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How do you Measure Delight?As much as I get labeled as an Apple fan boy or a perpetual early adopter, I did spend a couple of weeks on the fence about whether to get the iPhone X or stay put with my iPhone 7 Plus. I know, first world problems – but hear me out.During this indecisive period, I was driving to lunch with my colleague Alec, discussing the pros and cons of the newly announced models (iPhone 8 vs. X), when he remarked that the high price of the X would be a complete showstopper for most people. I paused for a second (but still kept driving though, as we only have an hour for lunch) before attempting to defend the indefensible by making the following argument:If you think of the X as just a phone, then sure, the $1000 price tag is a tough pill to swallow (and I especially have a hard time swallowing literal pills).However, it’s not just a phone. It’s your de facto micro computer/assistant. It is with you throughout your waking hours-more than your co-workers, more than your wife, more than your friends, more than your kids-you get the drift. To be able to send e-mails, video chat, text, Google the shit out of everything, get directions, set reminders, stream music, podcasts, and video — and to do all this from a small rectangular device…What price tag would you put on that?It’s also a near DSLR quality camera that you have On-Demand to capture that Kodak moment, that solo/group selfie, or your next viral video in 4K. Go check out the prices of entry level DSLR cameras. Now multiply the price of the DSLR by the convenience of carrying that technology in your back pocket. How much is that worth?Finally, there are a number of good monthly financing options (available to customers stateside) that help overcome the sticker shock. In fact, Apple provides their own financing plan and it comes with AppleCare bundled into the monthly payment.I’m not sure I convinced Alec, but I did manage to convince myself.The Pre-OrderApple finally got its act together for customers on its direct financing program. The Monday before pre-order night, I was able to select the phone I wanted, the carrier I required, and got pre-approved for the new financing cycle. All that was left to do was to hit the “Buy” button on Friday night. I hoped it would give me a slight edge over other folks who had to go through the selection process from scratch when the pre-orders opened.The Night-OfIts 3 am on pre-order night. I’m hiding under the covers with my soon to be forgotten iPhone 7 Plus. I am excited, but deathly quiet, so as not to wake up my significant other. I fire up the Apple Store app and boom:Store is down. This can’t be happening. Shit shit shitForce Quit-RelaunchForce Quit-RelaunchForce Quit-RelaunchI performed the above routine for 10 minutes (only coming up twice for air) before the Apple Store finally let me in. I was not only able to pre-order the iPhone X but also had the option to grab it on launch day by picking it up at my local Apple Store or get it delivered on November 17th.In the ensuing week, reviews of the X came out. I could write another blog post on the strange new cycle of reviews from previously ignored YouTube influencers vs. the Old Guard of Tech Pubs (who mostly got 24 hours before the embargo lifted) but as I said-thats another blog. I dutifully crammed almost every damn review both in written and in video format that I could lay my hands on. I was prepared.The Apple Store ExperienceOn Nov 3, an Apple Genius ushered me into the store for my 10 am appointment and started consumating the transaction while I played with a demo unit. After getting my phone, I opted to stay in the store to activate and restore from my iPhone 7 Plus backup (the phone that I was giving up). The experience of transferring the settings and data by hovering the new phone over the old phone was magical (I may use this word several times in this post). I waited about 30 minutes for the restore and update to settle before leaving the store without checking whether I could make calls or use 4G/LTE data. I only realized that 20 minutes after leaving the store and a quick call to AT&T (from another phone) fixed the activation snafu.The iPhone XI’ve been pondering how to describe the iPhone X for the past week and nothing I say here will come even remotely close to doing justice.The FeelHow do you describe the way it feels in your hand? Forget turning it on and using the damn thing. We’re not there yet. Perhaps I could say that it feels like a thousand bucks (no pun intended)? Perhaps I could say that it feels like an exquisitely built piece of machinery? The glass back gives it a firm one handed grip unlike the past three years worth of models (6, 6S, 7), where it was practically impossible not to have a case. It effortlessly glides in to your hands and stays there for good measure. Weighing slightly less than the plus models, it’s also comfortable to hold for longer periods.When you look for excuses to pick it up to enjoy just how it feels in your hands, you have a winner.I got the space grey (Black) model after years of opting for white faces and (ahem) for two years in a row-Rose Gold backs. I’ve heard that the silver model is strikingly similar to the original iPhone (and thus very popular), but I’m hopelessly smittin with Space Grey. It looks:Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.Remember, we haven’t even turned it on yet.The ScreenLast year, I walked in to a Best Buy, saw LG’s OLED TV and was gobsmacked by its deep blacks and stunning colors, especially in HDR. The combination of OLED and HDR has been a visual delight when consuming shows that are shot in any of the two competing HDR formats (HDR10 or Dolby Vision). Apple was finally incorporating OLED into their flagship phone after introducing it (albeit in smaller real estate) in the Apple Watch and the MacBook Pro’s Touchbar. The OLED display on the X is simply stunning. It doesn’t seem like you are looking at an image under a pane of glass but rather at a high-quality glossy paper from a fashion magazine. It’s unbelievable. You have to see it to believe it. Super convenient haptic shortcuts for the camera and flashlight on the lock screenEven though Samsung manufactured the actual OLED screen, Apple custom engineered the display and in doing so, claim to have greatly reduced the burn-in that OLED is susceptible to. I wonder if that has anything to do with Apple not migrating my 1 minute Auto-Lock Setting and defaulting it to 30 seconds.Time will tell.Like all OLED phones, there is a slight blue tint (less than other competing OLED models) when you view the phone at an off angle but that’s not going to be a showstopper for anyone.This is also the first time I experienced TruTone, a display tech that Apple first introduced in the iPad Pro. According to Apple:“The 9.7-inch iPad Pro features advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to dynamically adjust the white balance of the display to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience.I put this to the test in an Apple store when the iPhone 8 came out and compared it to my 7 Plus. The result was so dramatic that I had to squint my eyes and make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. Suffice to say, when you put your non TrueTone compatible iPhone next to either the Iphone 8 or X, those displays are going to look like shit. I’m not kidding. Try it.Don’t take my word for it. DisplayMate gave the iPhone X its highest ever rating of A+. Here’s an excerpt from the detailed review.Apple has produced an impressive Smartphone display with excellent performance and accuracy, which we cover in extensive detail below. What makes the iPhone X the Best Smartphone Display is the impressive Precision Display Calibration Apple developed, which transforms the OLED hardware into a superbly accurate, high performance, and gorgeous display, with close to Text Book Perfect Calibration and Performance!!I tried to capture the difference beteeen the iPhone 7 Plus and X screens by playing the Season 2 opener for Stranger Things on both phones (on the same wifi network). The difference is subtle in some scenes and more pronounced in others. You can see how much more vibrant the colors are on the X. I also found the video to be sharper. Don’t get me wrong-the LCD screen on the iPhone 7 Plus is quite amazing for LCD screens, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the OLED. The Blue in the Upside Down is much more prominentThe NotchIs it a bit weird? Yes. Is it a dealbreaker? No. I got used to it almost immediately, similar to most of the pre-launch reviewers (and post launch podcasters). In Portait mode, you literally stop noticing it. The only time it becomes noticeable is when you’re watching a movie in landscape mode and have the movie bleed to the edge. Then, the notch will stick out, but even then, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. But that’s just me.Face IDUnbelievable.That’s the first thing I said when I completed my inaugural facial unlock even though I fully anticipated its functionality thanks to Apple’s keynote, subsequent demos and countless reviews. I said it again when I unlocked it in my pitch black bedroom at night. I said it again when it recognized me through my Oakley sunglasses. It didn’t mind my one day old stubble either. It was also way more easier to set up than Touch ID and it works just as reliably. In terms of speed, I agree with Apple pundits that it falls somewhere in between Gen 1 of Touch ID and the Industry Gold Standard of Gen 2. The swipe up from the bottom gesture to load Springboard takes getting used to. Often, I found myself sucessfully unlocking the phone but failing to load the homescreen as my swipe up was casual/lazy and not pulling up far enough. You have to be far more deliberate about it by pulling up to almost half way to the top. With Attention Aware on, you also have to be paying attention to it (as the name implies). Otherwise, no cigar.After a couple of days of using it, I toggled off the Attention Aware feature as I don’t need that extra level of security and now Face ID works even when I am not actively paying attention. I’m finding that to be a more convenient setting. Less secure, but way more convenient. That’s fine. My wife knows my passcode anyways.Another delightful feature that is hard to explain in words until you experience it for yourself are notifications on the lock screen, previews of which remain hidden until you look at the phone, Face ID kicks in, and the contents of the notification are revealed. The effect from hidden preview to unhidden is pure Potter-esque magic. J.K. Rowling would be proud.Hiding the notification previews on the lock screen is on by default and I don’t see myself changing the settings. Notifications spying is a far more casual form of privacy breach compared to someone actually hacking in to your phone. Preventing people from previewing the contents of a text (e.g. your passcode from a service provider) or an iMessage on your lock screen until you look at the phone yourself is a supremely useful privacy feature that is using the TrueDepth camera brilliantly. I tried to make a GIF of this feature, but sadly it wouldn’t embed from my phone. However, Ben Thompson from Stratechery fame is as excited about this feature as I am and he has a GIF in his review.The Phantom Home Button SyndromeI fully expected ten years of muscle memory to kick in and to struggle from pushing on a home button that is no longer there. I even coined a term for it:The Phantom Home Button SyndromeHowever, as weird as it sounds, I eased in to the new gesture immediately from unlocking my phone for the first time and I haven’t looked back since. The only time I’ve tried to press the phantom home button is when taking a screenshot, but after 2–3 failed trys, I’ve trained myself on the new screenshot taking sequence.CameraThe front camera got an amazing upgrade courtesy of the face mapping tech packed in the Notch. Check out the ridiculous amount of detail in my selfie portrait below. In. The. Front. Camera. Mental Note: Apply Make-Up before taking a Selfie from an iPhone XI’m still learning how to use the new Portrait lighting feature introduced in the iPhone 8 and X. Apple’s training videos makes it look dead simple, but I had to trash a couple of shots before I got this lovely shot of my significant other: With optical image stabilization on both the wide-angle and telephoto lens, the rear camera is a step above even the iPhone 8 Plus and pictures taken from the X are far sharper. The telephoto lens is upgraded with an aperture of f/2.4 (compared to f/2.8 on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 Plus) allowing more light to seep in, which is good for low light shots. I decided to check this out by heading to Princeton University after sunset. The results were dazzling: Ivy on Nassau Hall Princeton University’s Iconic Blair Hall Archway (left) and Dorm (right) Hamilton Jewelers building on Nassau St (left) and Public Seating in front of Princeton Public Libary and Witherspoon GrillBattery This True Black lock screen goes easy on your battery and looks good while doing itI wasn’t going to bother writing about battery life since it has been on par with my expecations and you have nerdier people than I doing actual scientific stress tests. However, on the sixth day of owning the X, I read about a tip, which has been a game changer in terms of battery life. Remember the deep blacks I mentioned that are inherent in OLED screens. In order to display those deep blacks, the iPhone X OLED screen just turns those pixels off, which means it’s not using additional battery to light up said pixels. Apple has smartly included a black wallpaper that I’ve now set up both on the lock and home screen and the drainage on battery life seems to have been greatly reduced in the past two days. As I write this, it’s been more than 13 hours since I took my phone off the charger, and it’s still at 68%. At a bare minimum, I’d recommend folks to use the black wallpaper on their respective lock screens. Not only does it conserve battery life everytime a notification comes in (as there’s no strain on the battery to display the black pixels) but it also looks utterly gorgeous to see notifications (or check time) against a true black background. Now, anytime I need to smile or need a general pick-me-up (and if my rugrats aren’t around), I just tap my screen to bring up the lock screen. There are additional settings you can mess with to reduce the battery drain even further but I probably won’t use them until I’m in a situation where my battery is low and I don’t have access to a charger.The FlawsAll of the above praise doesn’t mean the iPhone X is without fault. Both Apple and the developer community need to re-think the UI of the next generation of bezel-less iPhones. An interesting example is the Uber app. Both the Driver and User App have been updated for the X but still manifest bugs that don’t account for either the Notch or the bottom swipe-up (or sideways swipe) bar. I’m sure Uber isn’t the only one in this boat. iOS UI will need to be re-thought and sorted out over many future updates. My biggest pet peeve is the new gesture to open Control Center. For something that is used so frequently, accessing it through the right horn (to the right of the Notch) is not an easy one-handed operation and, rubbing salt into wounds, the battery percentage indicator isn’t visible until you swipe down to open Control Center. Why couldn’t it be a swipe down in the middle, which would be infinitely easier to execute and have the search function in the right Notch, as it’s used comparatively less frequently? Using Face ID vs Touch ID means you can’t unlock your phone without picking it up and pointing it in the general direction of your face.Ben Thompson and John Gruber discussed in John’s latest episode of The Talk Show about how when you’re in love with someone or something, you tend to focus on the delight. It’s not like flaws don’t exist (they do), but they don’t dominate the discourse. Such is the case with the iPhone X. Consider me delighted beyond measure.
Ir a la fuente / Author: Kamran Hashmi
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