The iPhone X is a technological marvel. It’s the “smartphone of the future” that lays the groundwork for the next decade, says Apple. At first glance, it seems that the 10th-anniversary iPhone merely borrowed some features from Android handsets and fans went crazy about them. Yeah, I’m talking about the facial recognition system and bezel-less OLED display. It’s far more complex than that. In an interview with Time, Apple’s design chief Jony Ive talks about the tough choices Apple had to make with the iPhone X.

Jony Ive On Apple iPhone X
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Jony Ive says Apple had to solve ‘extraordinarily complex’ problems

Time magazine has named Apple’s iPhone X as one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2017.” Describing the device as “A smarter smartphone,” the magazine said it was “arguably the world’s most sophisticated smartphone,” thanks to Face ID, augmented reality features, and the gorgeous new display. Even though Samsung has been using bezel-less OLED screens on its phones for years, DisplayMate recently said the iPhone X, not the Galaxy Note 8, had the world’s best OLED display.

Time magazine says Apple wasn’t the initiator of many of these technologies, but it has improved them to the point that consumers have fallen in love with these features. Apple had to face a lot of hurdles when designing the iPhone X. The home button had been there since the original iPhone. Jony Ive told Time that removing the physical button meant Apple had to rethink every aspect of the user interface.

They had to figure out quick and intuitive ways to perform basic tasks such as unlocking the device, pulling up Siri, and launching the Apple Pay. The home button had to go because it had been Apple’s dream for years to make an all-screen smartphone. It is the smartphone of the future, and getting there means Apple had to let go of many things that we have become used to.

The tech giant implemented a series of swipe gestures into the software to navigate through the interface. Jony Ive told Time magazine that it’s not easy for Apple to get rid of a feature when it feels there is a better way. We have seen how consumers reacted to the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. The Cupertino company has a history of ditching a legacy feature that would become redundant in a few years.

Jony Ive says it’s not about killing an existing technology. It’s all about accepting that things that seem familiar to us aren’t always the best. If you continue to hold on to a feature at any cost, it will lead you “to failure.” Apple’s design chief also talked about why the iPhone X is so expensive. “There’s a financial consequence to integrating the sheer amount of processing power into such a small device,” he told the Time magazine.

Apple raced against time to launch iPhone X this year

Developing the iPhone X was even more challenging than it sounds because the device was originally not intended to launch in 2017. Apple had planned to launch the all-screen smartphone in 2018. But the company later decided to introduce it in 2017 to mark the 10th anniversary of the device that revolutionized the mobile industry. Apple engineers raced against time to ensure that the phone launched in 2017, says Apple’s hardware engineering head Dan Riccio.

Riccio told Mashable that it took “a lot of hard work, talent, grit, and determination” to bring the smartphone of the future this year. The development timeframe was so tight that Apple engineers had no scope to second-guess decisions. When they decided to replace the Touch ID with Face ID, they spent no time exploring other options such as the in-display or rear-mounted fingerprint readers.

Apple had locked down the iPhone X design as early as November last year. The company had to develop many new technologies and refine the existing ones before they could be added to the device. Any one of them could have gone wrong, preventing the company from launching the iPhone X in 2017. Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi said the iPhone X was one of those projects where right from the beginning “you think there’s no way we’re going to pull this off.”

Apple fixes the unresponsive display problem

Apple has rolled out the iOS 11.1.2 update to fix the unresponsive screen issue that users had complained about. The update is now available for download. Many iPhone X owners had pointed out that the screen would become unresponsive in cold weather. It would start working a few seconds later. Interestingly, Apple fixed the issue only a few days after acknowledging it, which is pretty rare.

The new iOS update also fixes a bug that caused the Live Photos and videos taken on the iPhone X to become distorted.