Why iPhone X Brings Back Apple’s ‘Cool Factor’

Radical design changes, facial recognition, and animated animal emojis set the device apart, says Ross Gerber

The iPhone has gone stale.

That’s why Ross Gerber, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, told TheWrap Apple’s latest product launch — spearheaded by the new high-end $999 iPhone X — was a pivotal moment for the world’s biggest company moving forward.

“You bring back the cool factor [with iPhone X],” said Gerber. “I’m at a party, I pull it out and everyone goes ‘oh, it’s the iPhone X.’ When I first got the iPhone 1, I can’t even tell you how many people stopped me wherever I was and asked me, is that an iPhone?”

Gerber said he’s bullish on Apple because it took worthwhile risks with its smartphone design. The iPhone X sports a larger screen, removed its trademark “home button,” and has a host of new features, like facial-recognition for unlocking. Compared to iPhone launches in recent years — which came across as mere updates to the same product — the iPhone X stands out from the pack.

“The most important thing, I think, was changing the design of the phone,” said Gerber. “Everybody walks around, whether it’s the [iPhone] 6, 7, or 8, [and] you don’t know.”

Gerber also pointed to Apple’s ARKit — enabling augmented reality developers to create AR games and apps for the iPhone — as a key differentiating factor. Another game changer for the iPhone X? Its animated emojis — allowing users to map their facial expressions onto their favorite poop or animal emoji, as Apple demonstrated yesterday.

“It’s a gimmick, but it’s genius, too,” said Gerber. “I don’t even think we’re going to talk to each other anymore. I’m going to pick an animal, and I’m just going to talk through my animal for the rest of my life, I’ve decided.”

A longtime Apple investor, Gerber said he bought shares of the company for “the first time in while.” The iPhone X — despite its rollout being a “little bumpy” due to production holdups — coupled with its new Apple Watch and 4K Apple TV, makes him believe Apple can regain its old magic.