eXtensions - Wednesday 29 November 2017
eXtensions: The Wednesday File (33) - iPhone X Arrival in Thailand (Hands-on 256GB)
By Graham K. Rogers
An email later in the day told me that the order had been sent and gave a revised delivery of Tuesday: the UPS tracking page showed, "By End of Day". If that does arrive in time, I will have images of my iPhone X here. If not, I still have other photos and Apple PR shots I can use.
iPhone X - Image courtesy of Apple
I know that some years PR has had an embargo on publication of information: sometimes 0800, sometimes 0600; but Wu at Digilife was able to put his video (worth looking at - in Thai) online on Thursday, so I was not happy that ordering did not go live until 8am. Being in the taxi was not particularly a handicap and the DTAC 4G worked fine, so once I entered the security code (Apple has my other details already) there was a pause while the payment was verified and all sailed through. I knew there was enough flexibility on the card: I had planned for this, although 46,500 baht in one go is a hit for sure: the 64GB version is too small, but there is no 128GB Goldilocks iPhone X.
iStudio, Siam Paragon - Saturday Lunchtime
The only extra that is prudent is the folio case I bought after the initial online purchase; and Apple Care is not available here: all we get is the one-year standard warranty. He added a wireless charger, then another: again extras and not really included in the price, but who's counting when you are after cheap hits?
I instantly loved the basic feel of the thing, but I was a little worried in case I dropped it (I still am). The rumoured replacement cost and some warnings online pressed me to order the leather folio case which will arrive on Wednesday. With all the stories of those lengthy delivery times, I was pleased that Apple managed to get this new iPhone to me in such a short time.
As I installed apps from new, I had to set some up with usernames and passwords which also took a while and despite iCloud some of those passwords never seem to synchronise. Later at home with wifi (that password did sync) everything went much faster, including the download of photos, so by late evening, I was all set. The apps were running, the photos were all there, FaceID worked perfectly and I was beginning to become familiar with the various operations: control centre, screenshots, recent apps. Although these are done in different ways from the iPhone 7, with its Home button, it did not take me more than a couple of tries to get the hang of things including my first try of the Animojis.
I am not alone in buying the iPhone X as some of my former students picked up this model - one from Singapore - and a couple of colleagues also made early purchases: one picked one up for his wife and had that by Monday, while the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering had a good meeting with AIS on Tuesday morning and decided to buy one at the shop there.
I certainly like the feel of the device, which is slightly smaller than the iPhone 7, although the edge to edge screen is larger. The steel sides feel nice and smooth - perhaps too smooth - so that is another reason for that case. I don't want that sliding out of my hands. I have been really lucky with the iPhone 7 and with previous models, but glass is crystalline and sooner or later my luck may run out.
Much of what is inside the iPhone X is similar to the iPhone 8: chips, camera, software. What is clearly different is the FaceID and I am excited by this and its potential. From Touch ID came the ability to purchase items easily online and (for me) to log in to the Mac without the need to type in a password each time, although many suggest that the rest of the Touch Bar is wasted. I am not so sure as I do make use of this often, but do still find myself going for keystrokes when there is a touch shortcut.
As an aside, Marco Arment wrote this week suggesting ways in which the MacBook Pro should be improved, especially with the butterfly keyboard (preferring scissor switches), USB (USB-C is still too new for some) and more ports, the Touch Bar (except TouchID), and an improved charger system. I don't agree with all he writes, but it is worth considering and generated a lot of feedback from others.
You will remember that Craig Federighi had problems unlocking his iPhone X when he demonstrated the technology at an Apple event. Many claimed it had failed, although it had worked exactly as designed. The system only works for one user and when others try to enter the phone by using the face, it locks after a number of attempts. The failure (if any) was in Apple not warning off those who wanted to play with the demo model.
Do not take my word for it, there are several good commentators who write much better than me on Apple products, but if you don't yet, check out The Macalope who entertains me regularly with the way some of these pompous commentators are ridiculed. Also worth reading are the lengthy (and serious) takedowns written by Daniel Eran Dilger who last week (Thanksgiving in the USA) wrote a gushing Editorial in AppleInsider, Thankful for the iPhone X. With all the bias (I am not criticising), there are some good points about the way the iPhone and Tim Cook (Yes, Jobs started it, but he chose Cook for a reason) have pushed Apple forward; and he certainly takes on the "purifying flames of contempt". He makes a good point that the failures from others, and the "clucking henhouse of naysayers in the tech media" have hardened Apple and the iPhone X is one result.
In its annual Top 10 list of gadgets, which is not related to its Man of the Year, Time placed the Nintendo Switch top, and the iPhone X at number 2, with the Apple Watch 3 in ninth place (Jeff Gamet, The MacObserver). Two in the Top Ten is not too shabby.
With my early use of the iPhone X, I managed to take a few shots as the sun was going down and was impressed with the sharpness of the images. The screen itself gives a cleaner display of anything viewed, but the photo technology is another step forward and I intend to play with this as soon as I am able.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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