Every year Apple brings out a new model of iPhone, only this year they brought out two!   The iPhone 8 has the familiar, successful look of iPhones from previous years.   This year though is the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone being released, so in celebration, Apple have released a completely new design in tandem with the iPhone 8, called the iPhone X (pronounced 10).

I’ve been lucky enough to have one of these since they launched last month and have to admit that I love it!  Here’s why…

Ever since the first iPhone, there has always been a home button on the front that you can use to wake the device, show the apps or activate functions such as Siri.   The iPhone X does away with this button, which means that the screen size can be larger without having to make the phone itself any bigger.   The size of the screen is pretty much the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus, but the device is only the size of the iPhone 8.   I’ve never been a fan of the Plus models as I find them too large to hold and use, however I’ve been envious of the larger screen.   The X is the perfect fit – large screen and small (ish) size.   And it’s not just the size, this is the first iPhone to use an OLED display.   OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode if you’re interested) uses less power (so your battery lasts longer) and has darker black and brighter colours.   The screen is pretty amazing and really shows off photos at their best.

Speaking of photos, the camera (or cameras) on the X is amazing.   On the back of the device are two lenses, a wide angle and a telephoto.   Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be an camera expert to use them as the phone makes it very easy to use.   Apple uses the two lenses together and then processes the image on the fly to create some stunning effects.     When you take a photo you can choose “portrait” mode which uses both lenses to give a blurred background to photos.   What is a tricky effect to get with a normal camera is made simple on the phone.   And the general quality of the cameras are amazing, given the size.   Whether you’re taking night shots, action shots or portrait you get a great photo almost every time.   And it’s not just photos – videos are great too.   I had a recent video shoot of a hockey match and used the phone throughout the whole event!   I had some funny looks from people expecting a big video camera, but the result was great!

Another break from previous phones is the lack of Touch ID.   Touch ID uses your fingerprint to authenticate you instead of a password.   However, Touch ID was built in to the home button so had to go!   Its replacement is called FaceID and was the most complex feature Apple had to design for the new phone.    It works by emitting a unique pattern of 35,000 infrared dots across the surface of your face.   The camera then analyses this pattern to detect the contour and features of your face.   You simply have to look at the phone to unlock it!   And you actually have to “look” at it – if you look away it won’t work (though you can switch this off if you want).   In fact it works so well, it really throws you when it can’t see you and asks for a pass code instead.   Because it’s infrared, it even works in pitch black!   It’s not just for unlocking the phone either.   When you visit a website that needs a password – if the password has been saved, it’ll scan your face and put the password in for you.    Want to buy an app – it’ll scan your face to approve the transaction.   It really is “magical” to use!

As with the iPhone 8, the X now supports wireless charging.   This means you can place the phone on a compatible charging mat and it’ll charge the battery without having to plug anything in.   For this to work, Apple have had to use a glass back for the phone.   While it looks great, this does mean that it’s prone to shattering if you drop it.   And you really don’t want to do that as to repair it would cost $709!   And this brings us to the one drawback with the X – the cost.   To buy the phone outright from Apple without a carrier contract is “from” $1319.   Most people will get the phone on contract with the phone costing around $600 although this will probably start dropping after Christmas.  With glass on the front and glass on the back, you probably want to get a case!   It’s a shame as the phone itself looks pretty stunning!

So the iPhone X shows the direction Apple are taking with their devices.   The iPad is probably going to take the same route in time – losing the home button, but gaining the bigger screen.   I’m looking forward to seeing how the phone (and iPad) evolve to make use of these new features and styling.   Exciting times!