The iPhone X is the first redesigned iPhone in three years, and Apple says it is the blueprint for “the future of the smartphone.” Many of the design details had leaked to the press before today’s unveiling — we’d heard that it would have a new display that stretched across much more of the phone’s front, and that it would do away with the trademark home button.
Much of that turned out to be true. The iPhone X is essentially the same size and overall shape as the iPhone 7, but because the screen occupies all of the front of the phone, it is far larger than that of older models. The screen uses a technology new for Apple (which many competitors already use), called OLED. It produces better image quality than Apple’s older LCD screens.
What we didn’t quite know was how Apple would integrate the new button-free design with the operating system — how would you navigate the phone without a physical button?
It’s quite simple: You swipe. To go home, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To see other apps, swipe up from the bottom and pause — now you see the multitasking pane. And to unlock your phone, you look at it. The iPhone X eliminates Apple’s Touch ID, and replaces it with a facial-recognition system that Apple calls Face ID.
Whether people will adjust to the button-free system remains to be seen. For better or worse, Apple has used essentially the same interface for the iPhone for the last decade. Swiping is easy, but it isn’t as easy as hitting a button, and it may throw some people off at first. The learning curve will be interesting to watch.
— Farhad Manjoo