The holidays came early this year — Nov. 3, to be exact — for lucky entrepreneurial techies. Not only did those early birds snag their preordered iPhone X models, but they enjoyed quick access to the newest Apple gadget while competitors had to wait up to six weeks for theirs. And what those first buyers discovered is that the iPhone X has shattered the mold once again, offering significant opportunities to businesses wanting to up their game.
Aside from the X’s myriad aesthetic improvements — like no home button on the frame, to nearly edge-to-edge display — iPhone X reviewers agree that Apple has cemented itself as the influential leader in driving technology, even at the gulp-worthy starting price of $999.
Related: Will X-gen iPhone Axe the Exiting?
Behind all the bells and whistles, though, is the whisper of what could be — and what will be — for entrepreneurs prepared to lean on the iPhone X as a personal and professional tool. Not only is it a social media and web-browsing monster, it’s also a platform that can launch the next generation of sales, marketing and customer-experience opportunities, even while it springboards startups into 2018.
A lookalike that sets itself apart
No one can look at the iPhone X without recognizing its enhancements. The taller screen, with its 19.5:9 aspect ratio and approximately 20 percent space increase, is sleeker and bigger than the screens of previous iPhones. But that’s not even the best part: That status belongs to the phone’s hardware and software, which are ultimately blowing users’ minds.
With the addition of Face ID, enabled by the inclusion of a front-facing and infrared 3D camera, the days of Touch ID seem like a bygone era. Using a system that recognizes a user’s face, the iPhone X can be unlocked — day or night, with or without sunglasses — when its user simply looks at it. And because Apple keeps face maps out of the cloud, it’s secure against hackers who might try to use two-dimensional photos or create 3D masks. In addition, the iPhone X’s rear, 12-megapixel camera offers greater image stabilization and a smarter portrait mode through AI, for adding visual effects and recreating lighting scenarios.
Nor are these attributes playthings, either. They’re radical, sociological experiments that, if Apple’s history is any indication, will transform the way consumers, and therefore entrepreneurs and businesses, interface with devices. In fact, according to Recode, the iPhone has a long history of changing the world: 85 percent of photographs are now taken on cellphones, and what was once an App Store containing 500 apps is now a spectrum of 5.5 million app offerings, if you total those available from the App Store and Google Play. Even the newly introduced gestures, swipes and movements used to access the iPhone X will likely become the new normal.
Making today’s difference tomorrow’s norm
Entrepreneurs need to recognize these features not as novel, then, but rather as the soon-to-be, de facto standard around which they should already be structuring their operations. As in years past: When Apple rolls out new gestures, entrepreneurs should roll those new iPhone X traits into their company software.
Related: How iPhone X Can Make an Entrepreneur’s Life Easy
Furthermore, the iPhone X’s gorgeous display and Dolby Vision-rated color experience are things content-creators should embrace. While color correction and accuracy have never been one of the biggest selling factors for mobile devices, Apple’s HDR-capable screen adds a degree of color accuracy that lends a new level of nuance and flexibility to technology concepts, as well as interface elements.
Moreover, having more screen real estate for software puts more things within the view of a user — from task lists to emails to social media posts. In daily usage, this means a user can get through more content quickly without the need to refresh or scroll as often.
All of these new interface features and experiences disrupt the marketplace, and founders who use them to pursue their business goals and address the needs of their target audiences are the only ones who’ll be able to keep pace with the changes already here.
To seize the business opportunities your iPhone X presents, you should:
1. Run existing applications through heavy-duty screen tests. With the new screen resolution and size, certain applications are guaranteed to function differently on an iPhone X versus other business equipment. Some applications will have major problems, such as overlapping text, and getting these problems fixed quickly is vital, especially when it comes to sales and marketing.
Even if the software works perfectly, businesses can take their investigation a step further to see if the new screen real estate opens doors to unheard-of user interface or user experience concepts. For example, older navigation paradigms might be best abandoned in favor of more natural, modern ones. And, as augmented reality is already changing how consumers shop, entrepreneurs should look to the possibilities of the iPhone X and its augmented reality platform to better understand what their businesses should offer and how they should offer it.
2. Work emerging gestures into UX. With all the new muscle memory that will be developing among iPhone X users, entrepreneurs should see how that can be leveraged for UX. For example, if gestures that users are comfortable using provide them with shortcuts to an application’s key features, they’ll be more likely to prefer those gestures and perhaps that brand.
Related: 10 Things You Need to Learn From Apple’s Marketing
Obviously, leveraging these features for your own business means experimenting with the control-less screen and 3D facial-mapping software, as well as that software’s far-reaching capabilities (if Apple provides this ability to developers, that is). While some users will always want to have click-ability and a sense of touch — hence the password protection that backs up iPhone X’s Face ID — many will expect to be able to engage with other software á la their devices.
3. Consider how face-mapping can engage your customers. Interestingly, 3D-mapping software is ideal for use on human faces and on objects. This opens new possibilities: Could tapping into the new hardware enable people to try on items, as glasses purveyor Warby Parker has already done? Might facial gestures unlock accessible interfaces for the hottest new brands? Down the line, it may even be possible for face-mapping software to send personalized content to users based on the expressions they make.
So . . . is it worth shelling out a grand so that every employee of yours has an iPhone X to explore and innovate with? Probably not. But figuring out the advantages of these evolutions is essential. Today’s marketplace is as dynamic as it’s ever been, and if the iPhone X teaches entrepreneurs anything, it’s that failing to keep up with these changes is the quickest route to backsliding in 2018.