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Developers react to iPhone X, the notch, and more

Apple's September event brought new devices, new features, and 3D poop.

Paul Hudson       @twostraws

If your Twitter feed was anything like mine, last night’s Apple keynote was an epic stream of developers cooing excitedly, fretting about the new iPhone X status bar layout, and joking about Animoji.

Here are some of the best tweets I saw whizz by – feel free to link me to any you think should be added

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iPhone X is here: a phone that will define the next decade

The new iPhone 8 and iPhone X CPU – named A11 Bionic – comes with two performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, which should make it up to 70% faster for multi-threaded tasks than iPhone 7. Suffice it to say, Intel should be worried…

At the same time, the new screen resolution of 375x812 means it has extra height than both the 375x667 of iPhone 8 and the 414x736 of iPhone 8 Plus, but less width than the Plus.

Most of that extra height is made available because the home button made way, although other hardware buttons are staying – for now…

Of course, a big question on everyone’s mind was, “why X?” We still don’t know, but there are some theories…

The replacement for the home button – the “home indicator” – lets users swipe upwards to quit apps or enter multitasking, but can also be used to swipe horizontally between apps. It might take some getting used to, but that hasn’t stopped some developers getting excited already:

But that notch though…

Well, let’s just say it takes a little getting used to:

OK, a lot of getting used to:

Fortunately, one developer has already found a creative solution:

If you’re planning to sit down with your art team to figure out how your app will work with the notch, you’re going to need some shared language. This should help you get started:

Of course, another option is to defy Apple’s guidelines and just do what you think looks best, because that will surely end well:

And if you did that, you wouldn’t be alone:

But is the iPhone X’s notch the first step towards something more? Here’s one terrifying possibility…

The status bar gets split in two

Having the notch in place means the status bar is now split in two, not entirely unlike the cloven hoof of the devil.

Even though some developers are still suffering PTSD from status bar changes introduced with iOS 7, it looks like Apple isn’t finished with us yet…

“Status bar bugs? Pah!” I hear you say, “what kind of bugs could the iPhone X status bar cause?” Well, here’s a good place to start:

Fortunately for all of us, iPhone X contains so many impressive new features that Apple aren’t able to get it out this month:

Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, though – download Xcode 9 now and start testing out your app!

More new features: Animoji and wireless charging

The iPhone X features some incredibly advanced facial scanning and recognition hardware, backed up by new Metal 2 pipelines for skinning and subdivision surfaces.

Naturally, there was only one thing to do with all that power…

Yes, you can animate some poop with your facial expressions. And yes, of course I’ll try it when I finally get an iPhone X – don’t try and pretend you won’t.

The iPhone X tracks over 50 muscles movements in your lips, cheeks, mouth, and more, meaning that bigger movements from you translate into bigger movements in your Animoji recording.

Of course, that also meant Apple execs had to demonstrate it on stage with suitably expansive facial expressions…

The whole event started and ended with a tribute to Steve Jobs, but how much influence did he have on Animoji? Inquiring minds want to know.

Another key feature introduced yesterday was wireless charging, allowing users to place their devices on a charging mat and allowing their cats to knock those same devices right off again shortly afterwards.

Still, at least it means the Lightning port is free…

And let’s face it: Apple doesn’t always have a great history when it comes to charging, so even if your pet does think your iPhone is a toy, remember it could have been worse:

Apple didn’t give a firm date for when their Air Power charging mat will be released, so maybe there’s still time for a rebrand?

An event filled with awesome

Although some people seem to hate Apple to the core (sorry not sorry) and will take great joy in pointing out all the Android devices that shipped half-baked versions of iPhone X features years earlier, the rest of us should be in awe at yesterday’s event – new iPhones (plural!), a 4K Apple TV, an LTE Apple Watch, and more.

I thought the tribute to Steve Jobs was perfect, and a really fine way to open his eponymous theater at Apple Park. It was also hard not to be touched by the new “Dear Apple” video highlighting how much the Apple watch means to its users:

Yes, Apple really did set up the remnants of a car crash in order to create their new marketing video.

As the New York Times put it, Apple is great at showing how their products make us better versions of ourselves.

Now, back to watching videos of Animoji poop…

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About the author

Paul Hudson is the creator of Hacking with Swift, the most comprehensive series of Swift books in the world. He's also the editor of Swift Developer News, the maintainer of the Swift Knowledge Base, and a speaker at Swift events around the world. If you're curious you can learn more here.

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