Despite months of speculation that Apple might stumble with this year's new phones, the past 24 hours have brought positive news for the tech giant: revenues are up, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus sales are strong, and buyers around the world are lining up in droves for the iPhone X, which arrived in stores today.
While Apple has described the iPhone X (pictured above) as "the future of the smartphone," reviews so far indicate users aren't finding the device quite as revolutionary as promised. However, most are giving Apple's flagship phone a solid thumbs up.
In its Q4 2017 earnings call yesterday, Apple also reported that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus quickly became the company's best-selling models after they were released in September. However, that's likely to change with the iPhone X sales starting today.
Key Features: OLED Display, Face ID
Wired today gave the iPhone X a score of 9 out of 10, praising the device for its "gorgeous design," excellent cameras and well-executed Face ID, Apple's new facial recognition technology for biometric security. Wired's biggest criticism: the phone's $1,000-and-up price.
CNET also loved the design of the iPhone X, while noting that many of the new usability features took awhile to get used to. It also singled out the device's OLED display -- a first for an iPhone -- for its vividness.
In its review, Ars Technica added that the iPhone X's display, which is nearly all screen save for a distinctive notch at the top to accommodate the front-facing camera, "generally succeeds at reducing barriers to our relationship with digital content and functions." The phone's other top two advances was the facial recognition technology and suite of sensors and software to "deliver the first great, viable, mass-market AR [augmented reality] platform," according to Ars Technica.
While Face ID replaces the home button and Touch ID for authentication, it's not infallible. In his review, CNET senior editor Scott Stein noted that the technology managed to identify him in some situations -- wearing sunglasses, a wide scarf, and a fake beard -- but failed to recognize him in goggles, a long wig, a partial face mask, and a top hat combined with a scarf that covered his mouth.
"All the tests worked far better than Samsung's face unlock feature on the Galaxy Note 8 -- though Samsung kept its fingerprint reader on, as an easy backup," Stein said.
Increasing Output 'Week by Week'
Meanwhile, Apple reported yesterday that it saw a 12 percent increase in revenues this quarter compared to the same quarter in 2016. CEO Tim Cook said every one of the company's product categories had year-over-year growth, with services revenues reaching a new high. Quarterly earnings had a "particularly strong finish," with the company's highest revenues ever in September, he added.
Those figures indicate that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus released on Sept. 22 have been selling well, despite earlier speculation by some analysts that sales might be sluggish as buyers opted instead to wait for the iPhone X.
Since their release, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been Apple's two most popular iPhone models, Cook said. He added during yesterday's call that pre-orders for the iPhone X "have already been very strong, and we're working to get iPhone X into customers' hands as quickly as possible."
Pre-order sales for the iPhone X began on Oct. 27, and available devices were quickly sold out. Buyers who waited to pre-order were told that it might take five to six weeks for their phones to ship.
When asked about matching supply to demand yesterday, Cook said, "The ramp for iPhone X is going well, especially considering the iPhone X is the most advanced iPhone we've ever created and it has lots of new technologies in it. And so we're really happy that we were able to increase week by week what we're outputting and we're going to get as many of them as possible to the customers as soon as possible. I can't predict, at this point, when that balance will happen."