Will ‘iPhone X’ live up to Steve Jobs’ visionary promise?

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Apple founder Steve Jobs.

MANILA – When Apple founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007, he brandished the metal and glass slab as a “revolutionary” device that “changes everything.”

On Tuesday (early Wednesday in Manila), a new iPhone will be unveiled at a theater named after the late technology visionary. But leaks and reports point to a smartphone that is playing catch-up rather than blazing the trail in an increasingly saturated market.

A display that wraps around the entire front of the screen and wireless charging are among the rumored headline features of the top-tier device, which will reportedly called iPhone X and cost $1,000. Such features have long been available on handsets that run Google’s Android software.

The first iPhone debuted with Blackberry and Nokia dominating the market, when consumers used their handheld computers primarily for e-mails.

Jobs hyped the first generation iPhone as a 3-in-1 device that combines its iPod music and video player, a phone and an “breakthrough internet communications device.”

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” said Jobs, who was dressed in his signature jeans, sneakers and black turtleneck.

“Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” he said.

STYLUS? YUCK

The full touch-screen iPhone was nothing like the Blackberrys of 2007, whose main selling point was a physical keyboard that allowed power users to type emails on the go.

Jobs famously mocked the stylus used in smart devices that preceded the iPhone.

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away and you lose them. Yuck,” Jobs said.

“We are going to use the pointing device that we are all born with We have 10 of them,” he said.

The “multi-touch” display that allowed users to navigate the device using finger gestures was revolutionary at that time and Apple also blazed the trail with its application store on the second-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G.

Apple was also the first to tout camera capabilities in a smartphone with 2011’s iPhone 4s, a metal and glass sandwich that also came with Siri, a voice-controlled digital assistant that came half a decade ahead of Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

In 2013, Apple debuted Touch ID to allow iPhone users to unlock their devices and make online payments using their fingerprints.

FALLING BEHIND

Subsequent upgrades however had Apple catching up with rival Android manufacturers.

The screen size of 2012’s iPhone 5 was increased to 4 inches from 3.5 inches as Android screens got bigger.

A 5.5-inch “Plus” model was added alongside a 4.7-inch version in the 2014 version, iPhone 6. Rival phones, at that time, had stretched screen sizes to as big as 6 inches in frames that are smaller than the largest iPhone.

In 2015, Apple introduced the Pencil to allow users to sketch on their iPad tablets, notwithstanding Jobs’ disdain for the stylus.

Samsung had long touted the S-Pen stylus for its Galaxy Note line, whose latest version, Galaxy Note 8, was launched last month.

The rumored wraparound screen on the “iPhone X” was started last year by Chinese Xiaomi’s Mi Mix last year and brought to the mainstream earlier this year by Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Data from market tracker Counterpoint showed that Chinese manufacturer Huawei overtook Apple as the world’s second biggest-selling smartphone maker in the June to July period.



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