iPhone X: Are animojis and selfies the only reason to buy it?

Commentary: For the Grammys, Cupertino is yet again plugging its animoji. Are they and selfies the reason to pay $1,000?

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


One of the most persuasive selling points?

Duke University/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It made me chuckle at the time.

At the end of last year, I went to a T-Mobile store to see what sort of upgrade its staff would recommend from my iPhone 6 .

The cheery salesman insisted that the iPhone X wasn't worth the $999 (£999, AU$1,579) price tag, unless I was obsessed with selfies and adored Apple's new animated emojis known as animojis.

That seemed a touch superficial. 

But here we are a few weeks later, and those two things seem to be the main things Apple pushes about the phone.

For the Grammys, the company has released a series of ads in which various animojis sing Grammy-nominated tunes, just in time for tonight's Grammys broadcast

Here, for example, is Alien and the Unicorns.

And here's dog, poop and friends singing along to Migos.

These follow on from last week's release of a couple of ads -- one a quite stirring effort featuring Muhammad Ali proclaiming he's the greatest (video below) -- that suggested Apple's phone of the future is all about enhancing your selfie skills to professional levels. 

Yes, Apple has previously advertised the Face ID feature, for example. I can't help thinking, though, that this was more to reassure people than excite them. 

After all, Conan O'Brien, for one, wasn't sure people were comfortable with Apple's new way of unlocking a phone. 

There hasn't been, though, so much focus on, say, how beautiful the phone is or how simple it is to use.

The animoji-peddling has been especially extreme. Apple has even advertised singing poop animoji before the Grammys was even in our sights. 

Moreover, a couple of weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook participated in an ad for his upcoming May commencement speech at Duke University, one of his alma maters.

You'll never guess what was right next to his head. It was, indeed, a fox animoji. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether it, too, is seeing customers buying the phone specifically for the selfie-power and the animojis.

However, as my colleague Jessica Dolcourt described in her experience with the iPhone X, it has quite a few irritants. 

Face ID doesn't work all that well -- and this is something I've heard from quite a few people who immediately bought the phone.

The battery life isn't all that and the phone isn't as instinctively simple to use as previous iPhones have been.

It's currently unclear how well the iPhone X is selling.

I confess to being surprised when, before and after Christmas, I went into a couple of Apple stores and found plentiful supplies of all versions of the phone.

I was also surprised that Apple store employees weren't universally giddy about it.

Some rumors suggest that Cupertino will "discontinue" it this year. What this surely means is that Apple may try and release a better version. 

Still, when first sales figures are released next month, we might get an inkling of just how popular it is.

Currently, though, it makes me think that the T-Mobile salesman was onto something very quickly.

Watch this: Get started with animoji on iPhone X

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