Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone has arrived and it’s called the iPhone X. The phone’s bezels have basically been eliminated, and its screen is bigger. And returning to a design element from years past, the new phone has a glass back.
No product has captured the heart of an industrial designer quite like the iPhone. Arguably one of the most talked about products of our lifetimes, the phone completed 10 years today and the anniversary edition (named the iPhone X) may not just set a standard for the future of technology, but pretty much determines the future of industrial design too. The iPhone X’s physical design is more and more adopting Dieter Rams’ good design principle of Less is More, giving larger emphasis to virtual than physical.
The 10th anniversary phone boasts an all-glass design, paired with a stainless steel band. A 5.8-inch Super Retina display then accounts for the most aesthetically pleasing iPhone to date. Bezel-free and extending virtually from edge to edge, the screen even curves at the borders to remain contiguous with the rounded corners of the device, and its glass tapers seamlessly into the stainless-steel band encircling the perimeter of the phone.
As expected, there’s no home button; Touch ID has been ditched in favor of facial recognition. Face ID will replace Touch ID, the home button sensor that’s enabled fingerprint logins since 2013’s iPhone 5S. The new capabilities are enabled by new camera and processor systems. Apple calls the new camera TrueDepth, which both a conventional camera, an infrared camera, a depth sensor, and dot projector, which projects 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face. The more complex depth information also makes the system harder to spoof, since flat images won’t appear the same as a three-dimensional face.
Apple also designed a new version of its A11 processor to handle the unique demands of real-time facial recognition. Schiller referred to the chip as a “bionic engine,” using neural net technology to compare each face login against a previously enrolled face. As in Touch ID, the processing is done entirely on the device, rather than on remote servers, in an effort to protect user privacy.
The iPhone X will also sport 12-megapixel dual rear cameras that both come with optical image stabilization. This will allow for a true 2x optical zoom along with Apple’s new beta Portrait Lighting photo mode, which creates a depth map to separate the subject from the background and then adjusts the lighting between foreground and midground to get the best results, all in real time. The cameras on iPhone X are also custom tuned for the ultimate AR experience, with each being individually calibrated with new gyroscopes and accelerometers for accurate motion tracking. In addition, you can record 4K video up to 60fps and 1080p slo-mo up to 240fps.
The addition of wireless charging is a big deal. Not only is it the first time Apple has included it on an iPhone, it’s a nod to the future and a boon to everyday usability. And with the success of Apple’s AirPods, it’s not inconceivable that an iPhone X could now go its entire lifetime without ever being plugged into to anything or having anything plugged into it.
The iPhone X will start at $999 and will be available in 64GB or 256GB capacities. Pre-orders start October 27th, with shipments going out on November 3rd.