I Spent A Day With The iPhone X And I Am Done With The Home Button
The iPhone has been one of my two primary devices for many years. When Apple announced the iPhone X back in September the biggest concern as a potential iPhone X user was the lack of the two main things that had been engraved in my muscle memory; the home button and the Touch ID.
The iPhone X has a new modern edge to edge design, and with this the iPhone X also loses the home button, the most iconic iPhone feature since the launch of the first iPhone. Using an iPhone required a lot of interaction with the home button and Touch-ID sensor which was also placed in the home button since the iPhone 5s. And it was this high usage of the sensor and button , that made Apple change the fragile physical button with a press mechanism with a more long lasting pressure sensitive sensor with no physical movement. This potentially means that the home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 will last you as long as the phone is functional.
The Touch ID is also engraved into muscle memory, on an iPhone the Touch ID does a lot more than simply allow access to the phone, it allows access and security to auto-fill forms, logins for apps and passwords for the iCloud Keychain. TouchID is also fused with banking apps and security wallets to enable access. Apple Pay is one of the most common use case scenarios where the Touch ID is used frequently and it is pretty seamless as a payments system.
Being a fan of physical and tactile keys, I was already disappointed that Apple had removed the physical button with a seamless pressure sensitive glass on the iPhone 7. But, since Apple had added a Taptic Engine inside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 the feeling of pressing button does remain for each time you press the home button, at least when the phones are powered on.
With the iPhone X, I was pretty sure that getting used to an iPhone without Touch ID and more importantly without a home button would be rather disastrous, and time consuming. But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The iPhone X has a natural feeling design, and even though that tiny bar at the bottom may appear to have no significance apart from being a design/visual cue, it seems to do a lot more. Only a few minutes into the usage of the iPhone X and the need of the home button seems to fade away. It also helps that apple has made the animations and the transitions very detailed and smooth. iOS 11 for the iPhone X is also designed to fully make use of the large screen real estate using the edges in different areas differently. In Apple’s words “It just works”.
Face ID on the other hand is something you will take some time with. The fact that you have to look at your phone before you unlock it means, that reaching the home screen from the lock-screen seems to take longer. Normally due to muscle memory you would place your thumb on the iPhone’s Touch ID before you even looked at the display, and would have found your phone already at the home screen by the time you glanced at the screen. This prior action would make the unlock process feel faster than the time it takes for Face ID to unlock, simply because now you have to stare at the phone while it unlocks.
Face ID is also surprisingly good, works in pitch darkness and even in bright light, in sunlight the phone does see IR interference from the sunlight and thus would require you to bring the phone closer to the face, but it works. It however is not ideal, not after how simple it was to unlock with Touch ID.
The home button, however, is something that I have happily forgotten, and only realised this when I picked up my iPhone 8 Plus and attempted to swipe up to reach the home screen. This just after spending 24 hours with the iPhone X .