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Launched during Apple's September event, the iPhone X is the latest iteration of the well-known smartphone, announced alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X departs from the physical design usually associated with the iPhone, with the key features being the removal of the Home button, the introduction of Face ID, wireless charging, and a large OLED display that covers the majority of the iPhone's face. 

External Design

Weighing in at 6.14 ounces, the iPhone X is midway between the weight of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. Its height of 5.65 inches and width of 2.79 inches makes it slightly larger than the iPhone 8 in terms of footprint, but its 7.7mm (0.30 inch) thickness is marginally larger than the iPhone 8 Plus. 

Apple has gone with a glass front and back for the iPhone X, with a seven-layer color process applied to allow for precise color hues and opacity for the glass finish. Surrounding the edge is a highly polished surgical-grade stainless steel band, with the glass and the band all made to create a continuous curve on the edges. 

While previous iPhones had the home button at the base of the display, it has been removed for this edition, providing a clean appearance when the iPhone X is switched off. On the back is a small camera bump, with the dual cameras in a vertical alignment instead of the horizontal version used in Plus models of the iPhone. 

On the left edge are the volume buttons and a ring/silent switch, while another side button is located on the right. At the base are the stereo speaker grilles, and a Lightning connector. 

Just as with the iPhone 7, the iPhone X is rated with IP67 water and dust resistance. 

Display Changes

The OLED screen covering almost the entire front of the iPhone X is a major change in design from previous iPhone generations, and not just from the physical appearance. Switching from LCD, the wide color P3 OLED panel has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 625 cd/m2 max brightness. This high dynamic range display means video and images can be shown on it with a high contrast and accurate color representation.  

Apple claims the display measures 5.8 inches, though the rounded corners makes the visible display area marginally smaller. The Cupertino company also calls the screen a Super Retina HD display, with its 2436 by 1125-pixel resolution giving it a pixel density of 458 ppi. 

While the screen estate practically stretches close to all edges of the iPhone X's front face, leaving a thin bezel around the edge, Apple has worked around the problem of placing its cameras and sensors within a small notch at the top. The screen continues up on each side of the notch, with these small areas used to display the time and icons showing the battery and connectivity status of the device. 

Whereas previous iPhones included a space for a Home button, the iPhone X instead allows the display to reach the bottom edge. The Home button and Touch ID have been replaced by gestures and Face ID respectively. 

Another feature introduced to iPhones for the first time is True Tone, a display technology first used in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Sensors monitor the ambient light of the iPhone X's surroundings and uses that data to change the white point and brightness of the display, making the screen more comfortable to look at in different environments, and in turn easing eyestrain and preventing overexposure to blue-toned light. 

As with other Apple devices, the iPhone X has an oleophobic coating on the screen, which aims to reduce the number of fingerprints and visible smears. 

A11 Bionic Chip

In this premium edition, Apple has introduced the 64-bit A11 Bionic chip with Neural engine and M11 motion coprocessor. While the A10 used in the iPhone 7 device family had two high-power cores and two high-efficiency cores, the A11 increases the number of high-efficiency cores to four, brining the total number up to six cores. 

According to Apple's benchmarks, the four efficiency cores are up to 70 percent faster than those used in the A10 Fusion, with the two performance cores up to 25 percent faster. The chip also includes the first Apple-designed GPU, which itself is 30 percent faster than the GPU used in the A10. 

This new chip is also the driving force behind the new facial recognition system included in the iPhone X. The dual-core Neural engine is capable of 600 billion operations per second, allowing it to perform facial recognition on the device without sending data to Apple's servers for further processing. 


TrueDepth Camera and Face ID

Cut into the top of the display, the “notch” contains a number of sensors used by the iPhone X for its security and face-related features, alongside a microphone and a speaker. A four-component array called the TrueDepth camera system takes up most of the room in the notch and enables this functionality. 

The array consists of a 7-megapixel camera sensor, an infrared camera, a flood illuminator, and a dot projector. Aside from taking standard 2D still images, this array projects more than 30,000 dots to help create a depth map of the user's face, which can be combined with the still image to create a 3D version. 

This facial map is then stored in the encrypted Secure Enclave, where it is used for Face ID, Apple's facial recognition system. Replacing Touch ID, Face ID uses the array to analyze the person holding the iPhone X's face, unlocking only when the user is detected, and when they are looking at the device with their eyes open. 

According to Apple, Face ID is capable of generating far fewer false positives than Touch ID, decreasing the chance of an incorrect authentication from 50,000:1 to 1,000,000:1. The system is designed to resist spoofing of the owner's face by the use of photographs and masks, though it was noted during launch that identical twins may find this to be an issue. 

It is also claimed that Face ID will be flexible enough to recognize changes in the owner's appearance over time. This relates to both gradual facial changes, such as a man growing a beard, as well as occasions where the user wears partially obscuring clothing, like hats or glasses. 

In the same way as Touch ID, Apple has built in a back-up authentication method, with users able to enter in a security code to gain access. 

Apple Pay continues to function in the same way, with Face ID performing the authentication duties of Touch ID for transactions. This means that users will have to confirm their identity by looking at the iPhone at the time of purchase. 

The TrueDepth camera is also capable of taking more conventional self portraits, featuring an f/2.2 aperture with auto HDR, auto image stabilization, Retina Flash, 1080p video recording, body and face detection, burst, and timer modes. 


Rear Camera

On the back are two 12-megapixel sensors, consisting of a wide-angle f/1.8 camera and a telephoto f/2.4 camera. Equipped with six-element lenses, backside illumination sensors, and a sapphire crystal lens cover, the cameras also have dual optical image stabilization, auto image stabilization, a quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, a hybrid IR filter, and autofocus with Focus Pixels. 

In terms of modes, the rear cameras can take 12-megapixel photographs, a 63-megapixel panorama, includes body and face detection, exposure control, burst and timer modes, and has improved local tone mapping. Image formats captured are listed as HEIF and JPEG. 

For video, the rear cameras can record 4K video at 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps, as well as 1080p and 720p video, with slow motion support for 1080p at up to 240fps, output in HEVC and H.264 video formats. Able to be used with optical image stabilization, video can be recorded with an optical zoom or a 6x digital zoom, offers cinematic video stabilization at 1080p and 720p, time lapse videos with stabilization, and the ability to take 8-megapixel still photos while recording 4K video. 


Photo Features

The ability to scan the user's face with the TrueDepth is also used in other applications than security, such as for animation and effects for self portraits. 

The Animoji iMessage app uses the TrueDepth camera to capture over 50 different facial expressions, which are then mapped to a character's head that reacts to the user's own facial movements. This animation can be recorded with the user's voice, with the video able to be sent to another user to view. 

Taking advantage of the A11's processing capabilities, both the single front-facing TrueDepth camera and the rear two cameras have the same new features in Portrait mode. For both sides, users can create shots with a shallow depth of field, including blacking out the background, and apply five different lighting styles to the subject. 


Portrait Lighting options for Portrait mode Portrait Lighting options for Portrait mode

Battery and Wireless Charging

Apple has yet to reveal the capacity of the lithium-ion battery within the iPhone X, but does advise it will last up to two hours longer than the iPhone 7. Talk time is said to be up to 21 hours for the iPhone X, with internet use of up to 12 hours, wireless video playback for 13 hours, and up to 60 hours of wireless audio playback. 

The iPhone X also benefits from a fast-charge capability, with it able to reach up to 50 percent charge within 30 minutes using its Lightning port. Notably, Apple's test was conducted using its 29W USB-C power adaptors, but the iPhone X will ship with a 5W USB-A charger, meaning that users wanting to charge quickly will have to acquire another charger. 

The introduction of wireless charging, using the open Qi protocol, means the iPhone X can be used with a wide array of existing wireless charging systems, including some installed in stores and restaurants. 

Apple has also teased a new wireless charging accessory it will be bringing out in 2018, with the AirPower offering a large charging area that could be used by multiple devices at the same time. During the presentation, it was shown that an iPhone, AirPods wireless charging case, and an Apple Watch Series 3 could all fit onto the charging pad. 


Connectivity, Location, and Other Sensors

Aside from the Lightning port at the base, which can be used to charge as well as for data transfers, the iPhone X includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC connectivity, the latter of which can be used for Apple Pay transactions. Cellular connectivity ranges from GSM/EDGE to LTE, with Voice over LTE (VoLTE) supported by a number of carriers for higher quality call audio. 

The iPhone X is able to find its location using the satellite-based assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS. It can also use cellular networks, Wi-Fi hotspots, and iBeacons to assist its location detection in areas with a limited view of the sky. 

Other sensors, aside from the TrueDepth array, include a barometer, three-axis gyro, an accelerometer, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor. 


Colors, Pricing and Availability

Apple is offering the iPhone X in a choice of two color options: Space Gray and Silver. The 64 gigabyte capacity model will cost $999, while the 256 gigabyte variant is priced at $1149.

Though revealed on September 12, Apple is holding back pre-orders for the iPhone X until October 27, with initial devices expected to ship on November 3. 


Limited Supply Rumors

It is unclear how many iPhone X units will be available to purchase at the time of release, as it has been rumored that supplies will be limited. Numerous analysts and other sources claim various production issues are to blame, with production supposedly down to fewer than 10,000 units per day. 

Despite the potential limited supply, analysts are confident that Apple will still sell large quantities of the iPhone X, albeit at a later time.