Is This iPhone Madness?
Apple launched the iPhone 8 on September 12, 2017. Simultaneously, the company announced that the iPhone X will be available for pre-orders on October 27. Nobody knows what happened to the iPhone 9 (or iX, if you prefer). Read on to see how the iPhone 8 and X compare, and why Apple is following this unorthodox model release schedule…
What's New in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X?
The first big difference between the phones is in their prices. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, while the X starts at $999. That $300 gap is itself the price of a mid-range Android phone such as the Sony XPERIA XA1. What does the iPhone X have that the 8 lacks?
The displays of the two phones seem to be the most important difference to Apple pundits. The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch True Tone LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi), 65.6% screen-to-body ratio. (Of course, there's an iPhone 8 Plus variant, with a 5.5-inch screen. Shhh.)
The iPhone X has a 5.8-inch True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 82.9% screen-to-body ratio. The big difference is the display technology; OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) works without a backlight, enabling deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios than any LCD, while reducing battery drain. The more than 1-inch difference in display size (from the iPhone 8 base model) is also significant.
The iPhone X is being touted as "bezel-less," meaning the entire front face is all screen. A bezel is a metal ring or frame around the edge of a computer screen, watch, or smartphone. The iPhone X has no bezel, and a glass back that permits wireless charging.
I’m not too impressed by the other display specs of the iPhone X. There are numerous “nearly bezel-free” phones on the market already. Higher resolution is available in the Samsung Galaxy S8 (2960 x 1440) and the LG G6. You might need such high resolution for virtual reality applications, but for watching Netflix or texting, it seems like gross overkill.
It's Pronounced "iPhone Ten"
The iPhone X has a large notch in the top edge of its display, which makes viewing full-screen images or videos rather odd. That notch accommodates two cameras and several sensors that are used for Face ID, Apple’s face-recognition security feature. Also, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is gone from the screen’s bottom edge, which is going to frustrate many users.
The Face ID feature adds a lot of complexity to the iPhone X. Two user-facing cameras are needed to create a stereoscopic image of the user’s face, in order to thwart thieves who might otherwise use a photo of the user to unlock the phone. The software even requires the user to “actively” look directly at the phone, so it won’t unlock with every fleeting glimpse of the user’s face. The infrared sensors that enforce this rule add more complexity. Complexity means, “more things that can go wrong.”
Under the hood, the iPhone 8 and X are virtually identical in processing power, with the exception of an extra gigabyte of RAM in the iPhone X. But the iPhone X has more hardware and software to drive, so real-world performance of the two phones should be roughly equal. That performance will remain industry-leading. Apple claims their A11 chipsets deliver 25% faster CPU and 30% faster GPU (graphics) performance than the A10 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The A11 is also 70% faster when multitasking.
Apple phones’ battery life has not improved much since the iPhone 6. The iPhone X claims significant improvements in talk time (21 hours v. 14 in the iPhone 8) and audio playback (60 hours v. 40 hours). But there’s no difference between the phones when it comes to Internet use, video playback, or fast-charging time.
Apple has finally added wireless charging to its iPhones, which are now compatible with Qi wireless chargers. Wired fast-charging takes the new iPhones from zero to 50% of battery capacity in 30 minutes. However, fast-chargers cost extra ($49 to $79) and don’t even come with the required cable ($25 to $35)!
Whole Lotta Swipin' Going On...
Another big change coming with the iPhone X is the user interface. Apple is eliminating the Home button, and new swiping gestures will have to be learned. Instead of pressing the Home button to switch apps, you'll have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To access the Control Center, you'll need to swipe down from top right corner of the screen. To access your notifications, swipe down from the top left.
The lack of a Home button and all that swiping may become second-nature after a while, but it's sure to confuse people switching from Android, and older users who often gravitate to Apple products for their ease of use. The number one complaint I hear from people about computers and smartphones is "Why do they have to keep changing how it works? I finally learned how to use the darn thing!"
As for the the iPhone 8, it seems only marginally better than the iPhone 7. They look almost the same, except for the glass back on the iPhone 8, which enables wireless charging. The camera on the iPhone 8 "reproduces colors better" but resolution is still 12 megapixels.
And what of the missing iPhone 9? Apple says it was skipped to honor the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. Some cynics suggest that the skipped generation is intended to make iPhone 6 and 7 diehards feel even more behind the technology curve. Others (like me) thought, "Hmmm, didn't Microsoft skip Windows 9?"
Apple says the iPhone 8 will be available starting September 22. The iPhone X will debut on November 3. It's no skin off my nose, but I wonder if the iPhone 8 will be a marketplace failure. I say that for two reasons. First, it's a ho-hum upgrade from the iPhone 7, as I explained above. Second, it will be eclipsed by the release of the iPhone X only 6 weeks later. If you want the latest and greatest, who is going to buy the 8, when the X is the newest, coolest iPhone? Maybe the answer lies in the price tag, but I predict a strong market for used iPhone 7s.
Will you be purchasing one of the new iPhone models? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Sep 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is This iPhone Madness? (Posted: 18 Sep 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved