You’ve probably heard that as of this past weekend, the iPhone X is now in the hands of a few consumers, with several more en route between now and the holidays. Like many Apple enthusiasts, I set my alarm to go off in the early morning hours of October 27th, only to find that the Apple Store was offline, overloaded with traffic. Luckily, my dogs happened to get me up a few hours later for their morning meal, so I logged in and, to my surprise, was able to order an iPhone X before the sun came up. The order confirmation indicated it would be delivered by mid-December, so I was surprised when UPS brought it to my door less than two weeks later.
Unlike previous iPhone launches that layered in new features while keeping the nuts and bolts of the iPhone intact, the iPhone X is a potential game-changer. While keeping the general look and much of the interface intact, it’s also throwing out the playbook and putting new technology at the literal fingertips of its users. Having had my iPhone X for less than 24 hours, here are my first impressions of the phone that could very well usher in a new generation of mobile technology.
No Home Button
Easily the biggest change with the iPhone X is that the home button is gone, meaning the face is now edge-to-edge screen. While it seemed like it’d be difficult to get used to, it’s a surprisingly easy adjustment. When you need to close an app, you swipe upward from the bottom of the screen. It’s the same gesture that had been used prior to access the iPhone’s control panel, which is now accessed by swiping down from the screen’s upper-right corner. Within a few minutes of playing around, the home button was like a distant, archaic memory to me.
What does take a bit of getting used to is the quick change between apps. Where you used to just double-tap the home button, you now swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then hold about halfway up the screen. After a second, you’ll feel a vibration, and the other apps you’ve used recently will pop up on the left. Instead of a quick swipe up to close them out, you press and hold one, then a small red minus sign pops up on the corner. Tap that, and the app will close. Sure, it works fine, but it’s nowhere near as satisfying as banishing the app with an upward swipe when you screw something up on Super Mario Run.
Still, the screen-only iPhone X (minus a few buttons on the side) is a definite leap forward. 10 years ago, having a phone with a digital keypad was considered revolutionary. Now, as it takes a bold step in eliminating its primary button, the X is pushing users forward into an interface where everything will be controlled within its pixels.