This week, Apple announced the iPhones XR, XS, and XS Max.
The names of these devices are widely regarded as terrible. I think they were conceived and executed by Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker. How does Apple, the most valuable tech company in the world by market cap, expect to brand its flagship phone with two letters, the first of which is pronounced as a Roman numeral, and the second of which is pronounced as an actual letter? What are the rules anymore??
(That said I will say that the benefit of branding one device as the “XS Max” does distinguish it from being a “Plus” in previous years, where larger devices actually got better/more features. The new XS and XS Max only differ in screen size and nothing else).
As for the devices themselves, I’m really not sure if I’m going to upgrade from my iPhone 8 Plus. The screen looks great and the features are fine. But I’m still not sure if I want to make the transition to Face ID with all those new gestures — I still like to swipe up to get Control Center from the bottom of the screen, thank you very much — and the price of the new XS Max (the device I’d likely want to get) is punishing, starting at $1100 and going all the way to $1450.
At that cost, I now have to choose between getting one of the most advanced APS-C stills/video cameras ever made, or buying an iPhone that’ll probably make me want to upgrade again a year from now. It makes it a much more tricky decision.
Here are some interesting takes on this week’s announcement:
- There are always tons of hands-on videos when these things happen, but the ones I most enjoyed this go-around were by MKBHD, The Verge, and iJustine.
- Linus Tech Tips is bitter at having to cover the iPhone at all, but what starts as a grumpy-old-man rant ends up being an interesting reflection on how Apple drives the news cycle with help from Google’s algorithm.
- Apple itself did a neat, snappy edit of all the announcements (which appears to incorporate footage from the day of the event?). I’m pretty impressed with how hard their social video team worked to execute this launch.
- The fact that the marketing images for the new phone hide that notch is BS. Harrison Weber at Gizmodo wrote an entire article just to state this fact.
- Nick Statt at the Verge explains why the Apple Watch is now the most exciting product category at Apple.
- I’m not really a fan of tech writers rushing to take a dump all over innovative new features before they’re even out in the market yet (maybe let’s wait and see how it goes before we declare it a failure?) but Wired’s Robbie Gonzalez explains why the Apple Watch’s new ECG feature might do more harm than good.
- Probably the most consequential presentation given at the Apple Keynote was by VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson. Horace Dediu explains why.