The iPhone X has been described as the “smartphone of the future” and “the boldest of the things we’ve done” by Apple. The phone undoubtedly looks beautiful with its bezel-less design and the top notch. However, Cowen analyst Karl Ackerman said a few days ago that the anniversary iPhone wasn’t selling as well as many had hoped. Some estimate that the iPhone X sold 6 million units during the Black Friday weekend alone, but Ackerman says its sales have been “below initial expectations.”
Except a couple of features, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus are ‘identical’
Hardcore Apple fans have gone crazy for the iPhone X. But Cnet contributor Chris Matyszczyk visited different carrier stores to find out how Apple’s flashy new iPhone was selling. Surprisingly, salespeople at none of the carrier stores Chris visited were pushing the iPhone X. One T-Mobile representative told him that there isn’t much difference between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X if you look at the spec sheet.
The only differences between the two are the bezel-less OLED display and the TrueDepth camera that supports Face ID and augmented reality. If you take those parts away, the “spec sheet looks identical.” And those features might not be worth the extra costs (including the hidden ones). When Chris visited a Sprint store in Miami and told the rep that he was looking to upgrade from the iPhone 6, the salesperson said, “You need an iPhone 8 Plus.”
So, what’s the deal? The iPhone X is supposed to be far better than the iPhone 8 Plus considering it’s the “smartphone of the future.” The Sprint salesperson told Chris that the Face ID camera doesn’t work properly. The store manager had an iPhone X but “He gave it back,” said the Sprint rep. The iPhone 8 Plus comes with Touch ID, which has proved reliable over the years.
Face ID is just OK, and could be scary
The Sprint rep added, “You have to lift the phone up to your face all the time. It’s a pain in the ass.” Apple claims Face ID is far more advanced and secure than any other biometric authentication technology. The Sprint rep’s comment corroborates Business Insider contributor Matt Weinberger’s experience with Face ID. Matt found that the Face ID was “OK for the most part.” However, it would require multiple tries when you are speed walking or in poorly-lit conditions, said Matt.
That’s frustrating. If you are spending over a thousand dollars on a smartphone, you want the best experience. Nothing less. Also, Apple shares your Face ID data with third-party developers despite claiming that your facial information remains on your phones. Your facial data along with your expressions while watching an ad could be a goldmine for advertisers. If third-party developers can access your face data so easily, there is no way law enforcement agencies and criminals can’t.
It’s tough to get used to the iPhone X
Another reason the iPhone X isn’t worth it is that it requires a lot of getting used to. The notifications now live in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, which you can’t access with one-handed operation. The top status bar doesn’t show you the battery life percentage, thanks to the notch. It’s really a pain in the ass when you are operating the phone with one hand and try to the control panel as it now sits in the top-right corner.
Some iPhone X reviewers have even sold their phones because of how difficult it was to get used to it.
Even the base model of iPhone X would cost you more than $1200
As if all that wasn’t enough, the iPhone X has a lot of hidden costs. When you buy a ridiculously expensive smartphone, you expect to pay whatever it costs and be done with it. Not so fast. Don’t forget that the iPhone X has a glass panel both on the front and back, which makes it extremely fragile. If you accidentally crack the screen, it’s going to cost you $279, much higher than the $149 Apple charges you to replace the screen of the iPhone 8 and $169 for the iPhone 8 Plus.
If you break the rear glass panel, it comes in the “other damage” category of repairs. Repairing the rear glass would set you back by $549. You could buy a new iPhone 7 for that price. The repair costs seem scary, so you’d want to take the AppleCare+ protection plan for the iPhone X. The company has also increased the cost of AppleCare+ from $129 for the iPhone 8 and $149 for the iPhone 8 Plus to $199 for the iPhone X.
Do you want to keep emptying your wallet for hidden costs along the way? Probably not. If you are OK with the costs of damage repair and AppleCare+, there are a few other things for which Apple would suck more money out of your wallet. For instance, the iPhone X comes with fast charging and wireless charging capabilities. Most smartphone vendors that add fast charging support to their phones typically ship the devices with a fast charger.
That’s not how Apple does it. The company ships the iPhone X with the same old wall adapter and USB cable. If you want to take advantage of fast charging, you’ll have to buy a new wall adapter and USB-C cable from Apple that is going to set you back by $74. Want wireless charging? You have to buy an Apple approved wireless charging mat. So, if you think you’re spending $1,000 on the iPhone X, think again. You might end up spending $1,500 or more on a phone that would be outdated in a year or two.
Many Apple customers are smart enough to have already realized that the iPhone X is not for them. Cowen & Co. analyst Karl Ackerman reports that most customers are opting for cheaper iPhone models such as the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus. Many customers believe that the iPhone X doesn’t have enough new technologies to justify its price tag. Ackerman believes the iPhone X sales are good but not indicative of the much-talked-about “super-cycle.” The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which have received a price cut, are doing particularly well in the market.