iPhone X Event: First Impressions

12 September 2017
12 Sep 2017
5 min read

Having survived the no tech news Summer doldrums, the fall news cycle began with the iPhone event held today. This event was particularly meaningful to Apple, as it was the first event to be held in the new Steve Jobs Theater. The news was expected; several leaks before the event made sure there would be no surprises. However, I watched the whole thing and came away with a positive impression.

The presentation started off with the very touching tribute to Steve Jobs. Tim Cook brought up a sound clip of Steve Jobs discussing how making great products is a way to give back to the world. I thought it was very tastefully done; as a fan of Steve Jobs, I knew that while not perfect, he advanced computing while keeping it humane and understandable for everyone to understand.

Retail

Next on the list was retail. Retail as long been a strength of Apple, and transforming stores to be more of a meeting and hang out space is the next step in luxury retail. Technology has a fundamental communication problem; there’s often no instruction manual for the products you are given. These stores give Apple a way to teach the less technology savvy how to best use their products. I believe that doubling down on this is a strong move, and bodes well for retaining the less technology savvy members of the population.

Apple Watch and Apple TV

To me the Apple Watch Series 3 and new Apple TV are incremental improvements. I do not own an Apple watch and this was not due to a lack of cellular in the previous versions. For those that often run or use it to exercise, cellular is a compelling feature. For the rest of us, it is a nice to have. Something to watch here is the battery life; active use of the watch may hit the battery life harder than before due to this cellular radio.

Similarly, 4k and HDR in the new Apple TV are nice features, but not a new compelling reason to buy. A problem for Apple here is that all other players are under $100. Trying to convince a buyer to switch from an Amazon Fire Stick to an Apple TV with a 70 dollar increase in price is a tough sell. Other than that, Apple automatically upgrading all HD movies to HDR is a nice touch, along with Prime Video support, in addition to the live sports feature that was demoed. As a millennial cord-cutter, I would love to see Apple advance the TV space. The disparate apps for different content is painful, and I am hoping to be able to get all the content I want by the time I can fit a TV in my apartment.1

iPhone

Last but not least are the iPhones that were announced. The announcements were in line with the leaks, meaning that along with the next revision of the iPhone, called iPhone 8 instead of iPhone 7s, we have a high end iPhone called the iPhone X.2 The iPhone 8 seems like a typical advancement of the iPhone line; the camera gets slightly better, the token new feature is announced 3 and the chips in the phone get a new advancement.

Wireless charging does seem interesting; I am glad to see Apple supporting open standards. On one hand, having these charging pads built into tables is a terrific use case. It seems less appealing when I have to set a phone specifically on a wireless charging pad. The Apple branded wireless charging released next year looks like a great way to be able to charge all Apple products at once.

Similarly, the AR and machine learning advancements clearly show where Apple believes the future is headed. Being able to build their own silicon puts Apple heads and shoulders above any other company. I think that AR is going to be the next stepping stone for Apple and it’s App developers and look forward to seeing where the space goes from here.

iPhone X

The long rumored iPhone X also was released today and looks incredible. The bezels are removed, meaning that the screen fills edge to edge with the exception of a notch in the top. From an industrial design perspective, this phone will set the trend for the next 10 years of the iPhone. However, the increased size of the screen means that the famous home button and Touch ID are disappearing. To combat this, Apple is introducing Face ID, the ability to unlock your phone with your face. This feature will make or break the iPhone X; I will be interested to see what the reviews of the feature are.

Concluding Remarks.

Overall, I have a positive impression about Apple’s Keynote. By introducing a halo product 4 for the iPhone, ASP should increase across the iPhone line. By removing the Touch ID from the iPhone X, Apple also inadvertently gave users a reason to pick the old model; there will be no “why am I buying an old iPhone” trepidation, as opposed to when the 5c came out.

In addition, solid improvements to the Apple TV and Apple Watch will be welcomed by users of their products. For myself, I do not feel the desire to upgrade from my iPhone 7. While the iPhone X is definitely the new hotness, I have found that the best thing to do is to give Apple time to improve a new design. I will be interested to see what features catch on and which do not.


  1. As jokingly pointed out, something like this would look a lot like cable! [return]
  2. Having read John Gruber’s piece about the name of this iPhone, I thought it would be called the iPhone X instead of the iPhone 10. However, Apple threw a wrench in their plans and stuck with calling it the iPhone 10. What happens in 2 years? I guess that is a problem for future Apple to solve. [return]
  3. In this case, wireless charging. [return]
  4. Meaning something for all iPhones to aspire to. An example is often a supercar made by a car company. Sales are not high, but it shows where the industry is headed. [return]

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