Apple’s big iPhone announcements yesterday brought in mixed reviews — and I say this an Apple fanboy.
As it looks now, the iPhone X offers a lot of potential ... and maybe even more initial headaches. That said, there were bound to be some questions after Tim Cook’s presentation, and the second iteration of the company’s biggest new products usually work out the kinks (so next year’s iPhone X sequel might be perfect).
But it’s more fun to complain. So here’s what we didn’t like about Apple’s news yesterday ... and a few good things they did that were overlooked:
Those new iPhone Xs are even more expensive than you thought. Priced at $999 (64GB) and $1,149 (256GB), the iPhone X also offers an optional $199 AppleCare+ program — which is $70 higher than the extended warranty program for the 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus.
They raised prices on iPads. Those iPad Pros were already hella expensive. Not officially announced, the 256GB and 512GB 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are now $50 more due to the rising cost of NAND flash memory chips.
Apple Stores are now “Town Squares.” So you’re adding some trees and demo/teaching areas, and also making your retail areas look more like public plazas. Great. Given that it took me two hours, six free-floating employees and two separate trips to a current Apple store this week just to trade-in and upgrade my iPad (and get back a $120 overcharge), I’d suggest putting more resources into traditional cashiers and help desks.
The new Face ID feature might not work that well. It’s supposed to be more accurate than Touch ID, but the phone wouldn’t unlock for Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi during yesterday’s big demo. Oh, and there are potential security issues.
Web/app developers are gonna have to redo everything. The notch at the top of the iPhone X screen means current apps might show unused space or be partially hidden. Apple also now insists that interactive controls for any company's app should not be at the bottom of the screen or in the corners.
If you’re a T-Mobile user, you just got screwed (for now). The new 8 and X phones don’t support T-Mobile's brand new LTE network, meaning you won’t be getting better coverage. Again, something that maybe change for next year's models.
The “animojis” Apple intro’d were already a central feature ... in a Black Mirror episode. Three-dimensional emoji avatars that mimic your face? Welcome to the cartoon dystopian future of “The Waldo Moment.”
And some good news:
Those new iPhones aren’t that expensive ... if you have an older model. Apple’s had a trade-in program going since 2015 that allows you to trade in an older phone model for a newer one after a year (and monthly payments), with the only additional cost being the price difference between the two phones.
iTunes got less terrible. You can’t and won’t have to sync apps or ringtones from your desktop anymore (you’ll do it directly on your device with a few exceptions), and the iOS App Store is no longer part of the bloated iTunes app. Everything’s a bit more organized and lean.
You can get the pretty great new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus this Friday. Meanwhile, the wait-until-the-price-drops iPhone X won’t even go to preorder until late October, with a release date of November 3rd.
Prices did drop on older models. The iPhone SE is now $349, a 32GB iPhone 6s is $449 and a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus is $669. Interesting price point: The 128GB iPhone 7 Plus will be $70 more than a 64GB iPhone 8.
If you buy films through iTunes, 4K movies will be the same price as 1080p films. Everyone’s on board with the free upgrade ... except Disney.
The new phones might portend a breakthrough for augmented reality. The cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus are “custom tuned for AR,” with improved gyroscopes and accelerometers. Your real and virtual worlds are gonna start colliding.
Overall impression? If you really want the new iPhone X, maybe wait a few months.