This is a love story in a way, although it’s a love affair with a device: Tim Cook Will Have To Pry My iPhone SE From My Cold, Tiny Hands.
It brings up an interesting thought: that for all the seeming abundance of smart phones, they really have narrowed into a specific style and range. They are all large, glass devices with fancy cameras. That’s what sells, and manufactures have no desire to make anything else. Or maybe they are fearful of trying to make something else.
Some event will occur and innovation and diversity will come to the personal device market. But for now, expect more of less.
(Image linked to in the article)
That’s been a question I have been asking myself for some time. I felt like the price just keeps going up. And if you read articles like this, it’s easy to conclude it’s true.
But here’s some numbers on the least expensive models over time, taken from this:
iPhone (4GB): $499
iPhone 3G (8GB): $599
iPhone 3GS (16GB): $599
iPhone 4 (16GB): $599
iPhone 4S (16GB): $649
iPhone 5 (16GB): $649
iPhone 5s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 6s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6s Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 7 (32GB): $649
iPhone 7 Plus (32GB): $769
iPhone 8 (64GB): $699
iPhone 8 Plus (64GB): $799
iPhone X (64GB): $999
Looking at that, I have to think that the phones are getting more expensive, but likely they have always been that way. (And note, this doesn’t account for inflation or the improved quality of the phones, including greater storage.)
Occasionally Apple will make a cheaper phone like the 5C or the SE that are essentially remixes of older models. Or they will continue to support a wider range of phones, like continuing to sell the 7, the 8, and now the X. But it seems the high end was never inexpensive and likely never will be.
If you are skeptical about the greatness of the iPhone 6s, this piece makes a good argument for it: Reasons you should buy an iPhone 6S instead of an iPhone 8 or iPhone X – Business Insider. If money is a prime concern, you can find refurbished 6s phones for a fraction of the cost of a new iPhone 8 or X.
If you want an iPhone and you are fine with refurbished — and some places give good warrantees on such phones — then consider making an iPhone 6s your next phone. Or get a new one from your mobile phone carrier or buy one outright from Apple.
I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.
It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors, so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.
As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.
Great review of the latest iPhone*, here: The iPhone 8 is a look into the augmented future of photography | TechCrunch. I had heard that the iPhone 8 had a great new camera, but this article really drives that home.
If you are thinking of getting an “8”, this could be the reason you need. On the other hand, if you rarely take photos or don’t care too much about the quality, I think the case for an upgrade gets weaker.
* I don’t consider the iPhone X the latest phone so much as a promise of where the iPhone is going. To be honest, I think the iPhone X is as much an attempt to celebrate the 10 years of the iPhone and Steve Jobs’s legacy, not unlike the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from Business Insider:
Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.
I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.
For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.
P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.