It would be difficult to argue that the iPhone X is anything but Apple’s best iPhone ever. Unveiled on Tuesday during Apple’s huge press conference in Cupertino, the iPhone X sports a stunning new design that has Apple fans giddy with anticipation. The phone features a large 5.8-inch OLED display that takes up almost the entire front side of the handset, and a smooth glass back that enables wireless charging. Sandwiched between them is a beautiful stainless steel midframe that continues meets the slight curves at the edges of the glass to form continuous lines that look fantastic.
Of course, the iPhone X is as much about “go” as it is “show,” with a class-leading A11 chipset that blows away every Android phone on the planet. The iPhone X truly has no equal… and yet it’s far from perfect. We’ve already covered the best things about Apple’s new iPhone X, so in this post, we’ll cover the worst thing about Apple’s new flagship smartphone.
Yup, it’s the notch. That awful, awful notch that’s cut out of the top of the screen.
5 worst features of the iPhone X
1.Apple has a new True Depth camera system on the front of the iPhone X to enable Face ID and Animoji, and it takes up a lot of space at the top of the phone. Rather than include a full-width bezel at the top with enough space for it, Apple decided to continue the narrow bezel lines around the top corners of the phone, and then bite a big chunk out of the screen.
Now, there’s really nothing wrong with this physical design. In fact, it could have been fantastic if Apple implemented it. Instead, Apple chose the worst implementation imaginable. Literally, have no idea how it could have been made worse.
When you use a wallpaper or an app with a light background, a big piece of the graphics will be missing from the top of the screen. When you look at a photo on the iPhone X’s screen, a giant chunk will be missing from the top of the image in portrait mode, or the side of the photo in landscape.
But wait, it gets better. As per the demos, Apple showed on stage, when you watch a video on the iPhone X, it’ll be missing a big chunk from the side. No, I’m not joking. Instead of shifting the UI so that videos occupy only the portion of the display that isn’t interrupted by the True Depth camera system and ear speaker, Apple displays them full-screen so that they’re missing a big piece on one side.
This is beyond strange. Apple almost always shines when it comes to design, and the iPhone X overall is truly a sight to behold. But the way the UI is implemented is simply atrocious, and I can’t even begin to imagine why the company decided to build it this way.
2.THE IPHONE X IS EXPENSIVE… VERY EXPENSIVE
The only aspect of the iPhone X perhaps more noticeable than its display is its price tag. Apple has set the starting cost for its flagship product, for the very first time, in the north of $1,000, when you factor in taxes or the 256GB storage configuration. The device is even more expensive outside the US — customers in Italy, Russia, and Poland, for instance, will all have to pay around $1,600 for a 256GB version of the iPhone X.
There is no getting around this being an eye-popping price for a device most customers associate with a $600 to $800 range. We’ve also only just become accustomed to seeing the real cost of a smartphone, after cell carriers here in the US have all moved away from the two-year contract subsidy model that obscured a phone’s true price.
But the reality of the situation is that Apple’s business continues to depend primarily on iPhone sales, which peaked in unit volume back in 2015. The company knows that there’s a market out there for premium, high-end smartphones, and there’s surely going to be no shortage of Apple fans eager to buy the X when preorders go live later in October. However, on a deeper level, the shift upward in pricing, for both Apple and Samsung, represents a new era for the smartphone, when the predominant computing platform on the planet has a price tag to match its significance. It’s just going to hit our wallets now harder than ever before, and that’s a tough pill to swallow for most.
3.THE LOSS OF TOUCH ID
You can embrace the bold, 3D mapping future promised by Apple’s new Face ID while at the same time bemoaning the loss of Touch ID. While it may not work on the edge-to-edge OLED display of the iPhone X, at least not yet, Touch ID has grown over the years into one of the fastest, most secure biometric unlocking system of any modern smartphone, if not the best. Losing it will be an annoying compromise for many X buyers who must now contend with a new, unproven system. The verdict’s still out on whether Face ID will seamlessly work for users of all colors and ethnicities, a severe bias hurdle tech companies, which are primarily white and male, have fallen victim to in the past. (Apple says the tech will work in the dark and adapt to changes in your appearance, like the inclusion of hats and glasses, over time.)
There’s also a growing debate over what it means for law enforcement, who can easily point the device at you to unlock your iPhone, as opposed to compelling you to put your thumb on the device’s home button or copying it from a fingerprint record. (For reference, you do not have to give law enforcement your numeric passcode, as that’s protected by the Fifth Amendment as “testimonial” evidence). There is a way to instantly disable Face ID by pressing the side button on the iPhone X five times, but that seems like a messy workaround that could go wrong in stressful situations. So it’s safe to say that there is a real possibility Face ID is arriving too soon for society to have fully worked out its implications.
4.UI COMPLEXITY MAKES ONE-HAND USE DIFFICULT
Because the iPhone X does not contain a home button or even a software version of one, the entire user interface of iOS 11 on the device has been altered. There’s a whole new system of gestures and swipes to learn and master, and many of them will be annoying to remember and difficult to perform with just one hand. Closing apps now require you swipe up from the bottom while swiping up and then holding opens the multitasking app switcher. Control Center is now surfaced by swiping down from the right corner, while a swipe down from the left gets you to the notification list.
There are a bunch of other weird quirks involved, like accessing Siri by holding down one of the side buttons, which raises the question of how you turn the phone off now. There’s also the matter of capturing a mobile screenshot, which used to involve holding down the home button and power button. But perhaps the most perplexing change here is how difficult it will be to use the iPhone X with one hand, now that very useful sections of iOS 11 are buried behind high-cornered downward swipes. If you don’t have exceptionally large hands, it seems as if the iPhone X will be a strictly two-handed device.
5.APPLECARE+ COSTS $199, UP FROM $129
Apple has set the price for its AppleCare+ insurance plan for the iPhone X at $199, a big jump from the current $129 for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. While it may be related to the more expensive screen — Apple is still charging only $29 for a broken screen repair through AppleCare — a $199 charge on top of a $999 or $1,149 device makes the purchase that much more unattractive.
AppleCare+ is in fact bundled with Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, so you get that added benefit if you lease the phone from the company itself. However, it’s likely a lot of buyers won’t be using Apple’s program, choosing instead to buy the device outright or going through a cell carrier instead. And with a display this large, despite Apple’s claims of using “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone,” you’re probably going to want insurance (or a big case) for that seemingly inevitable sidewalk pavement drop.
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