Thoughts on Apple's iPhone X Event

via Mashable

via Mashable

– 8 minutes –

The Steve Jobs Theater

Heck of a building. I’ve always been a fan of the aesthetic Apple’s created with Foster + Partners in retail over the years, and it’s great to see it tastefully and consistently applied here.

This Mashable article does a good job at unraveling the details of the space. The elevator is particularly impressive – the fact that it corkscrews is one thing, but it also does a good job obscuring anything unsightly, keeping in line with the theater’s minimal aesthetic, which I’d imagine was a challenge.

The building is as good an example as any of Apple’s attention to detail. If for some reason you still don’t understand why I’m obsessed with this company, take a look at that article.

 

The Steve Jobs tribute

Speaking of tasteful, I don’t know anyone who could’ve asked for a better opening tribute. (Well… maybe one.) The quote from the tribute was nothing I’ve ever heard before, which was a nice surprise. It was also a good way for the company to reaffirm to everyone that they have no intention of changing who they are at their core. (Pun intended.)

 

via Apple

via Apple

The industrial design of the new iPhones

There’s no question in my mind that these are the best iPhone designs to date.

Glass backs have made their triumphant return. Function-wise, I’d imagine the better grip is welcome. But it’s also just extremely visually appealing.

I remember being more bullish on the round-edge form factor than most when they made their debut with the 6 iPhones – something about the curves screamed space age to me. Three iterations on the design later, I’m glad they continued in that direction cause these are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and I struggle to see how they can be made to look any better. Kudos (and good luck) Apple.

My only problem is that the new design is so freaking good, it might immediately antiquate previous models’ designs (the 6/6s camera bumps already look comical in my mind), perhaps bar the Jet Black iPhone 7. I’ll have to see it for myself to confirm.

I should also note that the gold model finally looks good. I almost want it.

 

via Apple

via Apple

The notch

Now, onto the biggest point of contention with the new iPhone X design… long story short, I’m in Camp Show-The-Notch-Only-When-It-Doesn’t-Create-UI-Compromises.

Long story long, my feelings towards the notch seem to change on a case-by-case basis, from what I’ve seen so far at least. For example, video playback seems to deal with the notch pretty well, in that you can obscure it by double-tapping the screen, while Safari adds grotesque white bars on either side in landscape mode. (Not that the notch has to be completely hidden to look acceptable.)

I think generally speaking, I’m with John Gruber on how I feel about the notch:

 
My objection (again, after admittedly only spending 10-15 minutes with an iPhone X in hand) remains that Apple could embrace the notch on the lock and home screens, allowing for this new iconic silhouette, without embracing it all the time.
 

For the iPhone X design to become iconic, the notch – a key visual feature – should be embraced to some extent.

 

“Ten” vs. “ex”

Here’s what I think should be the biggest point of contention with the iPhone X: that the X is pronounced “ten” and not “ex”. This is what offends me. It’s so incredibly stupid.

Firstly, people are absolutely going to be calling this the “iPhone ex”. Why? Because in today’s world, that’s what X is to everyone in English-speaking countries – X as a Roman numeral is almost totally obscure in comparison. You’d think Apple would’ve learned their lesson with “Mac OS X” being pronounced “OS ex” for all those years… now, not only is it back, but the naming convention is under the brightest of spotlights for everyone to see: on the flagship iPhone.

Secondly, what does X as “ten” even denote? The 10th iPhone? It’s the 14th by my count, including the 5c, SE, and the new 8 iPhones. Maybe the 10th anniversary of the iPhone? Most probably, but it’s still a tad uncharacteristic of Apple to make reference to a product’s age, let alone in the very name of the product.

Lastly, what are they naming future iPhones? If they went with X as “ex”, they could still number subsequent models X2, X3, etc. – whether or not they’d actually do that is a matter of taste. But it being X as “ten”, that can’t be the case at all. The only logical outcome, at least in the mid-long term, is that they’d ditch the numbers completely.

 

via Apple

via Apple

The red dot on the Watch crown

I honestly don’t know which of these things I’m more mad about.

I take it that the dot’s purpose is to be an accent to the watch body. While I find the dot too large, I think the dot does that job well, even with the gold models.

The problem is that the watch strap already does that job, and if the strap you want to put on doesn’t look good with that big red clown nose, tough luck.

 

via Apple

via Apple

The Smartphone Mark II

I refuse to end on a sour note – not when there’s this amazing new iPhone X form factor to gush about.

Developer and podcaster Marco Arment touched on the significance of the new design:

 
This is the new shape of the iPhone. As long as the notch is clearly present and of approximately these proportions, it’s unique, simple, and recognizable.

It’s probably not going to significantly change for a long time, and Apple needs to make sure that the entire world recognizes it as well as we could recognize previous iPhones…

Apple just completely changed the fundamental shape of the most important, most successful, and most recognizable tech product that the world has ever seen.
 

Apple defined the form factor of the smartphone with the first iPhone, and have largely kept it consistent, until now.

Discussions regarding who was first to edge-to-edge aside, it’s Apple that moves the needle. The iPhone X form factor could be the smartphone as we’ll now know it to be.