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The Safe Area

In choosing the iPhone 8, what I’d miss most of the X are probably the OLED display and Face ID, but those aren’t must-have features for me, either; certainly not worth spending €350 more to have them (I think those €350 would be better spent on an Apple Watch, for example; by adding €50 you could even get a base iPad 5). Overall, I consider the iPhone X an interesting, but transitional and expensive device. I would rather invest on it later on, when the design settles, the UI quirks are ironed out, and it can really be an ‘all screen’ iPhone.

via Riccardo Mori

I really liked Riccardo’s take on the iPhones 8 and X. I’m still going to get a X, for the same reason I install beta software: I like the future, and I want it now.

But he’s not wrong about the 8 being a great phone, and probably the saner choice for any practical person. It’s likely more people will flock to the X, price be damned, but that doesn’t mean they are being rational.

When I look at iPhone X, I think The fourth iteration of this design will be amazing. Much in the way the first iPhone was exciting, but in retrospect was actually a flawed device, I think we’ll look back on iPhone X as a bit ahead of its time.

Over the past week, I’ve heard several people suggest that iPhone 8 is not a big update to 7, while X is a massive leap forward. Really?

Compare the X to the 8 plus: same processor in both phones. Same camera on the back. Same wireless charging capability. Same capacities. The only difference between the two phones, other than outside appearances, are slightly better image stabilization on the X, a better front facing camera on the X, and the better screen.

So the X is way better for selfies.

I know I’m being snarky now, and those things are important. But do these few differences on the X make the 8 only a small update, while the X is a “major leap forward?” I thought I was the one who drinks Apple’s Kool-Aid a little too easily.

People really do judge with their eyes, I suppose.

I do have to wonder as well, why so many people seem obsessed with this edge-to-edge screen concept. It’s important enough for Apple to make a major design tradeoff with the notch, so it’s clearly a big deal to people. But as I’m reworking my apps to behave correctly on the X's screen, what I’m learning quickly is that all four far corners of the screen (the areas that used to be blank “chin” areas) are too inconvenient for thumbs to reach easily. Which means they are lousy for UI interactive elements. Thanks to the notch, and the fact that the phone is no longer 16 x 9, watching video full screen is a poor experience as well. So most of what’s important is going to end up in the “safe” areas—in other words, the exact dimensions of your iPhone 8 screen. Basically, we’re lighting up the edges of the X screen with background color and calling it a revolution.

Is it more immersive? Absolutely. Would Jonny Ive love it if the phone would become just a single block of glass? Absolutely. But we’re not there yet with the X. Not even close. This is a step in that direction, and therefore it is an important device for the company. And I want to be a part of this next evolution as it happens. But I wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to pay a premium for Animoji at this point. And I'm certainly not going to try to convince myself that I'm making the smarter choice in buying a X.