"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Apple Introduces iPhone X (Ten)

In an effort to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, yesterday Apple introduced the iPhone X (ten) and currently skipping over an iPhone 9. They finally dropped most of the storage sizes which hopefully will become the standard for all devices across the board as 16GB and 32GB anything is rather stupid and overly cheap of companies. The phones come in just two storage sizes - 64GB and 256GB. Most people will not need more then 64GB. They also showed off the Apple Watch 3 which might actually be worth buying now along with Apple TV 4k. Below are the highlights. You can watch the 2 hour event in 13 minutes here. Also iOS 11 will be released on September 19 for new devices and old.

iPhone X
- Price: $1000 (64GB)
- Release Date: November 3 (pre-orders start on October 27)
- Screen: 5.8" Super Retina OLED display that goes edge to edge of the device, removing the home button (replaced with swipe up motion)
- FaceID - replaces Touch ID by using facial recognition that uses multiple sensors and data including infra-red, to detect a face.
- Other: A11 processor, 12-megapixel camera with image stabilization, and Qi wireless charging
- Summary: its an iPhone Plus for those that really deeply care about screen quality and don't mind paying for it.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
- Price: $699 (64gb) and higher
- Release Date: September 22 (can pre-order starting September 15)
- Other: new chip, better cameras, and wireless charging. Still has home button, no Face ID.
- Summary: its an incremental improvement over the iPhone 7, most of them few will really take advantage of unless really anal about graphics intensive games
- Hands-On

Compare: iPhone 8 vs iPhone X | iPhone X vs. Android

Apple Watch 3
- Price: $400 w/ cellular, $330 without
- Release Date: September 22 (can pre-order starting September 15)
- Key feature: no longer have to tether to smartphone for internet connectivity. Uses LTE cellular for phone calls and other data services as defined by Apple Watch supported apps.
- Other: New chip, improved heart rate monitor, unclear if ISP's will treat as separate device (so another charge) or if data usage counts against phone plan and its limits.
- Summary: Untethering from phone now means you have the fabled watch phone/computer promised many decades ago. For average person that goes everywhere with their phone anyway, the $10 per month more the ISPs plan to charge doesn't seem worth it (along with the ~$30 activation fee that they will charge once the new-ness wears off)
- Hands-On

Apple TV 4K
- Price: $180 (32GB)
- Release Date: September 22 (can pre-order starting September 15)
- Key Feature: supports 4K (which iTunes HD movie purchases will automatically be upgraded)
- Other: New chip so improved gaming and faster response time
- Summary: Only worth getting if have high volume of iTunes movie purchases, own a 4K TV, and like playing Apple games on a big TV. Otherwise might as well stick to cheaper smart TV boxes like the Roku or Fire TV.

So should you upgrade? My opinion is only if your current iPhone isn't meeting your needs such as no longer holding a charge long enough or unable to play key video games. The improvements to the iPhone 8 may sound attractive but really only graphics intensive video games, video editing will stretch the capabilities of the existing hardware and those that do those things are probably already committed to an upgrade. For everyone the speed "boost" will essentially be undetectable. Technically camera might matter but I suspect most people can't tell the difference between 8, 10, or 12 megapixels. As for iPhone X, you have to decide if $300 is worth a better screen and losing the home button in favor of a flip up. I would recommend trying demo units before even consider buying one as Face ID smells of force touch. Sounds good on paper but in implementation doesn't work so well.

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