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5 ways the iPhone X could be better

Published Feb 13th, 2018 11:18AM EST
iPhone X Review
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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With about seven months to go until Apple unveils its new 2018 iPhone lineup, it seems like we shouldn’t be talking about the company’s iPhone X successors right now. And yet because the company has so much trouble keeping its suppliers from leaking information to insiders like KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, we already know plenty about the company’s plans for its next-generation iPhones.

According to Kuo, Apple plans to release not two but three new iPhone models this coming September. One will be a proper sequel to the current 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X, and the second will reportedly be a larger Plus version with a 6.5-inch OLED screen. Then there will supposedly be a third new iPhone model that features a 6.1-inch LCD display with lower resolution, and it’ll apparently cost less that Apple’s OLED iPhones.

We’ve heard a great deal about the new hardware Apple is said to prepping for 2018, but we haven’t yet heard very much about the new features and improvements Apple is planning for its new 2018 iPhone lineup. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five key areas where the iPhone X currently falls short, in the hopes that Apple intends to address these problems with its new iPhone models in 2018.

Face ID

There is no question whatsoever that Face ID is the most controversial thing about the iPhone X. People have grown to love Touch ID fingerprint authentication on Apple’s iPhone lineup, and users were shocked when they found out that the beloved feature wouldn’t be included on the iPhone X.

Interestingly, opinions are quite split when it comes to Face ID. People either love it or hate it, and the reasoning on both sides of the argument is sound. The simple fact of the matter is that Face ID works really, really well for some people and really, really poorly for others.

The technical reasons for the discrepancy aren’t clear, but there is indeed a big disparity as far as the Face ID experience on the iPhone X goes. Some people, myself included, find that it unlocks the iPhone quickly and easily. In fact, I personally haven’t had any issues at all with consistency. Meanwhile, many people I know have had the opposite experience, where Face ID fails constantly. Considering how many times people unlock their phones each day — and considering how great Touch ID is — this is beyond frustrating for many users.

Phone and app unlocking is a key part of the iPhone user experience, and it absolutely needs to be improved on Apple’s 2018 iPhones. Hopefully the bulk of the improvements happen on the software side of things so that people who plan to keep their iPhone X handsets for another year or two benefit as well.

Control Center and Notifications

Apple probably does plenty of market research before it makes UI changes. The current state of iOS’s notifications and Control Center suggest the company doesn’t always ask the right questions.

The iPhone X’s new gesture-based UX is terrific… for the most part. While most gestures are seamless and logical, requiring users to swipe down from the top corners to access two core features is annoying at best and stupid at worst. There’s simply no way to do it comfortably with one hand, and that includes the trick where you use Reachability first, since Reachability itself is impossible to activate comfortably with one hand.

App Switcher

Look, I hate to start another debate about whether or not people should close apps entirely or simply minimize them to the background, but I’m going to anyway. Apple itself says that apps shouldn’t be force closed… but I say that’s wrong.

First of all, Apple’s recommendation that apps should be left minimized in the background makes the assumption that all developers build their apps properly. This is obviously a ridiculous assumption. Plain and simple: there are apps that continue to use resources unnecessarily when left minimized. There always will be. Closing these apps will save battery life and, at times, improve performance.

Secondly, let’s not forget the purpose of an app switcher on a smartphone. It’s to switch between apps that you use a lot. If every single app that has ever been opened on your phone is left floating around in the app switcher, it’s impossible to efficiently switch between apps you use often because you have to sift through so much junk to find them.

Long story short, there should be a simpler way to force close apps from the app switcher. Plenty of iPhone X users don’t even know how to do it currently.

Configurable Lock Screen Shortcuts

This is a simple one, but it’s something I’ve seen mentioned constantly on Reddit and in Apple forums.

Right now there are two shortcuts on the lock screen. One is the flashlight, and it’s locked to the bottom-left corner of the screen. The second is the camera, which is pinned in the bottom-right corner. The camera shortcut is also completely useless, since simply swiping to the left on the lock screen opens the camera. Why on Earth are there two camera shortcuts on the lock screen?

Like the Control Center, people should be able to select which lock screen shortcuts they want and which order they’re displayed in.

Overall Software Performance

Last but certainly not least, iOS needs some serious work where overall performance and stability are concerned. Thankfully, it looks like Apple is well aware of the issues in iOS. According to a report last month, fixing and polishing iOS will be a huge focus in iOS 12, and some new features are even being delayed or shifted to iOS 13 in order to free up engineers to focus on stability and performance improvements.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.