It slices, it dices...it's really expensive.
The new iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten) is quite a monster. The screen extends almost all the way to the edges, and measures 5.8-inches diagonally. There is no physical Home button, which might make you feel a little discombobulated. Instead, you swipe to go home. (The jury is still out on whether this is a brilliant new innovation or a little annoying.)
But let's skip ahead past all of these details.
It's an exceptional new phone, but that price! At $999 (available for pre-order on October 27 and for purchase on November 11), the iPhone X is roughly $300 more than similar competing models (from Apple itself and from companies like Google and Samsung). You could say it is a luxury phone at that price, an Audi or a BMW. And you'd be right.
So, how do you justify it?
That is where things get really dicey.
For starters, you should know that the iPhone 8, also announced this week, ships later next week and also supports wireless charging. You set the phone down on a pad (or even on a desk made by companies like IKEA and in a car like the Toyota Camry that has a wireless charging pad) to charge up. No more cables, no more fuss. That model costs $699 and runs the same Apple iOS 11 operating system and is about the same thickness.
During a keynote explaining the new phone, we found out about a few extra perks.
The iPhone X "lasts about two hours longer than the iPhone 7" which is a bit vague. It means the phone will last all day or even partly into the next day. It means, if battery life is important to you, the iPhone X is the longest-lasting model, and might be worth the extra price tag. Still, the iPhone 8 will chug along for most of the day as well--and it's now much easier to charge. This part of the decision tree is easy--both new iPhones (and the iPhone 8 Plus) support wireless charging, have great cameras, and run fast.
So the decision is really all about that screen. For business users, there are quite a few big advantages. With a 5.8-inch screen, you can see all of your social media accounts on a bright and colorful OLED screen, one that will look noticeably superior to any previous iPhone screen (which used LCD technology). OLED doesn't have the same flat, slightly dull look as LCD. Every email, browser window, text chat, emoji, and document will look clear and crisp. Your iPhone will suddenly glow with new vibrancy.
For those who travel, let's be clear: This is the phone you want for Netflix. And Hulu. And just about any video app. A movie like Wonder Woman or Dunkirk will have brighter reds and deeper blacks, something more like your television at home. For some, that's a perk that will definitely justify the higher price point. The movie experience on the iPhone X will be more immersive because you will only see the screen, not a half-inch strip along the bottom. Every app will run in full-screen without being cut off.
And, swiping to go home is not a bad user interface paradigm. It's pretty much a given at this point that all phones will extend to the edge of the screen. Most laptops, like those made by Dell and Apple, already extend almost to the edges of the screen. It's better to get used to not having a physical home button now, because it's how every phone will work.
That's the biggest difference of all. You get the bragging rights of carrying the top phone, the one with the best screen and no Home button. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are nice, but they are not the top-end. If that's the ultimate goal, the $999 is a no-brainer.
For everyone else: You can save $300.