The iPhone 8 (and iPhone 8 Plus) has officially been released—but does anyone even care? With the iPhone X’s launch looming, reports suggest diehard fans are holding out for the upcoming device instead of flocking to purchase the follow-up to last year’s iPhone 7.
Which I totally get—there’s an argument to be made for purchasing the iPhone X. But don’t be bamboozled by the device’s bezel-less display and face scanning feature. There’s a lot to like about the iPhone 8, as we already detailed, and one feature in particular that gives the iPhone 8 a huge advantage over the iPhone X.
Since 2007, the iPhone has undergone several design changes, from a rounded, plastic chassis to the iPhone 5’s combination of aluminum and glass (Apple’s best design in my opinion). But one thing that’s remained constant is the home button. No matter how big or small the iPhone got, or how drastically iOS changed, the home button has always remained the same—at least in regards to functionality.
Things like Touch ID have been added, while the home button in the iPhone 7 isn’t actually a button at all. But it has always been there, a familiar and reliable way to navigate and secure the device. It’s as iconic to the iPhone as the Apple logo on the back.
The home button is a major part of the iPhone 8’s identity, and something that’s being grossly overlooked in the debate of iPhone 8 versus iPhone X. The iPhone X doesn’t have a home button or Touch ID at all, which means consumers will need to completely relearn how to use the device. The average user is better off getting the iPhone 8 because it’s essentially the iPhone X without the fancy design, with powerful guts, wireless charging, and an enhanced camera.
If you’re deciding which device to get this holiday season, never mind that the iPhone 8 is more affordable and easier to find. The big advantage is the home button, which is as familiar to iPhone users as iOS. It’s a physical representation of comfort and usability, a part of the iPhone’s DNA. The alternative offered by the iPhone X is Face ID.
I haven’t had the opportunity to use Face ID, so I don’t know how well it actually works. All I can do is watch the demonstration Apple performed onstage and read the literature on the company’s website. Truth be told, the facial recognition technology sounds pretty phenomenal; it’s allegedly more secure than a fingerprint and supposed to be very fast.
But there are valid usability concerns about the technology—Apple already said some sunglasses won’t be compatible—and new features like these tend to be finicky the first year they’re introduced. Even Touch ID experienced its share of issues when the feature first hit. Still, a home button and fingerprint sensor combo is ultimately a more versatile solution.
I absolutely understand why people are drawn to the iPhone X; I’m among that crowd. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the iPhone 8 just because it doesn’t have an edge-to-edge display.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now available worldwide.