The lineup

Much is being made of the fact that there aren’t the first-day lines for the iPhone like there used to be. And it makes sense. For one, the improvements to the iPhone have been highly incremental – the iPhone 5 got a bigger screen and LTE in 2012, and since then only the larger sizes in 2014 have been an appreciable change. If you had last year’s iPhone, there’s no call to run out for this year’s; the days of leaps and bounds are basically done. But for another, the iPhone X has ruined the iPhone 8’s appeal. The 8 is basically a slightly improved 7; the X is the Next Big Thing (and pronouncing it as “ten” does the 8 no favors either), and since the X doesn’t arrive until November, where’s the incentive to run out and stand in line for an incremental upgrade, especially when Apple manages to drop-ship on launch day so effectively and you can just hang out at home to get it?

I’m more convinced than ever that I’m out on the 8/plus. I reluctantly concede that if someone else (say, work) were to pony up the $1000 for the iPhone X, I would be intrigued just to see what the impact of a 5.8” screen is on my life. Given that my precious Kindle Paperwhite is only a 6” display, and that I could use white on black to limit the battery draw thanks to AMOLED, and that video is probably actually useful on a screen that size relative to a 4” display, the iPhone X would be a legitimate contender as One Device To Rule Them All, even if it’s still a hair bigger than a hair too big. But at that price point, the incentive is still: let somebody else go first.

I still hope against hope for the prospect of an iPhone SE2, with the processors of the 8 and maybe a camera improvement while eschewing the space-wasting of 3D Touch and wireless charging. Or an iPhone X-Minus, with a 5-inch AMOLED display in a package roughly the size of the original Moto X – a hair bigger than the SE but smaller than the 6/7/8 line. Either would open my wallet. But as it is, I’m going abroad again with the SE (and maybe the Kindle for the plane trip). Of which…

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