Apple has long been a source of some controversy in the tech world, creating products that decidedly forfeit affordability in favor of design and power, raising the ire of detractors and the almost fanatical devotion of its aficionados. The iPhone X has fallen into a familiar cultural space as Apple has attempted to build the typical level of buzz and mystique surrounding their latest entry in the world of smart phones. Like much of what the company produces, enthusiasts will be swooning over the new technical developments, while non-Mac people will probably be left scratching their head over the price tag. So, what’s the big deal about the iPhone X?

  • Big Black Mirror—The iPhone X boasts a bigger screen than any of its predecessors. A 5.8 inch screen with a very sharp display makes this by far the most visually spectacular iPhone yet. While those with small pockets might bemoan the additional size, users who like to watch videos on their phone will be pleased with the additional real estate and resolution for this display.
  • There’s No More Place Like Home—When the iPhone 7 removed the headphone jack to save space and make for a sleeker design, Mac enthusiasts praised the company’s ingenuity and critics rolled their eyes. Apple has taken another dramatic design leap by removing the trademark home button from the iPhone X, reclaiming uninterrupted space for the screen, but risking confusion from users who have long been conditioned to use the big button in the middle of the phone.
  • Here’s Looking At You—The elimination of the home button also spells the passing of Apple’s thumbprint scanner, which had been imbedded in the button. This was a quick way users could securely unlock their devices without the need for passwords or PINs. The answer to this is another cutting-edge biometric ID feature: facial recognition. The phone will be able to use the front-side camera to scan the user’s face and unlock the phone when it recognizes its rightful owner. Privacy activists have already expressed concern about where these facial images will be stored (Apple claims they will only be stored locally on the device) and have also raised questions about whether the system can be gamed, for instance, with a printed photograph of the user. Apple, in characteristic fashion, has dismissed these concerns with a wave of an artfully designed robot hand, claiming that the tech is too well built to be circumvented. 
  • Look Mom, No Wires—Reliable, ubiquitous, fast wireless charging has for years been something that seemed just around the corner. The latest iPhone does support wireless charging, but in true Apple fashion, you’ll need to buy some additional gear to do it; namely, the soon to be released “Airpower” pad which is due out in 2018 and is unlikely to be a cheap purchase. 
  • And Every Other Thing—Along with the unique and notable new developments in design, all the basic specs can be assumed to be a little bit more powerful, displays sharper and cameras with higher resolution. With each new generation it should be expected that at least incremental improvements will come to the newest edition of any hardware line.

So should you drop the eye-watering $1,000 to stay on the cutting edge of the Apple line? Typical users will probably find that the advances in design don’t justify the price tag. Like much of what Apple produces, the iPhone X is geared toward people who are already converted and are happily drinking the iKool-aid. Budget users and the less brand obsessed would be better served by sticking with an iPhone 8, or even (gasp) an Android.