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iPhone X

In September, Apple announced the iPhone X, which the company describes as ‘the future of the smartphone’.

Face ID to impact market
Face ID to impact market

Launched to mark the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone, the £1,000 phone features an all-glass front and back, with stainless steel band; a 5.8 inch Super Retina display; an improved rear camera with dual optical image stabilisation; and wireless charging. The home button has been replaced – users now swipe up from the bottom instead; the headphone jack has not been reinstated; and there is a facial recognition system, Face ID, for unlocking the phone, gaining access to secure apps and using Apple Pay.

We asked experts to give the iPhone X an overall rating out of ten based on its innovation, value, customer benefit, design and market impact. The average score was 6.7. Here, we publish some of the comments we received.

Dan Bladen
Dan Bladen

Dan Bladen, CEO of the Intel-funded wireless charging solution, Chargifi “The iPhone X is a catalyst for driving the mass deployment of wireless charging. What WiFi did for connectivity, wireless charging is about to do for power. Although there are already a number of devices integrating wireless charging in the market, when Apple does something the rest of the world sits up and takes notice, and their competitors generally follow.

“Today’s consumers crave convenience, as well as an effortless experience, and wireless charging is now set to become the new standard for charging our devices. Power remains the basis for everything we do with our devices, but its cumbersome, highly inconvenient power cable does not. Carrying around a mobile charger will soon seem as outdated as having to connect an ethernet cable to get onto the internet.”

Simon Migliano, Head of Research, “Apple has clearly thought through each privacy and security issue and has created such a highly sophisticated system involving seven sensors and machine learning algorithms that previous fears about using a stolen Instagram selfie to fool facial recognition are now laughable.

“The ‘secure enclave’ used to store the detailed mathematical model of your face is highly regarded in cybersecurity circles. All processing is on-device only, allaying concerns about doing it in the cloud.

“Anyone thinking of buying an iPhone X should always make sure they carefully read the new privacy policy terms for full details of how this data is stored and used. They should also look out for more information about the always-on aspect required for the device to detect when you want to unlock it.

However, worries that the iPhone X will be always ‘watching’ and passively gathering data receded a little with the reveal that a ‘proximity sensor’ appears to be a key part of this mechanism.”

Russ Ernst, mobile diagnostics expert, Blancco Technology Group“Apple puts a lot of thought into designing their products and decisions like removing the headset jack are made from a long-term view. As more and more people go towards wireless headsets, there will not be any need for wired ones. The cost of wireless headsets will continue to drop as technology becomes mainstream. We can view this tech shift as being like the move from floppy disks to CDs to USB/memory cards. The older is always sacrificed for a better, new technology.”

Dave Millett
Dave Millett

Dave Millett, Equinox “I, personally, would not spend £1,000 on a mobile, especially when the gains over previous models are not that great. Facial recognition sounds good but I have it on my Surface and it doesn’t always work, notably in bright sunlight. Also, what about users whose religion requires their face to be covered? The Samsung 8 seems to offer much the same functionality for a much lower price. I think Apple is charging a massive premium for the brand.

“If I was a business owner and had £1,000 to spend on telecoms would I spend it on a new device when good quality phones are available for several hundred? I could get 3 years of VOIP service or 2 years of fibre broadband for the same amount.”

Alan Goode, founder, Goode Intelligence“3D facial recognition technology uses infrared (IR), neural networks and machine learning to support biometric authentication on a bezel-less OLED display, which so far has proved problematic using a fingerprint sensor.

“When Apple announced Touch ID in 2013, it revolutionised consumer biometric authentication and led to an explosion of fingerprint sensors being integrated in almost all new smartphones. We expect Face ID to be disruptive and to impact the market – we’ll see Android Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) replicate Apple’s move by integrating 3D facial recognition technology into their flagship models. However, Fingerprint will continue to play an important role for OEMs, both in single and multi-modal strategies.”

Richard Lutkus, attorney, Seyfarth Shaw“When arrested, can cops point the phone at the suspect and have it unlock? In most cases, the passcode is more secure than your fingerprint. They can and have compelled use of a finger to unlock a phone. Facial recognition technology seems analogous and does not even need a touch.

“Can your face self-incriminate you? There will be interesting legal arguments on this, in terms of search and seizure and protection against self-incrimination. And even Miranda (the ‘right to remain silent’ warning given by US cops – Ed): silence is golden until your face unlocks your phone.”

Loizos Heracleous, Professor of Strategy, Warwick Business School “Apple’s introduction of a $1,000 iPhone is consistent with its business strategy of differentiation and exclusivity, targeting the higher end of the market rather than just aiming for a larger base of users. Given that the iPhone accounts for the majority of the company’s revenues and profits and that its demand curve is relatively inelastic – i.e. a price change has less effect on sales – this pricing strategy makes sense in terms of revenue and profit growth.”

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