iPhone X: home button dumped, all-screen design introduced

Apple’s latest model promises better cameras, the novel ability to unlock the phone with facial recognition, longer battery life, wireless charging and… animated emojis

Apple's new iPhone X: revealed
Apple's new iPhone X: revealed

The long-awaited release of Apple’s new iPhones are here – with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X models being unveiled.

The iPhone X, possibly Apple’s most revolutionary is radically designed, having dropped the traditional home button and replacing it with an all-screen design.

Senior vice president of Apple’s worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, took to the stage of the company’s new Steve Jobs theatre in the Apple Park “spaceship” headquarters to unveil the new models.

The $999 new iPhone X will come with the company’s new iOS 11 software, featuring brand new on-screen gestures and buttons, which effectively replace the standard home button, which has been a staple of iPhones since the launch in 2007.

iPhone X, pronounced 10, will be available in two colours – space grey and silver - and has a 256GB storage option available.

Tim Cook, Apple chief executive said: “this is the iPhone X. It’s the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone”.

Instead of pressing a button, the user swipes up from the bottom to access the home screen and swipe and hold to access multi-tasking. To wake the device, users tap the screen or lift the iPhone.

The device front features a cut out at the top of the OLED Super Retina display, housing a new True Depth camera system for the Face ID facial recognition system and for taking selfies with Apple’s Portrait Mode.

According to Apple, the Face ID is capable of identifying the owner from a 3D scan of the face and unlocking the phone. Authenticate payments and input saved passwords into log-in screens as well as integrate into third-party apps are also used to unlock the device.

Similar systems have been used by Microsoft for its Windows Hello-capable Surface computer line, but the technology has yet to be used on a smartphone. Apple said the system was capable of operating even when the user was wearing glasses, and only unlocks the phone when the user is actively looking at it.

The iPhone X does not include Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which was introduced in 2013 under the home button with the iPhone 5S.

Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which was introduced in 2013 under the home button, is not included in the iPhone X. However, Apple claims that its Face ID is more secure than Touch ID by a factor of 20, capable of discerning between the user’s real face and photographs and even Hollywood-level replica masks using the True Depth camera system, which projects an IR dot map on the face and works in the dark.

The device is made from glass and stainless steel, reminding the public of the iPhone 4 design and mirroring that of rival Samsung’s Galaxy S8, but without the curved screen. This model contrasts to recent all-metal iPhone models, and remains to be seen whether it suffers from a similar level of fragility as rival glass-and-metal sandwich smartphones.

Apple said the glass was the most durable ever fitted to a smartphone with metal reinforcement. The headphone jack was also removed.

The rest of the device is made from stainless steel and glass, harking back to designs of the iPhone 4, and mirroring that of rival Samsung's Galaxy S8 but without a curved screen. It marks a striking contrast to recent all-metal iPhone models, and remains to be seen whether it suffers from a similar level of fragility as rival glass-and-metal sandwich smartphones. Apple said the glass was the most durable ever fitted to a smartphone with metal reinforcement. The headphone jack is still gone too.

Apple also unveiled another two smartphones, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are updated versions of 2016’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

The models have glass on the front and back, with a colour-matched aluminium band around the outside. Apple said that the glass on the back was the “most durable glass on any smartphone” attempting to assuage fears that the new iPhone would be less durable than the iPhone 7.

Comparison of Apple iPhone models, including new releases iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, at Apple event yesterday. Photo: International Business Times
Comparison of Apple iPhone models, including new releases iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, at Apple event yesterday. Photo: International Business Times

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus both have Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip, but without the Neural Engine of that fitted to the iPhone X, have improved screens with the company’s True Tone feature, improved speakers and keep its current form with a home button with Touch ID 2 fingerprint scanner, but lack facial recognition and an all-screen design.

Schiller said: “This is the first iPhone created for AR. The cameras are individually calibrated in the factory which makes a huge difference for AR plus AR benefits from the new A11 Bionic chip.”

Apple also added wireless Qi charging like the iPhone X and the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard, which is expected to become widely used in the next year for headphones and other peripherals.

The models will come in three colours.

Wood said: “The iPhone X and iPhone 8 models are very strong additions to Apple’s portfolio that address increasing competition from Samsung and others. Rivals will be watching how quickly Apple can meet demand for the iPhone X and begin to build margins on a new design with new components.”

More in Technology

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe