Tag Archives: iOS

iPhone X Review Roundup: Early But Really Nice


Apple’s iPhone X review embargo lifted today, and opinions from various sites have started to come in. The consensus, generally speaking, is that the iPhone X is a major revamp that hits far more often than it misses, though there’s an important caveat here: Apple appears to have seeded the iPhone X with less than 24 hours between unit reception and review NDA lift. That’s an insanely short period of time for any device, particularly a genre-redefining phone.

Everyone seems to love the display. “At a glance, the iPhone X looks so good one of our video editors kept saying it looked fake,” The Verge declares . It describes the display as looking “like a live 3D render instead of an actual working phone.”

Opinions on the “notch”–the cut-out at the top used for Face ID–continue to bifurcate. CNN reports still being annoyed by it, and The Verge claims landscape mode is still very messy, with content also clipped at the corners thanks to the screen’s rounded bezels. This is one area where Android and Apple both seem to have trouble; robust app support for the various bezel shapes, edge displays, and now Apple’s notch seems to lag years behind when hardware manufacturers want to roll these features out. Wired, on the other hand, says that while the notch isn’t great, “ you get used to it. ” Apps that haven’t been specifically updated for the iPhone X display in what The Verge refers to as “software bezel” mode, as shown below:

Reports on Face ID are also a bit split. Wired had some initial trouble with it, CNN isn’t giving an opinion yet, and The Verge states: “The good news is that Face ID mostly works great. The bad news is that sometimes it doesn’t, and you will definitely have to adjust the way you think about using your phone to get it to a place where it mostly works great.”

So… good, maybe?

The camera is always a major feature of any smartphone launch, but the iPhone X reviews are so compressed, most salient details are missing. The Verge writes that the iPhone X camera is very similar to the iPhone 8 (not counting its cutting-edge support for sentient poop emoji), while Wired writes that the iPhone X is a “major upgrade,” but appears to compare against an iPhone 7. Generally speaking, camera technology improves year-on-year more than in different models of phone with a similar camera, and Apple clearly spent its major budget working on getting Face ID working as opposed to on outfitting the iPhone X with a radically different back camera solution. CNN doesn’t mention the back-facing camera at all.

A Tight Review Embargo Does No One Any Favors

If this review roundup seems a little brief compared with the significance of the device, it’s because most of the review coverage out today is pretty sparse. If you want to read about a giant poop emoji, well, Wired leads with it. No, I’m not sure why. Everyone else has given the phone a lick and a promise, generally noting that while it does a lot of things pretty well, the tight review timeline plus the newness of the phone’s display make it harder to truly evaluate. There are no dramatic issues with Face ID, though it’s still possible that Apple relaxed its standards to speed manufacturing without fundamentally compromising quality.

If you’ve ever (or often) picked up an iPhone and wondered what the fuss was about, the various reviews waxing on about Apple’s reinvention of ideas like the Home Button (now you use gestures) or the glorious nature of OLED screens is going to strike you as a bit myopic. “Android devices have had some of these things for literal years,” you might be tempted to shout. And you’d have a point, in many cases. Right now, the iPhone X appears to be an exceptionally well-made handset, with a number of technological firsts in an Apple device, but it’s also designed to look towards a future that takes greater advantage of AR technology, eschews buttons, and fields apps that adjust to screen dimensions more capably than what we have today. The problem with this is you don’t know which innovations will catch with customers and which will not until you try. Apple is throwing a lot of mud at the proverbial wall with the iPhone X, but we’ll have to see what sticks.

With that said, all of these reviews are more positive on the iPhone X than the iPhone 8. If you were choosing which Apple phone to buy based solely on reviews, even at this early stage, the iPhone X comes off much better.


iPhone backups now easier to crack

According to Forbes, Apple’s latest iOS release seems to have accidentally weakened the the iPhone’s security, potentially allowing unauthorized access to localized backups.
Elcomsoft, a Russian firm that has created tools to break into iPhones, discovered the vulnerability as it worked to update its phone breaker tool. It found that backups saved after a user updates to iOS 10 uses a new “password verification mechanism” that skips several security checks, according to a blog post.
The attack targets password-protected backups made by iOS 10. If an attacker managed to get one of those backup files without the associated password, Elcomsoft’s new attack would allow it to crack the encryption “approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older.” Where the company could process 2,400 passwords per second under iOS 9, it can run 6 million passwords per second in iOS 10.


The weakness of the iTunes backups appears to be a weak link in security for the iPhone — but only for iOS 10 users. Elcomsoft noted that trying to break into the physical phone or into iCloud has gotten incredibly difficult, but accessing a backup stored on a computer allows for some access. “Forcing an iPhone or iPad to produce an offline backup and analyzing resulting data is one of the very few acquisition options available for devices running iOS 10.”
According to a statement provided to Forbes, Apple is aware of the issue and is working to correct it:
“We’re aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update. This does not affect iCloud backups,” a spokesperson said. “We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption.”

In the meantime, it might be best to wait for an updated version of iOS before you back your phone up.