Jean-Louis Gassée on iPhone X’s Face ID and Home button removal: It Just Works

“The Third Impression of a product can only be formed after a few weeks of quotidian use,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “With regard to product reviews: I don’t get “review units” set up and fine-tuned by company staff; I put my own money at risk. I don’t have to bob to their rhythm so I can be invited to next season’s dance, and I don’t have to rush for fear of being scooped by a competitor.”

“Apple’s Face ID isn’t perfect, but, in my experience, it’s more reliable than Touch ID,” Gassée writes. “More important, I saw how my spouse, a normal, non-geek user took to Face ID. Set up was much easier than Touch ID’s lengthy, detailed registering of fingers. As my spouse’s tech ‘chauffeur,’ I hear about it when things fail to obey; I have yet to hear a discouraging word about Face ID.”

“Yes, the notch cuts into the screen real estate, but it’s more than made up by the removal of the physical Home button (and surrounding plastic). This is new, and, momentarily, alarming: You have to learn new sliding moves and multitasking gestures,” Gassée writes. “But once learned, your fingers quickly forget their old patterns. Again, I watch how my better half took to the Home button disappearance: I see and hear nothing. It Just Works™, as Jobs liked to say.”

Apple's iPhone X. Say hello to the future.
Apple’s iPhone X

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The notch is what it is. You know it’s suboptimal and that Apple agrees by simply taking a screenshot with an iPhone X: No notch. Apple’s screenshot reveals not only the portion of the screen occluded by the notch (it’s really a flap), but also their wish that it didn’t exist and their intention to someday make it so.

Apple simply had no better answer at this time. And, no, you don’t forget about the notch. It’s always there. So, we’ll live with it. That’s not a thing we usually have to say with the best Apple products, but there it is, a “we’ll live with it” with one of the very best products Apple has ever made. The positives of iPhone X more than make up for the negatives of the notch by a wide margin.

You can have our iPhone X units when you pry them out of our cold, dead hands.


  1. “And, no, you don’t forget about the notch. It’s always there. So, we’ll live with it.“

    Not me. I’ll go all screen when Apple actually creates an all screen phone. The X is a sham (5.8” screen my ass).

  2. The notch doesn’t really annoy me (it *is* however, noticeable). However, am I the only one who really misses the home button? Swiping from the upper left on the big screen (coming from an SE, mind you) is a PITA. Also miss having the on/off button on the top of the phone, where it belongs 🙂

    Thought I’d miss touch ID. But face ID works amazingly well. I agree that the set up was much simpler than touch ID (I did such a crappy job during setup I thought for sure I’d have to re-do it, but I was wrong, that crappy job has produced amazing results).

    Still miss the size of the SE. I’d buy a smaller phone with X specs in a heartbeat.

    1. I’ve still only played with an X in the store, mine is waiting stateside next week. What I noticed was the the home gesture seemed to require a long stretch of your thumb to get it low enough on the screen to work. We’ll see how it is day-to-day, but it felt awkward, I’d prefer a 3D touch in any free area to go home and return control center to where it was.

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