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The iPhone X’s Greatest Feature Is: Animoji Karaoke

Just imagine this unicorn is singing to you. Photo: Apple

The iPhone X is here, finally, in all its shiny, bezel-free, costs-a-sizable-portion-of-your-rent-money glory. I’ll admit that I was, initially, a skeptic — I wasn’t convinced I, or really anybody, needed to drop a grand on this new phone. Wasn’t convinced, that is, until I saw a tweet containing an emoji cat singing along to “Memory” from Cats.

If you are like me yesterday, still on the fence about committing the large chunk of change – and possibly wait time – involved in getting yourself one, let us use these two words to entice you: animoji karaoke. (Shout-out to Fast Company’s Harry McCracken for coining the term.) The iPhone X, thanks to the new, front-facing camera which powers Face ID, lets users create “animoji,” or videos of emoji that track the movement of their faces. When you smile, an animated pile of emoji poop smiles. When you frown, it frowns. When you raise your eyebrows, it raises its little fecal brow, too.

Forget the megapixels, forget the gigahertz, forget the wireless charging and the Face ID: Animoji karaoke is the thing that will make this iPhone. In the months, weeks, and endless reports of factory delays leading up to the new phone’s release, I’d pretty solidly convinced myself that no one needed to buy the thing. I listened to Apple exec Phil Schiller prattle off tech specs — battery life! glass on both sides! processors! — and wondered, What about this is actually that different from my perfectly functional iPhone 7 Plus?

The answer, it turns out, is the ability to use your face to make tiny cartoons sing stupid things and send them to your friends. Frivolous? Absolutely. Fun? That, too. An enormous amount of engineering and programming knowledge goes into a device as powerful and seamlessly functional as the iPhone. But as is so often the case, what makes the phone a gadget everyone needs to have isn’t the speed or the quality or the impressive technical specifications. It’s the stuff that leads to new, silly, dumb, fun social experiences. The stuff like animoji karaoke. (Now to go donate some plasma to cover the cost of said fun.)

Inspired, I filmed a few of my own. It was deeply embarrassing and I don’t recommend doing this in public — say, your office kitchen — if you can avoid it.

Honestly, can you think of anything that costs less than $1,000 and brings you this much joy?

The iPhone X’s Greatest Feature Is: Animoji Karaoke