Sorry, Android Fans: The iPhone X is Worth the $1,000 Price Tag

…and we’re back.

It’s another September, and that means another iPhone—but at a $999 starting price, the iPhone X is the most expensive Apple smartphone ever sold. The X is more expensive than the cheapest Mac notebook, yet, despite its hefty price tag, it’s entirely worth the upgrade.

The Future of Smartphone Design

The iPhone X—pronounced “Ten”—is fully coated with glass on its front and back sides. Still, Apple continues to emphasize that it’s the “most durable” hardware ever used in a smartphone, even if the entire front display is screen. The only exception to this design is a small sliver at the top of the camera, and as a result, the X lacks the familiar Apple home button.

The X boasts a new feature called “Animoji,” which uses facial recognition to create short clips of your emotions and then sends them off as customized emojis. Apple’s facial recognition allows you to create more personalized emojis that reflect the exact expressions you’re making.

Gimmicky, but really cool.

One of the more impressive features of the X is wireless charging. Apple names this technology “Qi,” but aside from its attractiveness in this week’s press reports, wireless charging is substantially slower than standard wires. The X also has two more hours of battery life compared to the iPhone 7.

Nonetheless, the most riveting news about the X is its unprecedented speed. The rate of its single-core processor is more than double than that of the Samsung Galaxy S8—a Geekbench score of 4,100 vs. 2,000—and the iPhone X’s multi-core processor triumphs over Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro. The iPhone X runs at computer-fast speeds, so much so that TechCrunch has called its processor “overkill.” The numbers don’t lie.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be in stores by the end of this month, but the X won’t be available for pre-order until October 7, with a shipping release date of November 3.

A Familiar Battle

What’s important to note is that the iPhone X will hit the market at the same time as other high-end smartphones. The upcoming Galaxy Note 8, for instance, is programmed with the consistently reliable Android processing system and is actually quite larger than the X.

As for biometrics, the Note 8 has everything: a fingerprint reader, an iris scanner, and face detection capabilities to unlock the device. Critics argue, however, that the face detection feature can be bypassed by holding up a photo to the camera. The X, on the other hand, is built with a 3-D face scanner called Face ID. Touch ID—the now obsolete iOS fingerprint reader—has been gutted out of the system, and buyers will find that there’s no iris scanner in the X.

Both phones are water-resistant, but the X still doesn’t offer a headphone jack. This once-essential feature has been removed since the launch of the iPhone 7, though the Note 8 flaunts one.

The Note can make purchases just about anywhere since Samsung recently acquired LoopPay. Users will be glad to see that they can pay at almost any credit card reader with a couple taps, and although Apple Pay is gaining popularity, it’ll take a while until it becomes as accepted as Samsung Pay.

The Verdict

I believe that the X isn’t another rushed iPhone iteration to make “old” iOS devices obsolete. As a consumer, it’s essential to look past gimmicky features like Animoji, but the bandwidth numbers are staggering: the X is faster and stronger than any smartphone past or present.

The iPhone X is what Apple fans want; it’ll signal the transition into smartphones that expand the possibilities of augmented reality. The future of smartphones is here, and the iPhone X is certainly at the front of it.

 

Sources: CNBC, TechCrunchThe Verge

Yes, AI is Real; No, You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of It

artificial intelligence (n): the ability of a digital computer to perform human tasks

The star of this fragrance commercial isn’t a celebrity. In fact, he’s not even a model. Stanford grad student Alexandre Robicquet is an AI researcher who works with Google X founder Sebastian Thrun.

There are many reasons as to why Robicquet was picked for the commercial, but his role as an AI scientist points to a significant cultural and technological change in the contemporary world. Mainstream media has made artificial intelligence look sexy, and the possibilities of robotic automation are limitless.

But AI isn’t breaking news. In fact, its earliest developments date to 1956, when Dartmouth professor John McCarthy proposed a summer research project to investigate the ways that machines could simulate learning. Soon after, AI labs sprung up at MIT and Stanford, where experiments involving chess, robotics, and communication were conducted.

More recently, AI hardware has become exponentially more powerful. Google and its parent company Alphabet have reportedly spent over $500 million in AI purchases, while Amazon continues to drive its inventory of AI technology to recommend products to customers and relocate items around around its fulfillment centers. Apple hopes to use AI to recognize handwriting, extend its products’ battery life, and recognize text embedded in PDF files.

No, Google isn’t the Terminator.

Amazing Potential

A study released by Conversica, an AI software platform, reports that only 1 in 5 people believe that AI can ruin their careers. A future with AI, unfortunately, comes at the expense of millions of domestic workers in the manufacturing, banking, and transportation industries.

For one, machine translation systems make human translators obsolete. Under automated financial services, banks would no longer need to hire tellers if ATMs could create new accounts and issue loans. As AI becomes acceptable for everyday travel, drivers at electronic taxi companies like Uber and Lyft may soon find themselves out of work.

These shortcomings, however, mean little when compared to the long-term practicality of AI in the world economy. The financial applications of AI are simply astounding: Algorithmic trading can seamlessly use complex AI systems to make trading decisions at lightning-fast speeds. Although these systems are generally used by large institutional investors, the millions of trades made daily by AI machines triumph over manual trading by human investors.

Automated traders hard at work.

At home, several financial products and software can use AI to aid people in monitoring their spending habits. AI apps analyze monthly income and current balances and can then make their own decisions to transfer money to saving accounts. So-called “robo-advisors” provide financial advice and portfolio management to humans while adjusting to real-time changes in the financial market.

Most importantly, AI has amazing potential in the hospital. Tasks that can very soon be performed by artificial intelligence include heart sound analysis, treatment plan design, drug creation, and robot assistance for the elderly. In the midst of more affordable health care and more experienced medical professionals, artificial intelligence can use virtual avatars in place of patients for hands-on clinical training.

Why Stop Progress?

Last Friday, Russian president Vladimir Putin released a disconcerting statement on the power of AI, arguing that whoever becomes the leader in artificial intelligence will be crowned the “ruler of the free world”. Opponents to AI must consider that artificial intelligence is still in the incubation phase, yet its potential for technological and cultural growth is astronomical.

AI researchers suggest that it’ll take more than a hundred years for AI to significantly impact our day-to-day lives. As we intricately emerge into a computer-programmed world, we must think optimistically on the sustainable, lasting effects of automation and rely less on the surreal, dramatized depictions of artificial intelligence in world media.

Sources: ForbesFuturismThe Verge