Apple iPhone X sets the stage for future price hikes, not innovation

When we accept expensive smartphones and salivate over smart features, there is no barrier to budget.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Apple's annual event had high expectations, leaks aside, and the company did not disappoint. Well, not entirely.

Amongst grinning Apple enthusiasts, shrieks of laughter as executives impersonated chickens and a blown-up talking poop attempted to justify an outrageous price for an otherwise interesting device, the event had all the cringe-worthy marks of the annual reveal you've learned to expect.

On Tuesday, the tech giant not only revealed plans to transform flagship stores into "Town Square" community areas, but also took the opportunity to release a new Apple Watch series, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Apple said the iPhone X, pronounced as the iPhone 10, is a "revolutionary" product in which Apple is aiming to "set the stage for the next decade."

The iPhone X, available in black or silver rather than the wide range of colors available in previous models, is a glassed back-and-front smartphone equipped with a 5.8-inch Super Retina display, HDR 10, Dolby Vision, True Tone, and 3D Touch support, an in-house Apple A11 Bionic chip, wireless charging and two cameras with dual 12-megapixel sensors, f 1.8 and 2.4 apertures, as well as image stabilisation.

At the reveal, Apple waxed eloquent about FaceID, a new security system which uses the neural networking capabilities of the A11 to "learn" your face, even over time, and uses this map as an identity check to unlock the device or conduct transactions through Apple Pay.

FaceID has allowed the company to take away the home button and move controls to full swiping on the edge-to-edge display, all while throwing in AR support and Animojis, a gimmicky method of using your face to create animated emoticons which will probably be used for all of five minutes before it becomes annoying.

Apple just stayed under the $1000 barrier with the iPhone X, coming in at a starting point of $999. However, this is only for the 64GB model, whereas the alternative, a 256GB model, will set you back $1,149.

So, Mac or mobile? The price point here is interesting; now, a smartphone with no mind-blowing specifications aside from the rather cool processor and little which is new in terms of display, camera, or AR support can cost a hefty chunk of monthly rent or could be used to furnish yourself with a MacBook Air instead.

As previously noted by ZDNet, the Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, for example, have a number of similarities, and in many ways, the Samsung model trumps Apple.

The Galaxy Note 8 already utilizes wireless charging, has support for Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream VR, dual camera technology with image stabilization, expandable storage, and the same side-by-side multi tasking Apple proclaimed as innovation at the event.

The Samsung device has a better display, too. While Apple's Super Retina display comes in at 5.8-inch OLED, 458ppi pixel density and 2,436 x1,135-pixel resolution, the Galaxy Note 8 comes in at 6.3 inches, 2960 x 1440 resolution, and sports 522pii pixel density.

The "revolutionary" display is not the only problem. Samsung's new flagship is nearly bezel-less, but Huawei, Xiaomi, and Vivo, among many others, are all exploring the possibilities of edge-to-edge and curved displays.

Wireless charging, augmented reality support, and facial recognition technology -- albeit without mapping your full features -- are all apparent in the current marketplace.

According to Statista, there are an estimated 2.32 billion smartphone users in the world and this is expected to rise to 2.87 billion by 2020, with shipments predicted to reach 1.69 billion units in the same year.


IDC suggests that in Q1 2017, Samsung snagged the lion's share of the market with 23.3 percent, while Apple came in second at 14.7 percent, Huawei grabbed 10 percent of the market and OPPO secured 7.5 percent.

If we look at the launch prices of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei flagship phones over the past two years, the Apple iPhone X will be sold for a minimum of $999, the iPhone 8 begins at $699 and the 2016 iPhone 7 had a starting price of $649.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 will set you back $930, the Samsung Galaxy S8 started out at $720, and 2016's releases of the S7 and S7 Edge were available for between $600 and $700.

These are premium models and do not reflect the smartphone industry as a whole, but as we can see, some of the main smartphone vendors are slowly creeping up the price of high-end products.

No matter what Apple asks for, the company's proven track record shows there will be a market for it. The eye-watering price tag may soothe ruffled feathers through carrier monthly payments -- even when subsidies are few and far between -- and there will always be those willing to pay for the latest Apple shiny.

Is it worth it? For the price tag, probably not, but as market trends show, our pocket computers are improving and becoming smarter -- and we will have to pay through the nose for the bragging rights tagged onto a high-end device.

There will always be cheap smartphones out there to cater for those on low budgets, but with companies now striving to stand out from the crowd in a congested marketplace, even features which perhaps should not be highlighted in mobile devices -- such as face recognition technology or novelty emoticons -- will be pumped for profit, recognition, and to justify spending enough cash to pay the rent.

Previous and related coverage:

Closer look at Apple's iPhone X, iPhone 8 (pictures)

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