There hasn’t been an iPhone release in the last three years with as much hype as the iPhone X launch. For more than a year, we’ve been teased with this incredible bezel-free slab of glass that will define Apple’s future when it comes to the iPhone. The iPhone X (no, it is not the “x,” it is the “10”) is finally here, and it delivers on the promise.
When I saw the iPhone X for the first time, I was impressed - but also amazed. The display is incredibly bright and full of contrast, and the notch attributes the design neatly. The phone fit perfectly in my hand - just like my iPhone 6S. Gone is the home button, and with it, the thick forehead and chin. The swipes are perfectly useable. The software experience is fluid, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Face ID works well, and so does Animoji.
Smile to unlock the iPhone.
Unlocking the iPhone X with Face ID is very intuitive: pick up the iPhone and swipe up to unlock. Very rarely does Face ID make you wait for more than a second to unlock the phone. It may not be as quick and consistent as Touch ID yet, but it is close enough to be a suitable replacement.
In my experience, Face ID has been very accurate. Glasses don’t pose a problem for it, as far as my testing goes. And no, none of my friends could unlock it without me in the frame. There have been reports of twins able to unlock each other’s iPhone X, and some sunglasses not allowing Face ID to work. It is not perfect yet, but some future software updates may make a difference.
When someone else looks at your iPhone X, the lock screen notifications are hidden. It adds a neat layer of privacy that doesn’t hamper the convenience of glancing at your notifications on the lock screen.
When the Samsung Galaxy phones got the Iris scanner, skepticism resumed, because people were not convinced that it could replace fingerprint scanners. However, Apple is changing this perspective with the iPhone X - Face ID is real, it works, and it will stick.
The best camera I’ve used on a smartphone, hands down.
The iPhone X produces pictures with perfectly natural colors, with no extra sharpening and saturation. The camera app is easy to access with a 3D Touch on the lock screen. Just pointing and shooting results in excellent shots, but you can always tweak your exposure to get a better shot. Daylight shots are crispy, with great dynamic range and color accuracy. Night time shots are usually better than those take on other devices, and the f/2.4 telephoto lens performs just as well as the wide-angle.
Here are some pictures from the iPhone X:
Here is a sample 4K 60fps video shot on the iPhone X, wherein zooming in results in switching to the telephoto camera:
Both cameras on the iPhone X are 12 MP with independent OIS systems. Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the wide-angle camera has an aperture of f/1.4. Unlike the iPhone 8 Plus, the telephoto camera has a wider aperture at f/2.4 instead of f/2.8, which results in better low-light shots.
The best iPhone display, ever.
The iPhone X is widely said to have one of the best displays in the market. The new OLED display that Apple designed with Samsung specifically for the iPhone X has better brightness and contrast than any iPhone display before. As it is with OLED panels, blacks are perfectly black, and bright colors pop.
Apple is a late adopter to OLED technology, but the wait has paid off. As of now, I have not heard of any burn-in issues with this display, or any inaccuracies in color reproduction. OLED display may deteriorate in the long run, but there is a good chance that Apple has optimized iOS to prevent burn-in.
A polished iPhone experience for those who can afford it.
Apple has set a high bar for its competitors with the iPhone X. Then again, the iPhone X is expensive, with a starting price of $999 for the 64 GB model. Nonetheless, the phone is currently sold out across the world, with a 4-5 week wait time in many countries.
The iPhone X is fluid inside, beautiful outside. The excellent display, camera, battery life, performance, and design make it the complete modern smartphone experience.
Bottom line, we’ve come closer than ever to Jony Ive’s vision of a perfect slab of glass. The iPhone X delivers.
It has been over a month since the iOS 11 Developer Beta was released. In the last five weeks, I have explored iOS 11 to its depths, and it is unquestionably a great update. iOS 11 is not a design overhaul; rather, it is a design evolution - perfection, of sorts. It takes the best of iOS 10 and packages it with even more features and a stronger control over functionality.
I know I criticized iOS 10 for not being a significant update, and I still stand by it. iOS 10 was half-baked - the pagination of the control centre caused more havoc than expected, the Music app had a standout new design that didn’t match with the rest of the OS, the Health app didn’t show steps until you tapped into the ‘Activity' section, and the animations were old and boring.
iOS 11 corrects many (if not almost all) of iOS 10’s mistakes, making it an update worthy of a positive review.
The All New Control Center
iOS 11 features a new control center with blocks for various settings. The basic settings toggles are in one block and the music controls are in another. The brightness and volume have larger vertical sliders for better access. Almost all the control center blocks can be 3D Touch[ed] or long pressed for additional options and functionality. But other than basic aesthetic changes, the new Control Center has a few features worth mentioning:
- You can (finally) toggle on and off cellular data and personal hotspot in the Control Centre
- You can customize the Control Centre to some extent to add additional toggles
- There is a 'record screen' toggle that finally makes screen recording on iOS a reality
- The Apple TV toggle has a full remote accessible through 3D Touch
Those are just a few, but there are plenty more great enhancements (and some small tweaks) that make the new Control Centre more useful.
Refined Animations + Improved Design
iOS 11 for iPad
Okay, I’ll admit it. I love the iPad even more after this update. In fact, iOS 11 on the iPad may be a good enough reason to get yourself a new iPad if you don’t have one or want to upgrade. I tried iOS 11 Developer Preview on the new 9.7” iPad, and the multitasking features with drag-and-drop blew me away. Plus, the Files app on the iPad (and the iPhone, for that matter) are a great improvement from the iCloud Drive app from iOS 10.
Here’s a video by The Verge that covers some of the features:
There is just so much iOS 11 brings to the table - from sending money on Apple Pay through iMessage to scanning QR codes using the camera app - that there is no reason to hold off from upgrading to it when it comes out this fall. iOS 11 makes iPad a beast. It makes Siri better. It makes simple tasks like annotating screenshots more direct. It’s hard not to like iOS 11.
Should you upgrade to the Public Beta? I’d say yes - and no. If you are doing it on an iPad that isn't given too much attention, you should do it, because it is worth it. On the iPhone though, be ready to experiences some camera crashes, battery drain and overall slowdown. Or maybe you can wait for a future beta release before hopping on the train!
You can try out iOS 11 here for free, officially, via Apple’s Public Beta program: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/
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I enjoy visiting Apple stores. On one hand, there’s the bustle - of so many people buying products, waiting for service, talking to assistants - and on the other hand, its a sanctuary for exploration - as you can play all you want on the Apple TV, edit videos on the most powerful MacBook Pro, or even draw something with the Apple Pencil. Apple stores have come a long way in improving their quality, and Apple Orchard Road is a great example.
I was lucky enough to visit Apple Orchard Road, Singapore, in its opening month. The big deal about this store? It is the first official Apple store in Southeast Asia. Until now, Apple could only sell their products via resellers, but that meant less competent salesmen, added costs and possibly lower quality service. Moreover, resellers can never truly replicate the Apple store experience. Which is why I was extremely excited about it.
Apple Orchard Road
Apple Orchard Road is a very large store - especially from the outside. Plants surround the footpath in front of the store. You look into the store though the glass panels that make up most of the front. Inside, the ground floor has everything Apple has to sell - new MacBook models, 5K displays, iPhone and iPad Pro models in all colours, iMac computers and tons of headphones, drones and accessories. Castagna stone staircases take you to the upper floor - The Forum - where all the fun stuff, including Today At Apple sessions, take place. Apple employed 237 employees to manage this two floor store; overkill, but understandable.
I didn’t buy anything at the Apple store, but I really enjoyed using the 10.5” iPad Pro and the recently upgraded MacBook Pro and iMac models. Having visited so many Apple stores before, Apple Orchard Road didn't feel too new, thanks to the same colour combinations and basic design aesthetics. However, The Forum was unique, and I had never seen anything like that in an Apple (or even any other electronics) store.
The Forum makes up the entire top floor. One wall has a massive display for live art and presentations by Today At Apple presenters. There are plants scattered around, with seats beneath them. Then there are tables and chairs for smaller Today At Apple sessions. Apple employees will help you set up your devices or help you make movies on Final Cut Pro X all on this floor. According to me, this is the heart of Apple Orchard Road.
Today At Apple - Photo Walk with Jeryl (@j9ryl)
The reason I visited the Apple Store was to attend a Today At Apple event I had signed up for a few weeks back:
Being a 5:30 PM photo walk on a warm cloudy day, I expected quiet a good attendance. I was right: people of all ages turned up. The session began with a presentation from Jeryl, explaining photo composition and other tips. This would help us click better pictures during the walk. Honestly, this first half-hour was the best part of the Photo Walk experience, as Jeryl showed us his best iPhone shots and explained to us how he shot them.
After that, we went for a walk to two specific locations to photograph there. We spent about an hour walking and taking pictures. A few Apple employees walked with us to take pictures of us participating in the event. We came back to the Store and Jeryl gave us tips on editing our photos. He explained the various options on Snapseed and VSCO and how he used them. Many of us followed along.
The whole process was worth it. I would have never visited this over-bridge to take a picture of it if it weren’t for this event. I’m also happy that I got to meet a photography pro and learn meaningful tips from him through his photos. It was a great experience overall, and I totally would do a Photo Walk again - but perhaps a different one.
If well executed, Today At Apple is a really cool concept. Of course, this is a platform for Apple to promote their products. However, I’m glad that Jeryl was allowed to show us how to edit on Snapseed even though it is a Google app. In fact, you can do a Today At Apple event without even owning an Apple product… you’ll never be denied to use your Android device or your DSLR doing a photo walk.
Except if you don’t have access to Today At Apple, you should try it. Albeit short in time, it is a good experience. Plus, you learn things you may have known. You can book a Today At Apple event here.
There you go! A short account of my experience. Give it a go for yourself ?.
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