iPhone X - first impressions

I’ve had the iPhone X for about 4 days now. Here are some early initial observations. Overall more positive than I was fearing but I am afraid unlike the rest of the internet, I don't really see "the future" staring at me in this phone yet. I would say it largely feels the same as previous phones - which though is a massive credit to Apple because this phone is, in its own small ways, is the most different from previous iPhones.

The portrait mode on the iPhone X offers some passable bokeh options

The portrait mode on the iPhone X offers some passable bokeh options

Handling

  • The phone feels huge and heavy in the hand - much much bigger than the 7 even though it is only marginally bigger
  • Handling is awkward - my hand barely reaches anything at - the bottom or the top making one-handed use quite difficult. It is decidedly an odd-shaped thing.
  • The notch is stupid but you don’t seem to notice it as much as I thought I would

Screen

  • It looks good and probably a bit better than the 7 but my tired old eyes really don’t notice much improvement. 

Face ID

  • Happy to report that it has worked as expected so far. I don’t really miss the Touch ID
  • It feels just slightly slower inside apps but feels just the same and even better when used to unlock the phone

Battery Life

  • So far so good - too early to tell - all new phones perform well. The real test is after 6-8 months of heavy usage
  • Wireless charging is useful though quite slow to be the only way to charge so not getting rid of the umpteen lightening charging cables I have

Camera

  • The 56mm lens (‘portrait’) is useful and the software blurring is a good option and works quite well even though it is nowhere near as natural as a regular lens. 
  • Some of the studio lighting options (Stage light for example) are downright dirty, rushed hacks that should never be used. 

Worth $1,400?

  • With taxes and AppleCare you end up paying about $1,400 for this phone - which is about $2 a day. While $1,400 sounds a lot - the phone is  definitely worth 2 dollars a day. 

Apple Watch 3 - underwhelming at best

I have worn an Apple Watch pretty consistently since the summer of 2015. I was always a watch wearer and the Apple Watch seemed relatively inexpensive and somewhat more useful than an analogue watch so the transition to it was simple. 

However, I never really liked it very much. It was just ok. It worked fine for fitness and occasionally  helped with notifications. It was fine - as long as you didn't try to interact with it. Every interaction - from 'raise to wake' to starting a workout was just unpleasant. The underlying problem may have been that Siri was even worse on the watch than on the phone.

So when series 3 came out - I thought it was time to upgrade. For no specific announced feature - just to check if I had missed out on anything. 

Now that I've been wearing series 3 Apple Watch for the last few months, I can confidently say that after two and a half years, the watch has barely made a dent in the forward direction for me. Yes, it has a GPS and Cellular but I don't know how many times using your watch without a phone is a legit use case to justify ten dollars a month. But far more importantly - my phone very rarely has cellular signal reliable enough to be much useful so not sure how it can be reliable on a watch. 

The internet sang praises of Siri on the new watch but I have tried it a few times and have had absolutely no success. It failed to take dictations for message responses in reasonable time so I canceled it. It wasn't able to set a timer. It wasn't able to set a reminder. It wasn't able to start a workout. 

The number one requirement I've had - show me the damn time all the time - is still unmet. I know the technical reasons but I don't care. You are a watch - you have one primary job - tell the time when I look at you. If you are blank when I look at you - even once in every 10 tries - you are useless. 

But I still wear it - for only one reason - I love those stupid rings reminding me how active my day was. 

I am sure Apple is working on ruining it.