LOS ANGELES — You heard it here first: Some of the folks waiting in line to pay $1,000 or more for t
The iPhone X is the first re-designed iPhone since 2014, and Apple's Tim Cook and co. packed in a lot of features, from wireless charging to facial recognition. But the cheaper iPhone 8 and 8 Plus — and last year's 7 and 7 Plus — sported a lot of the technology that really matters, say the camera and sharp screen.
So why bother? We asked some of the 400 people on line at the swanky new Apple Store in the Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles to ask what they would do it when they got home.
—Set up Face ID to unlock the iPhone with facial recognition. "I want to test it, and see if I can break it," said TJ Lidell, 29, of Los Angeles. "It reads your face, and only recognizes me. Even if I grow a beard or put on sunglasses, it knows it's me, and that's really awesome."
—Animated Emojis. Use the new iPhone X camera to generate mini-cartoons based on your facial movements. "It's cute," said Wenjie Gu, 20, a student from Los Angeles.
—Take selfies. The new iPhone front-facing camera can blur the background of your selfies, something no other iPhone can do. "I like to travel a lot, and apparently this is a better camera for selfies," said Susanna Adler, who planned to ditch her recent 8 Plus for the new iPhone X.
Those were the top three comments we heard. There were also those in line who had no plans on keeping their phones. They planned to turn around and re-sell them, hoping to partake in an American tradition: mark them up and reap a tidy profit from those who didn't feel like coming out and joining the line.
More: I've had an iPhone X all week. Here's what's easier and what's still a struggle
More: The 10 best cases for your new iPhone X
More: Don't want an iPhone 8 or iPhone X? There are plenty of alternatives
Despite reports of potential product shortages and immediate sellouts, Apple had plenty of product in the stores, and looked to be able to meet consumer demand. Even the pre-order process, which opened with an instant sellout and then back-ordered deliveries for five to six weeks, loosened a good bit this week, down to three to four weeks as of Friday.
So if you were hoping to snag an iPhone X for the holidays, it looks like Apple is happy to be your Santa Claus.
By the way, in case you missed our iPhone X coverage this week, reviews started running—Ed Baig said the new phone "leaves a strong first impression," and we rounded up what other critics said about the new Face ID facial unlock feature.
Everyone has an opinion on the new 10th anniversary edition phone, even 8- and 9-year- olds. If you didn't see it, please watch our video interview with a group of children who do a great job of showing the power of Apple's marketing.
In other tech news of the week
—Going rogue on Twitter. If one disgruntled employee could dismantle the social media account of the president of the United States on his or her last day at Twitter, how secure are you feeling about Facebook, Instagram and yes, Twitter accounts? Donald Trump's account was down for 11 minutes. Afterwards, Twitter said, "We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again."
—Social media and Russia. Top execs from Facebook, Google and Twitter went to Capitol Hill this week to help explain how Russians used their services to reach voters in the 2016 campaign. The big takeaway —as many as 146 million people — or nearly half the U.S. population — may have seen material posted by a Russian troll farm under fake Facebook identities between 2015 and 2017, Facebook told Congress. Previously Facebook had said 10 million people saw Russia-linked advertising that sought to sway U.S. voters.
—YouTube Kids adapts. The YouTube Kids video app for ages 12 and under got a a new look through an update that offers a fresh, more kid-friendly look that will adapt depending on the child's age. For a younger child, the interface will be more focused on images, while older kids will see more text on the screen.
—Take me to Audible. And spoken word fans, you probably know about Amazon's Audible, for listening to audio books. The company launched a a new division, Audible Romance, promising romance fans unlimited access to more than 10,000 audiobooks, costing $14.95 a month as a standalone offering, or $6.95 a month as an add-on for folks who already pay $14.95 month for Audible’s core service. One new feature is called “Take Me to the Good Part,” which, in other words, fast forwards to the love scenes.
Your tech week in audio
Finally, a printer we love! After years of hating our Canon and Epson inkjet printers, how nice to fall in love with a new Brother monochrome laser printer.
Kids sound off on the iPhone X. Everyone has an opinion about the new iPhone X, but listen in on a bunch of girls at a weekend pizza party chatting about it, and you'll get a new perspective on the power of Apple's marketing genius.
Installing August Smart Home lock is not a snap. How hard is it to install a smartlock? We describe what happened after we got the two screws out of the old lock.
Wrapup of iPhone X reviews. We run down what critics are saying about the new iPhone X, and how FaceID isn't always 100%.
Talking Face ID on iPhone X with Ed Baig. We check in with USA TODAY's Personal Technology columnist, who reveals the steps he's taken to fool Apple's new Face ID security system.
The costs of setting up a smart home. Would you spend $2,200 to ask Alexa to turn off the lights and lock the door? That's what we estimate the costs of purchase and installation could come to.
The iPhone 8 is a hit. Really! Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to convince skeptical analysts that the 8 edition is selling really well. Really.
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