My friend writes:
What’s so good about it? I’ve long been over Apple’s lack of continued innovation. Have they created something truly new?
Yes. For one thing, the facial recognition is a beautiful experience. Not the nonsense Samsung has been selling (which can be tricked by a photograph), but truly instantaneous even-works-in-the-dark biometric scan. 10,000 pixels of invisible light that instantly recognize the shape of your face. After using this for about an hour, I felt like using my old phone was barbaric.
Cameras (front and back) also use depth-perception based on this IR technology to create better lighting and focus effects than any of the Android hacks can fake. Look at the two images below. These are my first photos with the new camera, not something I carefully set up. See the blur on the background? Tell me again about “lack of continued innovation”? That depth-of-field magic is a big deal. And not something that was done in Photoshop, or by sensing faces or masking… it was done using IR depth perception, and it means my phone can rival my $5000 DSLR rig (for certain purposes).
Plus, they finally did a nice re-think on the UX, ditching the button for better screen size on a smaller phone, while streamlining navigation.
I haven’t explored the AR yet (only had phone <24hrs), but that's the main reason I grabbed this gadget. I'm expecting its processing power and better-than-android sensor technology to yield great experiences. IMO, Apple "dropped the ball" a bit on hardware specs, the past few years, but leapfrogged the competition with iX. Apart from hardware, I think Apple actually has been innovating very well lately, in the form of platform integration. When I walk into a conference room, I can share a presentation from Dropbox->AppleTV via AirPlay with zero setup. I can print files from any application to any printer, even in someone else’s office, with zero setup via AirPrint. When I walk away from my computer with a half-written document, I can continue where I left off on my phone via HandOff. When I take a photo of my kid, it ends up on my television’s screensaver at home automatically. Editing documents on my phone or computer and I want to pass something from one device to a nearby one (even from my machine to my wife’s, while we’re collaborating on something)? I can AirDrop it right over.
While certain constellations of Android devices and software systems can achieve most of these capabilities individually, that’s not the same thing as “it all just works. the first time, every time, zero setup and zero effort.” Including when I want to connect with other people using Apple products — I don’t have to ask whether they’re using i6, i7, or i8, and if their package has the Ice Cream Cone or the Whatchamacallit version of the OS; everything’s compatible. THAT is the reason why Apple “power users” like the products — a better-integrated experience across devices and platforms. For people “just checking facebook, emailing, browsing the web, and watching an occasional movie”, none of this matters.
Oh, also the iX screen is freaking beautiful. Though I think Apple screwed the pooch with “the notch”; I feel as if Steve Jobs would have personally choked the life out of any person who was okay with it.
I’m not just talking about resolution, or the hardware-level built-in HDR for movie playback (sweet), but also “adaptive color balance” based on ambient light (not just brightness, but also hue), along with the option to make the color palette warmer between sunset+sunrise is both thoughtful and delicately executed (to minimize effects of blue light proven to reduce melatonin and impair sleep).