Apple Unveils New iPhone Models

Photo Courtesy: Apple

Emily Rickel/Staff Reporter

After causing a stir with last year’s removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, Apple seems to have continued the trend of drastic design changes with the new iPhone X.

The iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) was unveiled alongside the iPhone 8 during the Apple Special Event on Sept. 12.

Compared to the iPhone 8, the iPhone X has an enhanced Super Retina HD display with OLED technology, as well as a TrueDepth front camera, dual optical image stabilization on the rear camera, and a portrait mode with complementary portrait lighting for both cameras.

One of the biggest and most obvious changes to the new model is a screen that stretches from edge to edge. This design creates an immersive experience between the device and its user while maximizing the space available for the display.

However, such a screen does not accommodate the home button that so many users have learned to rely on. To access the home screen, users will have to learn to swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Dr. Barbara Chaparro, Professor of Human Factors with expertise in Human-Computer Interaction, was asked about the removal of the home button from the iPhone X.

“It is possible that this may result in a more optimal user experience for those that master it, but it will take time to learn.” Dr. Chaparro also added that removing the home button’s visibility may cause issues with the device’s user experience. “Things that cannot be seen can easily be forgotten, and this can lead to frustration.”

Another new feature of the iPhone X is Face ID, an authentication system that replaces Touch ID. According to Apple, Face ID projects and analyzes over 30,000 infrared dots to map and recognize the user’s face. Once the user is authenticated, Face ID can be used to unlock the device, as well as to confirm proper transactions on Apple Pay.

Face ID has been engineered to recognize and adapt to changes in the user’s appearance. The presence of glasses, hats, and facial hair should not stump the process of facial authentication. Supposedly, Face ID cannot be tricked by a picture of the user and will not work if the user faces the device with their eyes closed.

In terms of efficiency, Apple’s claim that Face ID is more convenient than Touch ID is unclear. Dr. Chaparro makes the point that users unlock their phones multiple times a day in positions that may be more efficient with the home button’s Touch ID ability.

“Activating your phone while carrying it in your hand, pulling it out of your pocket or purse, or touching it while on a desk or table is easy to do with the home button.” But, the removal of the home button and Touch ID means users will have to position the phone in front of their face each time they want to unlock it. “This may not always be a natural action,” Dr. Chaparro added.

The TrueDepth camera that works with Face ID also functions with Animoji, a feature within Messages that mimics your facial expressions in various animal emojis. Apple released that the TrueDepth camera system analyzes more than 50 muscle movements that can be transferred to the expressions of 12 different Animoji. Animoji can also be recorded with your voice and sent to
others through Messages.

Compared to older models, the battery life of the iPhone X lasts longer. According to Apple, the updated power efficiency settings and the custom battery design means the battery should last up to two hours longer than the iPhone 7. To charge the battery, the device can be used with wireless charging stations and mats, such as Apple’s AirPower mat that will be available in 2018.

The price tag for the iPhone X starts at $999 and can be pre-ordered on Oct. 27. In regards to the iPhone X’s price, Dr. Chaparro stated that while the new and futuristic iPhone X has impressive features, it may not be attainable to the likely target audience.

Dr. Chaparro explained, “There are people that are willing to explore the new gesture interaction, face recognition, and augmented reality features.

Unfortunately, this tends to be younger adults who may not have the deep pockets to afford the starting $999 price.”