You’ll hear a lot of conflicting things about how the iPhone X has performed as a product. Some see it as a revolutionary smartphone, vastly superior to everything else on the market; others think it’s only marginally better than the iPhone 8 (or 8-Plus). Some will tell you that the sales are lagging, and that Apple has had to cut production accordingly; others will point to the fact that Apple iPhone X sales have been strong, just not record-breaking.
It’s certainly Apple’s most polarizing device since the Apple Watch, and perhaps the most polarizing smartphone the company has ever released. The interesting thing about these distinctions, however, is that we probably shouldn’t be judging the iPhone X at all just yet. This is a phone that was built with an eye toward the future, and there are a few particularly clear reasons why it’s a little early to grade its success.
It will pair with glasses: The hype about the forthcoming Apple AR glasses has quieted down a little bit ever since the company’s big autumn reveals came and went without glasses. However, a major supplier indicated toward the end of 2017 that the glasses would be arriving no later than 2019, which means they’re definitely still in the pipeline. Now, this is one area in which Apple is already playing catch-up to some degree, with Samsung and Google already having put out VR/AR headsets. But most accounts seem to indicate that the glasses will be particularly sophisticated, and they’ll likely work alongside the iPhone X, such that the two devices will enhance each other’s value.
VR & AR are still evolving: We know mobile-based augmented reality for various simple gaming experiences: shooters, puzzles, strategy games, Pokémon GO, etc. But this aspect of mobile tech is still evolving. Numerous Pokémon GO spinoffs have been discussed. We have also seen numerous websites in the casino industry design live casinos, allowing players to experience the same stimulation they’d get in a real, physical casino – a concept that is ripe for VR or AR and which hasn’t even really been introduced yet. Any or all of these examples, from effective Pokémon GO evolutions to entire simulated casinos could still make mixed reality gaming a bigger deal than it is now. And with the biggest screen on any standard Apple phone to date, and the most beautiful display in the mobile industry, the iPhone X is best equipped to handle all this.
Facial recognition has more potential: Perhaps the biggest selling point for the iPhone X, and the main thing that differentiated it from the 8 and 8-plus, was its facial recognition software. So far though, this only seems to serve two main purposes. The first is to help unlock phones without the use of a passcode or fingerprint scan. The second is to help users message one another with Apple’s new Animojis. These are certainly interesting features, but they don’t take full advantage of the technology. In all likelihood we have yet to see the most exciting things that can happen via iPhone X’s facial recognition, and when there’s more, sales will probably go up.
We have yet to see Imitations:
Back in the spring of 2016, The Verge wrote that Apple’s copycats were turning into true iPhone competitors. That proved to be true for a while, but as polarizing as it may be the iPhone X does represent a new, very sophisticated design. Perhaps the main reason it’s too early to judge the iPhone X is that we have yet to see how much other companies will imitate it, or how closely they might do so. It could well be that with this phone, Apple’s would-be competitors once more become copycats.