Apple’s iPhone X — its most anticipated new phone in a very long time — goes on sale this Friday, Nov. 3.
So sometime this week, as usual, you’ll be able to read and watch a bunch of serious-sounding reviews, as Professional Gadget Reviewers critique everything from bezels to battery life.
But Apple did something different this year. It invited a handful of YouTubers you probably haven’t heard of to its fancy penthouse in New York, gave them some early hands-on time with the iPhone X, and let them publish their videos a day or more in advance of the official reviews. (It also let Wired/Backchannel’s Steven Levy write a “first first impression of the iPhone X” post because Steven Levy. It also gave one to Axios co-founder Mike Allen, who had his nephew play with it. And Mindy Kaling for Glamour. And The Ellen Show.)
These videos, published by channels including Booredatwork.com, UrAvgConsumer, Soldier Knows Best, and sneaker/streetwear blog HighSnobiety, are a little braggy, mostly positive (“man, it’s pretty good!”) and don’t feel like gadget reviews at all. For many of us, they won’t replace the utility of more sophisticated reviews, which are supposed to tell us whether the iPhone X is worth our $1,000. They’re not great videos, frankly.
I love that the nerds are butt-hurt that Apple gave the scoop to some “YouTubers” instead of the established tech sites.
Admittedly, the YouTuber reviews are shitty, but I like seeing peeps in tech community throw their temper tantrums.
Relax, nerds. The legit reviews will be out soon enough.
Over at The Verge, Vlad Savov examines the ‘notch’ at the top of the new iPhone X:
Draw me an iPhone.
The lines may be squiggly, the rounded corners imperfect, but almost everyone you pose this challenge to will present you with the shape of a rectangle containing another rectangle sat atop a circle. The iPhone’s silhouette is the most iconic outline in all of modern technology, recognized by even diehard Android fanboys and featured on the side of “Made for iPhone” accessory boxes around the world. It’s a brand and a logo in its own right.
Now, after 10 years of the home button and big bezels, Apple is giving us something new. The notch. The monobrow. The annoying black protrusion getting in the way of your photos and videos. However you choose to see the black cutout housing sensors at the top of the new iPhone X, you will most definitely see it. And Apple wants it that way.
Like most humans on planet Earth, I had a knee-jerk, negative reaction to the notch/unibrow at the top of the iPhone X the other day.
But as I’ve sat with my thoughts and let them marinate, I’ve gathered a more holistic view on the unibrow. I agree with what former Windows Division President, Steven Sinofsky, said on Twitter:
Prediction: <3 months after first availability reviews of iPhone X everyone will have forgotten about the “notch” and “missing” home button.
— 🍪Steven Sinofsky ॐ (@stevesi)
We’re all going to be ok, people. The reason why I think we’ll be ok is because it dawned on me that the majority of apps I use daily on my iPhone, I use in portrait mode. I check email in portrait mode. I browse the web in portrait mode. I read books in portrait mode. I play music in portrait mode. I use Maps and Waze in my car with my iPhone mounted in portrait mode. Instagram is portrait-only.
Youtube is the only app I use in landscape mode.
I’m willing to bet this is the case for most iPhone users (I have no data on this, just a guess). Video is the most obvious and most nasty exception, but I noticed in a demo yesterday that as is the case now, you double-tap a video you’re watch to toggle between a letter-boxed, scaled down video, and one that fills the entire screen. When a video is viewed uncropped in letterbox mode, the notch goes away.
Games are the other case where the notch would be most annoying. I wonder if game creators will factor this into updates of their games and work around it.
I respect that Apple doesn’t shy away from the unibrow. They don’t try to downplay it. Even in the iconography for iPhone X they depict the unibrow. They could have easily advised designers and developers to hide it by blacking out the whole horizontal space at the top of the screen but they didn’t.
Yesterday was Apple’s Keynote where they unveiled the ‘all screen’ iPhone X.
They also posted an instructional video on how to design for the iPhone X, and it’s unibrow.
I would love to know what level of rage Jony Ive is feeling about this:
I understand the unibrow is there because it houses all the of the fancy facial recognition sensors and phone speaker. I also understand having an edge-to-edge screen has become table stakes, but that indent is like a huge itch I can’t scratch.
I’m sure there are dozens of physical prototypes Apple designers created where there isn’t a unibrow and I’m curious how and why this version of the iPhone X beat out the others.