We’re nearing the release of the iPhone X. After going up for pre-order last week, Apple’s latest mobile device will start arriving on doorsteps this Friday. The iPhone X will be in the hands of millions worldwide by the weekend. Today, however, there’s one person who received the iPhone X early and is sharing the experience from a unique perspective.
You probably don’t remember Steve Levy by name, but he was actually one of the very first people to try the iPhone when it debuted in 2007. He was writing for Newsweek at the time and explained how this new product got him through a weekend of travel. The iPhone didn’t just make calls. He was able to check and send emails, interact with Google Maps on a large display, and watch videos on YouTube. Those things have, of course, become standard features on mobile devices.
Now the man behind one of the initial iPhone reviews a decade ago has the iPhone X. Through Wired, Levy is giving his take on the newest creation ten years later.
Let’s see what the iPhone X in Steve Levy’s eyes.
On the appearance of the iPhone X:
“There’s no getting around the fact that some of the sensors, camera lenses, microphones, and speakers need to be forward facing; Apple addresses that by lining them up on a blacked-out notch on the top of the screen-kind of the Area 51 of the new iPhone. It’s an aesthetic setback, but you get used to it, like watching a play when someone with big hair is off-center in the row ahead of you–a tiny distraction in your peripheral vision that you eventually get past.”
On the missing physical home button:
“There’s no longer room for the home button, an integral part of the iPhone interface since the start. Its sudden removal is one of those jarring deletions that Apple is famous for, and it requires some relearning.
In any case, Apple now requires us to swipe upwards to get to the home screen. That was easy enough. A little trickier is the swipe-and-stop required to get to the carousel of open apps; it took me awhile to get the hang of pressing down on one of the little cards representing an app in order to evoke a minus sign that allowed me to close it.”
On Face ID replacing Touch ID:
“Does it work? Pretty much. It seems reliable at fending off intruders. I have thrust my phone into several people’s faces–though considerably fewer than the million punims Apple says I’d have to try before a false positive–and it has not fallen for any of them. I even offered up my own head shot to the camera: no go. How it has dealt with my own real-life face is another matter. There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me.”
On the camera:
“I can report that the photos I did snap look super sharp, and when I took a series of shots looking out of the Backchannel office window at 1 World Trade Center, the telephoto lens captured clearer images than my previous phones.”
On battery life:
“I had no time to assess this scientifically, but can verify that my unit powered through the usual late-afternoon low-battery doldrums and still seemed to have some juice when it came time for nighttime charging.”
On the iPhone X being revolutionary or not:
“Though the next truly disruptive device will be something other than another slab of glass and silicon–AR glasses, anyone?–it’s possible that the iPhone X will be remembered as kicking off a new wave of apps that take us a step closer to making technology truly invisible. Built-in machine learning, facial recognition, and higher resolution cameras might unlock ideas for previously untenable applications.”
Levy finishes his first impressions piece with a reminder that the iPhone wasn’t viewed as a massive achievement in consumer technology until third-party developers got involved. That could be the case for the iPhone X, too. While flashy, the $999 product needs to be embraced outside of Apple to reach new levels of success.