 – Dec 15
Space Gray Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 13 – Dec 15
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 19 Dec 19
Space Gray Dec 19 Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 19
Space Gray Dec 13 – Dec 15 Dec 13 – Dec 15

iPhone 8 – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Gold Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Space Gray Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/11/17 12/11/17
Gold 12/11/17 12/11/17
Space Gray 12/11/17 12/11/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Gold Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Space Gray Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/11/17 12/11/17
Gold 12/11/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/11/17 12/11/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 13, 2017 Jan 2, 2018
Space Gray Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/11/17 12/26/17
Space Gray 12/11/17 12/20/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X Review: Animoji, Apple Pay, Gestures, and Passwords

So far, we have covered the Screen, Face ID, and the Camera. The fourth article in my iPhone X Review is about ways that Apple has utilized Face ID. This article will cover Animoji, Apple Pay, Gestures, and Passwords.

The longer you use a product, the more familiar that you become with it. One of the side effects of this is that interactions can engrained. With the iPhone X there are certain aspects that a long-time iPhone user needs to be aware of due to the change in interactions, as compared to older iPhones. Let us start with some changes in gestures.

Gestures

If you have been using an iPhone for any amount of time, you quickly become accustom to the manner in which you use it. When Apple introduced the original iPhone in 2007, it forced users to change the way that they interact with their phone. Although one of the benefits of this change is that a very small percent of users who adopted the iPhone already had other habits of using a smart phone. So the learning curve would have been close to the same for everyone.

Prior to 2007, there were two primary key layouts, T-9, which is like a standard telephone key pad, and a full hardware keyboard, like the Blackberry phones sported. The iPhone changed the entire interaction model by introducing a fully fledged smart phone with no physical keyboard. Instead, there was a virtual keyboard that allowed it to be shown and hidden as needed. The iPhone made a radical change and flipped everything on its head.

If, like me, you have been using an iPhone since the original, you have become very well versed in how to use an iPhone. Even with all of the changes that have occurred over the years, the core interaction methods have remained the same since the original. The iPhone X changes this a bit and requires that you adopt some different gestures. Most of the standard gestures you are used to remain, but there are some that have been adjusted.

Waking Up

Since the first iPhone, you have always had a couple of different choices for waking up your iPhone. The first option is to use the home button to wake up your iPhone. The second method is to click the “power” button. Clicking the power button still works on the iPhone X, but the iPhone X does not have a home button. iOS 10 introduced a new feature, Raise to Wake. Raise to wake was only available on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone SE, or later models. Raise to Wake allows you to lift up your iPhone X and it will wake up the screen. Alternatively, you can also tap on the screen of the iPhone X to wake it up. Unlike clicking the home button, you can tap anywhere on the screen to wake up the iPhone X. If it helps, you can tape in the same area that the home button would have been in, so it would be an easier transition from older devices. Similar to waking up the phone, unlocking has been changed a bit.

Unlocking iPhone X

Unlocking the iPhone X is very different than previous iPhones. With no home button which means no Touch ID, you will need to use Face ID, or a passcode, for unlocking your iPhone X. iOS 11 introduces a feature called “Cover Sheet”. Cover Sheet will allow you to look at your iPhone without bringing you to home screen. The Cover Sheet will show you the time and notifications.

On iPhones, besides the iPhone X, simply pressing the home button will bring you to to the home screen. With the iPhone X, you have to swipe up on the Cover Sheet to show the home screen. If you swipe up, before your iPhone X is unlocked, you will have to wait for Face ID to authorize you. In practice though Face ID is pretty fast so that you can do the following:

  1. Raise the iPhone X
  2. Swipe up from the bottom

That is all you have to do. By the time you the swipe animation finishes, your iPhone X will be unlocked and you will be at the home screen. Unlocking an iPhone X is noticeably faster than using Touch ID. One of the more common tasks is switching applications, this has also changed.

App Switching

The original iPhone allowed you to switch between applications by double-clicking on the home button. This function has remained through all iPhones, except for the iPhone X. Up through iPhone OS 3, when you switched to another app, your previous application would stop running, with a few exceptions like Music, or phone calls.

Back in 2010 when Apple released iOS 4 they introduced a game changing feature, the ability to multitask. When it was introduced, there were limitations in place that would curtail the types of applications that could use multitasking. Since then, many more apps have been able to take advantage of multitasking. The iPhone 8, as well as the iPad and other iPhone models, allow you to double-tap the home button to bring up multitasking. The iPhone X changes the method in which you bring up multitasking.

With iPhone X you swipe up from the bottom and rest your finger for a second towards the middle of the screen and the multitasking screen will appear. Once the screen appears, it should feel very familiar. You can then swipe to the left to locate the application that you want to switch to. There is one slight difference, that you may not initially notice. The corners on the previews of the apps match the iPhone X’s rounded corners.

The last method, which is exclusive to iPhone X, is to swipe in the lower portion of the screen, the portion that is near the “home indicator”. In this area you can swipe left or right near the home indicator, which is the ever present bar at the bottom of the screen. If you swipe left, you should be brought to the second most recently used app. Once here, you can swipe right and you will go back to the app that you just left. After approximately 30 seconds, you will no longer be able to swipe right again, as the app that you are using is now considered the “primary” app.

However, once you begin swiping, you can keep quickly swipe left or right through all of the open apps and you can find the one you wish to use.

Closing Apps

It is within smartphone folklore, for many, that closing applications will improve battery life and should be done all the time. This is just flat out not true. Even with the need to close apps not being present, there are still those times when an application may act up and you do indeed need to close it. This is done a bit differently on the iPhone X compared to other iPhones. First, you enter multitasking mode, as mentioned above, and then you tap and hold on an app. A red close indicator should then appear on each of the open applications.

Here you can either tap on a close indicator or you can swipe an app up toward the top of the screen. Either of these will close the application. The iPad, under iOS 11, has a slightly different interaction, you can swipe up from the dock on an iPad and as you keep swiping, it will bring up both Control Center as well as the iPad app switcher. In some ways, the iPad app switcher model gesture would work better, but Apple has chosen to go with this method.

Screenshots

Many users like to keep memories of things on their iPhone. Sometimes, this requires them to take a screenshot. On previous iPhones, this was done by pressing the power button and the home button at the same time. With the removal of the Home Button on the iPhone X, this gesture needs to change. Taking a screenshot still requires two buttons to be pressed, but instead of it being the home button and power button, it is now the power button and the volume up button that need to be pressed to take a screenshot. This gesture is actually a bit easier now, because you can simply squeeze the sides of the iPhone X to take a screenshot. The squeezing gesture may cause you to, inadvertently, end up taking more screenshots of your iPhone screen, but luckily you can easily remove those screenshots from your Photos.

The Notch

The notch is the most iconic piece of the iPhone X. With the inclusion of the notch, what remains is the two areas directly adjacent to the notch. When you are looking at cover sheet or the home screen, you will see some quick information, similar to previous iPhones.

One the left, you will see the carrier, while on cover sheet, or the time when using your iPhone X. On the right you will see current cellular signal, the battery icon, and whether you are on a Wifi or cellular connection.

If you pull down from the left side of the notch, you will be able to see your notifications. If you pull down on the right side of the notch, you will get Control Center.

There is an interaction that you may unconsciously do. On the iPhone 8, and prior iPhones, if you tap on the status bar, you will likely be able to scroll to the top of the application that you are using, if the developer has added support for this. Since the notch replaces the status bar, you might think that this gesture would go away. In fact, it remains. You can tap on the area just beneath the bottom part of the notch, and you will be scrolled up to the top of the screen, again if the developer has implemented this feature. There is one feature exclusive to the iPhone X that utilizes the components in the notch, that feature if Animoji.

Animoji

Language is not a static entity within life. There are a huge number of different languages across the world. Within these languages there are often dialects. When two people are attempting to communicate using two different languages that are in no way related, it may not be possible for them to effectively communicate since neither party can understand the other. When this occurs, it may become handy to have a means of communicating in a common language. When this language is not verbal, it can often be done using symbols. The symbols would have to be recognizable by both parties, and ideally would be universal. In today’s modern era, there is such a language. It is not a lingua franca, per se, but one that is a standard. That standard is called Emoji. You are likely aware of emoji, but in case you are not, here are a dozen examples.

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Emoji can fill the need to be able to represent items in a consistent manner, at least on a platform by platform basis. This is because each platform can create their own representations of the emoji, but that is another issue entirely that is way behind the scope of this iPhone X review.

When Apple unveils a new product there is usually one feature that makes for a good demonstration of just what that product can do. For the iPhone X that feature is Animoji. Animoji take the big feature of the iPhone X, Face ID, and do something fun around it. Animoji take certain emoji characters and allows someone to use their face to animate those emoji. Face ID’s True Depth Camera will track the way that your face moves and it will mimic your movements onto those emoji. There are only certain segment of the entire emoji set that can be used within Animoji. There are twelve to be exact. The twelve are:

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Animoji is an application within Apple’s iMessage platform and is exclusive to the iPhone X. The Animoji iMessage app allows you to record a video clip that is up to 10 seconds long. Once you have recorded your Animoji video you can send it to someone else on iMessage, even if they do not have an iPhone X. You can practice what you want to say and choose whichever Animoji, out of the dozen above, that you wish. Some of the Animoji are more expressive than others so it is best to play with each Animoji to determine which one you really want to use

Animoji may not be used as much as other features of the iPhone, but for those who do use it, it is a fun feature and it can really show off the capabilities of the Face ID camera. Face ID is used for more than just unlocking your iPhone X or sending Animoji. That function is around passwords.

Face ID and Passwords

Imagine having to place your finger on the Touch ID sensor every time you wanted to have a username and password combination automatically filled in. Having to do this would quickly become an irritation and would likely turn off many from using Touch ID. While this may seem like an outlandish idea, this is exactly what Face ID does. Face ID will require you to authenticate with Face ID every time that it detects a pair of username and password fields. At first glance you might think that Face ID may not be a regression and would be rather burdensome, compared to Touch ID. Yet in practice I really do not find it to be the case. On a Touch ID-enabled iOS device, passwords are automatically filled in for you. While this is convenient, it is actually a bit less secure.

The reason that it is less secure is because as long as your Touch ID-enabled iOS device is unlocked, someone will have access to autofill passwords. If they are able to access your accounts, they can do some damage. With the iPhone X, this is not the case. Since Face ID automatically scans your face every time there is a need for a password, it is more secure. In most situations, you are looking at the iPhone X when you browse to a site and it needs to fill in your password, so Face ID will automatically authenticate you and fill in the necessary information. However, if someone does manage to get your iPhone X, you can be assured that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to access your accounts without you; that is unless they know your passcode or passphrase. There is one other area that involves authentication has changed, that is with Apple Pay.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is one of the core pillars of Apple’s services strategy. Apple Pay may not have been the first mobile contactless payment method, but it has become one of the most popular. Apple Pay allows users to purchase items within apps, at retailers, or even on websites. The ability to use Apple Pay only enhances the interactions some users have with retailers.

Traditionally, with a Touch ID-enabled iPhone, you use the home button to authorize an Apple Pay payment. This changes with iPhone X. When you go to authorize an Apple Pay payment, you are still presented with the standard Apple Pay authorization screen that you are already used to. The iPhone X then requires that you double-click the side button to authorize a payment, similar to the way that one authorizes Apple Pay on an Apple Watch. When you authorize a payment, Face ID will verify that you are present and if there is a match, your payment will be authorized. If not, you can attempt a Face ID scan again. If this second attempt fails, you will be given the option of using your Apple ID’s password.

Possible Improvements

One area that developers do not need to get perfect, right off the bat anyway, is software. Unlike hardware, software can easily be updated and modified to function better. There are a couple of aspects to the iPhone X that could be modified to benefit a number of individuals, particularly surround the notch.

Once possible change that Apple could make would be to allow people the choice of which side is notifications and which side is control center. Depending on whether you use Notification Center more, or Control Center more. It would be nice, because if you use Control Center more, it can be difficult with the size of the iPhone X. An additional change that Apple could make would be to put Control Center in the app switcher, much like it is on the iPad. This would actually make it much easier for many users to be able to access Control Center.

Final Thoughts

With the iPhone X removing the home button, the interaction methods with different services has to change. The changes that have been implemented, using Face ID for authentication and double-clicking the side button to authorize the payment, are only slight variations to the old way of doing things. However, if you have an Apple Watch, the side button authorization is no different.

Face ID improves security for your passwords, as compared to older iPhones, due to Face ID needing to authenticate every password entry; whereas Touch ID-based iPhones automatically fill in your usernames and passwords all the time. Even though this sounds like it would be problematic, it really is not really a burden in practice. In all actuality, it is enhanced security.

The inclusion of Animoji will allow enhanced interactions between iMessage users as well as a means for demonstrating the capabilities of the iPhone X. The areas to the side of the notch are used to pull down notifications and control center, which for some users may be problematic and wish that they could reverse the two areas.. Next let us look at some considerations that developers need to make in order to support the iPhone X.

iPhone X Review: Camera

The third article for my iPhone X Review series will focus on a feature that is used by almost every iPhone user, the iPhone Camera.

One of the primary reason that users upgrade an iPhone is the capabilities of the camera. For many, including myself, their iPhone Camera is the primary camera they use. The iPhone camera has progressed substantially since the original iPhone in 2007.

iPhone Camera History

It has not always been the case that Apple has put an emphasis on the camera in the iPhone. While there has been a camera in the iPhone since the original iPhone, it has not always been of the highest quality. As an example, the original iPhone only had a 2 Megapixel camera, the same was the case for the iPhone 3G.

The iPhone 3GS improved the camera to a 3 Megapixel sensor with an Ζ’2.8 lens that allowed autofocus. The iPhone 3G also added a video camera. Granted, it was only a 480 pixels at 30 frames per second, but it was a video camera nonetheless, and in 2009 it was a nice feature to have in an iPhone. The iPhone 4 improved a bit more with a 5 megapixel camera and added a flash, which would help in those low light situations.

The iPhone 4s is the release when Apple really began taking the cameras on the iPhone as an important appeal factor and could be something to help bring users to the iPhone. the iPhone 4s included an 8MP back camera at an Ζ’2.4. This camera was capable of 1080p video recording. The back camera was upgraded, but the front facing camera remained relatively inept, in comparison to the back camera.

The iPhone 5 is when Apple began looking at the front-facing camera as just as important as the rear camera. As much as one might not like the term “selfie”, it has become part of the language and has also become the primary use of the front-facing camera. Applications like Instagram have really pushed people share photos of themselves, and the easiest means of doing so is by using the front-facing camera. The iPhone 5’s front camera had a 1.2 megapixelsensor with a resolution of 1280 by 960 pixels. The iPhone 5s added a new feature for the back camera, slow motion capture. This feature was limited to 720 pixels at 120 frames per second, but even at a lower resolution, it worked well and added some new capabilities that the iPhone did not have before.

The iPhone 6 was a game changer in terms of the iPhone in general, but in particular with the camera configuration. The iPhone 6 ushered in two different models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 saw a modest improvement to the camera with autofocus improvements.

The biggest change came with the iPhone 6 Plus and an all new dual camera system. This was a first for the iPhone. The iPhone 6 Plus had two lenses, one standard focal length and a “telephoto” lens. The telephoto lens would be capable of doing 2x optical zoom. Combining the 2x optical zoom with the 5x digital zoom meant that the iPhone could get up to 10x zoom. There was one last change with the iPhone 6 Plus was the optical image stabilization. Optical Image Stabilization provides the ability to stabilize the image and video that is being taken by an iPhone 6 Plus. This means that instead of getting a possibly grainy or shaky video, it can be stabilized so that it appears closer to being done on a tripod, or some other very stable object. This makes the quality of both images and video even better.

The iPhone 6s improved both the rear and front cameras. On the back, the camera were upgraded to 12 megapixels, up from 8 megapixels. This also allowed for the recording of 4K video on the rear camera. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also allowed you to take an 8 megapixel picture while you were recording video, which would be very hand should the need arise.

The front camera on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also saw a significant improvement. The front camera was upgraded to a 5 megapixel sensor that was capable of recording 720p HD video. There was a new feature with this, a flash. However, this was not a traditional flash. Instead, the “flash” used the screen to simulate a flash. This “Retina Flash” would be very useful in low light situations and could help you create a more constant illumination when you decided to take a selfie.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus changed the camera game a bit more. While there was still a 12 megapixel camera sensor, the quality had been significantly improved with an Ζ’1.8 lens. This is a super fast lens. The second lens on the iPhone 7 Plus included a 56mm Ζ’2.2 for the telephoto lens. Just as with the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus front camera was improved. This time it was upgraded to a 7 megapixel sensor for even clearer photos.

The iPhone 7 Plus also included a feature specific to that model, a new camera mode. This way of taking pictures called “Portrait” mode. Portrait mode provides a way for an iPhone user to add a blurred background while keeping the subject of the picture still within focus. This is often referred to a “bokeh” effect. This was an entirely new feature to he iPhone. Portrait mode used some machine learning to try and determine where the person, or primary subject, ended and the background began. It would then blur out the background. The iPhone 7 Plus did all of this on the fly and you could preview Portrait mode before taking the picture.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have the same cameras, for the most part, as the iPhone X. Let us dive into the iPhone X camera.

iPhone X Camera

The iPhone X takes what came before and gives it another huge upgrade. The iPhone X still sports a 12 megapixel camera sensor on the back. Alongside the 12 megapixel sensor there is still the Ζ’1.8 aperture. The telephoto lens is now an Ζ’2.4 aperture. This means that the telephoto lens should be faster in lower light situations, and should be able to take even better photos than before. The bigger improvement though is that the iPhone X has dual optical image stabilization. At first glance you may think that this is not a big deal, but in practice it is. Having the telephoto lens of the iPhone X also be optically stabilized will allow even better pictures, in all sorts of conditions. Besides better pictures, you will also get better video out of the iPhone X.

The front camera remains relatively unchanged, with the exception of a new feature, which is also present in the rear camera, Portrait lighting mode. Portrait lighting takes Portrait mode and allows you to add lighting effects to the picture you are taking. The best part is that you can add or change lighting effects after the fact and can even swap them around depending on what you find is the best filter for a particular photo.

When you use Portrait Lighting Mode, you can see a live preview of what the picture would look like when you use that particular filter. The actual filters that are available are:

  • Natural Light
  • Studio Light
  • Contour Light
  • Stage Light
  • Stage Light Mono

Each of these lighting options provides a slightly different look and feel to the portrait you are looking at. The last two, “Stage Light” and “Stage Light Mono” require you to place the face of the subject that you want to focus on within a circle. This circle is used to identify the subject. The lighting then takes this area and focuses the lighting effect on the subject.

As mentioned above, you can also take any High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) picture taken with iOS 11, or later, and apply that effect to that image. This can be done on an iOS device or on a Mac running macOS High Sierra.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus both have the 12 megapixel Ζ’/1.8 aperture wide-angle rear camera, but the iPhone 8 Plus has a 12 megapixel telephoto lens, but is at Ζ’/2.8 aperture. The iPhone 8 Plus also supports Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting. There is one last feature that is available on the cameras on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Here is an example of portrait mode and the same image with Stage Lighting applied.

Slow Sync

Slow Sync Flash will help make your photos even better than they were before. It does this by taking the True Tone flash and evens out all of the colors so that everything appears even better than before. This is accomplished by reducing the shutter speed to allow even more light and the iPhone’s signal processor will take the information it gathers and apply proper lighting to all aspects of the picture; this includes the items in the foreground as well as those in the background. This should work quite well in low light situations as well as with Portrait photos.

Some Examples from the iPhone X

Final Thoughts on iPhone X Camera

The iPhone X camera is a great update from the camera in the older iPhone models, and even over the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X has one benefit over the iPhone 8 Plus, the dual optical image stabilization with the telephoto lens. This stabilization works for both still images as well as video. The new Portrait Lighting effects will add a bit of depth to your If you are upgrading from an iPhone 6s, or earlier model, the iPhone X will be a significant and worthwhile upgrade.

The addition of Slow Sync Flash will allow better photos in even more lighting conditions. The inclusion of the new Portrait Lighting feature allows users to take Portrait photos and apply specific lighting effects. With Portrait mode and the new High Efficiency Image Format, users can even apply different formats after the fact, should they decide to give a different lighting effect a try later. If your iPhone is your primary camera, you cannot go wrong with the iPhone X in this respect.

There are some additional items related to the camera within the iPhone X. Those items are related to the new feature called Face ID, which will be the subject of the next part of the review.