Apple’s luxury iPhone both copies and innovates

CUPERTINO, California (AP) – As soon as you see the iPhone X up close, you’ll realise that it’s nothing like any of the previous models that Apple has released during the past decade.

But you might notice striking similarities with some of the sleek smartphones that Samsung, Google and others have been churning out during the past year or two.

Like its rivals, Apple has finally gotten around to making a phone with an edge-to-edge display, a nod to consumers’ desire for more space to view their photos, watch movies and TV shows, read books and play games.

In that sense, Apple is playing a game of catch-up with the iPhone X — a name that refers to the Roman numeral for “10.” But the device still manages to live up to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ mandate to “think different.”

The iPhone X comes with what appears to be sophisticated facial recognition. On a basic level, that allows its owner to unlock the phone with a quick glance. But it also opens the door for a menagerie of emojis that can be controlled and manipulated with facial expressions and voice.

ABOVE & BELOW: Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller introduces the new iPhone X during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. – PHOTOS: AP

The phone also provides a spectacular canvas for photos, thanks to a superior camera and a souped-up screen Apple calls a “Super Retina” display. It also costs almost $1,000, an unprecedented price for a mass market phone.

That price tag means that most Apple lovers will probably stick with the slightly less expensive iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which will be available September 22 — six weeks before the iPhone X hits the market.

But the iPhone X will probably be a hot commodity among status seekers and affluent consumers. Such buyers won’t flinch at paying an extra $300 to own a phone with attractive but still mostly marginal improvements, based on about 20 minutes The Associated Press spent with the phone in a controlled demo room Tuesday. One of the best things about the iPhone X: It has a larger screen, but isn’t more cumbersome to carry around. The iPhone X’s edge-to-edge screen measures 5.8 inches diagonally compared to 5.5 inches for the iPhone 7 Plus and now the iPhone 8 Plus. But the iPhone X’s overall dimensions are smaller than the Plus and just slightly larger than the regular models. That’s bound to appeal to people who like large screens but don’t like oversized phones.

On the down side, the iPhone X’s screen isn’t as wide as that of the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 Plus.