Apple’s new iPhone X, unveiled on Tuesday with an edge-to-edge OLED display and a $999 price tag, is bound to shake up the high-end smartphone market in unforeseen ways. We don’t know how it will impact Apple’s overall sales, or whether it will set off a kind of mobile arms race to see which phone maker can outdo the other in the upper premium price point.
It’s already dividing both diehard Apple fans and longtime iOS detractors over the very idea of a phone costing into the four digits. More than any device before it, the X is testing both the value we put on smartphones and consumers’ willingness to pay for the best Apple to has offer.
The iPhone X doesn’t go up for preorder until October 27th, so you have quite a while to think over a potential purchase and decide whether the iPhone X is worth the extra cash over the equally powerful iPhone 8, which differs in only a few key areas from its bezel-less counterpart. (Of course, there’s also the now more affordable iPhone 7, which starts at a reasonable $549.)
The easiest way to dissect the decision is to do a bit of cost-benefit analysis, starting with what the iPhone X appears to do better than less pricey Apple models:
Photo by Nilay Patel / The Verge
THE EDGE-TO-EDGE OLED SCREEN IS GORGEOUS
The most obvious standout feature of the iPhone X is the OLED screen, which the lucky few who’ve held it say is probably the most stunning smartphone screen they’ve ever seen. The edge-to-edge display is copied from past Android devices, starting more or less with the Xiaomi Mi Mix last year and making its way to global mainstream prominence in the Samsung Galaxy S8 back in April. But the lack of originality hasn’t stopped Apple from manufacturing a beautiful piece of hardware.
There are some weird quirks to contend with, like the controversial rectangular “notch” cut-out at the top of the screen, where Apple has stored a bevy of camera and sensor parts to perform tasks like Face ID and Animoji recordings. But Apple’s proprietary advantages include the coloration and brightness-adjusting True Tone display tech and a new Super Retina moniker that means the iPhone X sports a 2436 x 1125 resolution at 458 ppi across 5.8 inches of real estate. It’s also Apple’s first smartphone to come HDR-ready. All this adds up to an impressive display that is clearly the top differentiator between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8. Whether it’s worth the extra $200 or so is a harder call.