Every Apple product announcement breeds the standard fare, including criticism from members of the technorati elite politburo, a bit of drooling and lust from customers who watch, and then the endless dissections of what Apple did right and wrong.
As with every such annualized event, I take a few notes and then compare my initial perspectives with others in the industry. The tech writer’s industry. Here are a few:
The ever prescient Rob Enderle thinks smartwatches have evolved into a viable platform. Why? Because Apple Watch Series 4 with a built-in electrocardiogram is a game changer? Nope.
Apple Watch is a great product. But the thing isn’t a watch. It never embraced what a watch was and to use the name of a thing you must become that thing.
I have no idea what that means. Is it a product marketing rule or something? Enderle thinks Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 is the platform of the future here now. Forget the fact that Watch is the world’s best selling watch and best selling smartwatch. Anti-Apple as ever, Enderle? ECGs on demand mean nothing, huh?
Apple has upped the sound game. Sound? Yes. HomePods, arguably, because sound is subjective, sound better than competitors. So do the iPad Pros, iPhone X, probably iPhone Xs, Max, and Xr, but definitely Apple Watch Series 4. Sound can differentiate a product and Apple does sound right.
New iPhones sport an Apple-designed 7nm A12 Bionic chip that smokes Android competition. Meanwhile, Intel still can’t get chips down to 10nm. Smaller is better. Think more power and less power at the same time.
And, speaking of chips, Apple’s own Watch Series 4 went to 64-bit. Apple also designs its own GPUs, too, and since it manages the architecture from end-to-end– software and hardware– everything runs better and faster on iPhones. Not the Mac, though.
iPhone Xr is the sleeper hit of the new iPhone line. Sleeper? For most iPhone users the single wide-angle camera and LCD display will look the same as the more expensive Xs and Xs Max. For a few hundred dollars less. Remember, iPhone displays from a few years ago were considered virtually indistinguishable from perfect. Now they’re better. And, iPhone 7’s camera was favorably compared to a $50,000 RED Weapon professional camera used in movies. Now they’re better.
Apple CEO Tim Cook:
We want to serve everyone
I hope he’s not talking human cookbook.
We understand that there is a wide range of what customers are looking for and a wide range of prices that people will pay.
Wide is in the eye of the beholder. Gone is the $349 iPhone SE, replaced by the much larger iPhone 7 for $100 more. That’s thinner market, not wider market. Oh. Wait. My bad. It’s wider in the other direction since iPhone Xs Max can be $1,449. Gotcha, Tim.
Hey, Tim. Why are you shortchanging customers? No Lightning to Headphone dongle in the new iPhones? No wonder the dongle is Best Buy’s best selling Apple product. It’s not as if Apple couldn’t afford it, right? Think of it as tough love. Now you need to buy AirPods because wireless audio is the future that is here now. If you can afford it.
What about Screen Time? That’s the new user addiction prevention utility in iOS 12. It’s just in time to be ignored by the size and quality of all the new iPhone displays. Look around. What you see are people hunched over their handheld devices, peering into the ether because somehow all that staring helps feed an addiction. Bigger is better. I’m thinking chiropractic is a good profession to be in within a few years.
Did you know the only reason to buy an iPhone Xs is because it was specifically designed for women. Uh huh. That’s called insightful analysis. Megan Farokhmanesh thinks so.
Along with the X, Apple also killed the iPhone SE — a massively popular model that consumers have been begging the company to update. The XS is cheaper than the Max by $100, to start, but for buyers who prefer a smaller phone, Apple doesn’t have many options. The tiniest iPhone you can buy is now the iPhone 7, with a screen that’s 0.7 of an inch bigger than the SE’s 4-inch display.
It’s also the only new iPhone that can possibly fit into a woman’s pocket.
And speaking of smartphone cameras, Sam Byford worries about Apple’s ability to compete, despite the fact that most people cannot tell one photo from another when each is shot on a different smartphone; iPhone Xs and Google Pixel 2, respectively.
But the days where Apple held a major lead over every Android manufacturer are long gone.
Dog years and digital years are the same.
The iPhone 8 and X have good cameras, to be sure, but it’s hard to make the case that they’re the best. Can the iPhone XS catch up?
Why don’t we wait to see what photos and videos look like after iPhone Xs is released?
One more thing. What does it cost to repair one of the new iPhones? If you don’t have Apple Care then you might want to consider a second mortgage to pay for it.
|iPhone model||Screen repair only||Other damage|
|iPhone Xs Max||$ 329||$ 599|
|iPhone Xs||$ 279||$ 549|
|iPhone X||$ 279||$ 549|
|iPhone 8 Plus||$ 169||$ 399|
|iPhone 8||$ 149||$ 349|
|iPhone 7 Plus||$ 169||$ 349|
|iPhone 7||$ 149||$ 319|
|iPhone 6s Plus||$ 169||$ 329|
|iPhone 6s||$ 149||$ 299|
|iPhone 6 Plus||$ 149||$ 329|
|iPhone 6||$ 129||$ 299|
|iPhone SE||$ 129||$ 269|
|iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c,|
|$ 129||$ 269|
|iPhone 4s||See “other damage” fee||$ 199|
|iPhone 4||See “other damage” fee||$ 149|
|iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G||See “other damage” fee||$ 149|
I counted almost a dozen options to repair an iPhone that exceed $300, three that top $500, and iPhone X.x screen repairs that are about double previous iPhone models.
Oh, in the ever changing for what it’s worth department, Shona Ghosh explains why Apple stopped selling iPhone X less than a year after it launched.
One compelling theory is its price.
No, it’s not. Nobody cares. This is a non-issue. But, if you must…
The iPhone XS (sic) barely differs from its predecessor. They are the same size. Both boast a dual-lens 12-megapixel camera. Both come with the Face ID facial-recognition feature. The overall design is much the same. The XS comes with a better chip under the hood and is more water-resistant, but for most people the differences will feel incremental.
It’s called price migration. An iPhone X still in the iPhone line would need to be priced less than iPhone Xs (same size, similar features) and if there is little difference then why buy iPhone Xs or why upgrade to iPhone Xs? So, what Apple recognized is the need to spread the product line out a bit more– iPhone Xs Mac, iPhone Xs, and iPhone r– may be the only way to avoid too little distance between devices.
I promised a few notes on the event. This may be the longest article I’ve ever written for Mac360. 1,000 words now constitutes a few notes.