Jony Ive, talking about the removal of the Home button on the iPhone X in an interview with TIME:
How does Apple decide when it’s time to move on? It’s not a decision to get rid of an existing technology as much as it’s a willingness to accept that what’s familiar isn’t always what’s best. “I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure,” says Ive. “And in the short term, it’s the path the feels less risky and it’s the path that feels more secure.”
As someone else put it 7 years ago – “sometimes you just have to pick the things that look like they’re going to be the right horses to ride going forward”.
Matt Birchler ran some tests with faster wireless charging on iOS 11.2 (currently in beta) and, unfortunately, the results aren’t impressive:
Over the 2 hour test, the iPhone 8 Plus went from zero to 47%. It charged at an incredibly consistent 4% per 10 minutes. Previously I got up to 40% with this same charger after 2 hours, which is a 17% improvement in wireless charging speed. While this is indeed an increase, it’s not the sort of increase that’s going to get you from “wireless charging is too slow” to “I love wireless charging!”. If you have 2 hours to change your phone and there is a 7% difference in the change level, I don’t think that’s a huge deal. Especially when you compare 30 minutes on the charger, I saw literally no change in performance, as it took 30 minutes for the phone to reach 11% charge.
As I noted yesterday, the Qi spec supports up to 15W, but it’s unclear if Apple will go beyond 7.5W for wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and X lines. “Faster” wireless charging doesn’t compare to actual USB-C fast charging at all – earlier today, I tested a 30W USB-C battery pack for an iPhone X story I’m working on, and the device charged by 83% in just 60 minutes. Now that is remarkable.
Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:
Starting with iOS 11.2, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are able to charge at 7.5 watts using compatible Qi-based wireless charging accessories.
Currently, on iOS 11.1.1, the three devices charge at 5 watts using Qi wireless chargers, but Apple promised that faster speeds would become available in a future update. It appears that update is iOS 11.2.
MacRumors received a tip about the new feature from accessory maker RAVpower this evening, and tested the new charging speeds to confirm. Using the Belkin charger that Apple sells, which does support 7.5W charging speeds, the iPhone X was charged from 46 to 66 percent over the course of thirty minutes.
At 7.5W, it’s still not as fast as the 15W supported by the Qi 1.2 spec on compatible Android devices, but it’s good progress nonetheless. I wonder if Apple’s upcoming AirPower mat will also max out at 7.5W, or support up to 15W wireless charging for multiple devices.
Neil Hughes ran some battery tests on the iPhone X comparing standard white-background UIs against the “dark mode” generated by iOS 11’s Smart Invert Colors in Safari. The results are remarkable:
Reddit normally features a white background and black text, but with Apple's smart invert colors option enabled, the back of the screen is now black and the text is white. This is important because black pixels in an OLED are essentially "turned off" and consume far less power — a stark contrast from LCD displays, where the backlight must illuminate all pixels, including black ones.
After three hours with maximum brightness and smart invert colors enabled, the iPhone X battery dropped from 100 percent to just 85 percent.
We then ran the exact same test with an iPhone X running in normal mode — that is to say, Reddit was loaded on Safari with a white background and black test. With the backlight turned up to maximum, the battery drained from 100 percent down to 28 percent.
It’s an extreme comparison, but it proves how dark interfaces could be marketed as beneficial for the iPhone X’s battery life. I wonder if the long-awaited system-wide iOS dark mode could be presented as an energy efficiency feature next year?
(Related: as we mentioned on last week’s Connected, if you have an iPhone app with a custom dark mode, you’ll want to update it so it offers a “pure black” option on the iPhone X. It looks so much better than gray or dark blue.)
In a major update released today, Apple's Clips app for iOS received a redesigned user interface, Star Wars stickers and scenes, iCloud support for syncing clips between iPhone and iPad, and a big iPhone X feature exclusive: Selfie Scenes.
The iPhone X's display poses a challenge to app developers. Similar to when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus debuted, there's a different screen size to work with here, which requires app layout adjustments. But more than simply the new size, the iPhone X brings two extra complications: the notch and an extra tall orientation. In order to best optimize for Apple's current flagship phone, developers need to carefully consider these two factors – failure to do so can result in a particularly unsightly notch, or a UI that's difficult to navigate one-handed.
We're only a week out from the iPhone X's debut, so what we see from X-ready apps today will likely evolve over time as developers are able to live with the device longer. But despite it being early days still, there are several apps that stand out among the best the App Store has to offer for iPhone X.
Reeder got me into reading RSS feeds on my iPhone several years ago. The app isn’t updated often these days, but developer Silvio Rizzi always makes sure to release updates that support the latest Apple hardware and iOS versions, which I appreciate. Reeder is as smooth and elegant as the day it came out (specifically, version 2 in 2013), and today’s 3.1 update is a welcome one as it brings support for iOS 11 and the iPhone X.
There are no new features in this version, but I recommend trying it out on an iPhone X if only to look at the “pure black” theme on the device’s OLED display. It’s glorious. I’m looking at Reeder now as I’m reading some articles in bed, and I can’t tell where the display and the bezels meet. I wish more apps would implement dark themes like this on the iPhone X. And as always, it’s great to see that Reeder is still around.
Developer Simon Støvring has put together SBSAnimoji, an iPhone X app that uses Apple's private AvatarKit framework to let you record Animoji videos that aren't limited to 10-second clips or the Messages app. You can download the project from GitHub and install it with Xcode on your iPhone X.
It's fascinating to consider how Animoji could expand beyond iMessage through AvatarKit, or how the same tech that powers the framework could be used for the creation of different system avatars not necessarily modeled after popular emoji. Also: wouldn't it be interesting to have AvatarKit as a proper API for third-party developers?
This is not just another iPhone.
Spend enough time with an iPhone X, and every prior iPhone will feel surprisingly foreign. The radically new display and Face ID are not mere features of this new device – they are foundational pieces of a new iPhone experience that, once lived with, you'll never want to go back from.
While Federico is hard at work on his full review of the iPhone X, I wanted to share my early impressions of the device after a few days of use.