Apple: Is the iPhone X a game changer?
“The thing that a lot of people want to talk about with the iPhone X is its $999 starting price,” said Nilay Patel in TheVerge.com. “But when you have the phone in your hand, it feels...worth it.” Apple’s new premium smartphone (the X is pronounced “ten”) will start shipping in November, and based on what we’ve seen so far, “it’s going to be quite popular when it does.” The home button is gone, making room for a beautiful organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen “that stretches all the way across the front of the phone.” There’s also impressive new technology, such as Face ID, which invisibly projects 30,000 infrared dots on a user’s face to unlock the phone, as well as wireless charging, which should make tangled charging cables a thing of the past. Apple says its new device is “the future of the smartphone.” Who are we to disagree?
If all those fancy features sound familiar, it’s because they “are already available in Samsung’s Galaxy S8,” said Don Reisinger in Fortune.com. But when Apple lags behind its rivals in originality, it usually makes up for it in technical excellence. Face scanning and wireless charging are cases in point; they aren’t new, but the iPhone X performs both “remarkably well.” Apple “watched what its competitors have done and found a way to deliver something better.” Sure, the iPhone X is beautiful and advanced, but it’s not the future, said Steven Levy in Wired.com. There is simply “no way we will be carrying around slabs of silicon and glass” in our pockets in a few decades’ time. The major technology companies are all feverishly working on the “successor to the smartphone,” such as an unobtrusive augmented-reality headset. But in the meantime, “who can blame Apple for harvesting profits while we wait for the next big thing?”
For all the buzz, the iPhone X doesn’t move the ball much—it is “simply a better version of an already very nice thing,” said Mat Honan in BuzzFeed.com. Apple’s genius lies in making you want one anyway. It’s more apparent than ever that the company “isn’t in the phone business or the computer business. It is in the business of selling you the person you want to be.” When Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO who now heads up Apple’s retail efforts, took the stage at last week’s launch, she told the audience that the company doesn’t think of its Apple Stores as stores anymore. “We call them town squares,” Ahrendts said. “Because they’re gathering places.” Who wants to do something as gauche as shop, when you can gather in a town square? Apple may never repeat the success of its original iPhone, which was genuinely revolutionary. “But what is repeatable, even bankable, is Apple’s corporate mythmaking.” ■