Ever since the iPhone X rollout, I’ve been struggling to put into words that feeling the iPhone X brought to the table, something that’s been missing from iPhone rollouts for some time.
When iPhone X release day hit, lots of other people felt that thing. Suddenly, there were lines again. The iPhone X display at the Apple Store was mobbed. That magic thing was back.
I’m spoiled, I know: gifted with the rationalization of being a technology analyst, I buy an iPhone every year. Even so, I thought the iPhone 7 was a solid upgrade: it was noticeably faster, had an excellent screen, and the camera was great; small wonder it sold in record number everywhere but China.
What it lacked, though — and I didn’t fully appreciate this until I got an iPhone X — was delight.
Yup. That’s the word. Delight.
Face ID isn’t perfect: there are a lot of edge cases where having Touch ID would be preferable. By its fourth iteration in the iPhone 7, Touch ID was utterly dependable and, like the best sort of technology, barely noticeable.
FaceID takes this a step further: while it takes a bit of time to change engrained habits, I’m already at the point where I simply pick up the phone and swipe up without much thought; authenticating in apps like 1Password is even more of a revelation — you don’t have to actually do anything.
The trick Apple pulled, though, was going beyond that: the first time I saw notifications be hidden and then revealed (as in the GIF above) through simply a glance produced the sort of surprise-and-delight that has traditionally characterized Apple’s best products.
Apple has found its inner delight. And that, as Ben so rightly puts it, is Apple at its best.