Apple has surfed along on the laurels of the iPhone for over 10 years now. And Tim Cook has done a fine job of keeping the supply lines going. But innovation and customer-focused successes like the iPhone or the iMac are not as easily found these days. Sure, the watch is a hit, but it’s a $400 product, and not something that’s going to sustain a trillion dollar company. Apple needs their laptop line to step up to the challenge and they needed the iPhone X to be something revolutionary.
But the best they could do with the “innovation” in the iPhone X was show off an augmented-reality game, Face ID (big whoop), and Animojis. Seriously, the biggest announcement, the one they spent the most time on with the iPhone X was the animated emojis that followed your facial expression with the wonderfully powerful front-facing camera and all its wizbang science. Animojis! Really? Do we all long to transform ourselves into Jar Jar Binks? Or talking Poop? And for a $1,000 phone?
So what do we need in a new phone, exactly? I’m using an iPhone 7+ and there’s not much I would want to change about it. I am going to upgrade to an iPhone 8, but only to get the non-plus size. Sure the speedier processor should be nice, but I’ve not really been waiting around on this phone because of lag. Poor internet connection yes, but processor speed? No. And a better camera, okay, thanks, but I haven’t even figured out half of what this 7+ camera will do. So, again it’s not really a big wow for me.
Did Apple just release two new iPhones? Yes. Does the iPhone X provide some killer features that I have to have? Um, not exactly. I like Touch ID just fine. If the guts are the same, and the cameras are close (I don’t really care how awesome my selfie camera is) what’s the big deal? I think the big deal is holding the new form factor and being able to say, “I’ve got an iPhone X.” So, if you can afford the Ferrari of mobile phones go for it. Or wait until the Samsung Galaxy 8 if you’re an Android person. But don’t get confused on what the iPhone X is. Is it the “future of mobile phones,” as Tim Cook pronounced? Or the “future of Apple?” I hope not.
We may have seen the limits of post-Jobs innovation with the last iteration of MacBook Pros. The TouchBar is a bit like the animoji. Not needed. Interesting. Cumbersome.
And I really wanted a new MacBook Pro. But my 4-year-old Retina MBP is nearly as fast as the newest ones, has the same amount of RAM as their max, and, again, I really don’t want a TouchBar. I’d love better battery life and a lighter machine, but those are not must-haves. What I want is a FASTER MBP. And maybe if the word on Intel’s new processors is true, we will have a next-generation MBP in the next year. I hope they drop the TouchBar, but they are likely to keep it in the name of innovation. Same thing with the iPhone X, we are liable to see the innovation of animojis in Apple’s future. And perhaps that’s the point. Maybe the audience for the new iPhone X is teens and pre-teens. They would certainly be more interested in putting on a talking horsehead and leaving silly messages for each other.
Not me. Give me lighter, faster, longer battery life, and something new, some new killer app. Now the Apple Watch 3 might be a big deal if you’re ready to have a $10 monthly cellular fee, forever.
Apple, a lot of us are pulling for you. And with all the money you have in the bank, surely you can hire some more innovative thinkers. Perhaps Jony has completed his run. Here’s looking at you, Apple. May the iPhone X sell as well as you envision and the 8 sell even better.