The weekend prior to this year’s new iPhone announcement on Tuesday was one of significance compared to previous years. Someone ended up leaking the GM release of iOS 11 tailored for the bezel-less iPhone X. This revealed many of the features that were announced on stage by Apple today. Some noteworthy announcements, on which the leak shed light, were the Face ID, Animoji, and the naming scheme – iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
The leaks also unveiled a lot of the software changes that are specific to the iPhone X. They accurately showcased that apps would wrap around the top notch, the Home button would be replaced with a swipe-up-to-go-home gesture, and the side button would activate Siri and Apple Pay.
As disappointing as this may have been for those who like a good surprise, Apple still had some tricks up its sleeve for today’s event. Those poking through the iOS 11 code couldn’t find everything Apple had in store. So let’s take a look at five features that came as a surprise for the grand iPhone X event.
No Gold iPhone X
This came as a shock to many but despite hardware leaks that seemed to suggest a new iPhone color would step on the scene, the iPhone X does not come in any gold color. Rose gold is out for both iPhone 8 and iPhone X, but regular gold is missing from the iPhone X lineup as well. It’s just silver or space gray this time — back to Apple’s routes. (The photos actually make the colors look black and white, but fine we’ll call them silver and space gray. Because marketing!)
It’s a sad omission for many, but at least the iPhone 8 comes in a marvelous new gold finish. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X now have glass backs so all the colors have a gorgeous shine to them.
Selfie Portrait Mode / TrueDepth Camera
None of the leaks talked about the major improvements to Portrait Mode thanks to both hardware and software enhancements. On the hardware side, the iPhone X has a TrueDepth camera which analyzes depth in the image. The software, of course, makes the rest of the magic happen.
The major new feature of the iPhone X though is that Portrait mode is now supported for the front camera as well. So you can take amazing DSLR-quality selfies for the first time. Just switch to Portrait mode using the front camera and the depth sensor will add that beautiful depth-of-field previously only possible with DSLR cameras.
Portrait Lighting Mode
On iPhone X, both the front and rear camera support Portrait and Portrait Lighting modes.
Portrait lighting mode is also a separate new feature of the iPhone X cameras. Using the aforementioned TrueDepth, it detects your background and can apply one of the several settings to darken it and give you a beautiful portrait lighting effect. This refers to the lighting in a studio-quality image that illuminates just your face and lets everything else in the background fade away into darkness. On iPhone X, both the front and rear camera will support this.
While Animoji very prominently leaked out in the weekend leading up to the iPhone event, the video portion of them did not. The meat of the leak was that the new Animoji would be able to use Face ID to match your facial expressions and send them to your friends in the form of characters. However, today Apple announced you can also record fun video Animoji.
The power of Face ID lets you look at the camera and say something and have that automatically interpreted by the Animoji. The character you select (out of a dozen possible choices) will imitate your facial expressions and your mouth movements to a scarily realistic level. You can record this as a video and send it off as a fun way to communicate with friends in iMessage.
Note: Any iOS 11 device can see an Animoji, but for your friend to send one back, they’ll need an iPhone X.
Longer Battery Life
This is one last little tidbit, but the iPhone X promises an extra two hours of battery life over the iPhone 7. That’s a nice improvement, though it’s a little bit of a marketing gimmick on Apple’s part. What they neglect to tell you is that the iPhone 7 Plus has about two extra hours over the iPhone 7, so really the iPhone X is just on par with the iPhone 7 Plus battery life.
In fact, the iPhone 8 Plus battery is just a tad bit better than the iPhone X battery according to Apple’s Compare Models page. The 8 Plus gets one additional hour of Internet use and video playback over the X.
That’s still a good thing though because they were able to squeeze more battery life into a device that’s physically smaller than the 7 Plus. We’re still waiting for a major leap in battery technology though. Personally, I won’t be excited until we can measure battery life in days instead of hours.
So are you impressed with the iPhone X, or is the iPhone 8 good enough for you? Let us know in the comments.