Our thoughts on iPhone X

Our thoughts on iPhone X

iPhone X is an important step for Apple. Back in 2007 when the very first iPhone was released, it changed the smartphone market. Buttons largely became a thing of the past and the screens were suddenly an impressive 3.5 inches of pure 163 ppi glory. The design became the standard for the next generation of smartphones and, since then, other manufacturers have tried to find a way to imitate the iPhone visuals for familiarity while still adding their own design touches.

Since then, we have come a long way! iPhone has gotten bigger and better – that 3.5 inches has become 5.8 inches, and that 163 ppi has become a whopping 458 ppi. Storage has rocketed from a maximum of 16GB in 2007 to 256GB in 2017, and processor speeds are more powerful than many laptops. But fundamentally, gone is that button on the front, and instead we have an all-new design that turns the traditional iPhone look on its head. iPhone X, represents a step away from that well-known façade – but how does this latest iteration compare with its predecessors, and can we expect great things from Apple’s new model?

First thing’s first: The specs

Much has been made of the iPhone’s power, and while there are inevitably similarities between iPhone X and Apple’s other 2017 release, iPhone 8. The iPhone X does lead the way.

Display: 5.8” Super Retina HD display, 2436×1125 pixels at 458 ppi

Camera: 12MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4 aperture) cameras

Authentication: Face ID

Processor: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

Charging: Wireless charging

Capacity: 64GB or 256GB

The bits we love

It wouldn’t be a review of iPhone X if we didn’t comment on Face ID. Touch ID (using a fingerprint to unlock the device) has been part of the iPhone architecture since iPhone 5S back in 2013. The method of unlocking the phone worked largely seamlessly (except with the dreaded ice-cold fingers) from day one, and provided the device with authentication that meant there was a 1 in 50,000 chance of someone being able to access the device. Face ID (unlocking the device with a visual of your face) ramps that figure up to 1 in 1,000,000 by reading up to 30,000 dots on the face to check your identity. But how good is it?

While initial reports seemed to try anything to find the limitations of Face ID, our experience has been very good. Admittedly there have been times when a tired face first thing in the morning, in a dimly lit room and the cat half in view have left us resorting to putting in the passcode manually, but those instances have been few and far between. In fact, if anything there have been plenty of times when using Face ID has had its advantages over Touch ID. The cold finger issue is a thing of the past, and in cold weather we’ve been able to pull the phone out of our pocket then start using it easily.

It’s all made possible by that built in front-facing camera on the device that’s one of the big differentiators of the X over the 8. The camera, although slightly limited in its scope at the moment, undoubtedly has huge potential in the future. And as for that notch at the top of the display (created to house the camera) that has been much talked-about, after a couple of hours of usage, we barely noticed it was there.

Dog shot on iPhone X

It’s not just the front-facing camera that’s big news though. The rear camera on both iPhone X and iPhone 8 feels like a leap in terms of image quality. Apple have always been forward-thinking in terms of their approach to photography – Live Photos and Portrait Mode have both been great additions. During our tests, the camera performed incredibly well in various different lighting levels, including in Portrait Mode as well as with both still photography and video. Here are just a couple of examples of the photos we were able to get with the device.

Fireworks shot on iPhone X

The other big change compared to previous iPhones is the addition of wireless charging. It’s a feature that’s been tried on a number of mobile phones from other manufacturers in the past, and Apple have been using it on the Apple Watch for a couple of years. Now, iPhone users will be able to take over charging pads in Starbucks up and down the country.

But the real benefit is that by using wireless charging pads (expect Apple’s own AirPower in the new year) you’re able to charge multiple devices through a single cable – far more convenient and far fewer lightning cables lying around the house!

And what about Animojis?

Animojis were a headline feature during the Apple keynote – suddenly, moving poo emojis gave us the chance to step into our own Pixar movies and send abusive text messages in animated form – and there’s little denying that they were good fun initially. They work as expected and the emotion almost precisely mirrors the face you are making. However, admittedly, the novelty factor went quite quickly – mainly because for all the Animojis we were sending, we weren’t getting any back, so we’re sure if you have an arsenal of iPhone X-wielding friends you’ll get along just fine.

As mentioned above, it’s the potential of this technology which really stands out, and there are a number of games putting it to good (or rather quirky) use. Our favourite so far is Rainbrow which lets you control the app’s character using a combination of eyebrow raises and frowns. We look forward to slightly more productive uses of the tech, but for now we’re happy working on building rather impressive brow muscles.

The verdict

Let’s get one thing straight – we love the iPhone X. It’s refreshing to see iPhone stripped right back, with a new look, new functionality, and plenty of new software features not available on other phones. The device’s size does feel unusual at first, and one-handed use can be a bit of a push (mainly when reaching for the Control Centre), but as with the Plus size when that first launched, it’s a learning curve that’s soon overcome. The rear camera is a stand-out feature that shows Apple’s dedication to photography, while the front camera has huge potential.

As for the inner workings – well, we’ve said little about them, but that’s largely because they work perfectly. The device works as smooth as ever, with the latest processor perfectly prepped to handle the complex functionality that has been built into iOS 11. Apple have played a good hand by creating a device that breaks the mould while still feeling familiar to earlier models. It remains to be seen if this becomes the standard for the next ten years – we firmly believe it will.

To find out more about the specs of iPhone X or to buy now, take a look at the Jigsaw24 store, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple special events are always a high point in the Jigsaw24 calendar, but last night’s was particularly rewarding, yielding up two new MacBook Pro 13″ models (one for function key fans, one with the aggressively cool new Touch Bar) and an all-singing, all-dancing 15″ model. 

Held at Town Hall, Cupertino, Apple’s latest set of announcements features demos from Adobe, Twitter, Algoriddim and the Final Cut Pro team, the launch of a new Apple Accessibility site and news of a new TV app that turns your Apple TV into a hub for all your digital content, but nothing could distract from the real stars of the night: the all-new MacBook Pro lineup.

After years of incremental improvements, it’s great to see Apple really give some love to the pro end of their notebook line. The new lineup features a standard MacBook Pro 13″, which was explicitly positioned as ‘the MacBook Pro for people thinking of buying a MacBook Air’, a MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and a 15″ model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, plus four Thunderbolt 3 ports with integrated USB-C.

What is Touch Bar?

See that row of function keys at the top of your keyboard that you only ever use to adjust the volume? Apple has taken them away and replaced them with a multi-touch Retina Display quality mini display that knows what programme you’re in and displays the appropriate controls automatically.

When you’re working in the finder, you’ll see the brightness and volume keys you’re used to. Open Mail, and they’ll instantly change to shortcuts for sending, forwarding and moving your emails, among other tasks. Go into Photoshop, and you’ll see common shortcuts and a scale for adjusting properties like brightness and contrast. You can even scrub your video timelines in Final Cut Pro and make edits to audio and video clips using multitouch gestures, right on the Touch Bar.

All this means that whether you’re working with images or in productivity apps, you don’t have to leave off typing to use a trackpad or mouse to find common shortcuts; they’re right there for you on the keyboard, and you can even customise what Touch Bar displays in each app to ensure maximum productivity gains. Rather than having to take a step back from your images to find menus and palettes, you can work full screen and use one hand on Touch Bar and another on the Force Touch trackpad to edit without pauses or distractions.

MacBook Pro gets a new keyboard, trackpad, screen and more…

The 12″ MacBook’s butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad have both been moved to the MacBook Pro, although the butterfly keyboard has become more responsive on the way and “gives more sense of keyboard travel”, which we’re not fully sure we understand but which we are excited to experience.

The new trackpad is twice the size of that on the current MacBook Pro, giving you double the space to work with gesture controls. In combination with the new Touch Bar, Apple think this larger trackpad will allow creatives to develop a two-handed on-notebook workflow way of working, with one hand on the Touch Bar and another on the trackpad, without the need for mice or external pen tablets.

Other good news for creatives (and those of us who watch all their TV on our computers now) is that the MacBook Pro lineup now has a new and improved screen with 500 nit brightness, 67% higher contrast and a 25% wider colour gamut. If you’re more an audio type, you’ll like that speakers are now twice as loud and now have a much wider dynamic range.

Touch ID

Apple’s Touch ID security has made its way from iOS to macOS, powered by a new T1 chip that handles Touch ID and Secure Enclave. This means that not only can you lock your MacBook Pro geometrically, but you can also use Apple Pay to make purchases online. All you need to do is select ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ on the relevant listing, then tap Touch ID to authorise payment.

Most interesting for businesses, schools and other environments where machines may be shared is the fact that Touch ID can remember multiple fingerprints, and that if a user other than the one logged in taps the Touch ID button, the computer will automatically switch to their account, with all their apps and windows open as they last left that – a great productivity boost if you’re hot desking or use a shared pool of notebooks for any projects.

Thunderbolt 3 with integrated USB-C

You may remember USB-C as the somewhat controversial port that Apple added to their lineup with the 12″ MacBook. Combining multiple standards into a single port, USB-C can act as VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort or a power port with the right adapter – and now includes Thunderbolt connectivity as well.

These more versatile ports mean that you can connect your MacBook Pro to high-end displays, RAID storage, docks and third party creative hardware to transform a notebook into a full blown creative workstation.

The models

MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The new MacBook Pro 15” is powered by a 2.6GHz (3.5GHz with Turbo Boost) Intel Core i7 quad core processor, configurable to 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor. With a 2TB 3.1GBps SSD and 16GB of 2133MHz memory at its heart, performance on the new generation MacBook Pro 15” is up to 50% faster, while new thermal architecture ensures cool running. Despite this improved performance, it offers up to 10 hours battery life.

Graphics are powered by a Radeon Pro Polaris graphics card, which gives you up to 4GB VRAM and 2.3x faster graphics performance overall. This translates to a 130% performance boost with regard to 3D graphics work, 57% for video editing and 60% for gaming.

MacBook Pro 15” features 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The MacBook Pro 13” is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor (2.9GHz, up to 3.3GHz with Turbo Boost enabled), configurable to a 3.7GHz Intel Core i7 Dual Core processor. Fast response times come courtesy of a 265GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 2133MHz memory. An Intel Iris 550 graphics card with 64MB of eDRAM provides twice the graphics performance of the previous generation, delivering 103% better performance when you’re gaming, and 76% better when you’re editing video or working with 3D graphics. MacBook Pro 13” features four Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ 

MacBook Pro is powered by a 2.0GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost support that can reach speeds of up to 3.1GHz, configurable to a 2.4GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7 processor. A 256GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 1866MHz memory ensure fast response times, while Intel Iris 540 graphics give you superior graphics performance. MacBook Pro 13” features two Thunderbolt 3 ports,with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging..

Want to order the latest MacBook Pro models? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook