With the recent controversy surrounding Silicon Valley these days, between Twitter and Facebook becoming quasi-fascist platforms, actively fighting against free speech and pushing social justice, and the drama surrounding Google, with the infamous memo and diversity lawsuit, the least tech corporations could do is actually innovate and justify their companies intended existence. Unfortunately, with the rather lackluster announcement of the iPhone X earlier today, it seems that Apple, a company that made it’s name by trailblazing and setting the standard for technology, is deciding to continue to take the back seat to innovation, and simply copy features that Samsung developed many iterations ago. Not only is the lack of genuine innovation disconcerting, but the price point and obvious gimmicks really made this iPhone announcement one of the most lackluster of the past years. Let’s take a look at the details.
To clarify, the iPhone X itself isn’t going to be a bad piece of tech. Most of the issues I have with the phone have to do with how disappointed I am with what could be, versus what we actually got. Like always, the new version of the iPhone will have a great camera, a killer display, a sleek design, and a fairly large storage capacity. The battery life is a few hours longer than previous iterations, and Apple’s finally ditched their iconic home button for the sleek design that Samsung pioneered with their new Note and Galaxy phones. Aside from these few hardware features though, there isn’t much to be glad about with the new, and highly overpriced phone from Apple.
The biggest issue I have right off the bat with the iPhone X is the fact that the asking price in the U.S. is $1000. In 2017, the price of owning a brand new cellphone is $1000. Not only is this price absurd, but it seems counter intuitive to Apple’s branding from just a few years ago with the iPhone C and S variants. The C was notoriously worse than the S version, but was way cheaper, and was advertised as the cool, young, hip, and ethnic alternative to the typical iPhone, which is so strongly associated with teenage cheerleaders and sorority girls. The fact that Apple decided to ratchet up the price of this new phone to literally double what the C cost brand new, only creates two realities. Either A, Apple made the C to get a young generation attached to their platform, forcing them to upgrade to a more expensive phone in the future, or B, Apple didn’t make larger profits from the cheaply made, cheap in cost phone that they invested in, and thus found it more profitable to just keep the iPhone an expensive, yet mandatory piece of tech. Either way, I don’t think the price jump is a good look for Apple, as it muddles their messaging.
The other big miss on Apple’s part is in copying Samsung’s aesthetic and features, which is not only sad, but slightly ironic. When the Samsung Galaxy first came out, Steve Jobs was so furious that another company copied the model of the iPhone, that he threatened both legal action and physical violence on the Korean manufacturers. Now though, the modern Apple brags about adding wireless charging, seamless design, facial recognition, and a line of smartwatches, literally all features that Samsung has been doing for cheaper for several years now. Looking at the modern Apple, I can’t see a difference between them, and any other smartphone, which is incredibly worrying.
Outside of the lack of innovation, the worst part of Apple’s conference was in their proud reveal of AR, or augmented reality with their new phone. Augmented reality is a cheap gimmick used in mobile games like Pokemon Go, and has become incredibly popular due to Snapchat appropriating it to create their “filters”. This carries into their other new announcement of animated emojis, based off of your facial recognition. We saw as a variety of people turned their features into the monkey, dog, and poo emoji and sent it to their friends. The fact that a simple camera gimmick was highlighted as the iPhone X’s only innovation was actually somewhat sad, considering Apple just years ago was not only considered incredible at innovating, but at marketing as well. Watching the trailers show off a cheaply modeled dinosaur trotting around a simple park made me skeptical of Apple’s future in the marketplace.
With all that being said, I really can’t understand how people can justify paying for the new iPhone. For tech junkies, there’s no benefit to owning this hardware, and for the casual user, the price makes me skeptical people will flock to this phone. The fact that Apple called this new phone the X, makes an unnecessary release seem to be their new flagship, with none of the benefits. I recommend that anyone who finds themselves tempted to upgrade to an iPhone because of features like wireless charging or larger screens, that you please check out the new phones from Samsung. Every one of my friends who made the switch from Apple to Samsung found themselves much happier, not only in saving money, but in getting more phone for what they’re paying. The iPhone X is a perfect analogy for the state of the American tech sector right now, out of touch, bloated in price, behind the curve, and riding on the shoulders of better innovators who came before them. By no means is this the death of Apple, but it’s definitely the end of me caring about the once great company.