I stand by my assertion that Apple has gone from BMW to Volkswagen to Tesla. If nothing else, the fact they’ve gone all in on the iPhone X price range – with no ship date for the cheapest model – should be as clear an indicator as you could ask for. The baseline “new” iPhone has gone up a hundred bucks or more in the last two years, and the top of the line has gone from $850 to $1100 – not to mention an absurd 6.5” display; no wonder they aren’t making the iPad mini anymore. With the cancellation of the SE, Apple has abandoned the one-handed phone market and gone all in on chasing the Chinese luxury market. How you feel about that probably depends on whether you came up in the era of “the computer for the rest of us,” even when it was more expensive than competitors. Because you could at least be assured you were getting value for money, rather than “premium materials” and a series of gimmicks that would make Samsung blush if they weren’t trying to imitate them.
It starts with the Watch, which you now have to replace if you bought the original and still want the latest version of watchOS. Which I guess is about par for the course given that the original iPhone only got updated to iOS 3.1.3. Only problem is, you sort of expect to have to replace a phone every two or three years. If that’s the expectation for a watch, that’s a big ask when you’re throwing down a thousand bucks on a phone. Then again, depending on who your market is, $1500 every two years might not be that big a deal.
The interesting thing is the FDA-certified ECG in the watch for detecting atrial fibrillation. Or hell, falls. There are seriously useful things about having medical-grade telemetry on your arm, and for $400, that ain’t hay. The only thing is, I don’t need those (yet), and the Fitbit Charge 3 will get me to 90% of the functions I need from an Apple Watch for half the money…and five or six times the battery life. Which means sleep tracking, something Apple still can’t do because “all-day battery life” means you’re still expected to plug the damn thing in every night.
And then there’s the phone. The iPhone XS–
What idiot seriously proposed calling this the XS? And what asshole seriously thinks people will pronounce it “Ten S”? You’re supposed to interpret the first letter as a Roman numeral and the second as a letter? And “XS Max”? Are we having this phone in 1996? And the “XR” – why R? Because it’s less than S? This is what we’re going with?
Never mind that the phone is basically the same. Slightly faster, 512 GB version if you want it, some gimmickry around the camera, but if you have an iPhone X, you’re good. Thank god my employer was enough of a dullard to be conned into paying for it. Because I’ll be damned if I lay out THAT much money for a phone – the most I ever spent on my own device was something over five hundred for a Sony Ericsson P800 in a shady Bowery cellphone shop in 2003, and laying down double that for something I can’t expect to get more than three years from is asking one hell of a lot. Not when my cousin is still getting by just fine on a Moto G3 he paid maybe $250 for.
And this is the risk Apple is taking. My wife needs to replace her 6S, but she’s not about to buy anything in the X line. So…what? Buy an 8 with last year’s processor for $600 and hope for the best? Buy a pre-aged 7 for $550 for the 128GB model rather than cut your storage in half?
All I know is, I’m laying down $29 for the battery replacement on my SE, and you’ll prise it out of my cold dead hand. Singular. And I’m going to wait another year and see if Cupertino can collectively pull its head out of its anus before the next phone release. I’m not hopeful.