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“Say hello to the future.”

Apple’s slogan for its newest mega-smartphone device, the iPhone X, is far from original or catchy, yet it seems to capture a profound point in few words: the iPhone X (pronounced “ten,” contrary to semi-popular belief) touts itself as the “future” of the smartphone market — the biggest push against our collective perception of what is technologically possible — or at least that appears to be Apple’s rhetorical approach.

This marketing tactic is nothing new for Apple, perhaps the biggest name in modern technological innovation, nor is it unjustified. The company has already broken down walls for laptops (the Macbook), mobile music devices (the now mostly deceased iPod), and early smartphones (the original iPhone and beyond). Now, the iPhone X strives to continue this tradition of excellence and ultimately fortify Apple’s monopoly on much of the technology world, but what makes it so special? Here is a closer look at this much-discussed device.

 

New features

It almost seems ludicrous that an iPhone could still implement new features untouched by previous models, but the iPhone X appears to have done just that. One of the device’s biggest innovations, arguably its most publicized to date, is its introduction to facial recognition as a means of security, giving users the ability to unlock their devices with a tap, a vocal prompt, and now, a glance. This feature also allows users to create “animojis,” or animated emoji icons created via actual facial movements and displayed with avatars ranging from robots to farm animals. It can also be used to streamline features such as Apple Pay.

Facial recognitions capabilities are paired with a revamped screen resolution, boasting “accurate, stunning colors, true blacks, high brightness, and a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio.” Other sophistications like wireless charging and dual cameras complete with depth sensing paint the device as the “premium” iPhone experience: a familiar interface and design paired with conveniences taking users into uncharted territory.

 

New constraints?

These new features, exciting and innovative as they are, have come with their fair share of controversy. Some skeptical commentators have rooted their arguments in constraints surrounding the device’s usability, asserted that the its user demands have exposed Apple as “arrogant” and overbearing in the way it imposes new interfaces, formulas, and designs on its target audience, forcing them to adapt or leave. For instance, Ewan Spence observes of the iPhone’s changing design, “if (new the new design) interferes with your app, if it creates awkward issues around scrollbars, text flow, landscape views, tough. Apple’s awkward notch is clearly vital to Apple, so do not minimize its impact.”

 

The verdict

Keeping the iPhone X’s new features and potential challenges in mind, it is safe to say that only time will determine its overall impact on the mobile tech world. Apple, namely IOS, is no stranger to criticism at the expense of setting new standards. The debate seems to lie in the company’s audience and its general willingness to conform to new paradigms. This relationship is a symbiotic one of sorts, Apple must keep its audience engaged to keep itself established as a top-tier tech company, yet its preceding reputation of quality and innovation keeps this audience established, seemingly by default. As of now, the iPhone X seems to be more of the same in this regard, yet its revolutionary new features juxtapose this notion.