I still remember when I saw my first iPhone.
I was in after-school study in September, 2007. The iPhone wouldn’t be released in Ireland for another two months but a friend had recently returned from the US and he’d bought one with the money he’d earned working that summer. Everyone in my class was gathered round just staring at it. It was like no phone we’d ever seen before. Compared to our blocky Nokias and Samsungs, it looked like something out of Star Trek. We were in awe.
It would take me another two years but I knew then and there, that I was going to own an iPhone.
Everyone who knows me knows I write about technology. This means they come to me with their tech problems—“Seriously, just turn it off and on again. And stop calling me!”—but they also come to me just to talk about about tech. Even though Apple is releasing two iPhones this year, I haven’t fielded one question about the iPhone 8. Every non-nerd I know has been fascinated by the iPhone X.
If you follow the tech press you might think they just want to crack jokes about the notch, ask how you hold a phone without bezels, or just generally snicker at the Apple sheeple. But that’s not the case.
Every single one of those normal people has loved the X. They don’t care about the specs; they just want to talk about how cool it is. A few of them plan to buy it today, some of them want to upgrade to it when their contract is up but most people, most people just want to fantasize about the future. And that’s what the X is, the future.
The X is so damn futuristic—it’s all screen!—that it makes the best phone in the world look boring. Seriously, the iPhone 8 Plus is the best phone you can buy right now. It’s got a larger usable screen area, better battery life, and the same insides as the iPhone X for $200 less.
But the iPhone 8 is the same as the iPhone 7, which was the same as the iPhone 6S, which was the same as the iPhone 6. It’s not different, it’s not new; it’s just the same old iPhone you’ve been able to buy for the last few years. It might be the greatest phone ever made, but it’s only incrementally greater than the previous greatest phone ever made.
The X is the future, and people care about the future. When it comes to phones Apple has always blazed the way. Google mocked Apple last year for removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7; this year they removed it from their phone, the Pixel. Samsung and every other Android manufacturer is scrabbling to remove bezels from their phones. The X is a glimpse at what all smartphones are going to look like in two years time.
I’m going to have to write a lot more articles before I can afford to drive a Lamborghini while wearing a Patek Phillipe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love looking at Lambos and Pateks. They’re out of my price bracket now, but not my imagination.
People don’t need to buy the iPhone X to be fascinated by it. Even people who are diehard Android fans have asked me about it. They know it’s a sign of what’s to come. The X (or an X-like phone) might not be in your pocket this year, but it will be soon.
I don’t remember where I saw my first iPhone 4. I don’t remember seeing my first 5S or 7. I know I’m going to remember seeing my first X.