I recently replaced my Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 8 Plus with an iPhone X, and so far my impressions of the latter device have been positive. The display is excellent, the touch responsiveness is a big improvement over that in prior iPhone models, and the new, nearly bezel-free design is a welcome improvement in aesthetics -- it's a beautiful product.
Nevertheless, while the iPhone X is a great device that, after a period of adjustment, is a joy to use, there are some ways that I think Apple could make it quite a lot better. To that end, here are two things I think Apple should improve upon in future product releases.
1. Bigger screen
Perhaps the biggest omission from this year's iPhone lineup is the lack of a larger version of the iPhone X. With a display that measures 5.85-inches along the diagonal, the single model offered has nearly the usable display space of an iPhone 8 Plus, but in a physical footprint similar to that of the smaller iPhone 8.
Nevertheless, as somebody who has primarily used Apple's larger iPhone Plus models over the last several years, the iPhone X seems downright small. A phone that's similar in design to the current iPhone X but with the physical footprint of an iPhone 8 Plus would be the ultimate device in my view, especially given the enormous amount of screen that Apple could fit on such a device.
Fortunately, Apple is rumored to be planning both an upgraded version of the current iPhone X as well as a larger version for launch later this year. The larger model could prove to be quite successful, especially considering that consumers seem to increasingly prefer devices with bigger screens.
2. Better Face ID
The iPhone X, by virtue of its nearly bezel-free design, lacks a home button, which meant that Apple had to do away with its popular Touch ID fingerprint-recognition technology in favor of biometric authentication technology. The solution was Face ID, which uses a depth-sensing camera, known as the TrueDepth camera, to enable secure facial recognition. Here's more from Apple:
The TrueDepth camera captures accurate face data by projecting and analyzing over 30,000 invisible dots to create a depth map of your face and also captures an infrared image of your face. A portion of the A11 Bionic chip's neural engine -- protected within the Secure Enclave -- transforms the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation and compares that representation to the enrolled facial data.
When Face ID works, it's incredible. And fortunately, it seems to work well in many common scenarios. I'm quickly becoming accustomed to it.
However, there are several situations that I've found in which Face ID simply doesn't work that well -- if at all. For example, when I wake up in the morning and I go to check my phone while still in bed, it just doesn't recognize me.
Beyond that, the facial recognition itself seems a bit slow -- definitely slower than the second-generation Touch ID that Apple introduced with its iPhone 6s series in the fall of 2015.
For future iPhone models, Apple should strive to make Face ID both more effective as well as faster. If the company can pull that off, then fingerprint recognition on smartphones could quickly come to feel dated.