Before I go into why I’m buying an iPhone X and why I think you may want to wait, it should be noted that this is entirely an editorial and my own personal thoughts. You’re free to make whatever choices you’d like with your purchasing power. I’m merely offering up a few points that may or may not be useful to those choices. With that being said, here are my thoughts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the iPhone X and, given that pre-orders aren’t until late October, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Apple generally starts pre-orders for its new devices soon after the Keynote. This doesn’t give a person a whole lot of time to really mull that purchase over, it’s nearly an impulse buy. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were both available for pre-order soon after the Keynote and many who just couldn’t wait for a new iPhone ordered those instead. The later pre-order date for the iPhone X may actually be a negative for Apple in this case as it has given users more time to really think about that purchase.
Why I’m buying the iPhone X
First, here’s the main reason why I’m buying the newest iPhone. I feel I need to get a review out for our readers and I’m a sucker for new gadgets. I know, these aren’t really great reasons to throw $1149USD at a device, and it’s a borderline disease. Unfortunately, we’re not on Apple’s nice list so we’re not able to get the new iPhones in for review like other websites. We have to wait to order them just like the rest of the world.
Here’s some background on me, if you haven’t followed me for very long. I happen to use both iPhones and Android phones and enjoy both ecosystems for what they offer. Currently, I use an iPhone 7 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy S8+. I’ve always been one to support the idea that you should just use what you love and don’t apologize for it. I still support that idea, but I have some reservations about this new iPhone and here’s why I think you should wait to buy.
This is probably the second most controversial thing about the new iPhone X. The notch at the top of the screen where Apple is housing all of its fancy sensor arrays for their new Face ID. When I first saw the notch it didn’t bother me so much, I even thought to myself “oh, I could probably get used to that, no big deal.” But as time wears on and I face photos and videos of that notch, it just seems like Apple didn’t try very hard.
The company has always prided itself on forward-thinking design, and the notch is not that. Not only does it break up the symmetry of the front of the phone, it robs the users of the all-screen experience. Joshua Topolsky penned an article yesterday that expressed my thoughts well:
It is, put plainly, a visually disgusting element. One which undermines the core premise of the iPhone X’s design (“all screen”), and offers a feature as an excuse which is really an answer in search of a question.
Which brings us to the second reservation I have about the iPhone X, Face ID.
Listen, I’m all for new forms of biometric authentication. I actually would really love Face ID, if Touch ID was still an option. But Apple isn’t known for caring what its users really want, they simply tell them what they need. I personally think losing Touch ID is a big mistake. There are several ways that Apple could have implemented it. Put it on the back like the Google Pixel or on the side power button like the Sony Xperia phones. But then that would make Apple just like the rest, wouldn’t it?
There are a lot of questions surrounding Face ID and just how well it will perform. I personally don’t find it as intuitive as Touch ID. Having to look at your phone to unlock and then swiping up to get to the homescreen just adds an extra step. With Touch ID you’re on the homescreen even before the phone comes out of your pocket.
Apple didn’t do itself any favors by botching the Keynote demo of Face ID and then trying to explain the embarrassment away by blaming stage staff. There’s still plenty in the tech press as well as regular users who have big doubts about Face ID.
First Generation Hardware
The iPhone X is basically first generation hardware for Apple. This is the first iPhone with an OLED display and the back panel is made from some secret glass (which is supposed to be the most durable out there) and the edges are made from stainless steel. First generation hardware is always a gamble. Even seasoned hardware like the iPhone 8 still has its issues. Throwing down $999USD or $1149USD on a phone is risky business. It’s made even riskier when the components have not been tested in the real world.
Don’t get me wrong, the hardware Apple has made here looks really nice to the eye (except that camera hump and notch). It’s just not been proven, so you’ll need to be prepared to deal with issues that may arise with first-generation hardware.
Why you may want to wait to buy an iPhone X
I know it’s exciting to buy a new gadget — it’s why I am throwing my $1149USD at Apple — but you need to be ready for what you’re getting into. It’s telling when those on the tech scene are questioning Apple’s choices. Read Joshua Topolsky’s piece about how Apple is really bad at design. Go have a skim through John Gruber’s piece where he says he’s offended by the iPhone’s notch.
Yes, these are just opinions much as this whole article is, but they are informed opinions from those of us who have a bead on the industry. We can’t say for certain how the iPhone X will fare when we finally have it in hand for official reviews but I can say, you may want to wait to pick one up and see what reviewers and early adopters are saying about it. This is the world’s first $1000+ USD phone. I can’t tell you not to spend your money, but I do think you might benefit from waiting this time around.