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Apple senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller introduce the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus recently. All phone prices are in US dollars. AFP PIC

IT’S here, the smartest of the smartphones, or so they claim. The iPhone X, more aptly pronounced as iPhone 10 in honour of its 10th anniversary, is dubbed the smartphone of the future.

Launched about a week ago, Apple literally rushed to complete the Steve Jobs Theatre inside Apple campus in Cupertino, California, just for the launch of iPhone X. How’s that for a grand entrance!

Its state-of-the-art theatre, built on the futuristic Apple Park, is about as impressive as the iPhone X, according to those who attended the event.

The attendees likened Apple Park to a “spaceship” set against a backdrop of green hills and blue sky. The theatre itself is reportedly filled with leather seats that cost as much as US$14,000 (RM60,200) each, and armed with the Apple TV 4K box to project 4K video.

I have to give credit to Apple. They sure know how to make an impressive launch to elevate the iPhone X. And yet, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook commented that the company doesn’t just make smartphones for the upper-class society.

While rumours are swirling around how impressive the iPhone X is, there are also many who counter that iPhone X, no matter how smart the design may be, is just another smartphone with some new features.

After all the brouhaha about iPhone X and its newest functions and capabilities, I still haven’t really made up my mind if this is as awesome as what tech junkies say or the videos made to impress our society.

Yes, so it has that latest technology of Face ID, where you hold up your iPhone X to scan your face to unlock it; the performance of the software is faster than before with some A11 bionic chips (apparently it’s got superhuman intelligence), the enhanced camera functions to make your selfies and pictures look like a million bucks, a super-duper cute animoji application to reveal your inner animal on OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen, and the list goes on...

It’s like a dream smartphone to have, if you ask me. I guess if I want to be among those to own such technologies, I would have been eager to get my hands on the iPhone X.

But, not everyone can afford such luxuries. iPhone X is estimated to cost RM5,000 for the lowest spec, although local pricing and availability have yet to be announced. But, wait a minute, didn’t we hear that the Apple CEO mentioned its phones are built for the normal class?

In my opinion, the normal class society like me will think very hard before getting a RM5,000 smartphone. A laptop costs less than that.

I am not saying that iPhone X is not good. I guess it is too early for that. I am just saying that if one can afford it, go ahead, buy it. For all the technologies it has, iPhone X will be an iconic smartphone to have if you want to impress your world of friends. The tagline “Say Hello to the Future” has already projected the image that the new iPhone X will carry.

This is what Apple does best, garner an exclusive crowd of loyalists to its product with the promise of a smartphone for the future. To own an iPhone X means you have the latest and most advanced technology in your hands. To be the best, you have to outdo your competitors. Sure enough, Apple’s biggest rival, Samsung, is also coming up with its own range of advanced technology with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Then again, users pay the price for a Samsung phone as well these days.

While I feel that Android smartphones, such as the ones from Samsung, are slightly cheaper than Apple, the difference is not that far off. Samsung users affirm their belief by reassuring themselves as well as others that Samsung smartphones are just as good as iPhones.

My point is that there will always be two sides to a coin. Either you will be on the Apple side or another brand’s, depending on what you choose to believe in, as well as your principle of having the “latest and best”.

Would you not survive if you don’t own an iPhone or Samsung? Not really.

Then there is another level of society that is just blissfully ignorant of the world of Apple and Samsung. Users in this group are those who believe that a phone is used for communication and nothing more.

As long as it can carry out most of the basic communication functions with a few smart technologies thrown in for good measure, they are completely happy with their smartphones, be they a Nokia, BlackBerry, Huawei or one of those cheaper Chinese brands.

One may ask if iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be vying for top spot in the smartphone world.

I think so. It’s a “Game of Phones” in the end. It’s all about users wanting to succumb to their wants in life.

While there are some who will go all out and tighten their belts by signing up for instalment plans for the new, premium iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8, there will always be those who just couldn’t care less to pay for such novelties.

But, having said that, Apple has, indeed, “upped” the game with its smartphones of the future mantra. It will be interesting to see how its rivals take up the challenge with other disruptive innovations and futuristic themes.

Stay tuned!

kushairi@mediaprima.com.my

The writer is editor of BOTs, the weekly tech section in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his problem-solving skills with writing about how tech has helped to transform the world for the better

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