Apple's iPhone X Is So Different From The iPhone 8 — Here’s What You Need To Know

by Lilli Petersen

Today we were blessed with the glory that is a new iPhone-to-be, thanks to Apple's keynote event in Cupertino, California on Sept. 12. But it wasn't just any announcement. Today, Apple unveiled not only the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but a whole new anniversary edition of the iconic smartphone, the iPhone X (pronounced "ten," not "ecks"), as well. So with three different versions of the iPhone about to hit shelves, it begs the question, what's the difference between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X?

Besides the name (poor, forgotten iPhone 9 — will you ever be, now?) there are a couple of major changes, both in terms of the physical phone itself and in terms of the features. Here are a few things to know about the iPhone X before you pre-order.

The iPhone X's screen is basically the whole phone.

The iPhone X has what Apple is calling an edge-to-edge display, which essentially means that the entire front of the phone is a screen, without any of the borders to allow for the casing that we're used to on our iPhones. Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer, said in a press release,

For more than a decade, our intention has been to create an iPhone that is all display. The iPhone X is the realization of that vision. ... With the introduction of iPhone ten years ago, we revolutionized the mobile phone with Multi-Touch. iPhone X marks a new era for iPhone — one in which the device disappears into the experience.

The iPhone 8, on the other hand, is more traditional about its display. While the phone still boasts a 4.7 or 5.5 inch display (depending on whether you get the 8 or 8 Plus), it's nowhere near the iPhone X's 5.8 inches, thanks to the border around the screen on the iPhone 8 models.


A casualty of that whole-screen display? Goodbye, home button.

That's right. One of the four physical buttons on the iPhone will be going the way of the dumbphone dodo. Its buddies, the volume control and the power button, will remain as they have been. Instead, you'll access the home screen with a swipe of your finger (up for the home screen, and down-and-hold to see other apps). To unlock your phone, you'll... stare at it, I guess? Not quite clear on that, honestly.

Apple hasn't said what you're expected to press if you're nervously fidgeting in an awkward social situation, but if you need buttons to press, the iPhone 8 is still there for you. The home button remains there, waiting for you to press seven times in quick succession as you try to remember what you were going into your phone to check.

But that button-free whole screen display is going to be lit. (Literally.)

The iPhone X is switching up its traditional display from LCD to a new OLED screen, which produces better picture quality and resolution. Colors will be more intense (including the ability to display "true black" and high contrast. The display is new to Apple, but not to smartphones in general. Samsung's smartphones use AMOLED displays, as do a number of other smartphones.

The iPhone 8, on the other hand, has what Apple is calling a "Retina HD Display," but is still using LCD technology.


And of course, the high-techiest of the high tech developments — Apple's Face ID.

I wasn't entirely joking when I said you were supposed to unlock your phone by staring at it. (Well, mostly.) For the iPhone X, Apple is introducing Face ID technology, which is going one better than the thumbprint tech that's guarded previous versions of the iPhone. The tech uses Apple's (also new) True Depth camera technology to take a 3D scan of your face in order to recognize you and unlock your phone. Of course, there are already some problems predicted with Face ID (not to mention it's kind of creepy. Isn't this what 1984 warned us about?).

If you don't trust one of the biggest and most influential tech companies in the world with your genetic information and the ability to identify you via a camera, the iPhone 8 is, once again, here for you. All you need to unlock the iPhone 8 is your fingers, not detailed information about how to visually recognize you.

Of course, it's not all about differences.

The two phones will both have a few features in common — like a 12MP camera (the X and the 8 Plus will both have a telephoto lens to go with it, but the regular 8 won't), and all three phones will have wireless charging.

So which one should you get? Well, that's up to you. The iPhone 8 will be available for pre-order on Sept. 15 and in stores by the 22, at a starting price of $699 (which is, uh, kind of a lot). The iPhone X is even more — it'll run you at least $999 (haha, hope you weren't planning on paying rent) and is available for pre-order on Oct. 27, in stores on Nov. 3.

So, you have a few days to make up your mind.