Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Oct 2017 09:45 UTC

Update (original story below): the real review embargo has been lifted, and it turns out Apple gave reviewers only 24 hours between handing over the phone and lifting the embargo. This raised another red flag for me, and my red flags may have merit: it turns out Face ID is not exactly without issues. Nilay Patel details that while Face ID works quite well inside, it has issues outside in the sun or under fluorescent lighting. It regularly just wouldn't recognise his face in these environments.

The other problem is actually much more interesting: almost all of the early questions about FaceID centered around how it would work in the dark, but it turns out that was exactly backwards. FaceID works great in the dark, because the IR projector is basically a flashlight, and flashlights are easy to see in the dark. But go outside in bright sunlight, which contains a lot of infrared light, or under crappy florescent lights, which interfere with IR, and FaceID starts to get a little inconsistent.

I took a walk outside our NYC office in bright sunlight, and FaceID definitely had issues recognizing my face consistently while I was moving until I went into shade or brought the phone much closer to my face than usual. I also went to the deli across the street, which has a wide variety of lights inside, including a bunch of overhead florescent strips, and FaceID also got significantly more inconsistent.

I'm not spending a lot more time on iPhone X reviews today, because it's impossible to review a phone in 24 hours. Beware of the reviews you're reading online today, and to Patel's credit, they clearly label their "review" as a work-in-progress draft that they'll be updating based on questions from users. As such, it doesn't carry any advice or grades or anything like that, which is commendable. I haven't had time to dive into other 24-hour "reviews" just yet (it's the middle of a workday here, after all).

All in all, this is a very strange launch and review situation, and while it's too early to tell if Apple is truly insecure, the early signs of Face ID issues definitely don't help to alleviate my red flags.

Apple's iPhone X - its most anticipated new phone in a very long time - goes on sale this Friday, Nov. 3.

So sometime this week, as usual, you'll be able to read and watch a bunch of serious-sounding reviews, as Professional Gadget Reviewers critique everything from bezels to battery life.

But Apple did something different this year. It invited a handful of YouTubers you probably haven't heard of to its fancy penthouse in New York, gave them some early hands-on time with the iPhone X, and let them publish their videos a day or more in advance of the official reviews. (It also let Wired/Backchannel's Steven Levy write a "first first impression of the iPhone X" post because Steven Levy. It also gave one to Axios co-founder Mike Allen, who had his nephew play with it. And Mindy Kaling for Glamour. And The Ellen Show.)

This is quite remarkable. Why would Apple invite a number of relatively unknown YouTubers to a fancy event, hand them a few restrictive talking points and an hour or so of hands-on-time, and allow them to call their videos "reviews", well before the real review embargo is lifted? This is basically just a repeat of the hands-on time journalists, bloggers, and YouTubers got after the launch event a few weeks ago.

This is a carefully orchestrated "control the message" type of thing, and all the videos are practically identical, with the same limited number of talking points, all shot in the same fancy nondescript loft-like Apple Store (?) somewhere in New York City.

Apple clearly wanted this to be the first thing people saw of the iPhone X. No critical reviews by detail-oriented people like MKBHD, Dieter Bohn or heck, even John Gruber (who is not happy with this). No, Apple invited small-time YouTubers who are easily impressed to make the video of their lifetimes to ensure they'd get nothing but shallow, fuzzy good press.

It reeks of insecurity, and if I didn't know any better, I'd be very worried about just what the heck is wrong with this phone.

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apple experience
by project_2501 on Tue 31st Oct 2017 10:17 UTC
Member since:

not 100% related to the iphone but there is an aura of magic about apple which doesn't exist anymore

i've been logging my painful experience with the hardware and so-called genius and apple customer support - it's as bad as you might expect from a no-name brand - constantly failing hardware, not admitting deep design flaws, runnig you around in circles, wasting time with errors and false assertions, call centre hell, ...

I spoke with an authorised apple repair centre that I trust - and they frankly told me Apple quality has fallen sharply in the last 5 years - but the secrecy and strong PR and marketing machines keep the sales going...

£1000+ for an iphone X .. if it isn't perfect so many people will feel sore

Reply Score: 4

RE: apple experience
by project_2501 on Tue 31st Oct 2017 11:22 in reply to "apple experience"
project_2501 Member since:

The best summary of what Apple was and what Apple is that I heard:

Apple is now a fashion company.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: apple experience
by moondevil on Tue 31st Oct 2017 11:38 in reply to "apple experience"
moondevil Member since:

Steve was that aura.

Here in most European countries you could hardly get any Apple systems during the old days (pre-OS X).

Getting an Amiga or Atari ST was seen as much more interesting, those were the companies we were following.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: apple experience
by leech on Tue 31st Oct 2017 11:52 in reply to "RE: apple experience"
leech Member since:

That's because Europeans aren't as big as morons as people in the USA who tend to accept things shoveled into them.

And before people whine about me spouting off about European superiority, I was born and raised in Utah, land of the Mormons! Even most of the rock bands from Europe are superior. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles... Okay, fine, all from the UK, but still...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: apple experience
by project_2501 on Tue 31st Oct 2017 12:46 in reply to "RE: apple experience"
project_2501 Member since:

I started with a BBC Micro Master Compact Model

Then I had an ARM based RiscOS BBC Archimedes A3000

I still remember the beautiful user guides it came with:

And I used to read magazines like BBC Acorn User.. those covers had loads of effort and art put into them. They even had yellow pages of code to type in...

... the golden age!

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: apple experience
by feamatar on Tue 31st Oct 2017 21:34 in reply to "RE: apple experience"
feamatar Member since:

This is the usual myth. Probably more companies purchased Macs in Europe than consumers purchased Amigas and STs. By 1986 it was widely used for desktop publishing and writing all over Europe. Macs were even featured in game magazines like ACE and CVG, because the magazines were mostly made on Macs and PCs, instead of Amigas and ST which simply lacked proper text editing and DTP software until the late 80s. Yeah, they never were £500 gaming machines, and £2000 computers were hard sell for kids as Christmas presents.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: apple experience
by cranfordio on Tue 31st Oct 2017 13:21 in reply to "apple experience"
cranfordio Member since:

As a service provider, self-servicing for a school, I completely disagree with this assessment. Prior to getting MacBook Airs in our school three years ago we were having computers come in all the time with problems. Hard Drive failures, loose screen hinges, memory coming loose and even the screw holes in the battery breaking and the battery just sliding around inside the case. These were pretty much all the 2010-mid 2012 MacBook Pros, all over 5 years old now. Since the MacBook Airs, then the Retina MacBook Pros and then this year the 2017 MacBook Pro non-TB, we have seen a huge decrease in support issues. We are now approaching three months of school and I have not had a single warranty issue on the 2017 MacBook Pro (some accidental damage). This has not been the case with the Airs or the rMBP, though their issues were less common than the Mid-2012 MBP and earlier. We never had any of the 2016s so I can't say whether or not they were more problematic, but so far I have been extremely happy with 2017s. I feel that their quality has gotten better, not worse.

Reply Parent Score: 5