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The iPhone X is real, here and very expensive

After months of rumor and speculation, followed by the biggest pre-launch leak ever, on Tuesday we finally laid eyes on the iPhone X (you pronounce it “iPhone Ten”). It comes with a jet-black OLED screen topped by a TrueDetect camera system that enables a brand-new Face ID unlocking system and Animoji features.

Apple will take preorders for the iPhone X starting Friday, October 27, and the phones ship November 3. iPhone X starts at HK$8,588 (US$999 in the US) for 64GB of storage (the highest starting price of any iPhone to date), with a 256GB upgrade for HK$9,888 (US$1149 in the US). To compare, the just-announced 4.7-inch iPhone 8 is HK$5,988 (US$699 in the US) for the same storage.

Please check out our hands-on with iPhone X, or keep reading below for how Apple justified that purchase price on stage at the Steve Jobs Theater.

iPhone X OLED screen, and even better battery life

With the new thin bezel and—gasp—no Home button, holding the iPhone X will feel like you’re holding a screen. That screen is 5.8 inches diagonally, and uses an OLED display instead of the LCD screen in past models. It’s got a resolution of 2436x1125, for a shocking pixel density of 458 ppi. Apple’s calling it Super Retina. Like the iPhone 8, it supports TrueTone to adjust the color temperature to the ambient light around you.

The iPhone X has no bottom bezel for the home button, and only a small notch along the top edge for the FaceTime camera, so it’s physically smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen.

The switch to OLED is probably to blame for the iPhone X’s later release date, but other phones that have gone to OLED—like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the 2016 Google Pixel—enjoy blacker blacks, brighter colors, and a more edge-to-edge display, as OLED displays are more flexible to accommodate the gentle curve at the edges of a phone.

Apple was already using small OLED displays in the Apple Watch, but manufacturing iPhone-sized OLEDs at scale could be a manufacturing challenge, and we hope it doesn’t make the iPhone X too hard to find in stores this holiday season.

You might think the switch to OLED would also affect battery life, but Apple claims the iPhone X will get two additional hours of battery life over the iPhone 8. Obviously, this is something we’ll test in our review, and battery life varies based on how you use your phone, but Apple’s estimates are usually reliable.

iPhone X Face ID replaces Home button

Without a home button for Touch ID, how does one unlock the iPhone X? With your face! Apple demonstrated Face ID, which uses a TrueDepth camera-and-sensor system along the top edge to detect your face quickly, even in the dark—and even with glasses on, or after a dramatic haircut.

Face ID uses more points of comparison than Touch ID, and the iPhone X uses depth sensing so you shouldn’t be able to fool the system with a photograph or even a high-quality mask. You have to actually look at the iPhone too—if your eyes are closed or you’re looking away, it won’t work. So, no, your kids can’t unlock your iPhone while you’re asleep. (And they could do that with Touch ID!) Be careful if you have an evil twin, though, warns Phil Schiller.

TrueDepth uses a whole array of sensors to get this done, in fact. Infrared sensors can detect your face in the dark. The dot projector helps create a mathematical model of your face and compare it to the stored model. A machine-learning neural engine is even built into the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip to process FaceID in real time, right on the device. But because Touch ID has gotten so fast, Apple really has a high bar to clear with Face ID.

To access the home screen or multitasking menu, you just swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen. Swipe up quickly to go to the home screen, like you’re sweeping the app off the screen, or pause mid-swipe to instead go to the app switcher. You can even swipe between apps if you swipe along the very bottom edge of the screen. You can summon Siri by saying “Hey Siri,” or just by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button on the side of the iPhone X.

Apple Pay also uses Face ID to authenticate transactions. Apps can use the Face ID system too, just like they could use Touch ID already.