I can’t believe it has been 10 years since the original iPhone in 2007. Looking back its amazing how earth shattering the event truly was, it reshaped the entire smartphone industry.
Gone is Microsoft from the mobile sphere, both with Windows Mobile and the unfortunately poorly executed response of Windows Phone. Gone is Nokia and the once dominant Symbian. Gone is Palm. Instead we still have the iPhone’s iOS and Android, which was quickly reengineered and released after the original iPhone in response but still lacks the attention to the overall customer experience.
The question is could anyone top the original revolution that was the iPhone especially as the new versions had been accused of being too iterative.
Rumours started piling that Apple wanted to do something special for the 10th anniversary. At the yearly iPhone reveal, Apple did announce the iterative iPhone 8 but it also revealed something special, the iPhone X. The iPhone 10 as its pronounced is the 10th anniversary model, but does it live up to the hype?
Sure a lot of it does seam very iterative like finally using OLED or becoming ‘bezel less’ or grabbing wireless charging which was innovated by Palm. Even iOS is hardly any different than variants founds on last year’s iPhone 7 or this year’s iPhone 8.
It is that special Apple magic that works. It is their ability to make hardware and software morph together and the iPhone X does it so effortlessly that is that next step forward. Take the controversial notch for the front facing camera and FaceID. It is form and function meeting together like only Apple could do. I don’t want a chin so that you don’t get offended. I want a truly edge to edge display and if hardware requires that compromise, it is a beautiful thing. There is symmetry. The competitors claim they are ‘bezel less’ but they still have chins and no symmetry.
I had big reservations about TouchID going away. Apple amazed me with FaceID. It is effortless. Apps just login. I don’t have to raise a finger or position it correctly. I just look at my phone. Even in situations where you would think TouchID would be better, say when your phone is on your desk, FaceID still works.
Then there is the amazing camera. It takes better pictures in some instances that my Micro Four Thirds camera. Sure I’ve got a ton of lenses and can do some amazing things with my Lumix but the iPhone excels at the default point and shoot. The iPhone even has the ability to zoom and sense depth now that it has two rear facing cameras, a wide lens and telephoto lens. Take a look at these sample shots of NYC, one using the wide lens and the other an optical zoom using the telephoto lens:
So is there anything I don’t like about the iPhone X? It is very beautiful device, almost entirely made out of glass. It is slippery, you almost feel like you have to have a case. So far I’m risking it, I do have AppleCare which affords me a way to repair the device at a reasonable cost should it shatter.
Overall I would say it sounds like an Apple cliche, but it just works. The iPhone X shows why Apple succeeded at the original iPhone and why it was such a revolution. It isn’t about a spec war or who got their first. It is about execution and attention to detail and making sure the experience is consumer centric.