Everything Is Worse, Except Your Phone
September 12, 2018 9:27 AM   Subscribe

 
Great post, exactly what I needed, thanks.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:35 AM on September 12


The pictures of your second child will be better than the ones of your first, even if your take-home pay hasn’t budged in a decade.

it me
posted by uncleozzy at 9:37 AM on September 12 [30 favorites]


Oh good! This explains why my iphone has been acting up lately. It's preparing for its annual planned obsolescence rites.
posted by witchen at 9:42 AM on September 12 [39 favorites]


My partner's still using an iPhone 4S. It still fucking works. It's slow, but post battery replacement, it fucking works. They're really hoping for a price drop on the 7 so they can afford an upgrade. My 6S+ needs a new battery now, and the camera is a bit fucked due to constant dropping, but it should be good for me for several more years after I give it some care. Everyone loves to hate Apple but I'll be watching the stream today like it's Christmas and I don't give a shit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:47 AM on September 12 [13 favorites]


witchen: FWIW, the main feature of iOS 12 which should be released in a week, is that it'll run faster on older iPhones and iPads.

I'll be watching, though I'm not going to be buying anything. I'd like a new iPad with Pencil support, but that would have to wait until after the holidays. If I get anything it would be new AirPods if they announce new AirPods.
posted by SansPoint at 9:56 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


My partner's still using an iPhone 4S

My neighbor still uses the 3G I sold to her when I upgraded to Android. Still works. Just not the fastest thing.
posted by dobbs at 9:57 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm the kind of person who cares about an Apple event, and I'm definitely feeling this sentiment.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:03 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


It used to be we all hated on Microsoft and loved Apple. Now we all hate Apple and love Android. But hate Google. And also Amazon. Though we love Prime and drones. Self-driving cars are the solution, but ick, Tesla. Though we love SpaceX. And that David Bowie car launch, we love that. But hate orbital garbage. And the plastic whirlpool. The future is here, remains unequally distributed, and where's my hoverboard?
posted by chavenet at 10:05 AM on September 12 [75 favorites]


And that David Bowie car launch, we love that.

I thought it was vulgar and garish bandwagonning on the post-death canonization of Bowie.
posted by thelonius at 10:08 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


i'm proud to not be one of those 65% that owns an apple product. fuck apple and their proprietary bullshit.

you know what else just works? every other phone on the market. even when they're trying to be edgy and cynical, apple fanboys are still fanboys.
posted by numaner at 10:11 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


your hoverboard belongs to Paul Allen and is on display in the Science Fiction Museum part of MoPoP in Seattle.
posted by mwhybark at 10:12 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


No new SE/small phone? Apple doesn't seem to care that they've lost out on thousands of my disposable dollars because they won't make a small-size flagship device.

I bought a new flagship model iphone almost by clockwork every 2 years. I've had my "cheap" SE since the day it came out.
posted by tclark at 10:23 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


It used to be we all hated on Microsoft and loved Apple. Now we all hate Apple and love Android. But hate Google. And also Amazon. Though we love Prime and drones. Self-driving cars are the solution, but ick, Tesla. Though we love SpaceX. And that David Bowie car launch, we love that. But hate orbital garbage. And the plastic whirlpool. The future is here, remains unequally distributed, and where's my hoverboard?

<voice style="Abe Simpson">It'll happen to you.</voice>
posted by me3dia at 10:25 AM on September 12 [15 favorites]


> i'm proud to not be one of those 65% that owns an apple product. fuck apple and their proprietary bullshit.

The trick is not to own Apple products, but Apple stock.
posted by davelog at 10:26 AM on September 12 [16 favorites]


I dunno, whatever hash haters can dish out is nothing compared to the health benefits of a freaking FDA approved ECG on your wrist. Just... okay, woah.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:28 AM on September 12 [18 favorites]


fuck apple and their proprietary bullshit.

yeah it's sure a good thing that only apple engages in that proprietary bullshit
posted by halation at 10:28 AM on September 12 [13 favorites]


> I dunno, whatever hash haters can dish out is nothing compared to the health benefits of a freaking FDA approved ECG on your wrist. Just... okay, woah.

My partner's father had a full heart transplant 13 years ago. He has seizures occasionally as a result also of the heart attack that caused the replacement. Having the fall sensor and ECG service is a reason for him to own this kind of device - the stress on the family if they can leave him at home alone is not insiginificant. As a stubborn former firefighter, it is also a struggle for him to lose that independence also.

I realize Apple's whole vision is selling you a better image of yourself, these are concrete values to someone like him.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:31 AM on September 12 [19 favorites]


Oh god let's not make this like every Apple thread ever.
posted by howfar at 10:40 AM on September 12 [32 favorites]


So you can soak the new iPhone in beer and it still works? There goes half their revenue.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:41 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


We really all do have better things to do with our lives.
posted by howfar at 10:41 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Updates for those not watching the livestream; here are new Apple Watch features:
  • Apple Watch now contains an actual grandfather clock
  • Grandfather clock with new Active Pendulum technology prevents slips and falls; cuts fresh watermelons with the big, modern, and perfectly pendular karate-chop motions you've come to expect from Apple products
  • Promotes mindfulness by delivering a mild electric shock each time you think of your or a loved one's social media presence
  • Watchband options now include Chinese finger trap for your wrist
  • Sick fog effect for concerts, festivals
posted by compartment at 10:42 AM on September 12 [100 favorites]


i'm proud to not be one of those 65% that owns an apple product. fuck apple and their proprietary bullshit.

I don't like it, but somehow I never hear about the state security apparatus complaining about the security on Android phones getting in the way of their jobs.

A few weeks ago I had my current-gen, up-to-date Android 8 phone spontaneously reboot into developer mode while I was in the middle of a phone call with a journalist. So, I'll be buying a new phone this week.
posted by mhoye at 10:44 AM on September 12 [18 favorites]


Sorry, if there aren't at least five notches it's no sale.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:44 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I will probably buy a new phone because water got into the camera of my beloved SE and now all my pictures have a foggy dream-sequence look. But ... they literally named the new one excess. Come on.
posted by enn at 10:46 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I don't own any of their products myself but they do make some really nice hardware. The watch health and elderly alert features seem really cool. Don't really get the hate, like you don't have to buy their stuff and better they're a trillion dollar American company than a military, fossil or tobacco merchant right?
posted by JonB at 10:50 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


don't like it, but somehow I never hear about the state security apparatus complaining about the security on Android phones getting in the way of their jobs.

That's marketing from both Apple and the FBI. Apple markets themselves as one of the few tech companies who care about your privacy, but Snowden refused to use an iPhone long before the FBI was complaining about not being able to access encrypted ones. The FBI markets their "inability" to access Apple devices as a reason we need to legislate backdoors (yet they've actually been able to access them in nearly every case.).

It's a fucking play on the public on both sides. For Apple it's public relations to bolster desire for their product in a more privacy-conscious world, and for the FBI it is to bolster public opinion that they need to be able to access these devices at any time to stop criminals and that pesky fourth amendment shouldn't get in their way so much. It's just a public relations spectacle.

The reason you don't hear them making the same complaints about Android have less to do with it being less secure (although it is) and more to do with Apple being an easy target for the FBI to use to drum up support for their desired legislative solutions.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:53 AM on September 12 [17 favorites]



I dunno, whatever hash haters can dish out is nothing compared to the health benefits of a freaking FDA approved ECG on your wrist. Just... okay, woah.


I'm almost always ready for some Apple snark but... there seem to be some fantastic health applications for the new Apple Watch that could be seriously life changing. It's pretty fantastic.
posted by davros42 at 10:53 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I just can't wait for the new feature that takes my consciousness away to a better place while it drives my meatsack through my daily routine until there's the faintest glimmer of hope on the news. The better place is a smooth, lush, grassy hillside somewhere temperate with just a hint of coolness. The breeze ruffles what's left of my hair. I have no appointments, no notifications, no phone spam.

Just to keep things within a few shades of real, at random intervals, Steve Jobs appears. He's looking about as well as he did before the cancer arrived, and dressed in the turtleneck and wire-rim glasses of his product announcement appearances; his pupils are Apple logos. He's not looking at me. "Meat is murder," he says.

"I know, Steve," I reply. "I know."
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:56 AM on September 12 [36 favorites]


The FBI markets their "inability" to access Apple devices as a reason we need to legislate backdoors (yet they've actually been able to access them in nearly every case.).

If you know of a way to get into a locked new model iPhone running recent software, you will be many millions of dollar richer by end of the month.
posted by sideshow at 10:58 AM on September 12 [20 favorites]


Still using an iPhone 5, which I use mostly to play music even though iTunes becomes less usable with every release. I used to be an Apple fan boy but sort of hate what they've become. If they ever meaningfully get back into PC hardware, I might feel differently but right now they don't seem to be innovating anywhere. Microsoft, whom I spent years hating has now come out with the Surface Studio, which is if not really innovative, it's at least giving users what they want.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:00 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


It seems like the main arguments for Android right now seem to be: 1. it's not Apple; and 2. [a list of 18 things that most people will never need or want to do]. Which isn't to say that it's not a valid choice, but it's sort of like Bud vs Miller at this point.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:02 AM on September 12 [13 favorites]


I'm not here for the new features, I'm here for the old stuff cheaper.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:06 AM on September 12 [21 favorites]


Wow. Big emphasis on neural-something chip and sweet new gaming features. Recap and analysis for first part of iPhone presentation:
  • B12 bionic chip is actually a misnomer; it is actually a full B-vitamin complex with great health benefits. "At the end of your phone's life, simply consume it and extend your own."
  • Neural chip enables incredible new Haptic Siri feature. Your iPhone now gives actual noogies for every dumb question you ask.
  • MAJOR leap for augmented reality. If you die in a game you now die in real life; will this help or hurt sales? Critics are divided but audience is PUMPED.
posted by compartment at 11:14 AM on September 12 [33 favorites]


I want an Apple Watch Series 4. I haven't even had my S3 for a year yet, but the updates look amazing. Yeah, I'm a consumer whore, but I love the Apple Watch.
posted by SansPoint at 11:15 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We really all do have better things to do with our lives.
posted by Grangousier at 11:19 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Yes, the world is getting visibly worse, but thanks to my iPhone and Apple Music I was able to go through yesterday’s post about the best albums of the ‘80s and download every album of interest to my phone instantaneously. Sweet sweet nostalgia, mainlined into my earballs.
posted by ejs at 11:23 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]




i'm proud to not be one of those 65% that owns an apple product. fuck apple and their proprietary bullshit

I'd never buy an Apple product but my employer bought me the MacBook that I'm typing this into and it's a decent bit of hardware. I'm not a fan of the OS or any of the bundled software but it is a nice solid laptop and the screen is very pretty. Now if our IT department would only let me put Linux on it ...
posted by octothorpe at 11:31 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I'm tired so the only real snark I have to offer at the moment is to observe that Apple are studiously diverse in their choice of skinny young women to photograph to demonstrate the iPhone camera.
posted by Grangousier at 11:32 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Jesus Fucking Christ but this predicable snark gets goddam OLD. It is one of the ugliest bits of MetaFilter.


That on-the-fly depth adjustment is amazing.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:36 AM on September 12 [54 favorites]


Does anyone know if there's a reasonably tractable way you can upgrade iOS but backup your phone so that if things are bad you can downgrade back?

I've got an iOS 11 upgrade waiting for me on my iPhone SE. I haven't said "Go" to the persistent update manager yet because I don't trust Apple not to obsolesce it via upgrade, and I think I'm especially justified in the distrust given the battery shenanigans that were being pulled with early version of 11. Plus iOS 10 works just fine.

But of course, the point will come when Apple or app makers will force the issue, and it's often good not to be more than one major release behind...
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:37 AM on September 12


I still use an iPhone 4 and could care less about new mobile products. Looking forward to the next-gen MacBook Air, though (hopefully announcened in the next month or so...)
posted by porn in the woods at 11:38 AM on September 12


bokeh
posted by mazola at 11:39 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


That on-the-fly depth adjustment is amazing.

That's some seriously bad ass tech. as a photo geek I'm impressed and I'll upgrade my iPhone 7 in the next several months.
posted by nikaspark at 11:40 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


512gig. FIVE HUNDRED AND TWELVE GIGS-OF-BYTES. Jaaaaysus.
posted by Kyol at 11:40 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


I have honestly never purchased an Apple product for myself in my life. In fact, the only Apple product I've ever purchased is a MacBook Pro for my daughter to take to college. I also have a MacBook Pro for work, but I didn't buy it. For the 4-months I was a contractor here using my own computer, I mostly worked from my Linux desktop.
posted by COD at 11:41 AM on September 12


How about new, surprising snark? This year's annual megacorp marketing event snark includes amazing new features:
* metafilter users who had previously sat out Apple threads chiming in with more bullshit
* swiss-crafted snark in languages that many users can not understand
* scratch resistant anodized snark
I don't know about you, but I'm throwing my old snark in the fucking ocean and getting this new snark right away!
posted by phooky at 11:43 AM on September 12 [17 favorites]


this predicable snark gets goddam OLD

Aramaic's Rule (now many years old, where does the time fly?):

All discussions of technology inevitably devolve into arguments about Apple & Google brand/ product strategy.
posted by aramaic at 11:44 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Did they really not think through the name "iPhone XS"? Seriously--say it out loud.
posted by Automocar at 11:46 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


I mean if it weren't for apple I'd be using Lenovo which isn't awful but I mean come the fuck on really.
posted by nikaspark at 11:47 AM on September 12


Did they really not think through the name "iPhone XS"? Seriously--say it out loud.

If that's not literally why they named it that I'll eat my dinner.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:48 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Seriously--say it out loud.

It’s pronounced ten ess.
posted by ejs at 11:49 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


Look, the U2 stuff was like 10 years ago. It does seem a little late for an INXS phone, but who am I to quibble?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:49 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


All discussions of technology inevitably devolve into arguments about Apple & Google brand/ product strategy.

And I don't get it. It's just thread-shitting at its worst; mere virtue signaling. I don't like or use Google or Microsoft products, but I've never felt the need to shit the thread when they get discussed. It's just so tiring.

I wonder when they'll get around to updating their desktops. The new phones are rather nice, but I either want a new SE, or a desktop refresh. I'm still nursing my 11 year old Mac Pro along.

It's pronounced iPhone TEN. Always has been, just like Mac OS Ten was. So now it's the Ten-Ess.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:50 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


We live in a fantastic future.
posted by mazola at 11:50 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


(except for all the dystopia)
posted by mazola at 11:51 AM on September 12 [16 favorites]


A part of me is a little irritated at how much of my life now passes through an iPhone or some other Apple device, but at the same time:

1. I jog three times a week with the help of an app that moves me up in distance and amount of time I jog in a manner that is very tolerable
2. I stretch and exercise every morning with the help of an app
3. I do yoga three times a week with the help of an app
4. I keep track of my chores, daily tasks, and shopping list with an app
5. I have lost 12 pounds in the past month thanks to an app that tracks the calories I eat
6. I make purchases with my phone, both through apps and through wallet
7. Every night I write five reviews of horror novelty songs on Twitter. I do this through the Twitter app referencing songs I have on my iPod. I am trying to write 500, which I will compile into a book. I'm at about 325 right now.
8. I use my iPhone for my bus passes; it's a better system that the clunky cards the bus offers and an alternative, and a much better alternative to cash
9. I track my sleep with an app, I do sit ups every other day with the help of an app, I fall asleep with the help of an app, I pay my bills through apps.

I know this is a vision of dystopia for some, but, honestly, the degree to which it simplifies and has improved my life is immeasurable. I'm healthier and have my shut together a thousand time more than 10 years ago, and it's largely do to the extent with which this devise has simplified and helped me structure my life.
posted by maxsparber at 11:52 AM on September 12 [18 favorites]


The cameras on the phones are really impressive, and honestly the only reason to upgrade, as far as I'm concerned. I'm using a 7, which takes great photos, but even my wife's 8 is noticeably better in certain conditions. The dual-lens cameras are something else entirely. I get that some people do amazing things with their phones, but mine is mostly a photography / web browsing / podcast machine, and I can't justify spending $1k every couple of years on a new one when I'm also (very occasionally) upgrading desktop hardware.

Which ... yeah, we need new desktops. My 7-year-old iMac is having a hard time keeping up at this point, but I'm a big fan of Logic for making music so I'm married to the Apple ecosystem. Which would be fine if the hardware didn't get worse (soldered-in RAM, I'm giving you the side-eye) with every iteration.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:55 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I'm healthier and have my shut together a thousand time more than 10 years ago

Also, your phone helps keep you from cursing online.
posted by ejs at 11:58 AM on September 12 [29 favorites]


It's pronounced iPhone TEN. Always has been, just like Mac OS Ten was. So now it's the Ten-Ess.

Which makes just as little sense given that iPhone X is the next model after the iPhone 8 and is the 11th generation of iPhone hardware.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:01 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


What's next, iPhone squash? iPhone racquetball? iPhone Jai Alai???
posted by sydnius at 12:02 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Enough on the "Apple sux" vs "people who say apple sux are the ones who really sux" stuff. Discuss this event or don't, but enough of the general meta stuff.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:04 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Which makes just as little sense given that iPhone X is the next model after the iPhone 8 and is the 11th generation of iPhone hardware.

Considering that the iPhone went from iPhone > iPhone 3G > iPhone 4 without there ever being an iPhone 2, skipping a number is firmly precedented.
posted by ejs at 12:05 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I've heard people guess that the reason Apple and Microsoft skipped '9' in iPhone and Windows versions was to avoid the bad sound-alike to German speakers.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:07 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


So now it is iPhone Ten, S, Max?

Is this going to continue with iPhone Ten, S, Max, Maxine, Uber, EIEIO, Omega, Infinity...?

Note: my old 6 is just fine btw.
posted by CrowGoat at 12:11 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Also, your phone helps keep you from cursing online.

I am perfectly capable of making my own typos.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Well the wife and I have our iUP program preapproved. Just have to scoot through checkout at 3am Friday morning, pick up the first appointment in Nashua, and we'll do our yearly upgrade the iPhone ritual.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:22 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Disappointing and kind of baffling that the SE is getting axed outright. The market for smaller phones isn't huge, but it's pretty loyal, and not everyone wants a dang phablet. What of those of us who like phones that'll fit in a pocket?
posted by halation at 12:27 PM on September 12 [14 favorites]


iPhone wrap-up:
  • Increased use of recycled materials. The iPhone CX (pronounced "Credenza Ten") uses a case made entirely of secondhand furniture refinished with gold crackle-paint.
  • Optional soccer hooligan voice for Siri greets you with the phrase "'Ello, gov'nor!" and responds to all queries with inscrutable Cockney rhyming slang.
  • Special edition Spencer Gifts iPhone has flatulence-themed ringtones; a portion of profits goes to "the ongoing fight against chronic fart disease."
  • Improved camera to be cross-marketed in forthcoming Star Trek movie with a villain named "Bokeh."
  • Enhanced AI in "Find My Friends" app differentiates between real friends who deserve champagne, and sham friends who deserve pain. "I think you know who you are," says Tim Cook to nervous laughter.
    posted by compartment at 12:28 PM on September 12 [32 favorites]


    The watch stuff was neat, especially the ECG monitor and the fall detection.  I still won't buy one since my needs don't encompass what it offers, but I can see why they sell well.  That the FDA is approving their use in conjunction with personal physicians seems significant.

    Apple's continuing commitment to privacy is heartening.  The closed garden aspect is a deal breaker for some and not my favorite thing about them, but I do like that the way they have their system set up allows them to refuse to monetize your data and invade your privacy the way Google does.  I know many of us don't mind it, and more power to you, but their way of business and sheer level of privacy invasion it requires has always creeped me out.  The crazy integration you can pull off with it though is ever tempting.

    The stuff that gets pulled off with the cameras each year is always amazing.  Shame I'm not that into photography.  I ooh and aah, but take so few pictures generally that the features can't really sway me.  I'll keep my SE for now.  Never have liked the large sizes.
    posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:31 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


    you know what else just works? every other phone on the market. even when they're trying to be edgy and cynical, apple fanboys are still fanboys.

    Not an Apple fan particularly, but what I like about the company is that their products just work. Don't have to worry about drivers or junky OEM parts or whatever. It just works.

    My Android Pixel 2 also just works, but most Android users use a variant of the OS... and those variants don't "just work" like iOS does.

    I use a nice ultra-SFF W10 PC as my main computer, but I would never use a Windows laptop as my "away" meeting device.

    Instead, I use a Chromebook, which also "just works."

    But there is a lot to be said for Apple's approach.
    posted by JamesBay at 12:32 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    you know what else just works? every other phone on the market.

    My LG Android work phone 'works', but it has a lot of annoyances that in my opinion Apple does better. I may just not like LG though - I had a tv through them that lacked tons of features and wasn't very high quality. Also my iphone 5 is still faster than my brand new HP laptop that my work gave me.
    posted by The_Vegetables at 12:43 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    My ancient Nokia 301 dumbphone also just works. And it fits in my pocket, is virtually indestructible, and I get weeks of a single charge.
    posted by fimbulvetr at 12:47 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    My ancient Nokia 301 dumbphone also just works

    yeah but all you can do with it is talk to people
    and who wants to talk to people? on a phone?
    posted by halation at 12:49 PM on September 12 [11 favorites]


    Pish. I can also text people.
    posted by fimbulvetr at 12:50 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


    And it has a crappy 3.2 Mp camera .. and an FM radio. Beat that, Apple!
    posted by fimbulvetr at 12:52 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    So my wife and I have been going back and forth on the watch sizes, and I think the market has killed the 38mm size - worse battery life (if trivially, it was a concern), not smaller enough to matter, etc, so the new 40mm replaces the 42mm: 759 sq mm screen versus 740 sq mm screen, 324x394 px versus 312x390 px, it's marginally smaller looking in the apple store app "actual size" representation but not really smaller enough to be obviously smaller.

    And now there's a 44mm for the size queens out there. I'm going to have to see whether it fits my wrist, the 42mm is decent already, the new one might be clunky on my dainty wrists.
    posted by Kyol at 12:52 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    My ancient Nokia 301 dumbphone also just works

    Which is good, but check to make sure you're not creating more work for people around you. My husband talks a big talk about wanting to get rid of his smartphone, and I have to remind him that that would shift a massive burden onto me as far as organizing childcare, appointments, keeping in touch with family, emergency communications, etc. etc. etc.
    posted by witchen at 12:52 PM on September 12 [14 favorites]


    512gig. FIVE HUNDRED AND TWELVE GIGS-OF-BYTES. Jaaaaysus.

    I'm not watching the livestream but assume they've announced an iPhone with this storage?

    See, whereas many people get upset at Apple snark, what I get annoyed with is this kind of marveling when they announce new products--because it makes it clear that so few people who love them bother to check out the competition.

    My Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has 512GB of storage on board and can take a 512gb microsd card making it a terrabyte of storage. And it has 8gb of ram, dual sim, a bluetooth enabled stylus, and what many consider the greatest phone screen on the market. It can also do splitscreen out of the box.

    I traveled Europe, the US, and Canada for 10 months last year with only a Note (8, at that time) and a WayTools Textblade, essentially having a waterproof laptop in my pocket, weighing less than half a pound.

    (Admittedly the keyboard is not yet available to the general public -- you can pre-order without promise of a ship-date -- but it is literally the greatest keyboard I've ever used, whereas Apple's latest keyboards are quite embarassing.)

    Yes, Apple makes some great products. But so do a lot of other companies.
    posted by dobbs at 12:55 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


    I am the primary school, appointment, and emergency contact. Text and phone calls are sufficient for all that stuff. How do you think people managed in the long-distant past of 10 years ago before smartphones existed?
    posted by fimbulvetr at 12:56 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    Honestly smartphones are so good that if I didn't need a proper PC for making music, I'm not sure that I would own one, or at least not one made in the last decade.
    posted by uncleozzy at 12:58 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    How do you think people managed in the long-distant past of 10 years ago before smartphones existed?

    With different expectations, that's all.
    posted by witchen at 12:59 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


    I have an iPhone X. I love it. I love the camera, I am really happy with the UI changes to remove the old home button, I love that it 'just works'.

    I also have a Google Pi-connected Nexus 6P. The screen on it is *beautiful*, as is the built-in sound. I'm not super stoked about some of the UI features of Android, but it's a pretty solid OS.

    Except... inevitably, a few times a week, I'll do something on the Nexus, like 'open the Facebook app' or 'swipe a couple of alert banners off to the side' and the phone will just.... shut off. Boom. Black screen. And it won't start back up until I connect it to power. It was *really* fun the day I was at a stop light on my motorcycle, using Waze for GPS since I was in an unfamiliar area, went to fire up SiriusXM to listen to some tunes, and the phone blacked out.

    I guess what I'm saying is 'Android phones are a land of contrast'.

    I am super excited for the S4 Watch. I just hope it's rugged enough for full-contact LARPing, since that's the majority of my exercise.

    ObDisclosure - I currently work for Apple in a department that has nothing at all to do with hardware or software of any type.
    posted by hanov3r at 1:01 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    I went shopping for a smart watch earlier this year and quickly realised I don't need one. I ended up buying this Swatch.

    Swatch was the Swiss watch making industry's reply to the new digital watches of the 80s like Casio and Seiko, which were taking over the market. Having a Swiss watch was a status symbol, it showed you have the money for it. So they developed a mass produced plastic watch anyone could afford. Especially teens, so they had brightly colored designs, even by 80s standards.

    I love this watch, you can see it's guts with all the little cogs and wheels, straight through the transparent back to your wrist . I like the idea that you can see how it works and understand it on a purely mechanical level.

    It has one job, show me the time at a glance and with style. I've got a phone for everything else.

    I'm happy enough with my choice that I'll recommend people look at the feature lists and consider what they really need, and consider a lovely mechanical timepiece.
    posted by adept256 at 1:09 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    See, whereas many people get upset at Apple snark, what I get annoyed with is this kind of marveling when they announce new products--because it makes it clear that so few people who love them bother to check out the competition.

    You might want to check your assumptions at the door.
    posted by Kyol at 1:13 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    I'm really glad that we're going to get dual SIM in the iPhone ecosystem in the west even if it is eSIM based. Being able to use a local SIM card when I go back to Australia is going to be a huge help.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:14 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    wildblueyonder: Yes, install iOS 11, and then install iOS 12 when it comes out. It won't brick your phone, it won't ruin it. And you get major security improvements that are worthwhile if you have even the slightest bit of tech paranoia about who can access your device. Seriously.
    posted by SansPoint at 1:18 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    Twins, Max.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 1:26 PM on September 12


    Except... inevitably, a few times a week, I'll do something on the Nexus, like 'open the Facebook app' or 'swipe a couple of alert banners off to the side' and the phone will just.... shut off. Boom. Black screen. And it won't start back up until I connect it to power. It was *really* fun the day I was at a stop light on my motorcycle, using Waze for GPS since I was in an unfamiliar area, went to fire up SiriusXM to listen to some tunes, and the phone blacked out.

    That sounds like your battery is in the process of dying -- the classic symptoms are faltering battery life and a tendency to run out of power when the meter says there's still juice left, which causes the phone to just go dead instantly instead of going through a proper shutdown (which the OS would normally do when it realizes you're at 0% battery).
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:27 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    This is not how I thought this thread would go.
    posted by gwint at 1:31 PM on September 12


    Agree. Maybe the thread proves the point of the essay?
    posted by Carmody'sPrize at 1:32 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    > This is not how I thought this thread would go.
    Yeah, well.

    I was taught that if I had nothing nice to say, it was better to say nothing at all, and given that I've been living in the strictly-moderated megathreads, I've been trying to obey that maxim even more. So I hesitate to even comment in a thread like this one, where indulging in a bit of techno-luxury is denounced as uninformed fanboy-ism, or worse. (And believe me, I recognize that it is a privilege and a luxury to be able to care about the hot new tech stuff.)

    I will just say, the ever-increasing creepiness of the other tech giants makes me glad that at least one company is committed (on paper, at least) to my privacy *and* is too big to be bought out by Amazon/Google/whathaveyou next week. (That's one reason I worry about Eero, for example. Or look at Nest - so glad now that I hadn't bought in.)

    But I do feel worn out. I've been on the new iPhone train since the iPhone 5 - I don't smoke, or drink, or gamble - it's my only vice! (Well, that and lying about my vices, to repeat a Gruber joke.) And now, this is the first year where I'm feeling too depressed to get excited by the new announcements. The first 7 nanometer chips! A custom AI machine! :(

    I do plan to replace our his-and-hers Series 0 Apple watches - yeah, the original watch, still in 100% daily use. And - who knows - if I'm up in the middle of the night anyway...
    posted by RedOrGreen at 1:45 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    @louisvirtel
    Apple Events are the world's largest meetings that could've been an email.
    posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on September 12 [18 favorites]


    I hope nobody buys these phones, and then Apple gets the hint and comes out with an iPhone SE-sized phone in time for when my iPhone SE goes belly-up.
    posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:50 PM on September 12 [10 favorites]


    HZSF, I'd think that, too, but a) the battery was replaced less than a year ago and b) I've had that happen within an hour of coming off the charger and no usage. *shrug*
    posted by hanov3r at 1:50 PM on September 12


    Except... inevitably, a few times a week, I'll do something on the Nexus, like 'open the Facebook app' or 'swipe a couple of alert banners off to the side' and the phone will just.... shut off. Boom. Black screen. And it won't start back up until I connect it to power. It was *really* fun the day I was at a stop light on my motorcycle, using Waze for GPS since I was in an unfamiliar area, went to fire up SiriusXM to listen to some tunes, and the phone blacked out.

    Not to defend Android too much here, because hardware fragmentation is a big part of why they lose to Apple in stability/reliability, but the Nexus 6P seems like it was plagued with hardware problems. I don't have the scratch to buy new devices, so when I was in the market for a refurbished Nexus device, all reviews and discussion pointed to me having better luck with the 5, 5X, and 6 over the 6P, which seemed to have a litany hardware issues long before being refurbished. Don't even get me started on how awful the hardware for the Nexus 4 was, despite me loving the Nexus 4. LG are freaking garbage in my humble opinion.

    The last time I remember an Apple phone having serious hardware issues was the iPhone 4 where if you held it "wrong" you would shut off the antennae because you were touching two parts of the phone that somehow, I don't know, blocked the signals from escaping the unit or something. (I don't recall specifics.) Beyond that, I've not heard huge amounts of rumbling about iPhones but I could pull up a list of probably thirty different Android phones by half as many different manufacturers, and all of them would be terrible hardware (often sold with not enough system memory to fully install all software updates to keep the device up-to-date.).

    Not to say Apple is flawless in recent years. I remember the dongle debacle and the butterfly keyboard issues on their laptops. However, I think overall Apple has a strong argument that their control of their product-chain has produced fewer overall "lemons" in their product ecosystem.
    posted by deadaluspark at 1:52 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    I really, really wish I could just for a moment re-access the way I experienced digital technology back when I was like from 12 to 17 or so. I was so excited when I got to play with a new machine; a new gaming system, a new pentium, a new modem, a new skipless discman, any new whatever. I think it made me feel genuinely fulfilled, not just entertained or whatever. I loved that I lived in a world where on a regular basis very clever people made new clever devices for me, these sweet little bundles of human ingenuity pleasant to use, pleasant to behold, pleasant to try to understand.

    And I get none of that feeling now, not a trace of it. I don't care. Wait, no, I care: I am angry that all these clever people (among them me) are incentivized to shovel out these shitty little toys, these clever little addiction boxes, these distracting people-traps. There are real problems that need to be solved! I think. Why are all the smartest people putting all their smarts into this garbage instead? Instead of being monuments to human ingenuity, all these XS devices seem like monuments to human folly, our fucked priorities reified into little glass rectangles.

    And the thing that really bothers me is that I can't tell whether my change in attitude is just the disenchantment that comes with age, or if it's a sign of clinical depression, or if it indicates that something outside my own personal head has in fact gone terribly wrong. I can't tell if the world of technology has curdled, or if instead I've curdled. and so I'm stuck with this ball of bored anger where my capacity for joy used to be, and no idea whose fault it is or how to fix it.

    Which makes talking about new Apple products really fucking difficult, because there is no way to commensurate claims like "this new watch has a feature that is pretty cool" with counterclaims like "turning and turning in the widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer things fall apart the center cannot hold." basically the only conversation we can have is an earnest talk about the impossibility of conversation.

    and well much like digital technology itself, earnest conversations about the impossibility of conversation seemed much more interesting and vital back in the 90s than they do now.
    posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:54 PM on September 12 [65 favorites]


    hanov3r, I have a Nexus 5X that succumbed to the bootloop of death about a year ago (and got sent off for a free new motherboard and is still chugging along now). After a quick google, it looks like the 6P may have similar problems with the processors overheating the phone and slowly melting the mobo to death. I wish I'd known about this when my phone started acting squirrelly so I could have backed up my data.

    I used a coworker's old iPhone 5se while the Nexus was getting fixed and it was wonderful having a smaller phone and it took awesome pictures. I'm planning to get one as my next phone if they're still functional then.
    posted by momus_window at 2:00 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    Releasing a new version of a product is a tacit admission of failure to get the product right the first time. How many second chances are we going to give them?
    posted by Faint of Butt at 2:02 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


    Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: I'm kinda at Phone Burnout, to be honest. Nothing about the new iPhones really excited me, except in that I know I'll be getting the Big iPhone next year. (I went from a 6S to an 8 Plus last year, and try to stick to a two-year cycle. I really like the Big iPhone.)

    But the Apple Watch. That's been a total gamechanger for me, and I was super-duper skeptical of smartwatches for ages. I decided around the time the Apple Watch was announced to buy the $99 Pebble and try it for a while, to see if my skepticism was warranted. It was not, though the Pebble was not a terribly useful smartwatch, when pared with an iPhone. I _adore_ my Apple Watch, though, and I haven't been able to say that about any piece of consumer technology in a long time. Not since, really, the iPod, let alone my first iPhone. I'm a believer.
    posted by SansPoint at 2:04 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


    Maybe the thread proves the point of the essay?

    The essay sort of forecloses further discussion on the topic, to be honest. You read it, you nod sagely or you sigh in weary agreement. What more is there to do with it? Its point is clear. It is not wrong. But it invites nothing further. And it's not like ignoring a product release is gonna fix late-stage capitalism.
    posted by halation at 2:06 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    > Releasing a new version of a product is a tacit admission of failure to get the product right the first time. How many second chances are we going to give them?

    Ok, I got an honest belly laugh out of that comment - my first all day.

    Apple is offering me $25 to recycle my Series 0 watch... which, frankly, is a bit more than I expected it to be worth.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 2:07 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    SansPoint: I mean, yes, exactly. On the one hand I'm all "welll maybe I should give a fancy watch a try it might be useful I guess I've heard good things," but on the other hand I'm like "but wait there's that dang falcon and the gyre it's turning in keeps getting wider and I just don't think the falconer's gonna be able to shout loud enough."
    posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:09 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    i am ozymandias, king of kings. look upon my watch. it's pretty sweet.
    posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:11 PM on September 12 [34 favorites]


    wildblueyonder: Yes, install iOS 11, and then install iOS 12 when it comes out. It won't brick your phone, it won't ruin it. And you get major security improvements that are worthwhile if you have even the slightest bit of tech paranoia about who can access your device. Seriously.

    I genuinely appreciate the reassurance. But to be more precise: I'm less worried updating to iOS 11 will brick or otherwise outright render the phone non-functional, and more worried that general performance will notably suffer, or energy use will go up / battery life will go down. Since this actually happened to acquaintances and was discussed late last year, I don't think it's entirely paranoia.

    What I'd really like, though, is a way to image/restore the whole phone including the OS. Then I could upgrade with abandon and roll back if it was a problem. I do the content backups with iTunes, and that's nice, but it seems intentionally designed to not care about the OS itself, which is sensible enough given the assumption that many users won't want to think about it (probably true) or that Apple will not make regressing mistakes (probably less true). Optimizing for those assumptions has, along with other things, worked out pretty well for Apple, so I don't expect *them* to necessarily make the tool I'm looking for. But I'm wondering if anyone can point me to good people who do? iMazing? iExplorer? Something else? I can't be the first person to want this...
    posted by wildblueyonder at 2:12 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    Dang those scurvy badgers straight to heck for discontinuing the 4" iPhone. First of all because it had my favourite battery life (long) and my favourite in-pocket profile (small). Here I am, rending my garments and gnashing my teeth at the cruel injustice of it all. O pity.

    On the other horn, my telephone extortionist service tells me for $0 dollars I can have an iPhone 8. I guess they have a dumptruck full of them or something. Still dragging my heels about upgrading, though. I mean -- the battery, it won't be as long. And the pockets? They'll have to be bigger.

    Fiddle your sticks, Tim Cook, fiddle them all the way to Sunday!

    Also must weigh in on the solid good-enoughishness of the Apple Watch. My Apple Watch is so good-enoughish that I actually keep it on. My wrist. The whole time. So that's a ringing endorsement from somebody who likes neither physical contact with things nor extraneous technology. That's some fine good-enoughish right there.

    In my dream of dreams I'd like an Apple Pencil with a clip, because I always lose mine.
    posted by Construction Concern at 2:13 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    The Watch is pretty neat but a no sale for me since there's no Android support. Sadly there's really no competition in that space; the Android Wear offerings have been pretty dire.
    posted by octothorpe at 2:30 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    And I get none of that feeling now, not a trace of it. I don't care. Wait, no, I care: I am angry that all these clever people (among them me) are incentivized to shovel out these shitty little toys, these clever little addiction boxes, these distracting people-traps. There are real problems that need to be solved! I think. Why are all the smartest people putting all their smarts into this garbage instead? Instead of being monuments to human ingenuity, all these XS devices seem like monuments to human folly, our fucked priorities reified into little glass rectangles.

    And the thing that really bothers me is that I can't tell whether my change in attitude is just the disenchantment that comes with age, or if it's a sign of clinical depression, or if it indicates that something outside my own personal head has in fact gone terribly wrong. I can't tell if the world of technology has curdled, or if instead I've curdled. and so I'm stuck with this ball of bored anger where my capacity for joy used to be, and no idea whose fault it is or how to fix it.


    For me, it's probably a bit of all three, but I do feel this. Minimum Viable Product has made the tech world unbearable.

    I am also disappointed at the lack of a small form-factor phone. I'm perfectly happy with the size of my second-gen SE (I use an iPad for apps that require more screen) and have no interest in paying $750+ to get a phone too big for me to use comfortably. But my forays into Android in the past have not been positive.
    posted by praemunire at 2:32 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    I traveled Europe, the US, and Canada for 10 months last year with only a Note (8, at that time) and a WayTools Textblade, essentially having a waterproof laptop in my pocket, weighing less than half a pound.

    (Admittedly the keyboard is not yet available to the general public -- you can pre-order without promise of a ship-date -- but it is literally the greatest keyboard I've ever used, whereas Apple's latest keyboards are quite embarassing.)
    I am literally asotnished that ANYONE has a TextBlade.

    I pre-ordered *in January of 2015*, and eventually cancelled because their behavior started to look like failure was likely. That was almost 4 years ago. They have been taking people's money for FOUR YEARS, and you're telling me it's still not actually shipping?
    The Watch is pretty neat but a no sale for me since there's no Android support.
    The integration is SO NICE and cool that I, after buying an entry-level model about 2.5 years ago to support running, ended up wearing it full time despite having a nontrivial collection of more prestigious old-world mechanicals.

    Last November I just said "fuck it" and bought the S3 in steel on a nice bracelet. It's waterproof, so I don't even take it off in the pool, which was a ridiculously annoying thing to me with the older one. (But given that this one cost real watch money, I'm not exactly clamoring for an S4 yet.)

    It wouldn't surprise me if the Watch + Phone combined platform pulled some folks in from Android. It's really nice and pretty effortless across the board.
    posted by uberchet at 2:42 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    *waves tiny delicate feminine hand* Add another vote to the BUT I NEED A SMALLER PHONE count. Dammit... I bought a 5S a few months before the SE came out, because my 4S had died after three years and the 6 and 6S were too big to use one-handed. So now the 5S is definitely overdue for replacement, and I've been nursing it along for a year now hoping for an update to the SE line... and instead it's all Biggest! Ever! - bye bye to using your phone if your hands are small and you're hanging on a strap on a train(*), or holding a cup of coffee, or carrying a bag, or in any other way not able to use both hands for the phone right now.

    (*) My original reason for getting a smartphone was that I wanted to be able to read when I didn't have a seat on the train and therefore couldn't spare both hands to hold a book open...

    I'm pretty wedded to the iPhone ecosystem (even if I weren't, it's not as if there are small Androids out there either), so I guess I'll be hunting down an SE at the weekend before the few remaining retailers have sold out. Feh. It's hard to feel good about spending hundreds of pounds on technology that's already obsolescent, but harder to feel good about spending a thousand pounds on technology that's cumbersome to use.
    posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:51 PM on September 12 [11 favorites]


    Why are all the smartest people putting all their smarts into this garbage instead? Instead of being monuments to human ingenuity, all these XS devices seem like monuments to human folly, our fucked priorities reified into little glass rectangles.

    My sense is that it's because the Gospel of Tech mistook means for ends, and thought that the tools were the solutions. They told us that the fancy glass rectangles, and the stuff they can do, would be the solutions to our problems, instead of maybe just improved tools to use in the actual, on-going work of solving them.
    posted by LooseFilter at 2:53 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    It's hard to feel good about spending hundreds of pounds on technology that's already obsolescent

    Yes but the A9 is still a beast of a chip compared to most contemporary budget Android handsets and the software support will probably last another couple of years. Especially since iOS_GPUFamily3 covers both A9 and A10. So I expect we'll see A9 support and A10 ditched simultaneously in 3-4 years or so.

    At least it's not like buying a budget Android and being perpetually behind on software and security updates.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 2:56 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    And I get none of that feeling now, not a trace of it. I don't care. Wait, no, I care: I am angry that all these clever people (among them me) are incentivized to shovel out these shitty little toys, these clever little addiction boxes, these distracting people-traps. There are real problems that need to be solved! I think. Why are all the smartest people putting all their smarts into this garbage instead? Instead of being monuments to human ingenuity, all these XS devices seem like monuments to human folly, our fucked priorities reified into little glass rectangles.

    I have followed a very similar trajectory and now find fetishistic, consumerist product launches like this one reasonably discomforting rather than the "cool!!" I would have 25 years ago.

    We are fiddling with our phones, the empire is burning.
    posted by deadwax at 3:10 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


    > My sense is that it's because the Gospel of Tech mistook means for ends, and thought that the tools were the solutions. They told us that the fancy glass rectangles, and the stuff they can do, would be the solutions to our problems, instead of maybe just improved tools to use in the actual, on-going work of solving them.

    here's some things I've realized about myself:
    * I don't really need much stuff to be happy. three unpretentious meals a day, a warm place to sleep, an ample supply of books, and some folks to talk with sometimes, and I am set.
    * I hate working. I hate it I hate it I hate it. It makes me feel despair.
    * I genuinely don't mind waiting in long lines for things. I spent last saturday morning at the dmv and kind of loved it. I had my book. I had a place to sit. I talked to folks while I was sitting. I read my book while I was sitting. I joined everyone else in kvetching about how slow everything was, cause that's the main topic of smalltalk at the dmv, but really I didn't mind it a bit.

    which like put these things together and it becomes clear what a cruel prank the universe has played on me. whereas I'd be happy as a pig in shit in the grey shabby 1980s soviet union, I'm stuck instead in the shiny consumer goods paradise of 21st century capitalist america. fuck me, right?
    posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:14 PM on September 12 [19 favorites]


    I mean look at the post under this one. Two year upgrade cycles, unboxing videos, last year's = old and the clusterfuck that is consumerism in general have a hand in our screwing of our habitat.
    posted by deadwax at 3:18 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    Can we make the appropriate Apple executives read this pocket thread?

    Or maybe they'd like a picture of my hands, with a ruler for size? I cannot hold a bigger phone in one hand (even the SE is a little too big for me). I have short stubby fingers. They aren't getting bigger. I won't be buying another iPhone until the release one with a size at/smaller than the SE. I see from the thread I am not alone.
    posted by nat at 3:31 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    wildblueyonder: I genuinely appreciate the reassurance. But to be more precise: I'm less worried updating to iOS 11 will brick or otherwise outright render the phone non-functional, and more worried that general performance will notably suffer, or energy use will go up / battery life will go down. Since this actually happened to acquaintances and was discussed late last year, I don't think it's entirely paranoia.

    It's entirely paranoia, though iOS 12 does bring a ton of performance enhancements to older hardware. That was the main pitch it got at WWDC. It'll be worth it, I promise. If you had a phone older than an iPhone SE, I'd be concerned, but not with the one you have. If you prefer, wait until Saturday, after iOS 12 comes out, and do the upgrades back to back.
    posted by SansPoint at 3:48 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    adept256: "Swatch was the Swiss watch making industry's reply to the new digital watches of the 80s like Casio and Seiko, which were taking over the market. Having a Swiss watch was a status symbol, it showed you have the money for it. So they developed a mass produced plastic watch anyone could afford. Especially teens, so they had brightly colored designs, even by 80s standards."

    Oh God, I'm lived long enough that people are having to explain what Swatches were.
    posted by Chrysostom at 3:50 PM on September 12 [34 favorites]


    This hits a nerve for me. Apple is the avatar, but the shiny techo slum is real. My dad just retired from a career in tech that gave him an inside view on the world changing from sci-fi dreams to reality. Complaining to him about the price of tuition or rent usually prompts a reply of, " Yeah, but we didn't have Netflix or Spotify." Anxiety about the wage gap gets, "You'll never get lost in a city because of Google maps."

    He's not entirely wrong, and I'm old enough to know it. But something's off with the arc of progress.
    posted by es_de_bah at 4:04 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    I'm disappointed that they still haven't perfected the blood glucose monitoring they were rumored to be working on for the watch. It would be useful for athletes and also for people with diabetes and related metabolic syndromes.
    posted by Megafly at 4:38 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    Whatever your preference, let us give pause and consider: the smartphone is roughly one decade old. Ten. Years. Give or take a bit.

    No other innovation in the history of civilization has altered and disrupted more of society, with such gravity, in such a short time. We have no idea what we are doing right now and we have no idea where we are headed.

    Granted, "the smartphone" is really more of a melange of various technologies coming together in a perfect storm, but we are living in a historic time of change that will probably be studied for hundreds of years to come. Presuming we are around that long.

    I don't know what I'm really getting at here but I wanted to encourage everyone to zoom out your thinking a bit.
    posted by glonous keming at 4:40 PM on September 12 [16 favorites]


    I really, really wish I could just for a moment re-access the way I experienced digital technology back when I was like from 12 to 17 or so. I was so excited when I got to play with a new machine; a new gaming system, a new pentium, a new modem, a new skipless discman, any new whatever. I think it made me feel genuinely fulfilled, not just entertained or whatever. I loved that I lived in a world where on a regular basis very clever people made new clever devices for me, these sweet little bundles of human ingenuity pleasant to use, pleasant to behold, pleasant to try to understand.

    And I get none of that feeling now, not a trace of it. I don't care.


    For me, it's because the all big challenges have essentially been solved. The first iPhone was genuinely revolutionary compared to its competitors. A touch screen of high quality, a mobile internet experience that wasn't intensely painful, enough storage to carry a bunch of your music, with no carrier bullshit apps preinstalled.

    Future iterations of the iPhone fixed its problems. The iPhone 2 allowed app developers in, which spawned a whole industry. The 3 let you record video. The 4 introduced real honest-to-god mobile video calling, stuff that we'd be putting into science fiction movies for years.

    But now, the iPhone does everything I could possibly want it to do. Sure, we're getting incrementally better cameras and screens and processors, but for the last several generations there haven't been any game changing features. The last two big features, in my mind at least, were Siri and Apple Pay. The former is still not great (the voice recognition is so spotty that it rarely gets a whole sentence correct), and the latter came with the iPhone 6, five years ago, and has only recently gained enough acceptance to be useful (and still not enough that I can safely leave my wallet at home).

    These new phones have nothing to recommend them, other than improved processing power that is supposed to make augmented reality work better, which is 100% a gimmick right now. (Maybe in a few years when Apple iGlasses become a thing, it'll be interesting.)

    The question is, what can I do with this device that I couldn't do before? Or, what experience is now significantly faster or easier or better than before? Since the answer is "nothing," it's not surprising that I've lost interest.
    posted by JDHarper at 4:43 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


    The question is, what can I do with this device that I couldn't do before?

    Keep up with longer catch-all threads?
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:46 PM on September 12 [14 favorites]


    ~ pats the flip phone in my pocket. smiles.
    posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    The question is, what can I do with this device that I couldn't do before? Or, what experience is now significantly faster or easier or better than before?

    Same here. I’m an avowed Apple Fanboy but I’m still rocking a 6s Plus because it does everything I need to do well enough. One day I’ll upgrade and be happy with the faster performance and better display, but none of the flagship features (Face ID, wireless charger, Animoji, better cameras with cool lighting and depth of field modes) are enough to get me to shell out right now.
    posted by ejs at 5:18 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    I too feel much less excited these days, than I did years ago — in my youth or even later, in my sad proto adulthood — about tech. And while I am doing my best to ignore the gyre, thank you very much, I do think it's a mistake to conflate what we saw today with crass consumerism, or the gyre itself.

    When I was 15 and got a CD burner for the first time it was like all the christmases. I could do weird new things, in categories I hadn't even considered before. There are so many of these in my past: the first time I dialed up a BBS and logged in; getting dope joysticks for gaming; and yeah, the first few generations of iPhones. Each new thing brought a new set of possibilities.

    For me, today's announcements represent very little in the way of new possibilities. The platforms are pretty dang mature and the major things that smartphones can do for us are in so many ways baked into our world.

    You can see this growth going all the all the way back to my first computer, as well — all those original new advancements that I was excited about, and all the possibilities they hold, are now just the foundations of our everyday.

    The thing is many of the things that were announced today are super exciting to some people. The assistance provided by the fall detector and the EKG are huge for the right people. I got super excited on behalf of sporting folks when they showed the AR basketball tool — having a coach-in-a-phone would be gamechanging for a lot of people. And all the processing improvements have huge potential for gaming.

    The extent to which any of these improvements will make an impact outside of those audiences remains to be seen; I'm not holding my breath for everyday AR. But the number of people within those audiences is actually pretty significant.

    The tech is actually creating all kinds of new possibilities, just not at the foundational level that we used to get so excited about, and maybe just not for us.
    posted by wemayfreeze at 5:34 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


    I should explain what I find so incredible and compelling about the Apple Watch, and I'll explain it thusly: it's my dashboard for myself. One of the most important things I use it for is to keep track of my exercise and my diet. I use a variety of apps and have a little dashboard of things so I know how much I've eaten, how much I've moved, and all sorts of other useful data about what my body is doing. I've used fitness trackers before the Apple Watch, but this is the one that has the power and surfaces the data that gives me real insight into my body and what/how it's doing. And it's been _very_ helpful in terms of habit change. I don't think I'd have dropped 30 pounds in the last two years without the dingus on my wrist tracking me and reinforcing the beneficial habits of moving around and stuff.
    posted by SansPoint at 5:48 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]




    I hereby submit that the mods should erase all of the comments on this thread other than Compartment's
    posted by DoctorFedora at 6:11 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    This hits a nerve for me. Apple is the avatar, but the shiny techo slum is real. My dad just retired from a career in tech that gave him an inside view on the world changing from sci-fi dreams to reality. Complaining to him about the price of tuition or rent usually prompts a reply of, " Yeah, but we didn't have Netflix or Spotify." Anxiety about the wage gap gets, "You'll never get lost in a city because of Google maps."

    The other argument is that poverty doesn't exist these days because televisions are so cheap. Although I do think one of the only safety nets that still exists is just how cheap clothes and high-calorie food both are compared to a generation ago (the generation before Walmart built a global logistics chain starting in China).

    Some "stuff" might be cheap, but quality of life is not always so good.
    posted by JamesBay at 6:18 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


    Also it's weird coming into these threads and seeing people engaging in brand tribalism like thirteen-year-olds — it can't POSSIBLY be good, because it's made by Brand I Don't Use — but also people engaging in in-your-thirties-and-forties "I feel like I don't get excited about things like I used to" wistfulness, sometimes simultaneously.
    posted by DoctorFedora at 6:27 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


    uncleozzy: The cameras on the phones are really impressive, and honestly the only reason to upgrade, as far as I'm concerned. I'm using a 7, which takes great photos, but even my wife's 8 is noticeably better in certain conditions. The dual-lens cameras are something else entirely. I get that some people do amazing things with their phones, but mine is mostly a photography / web browsing / podcast machine, and I can't justify spending $1k every couple of years on a new one when I'm also (very occasionally) upgrading desktop hardware.

    Hey, this is exactly me! With the same phone! The very first thing I do when I see a new phone is check out the camera. I’ve basically cut out all social media from my life besides Instagram, because so many photographers are on there and I love looking at photos, whether they’re from a user’s phone or a film camera. I don’t carry my film cameras with me all the time, so being able to take good quality photos is important to me, and I love taking photos of my girlfriend and our dog, and record funny videos of us or of my friends. I don’t have a computer, so my phone is super important. Other than Instagram, I pretty much use it to exclusively read metafilter and to text people ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I understand everybody’s issues with Apple and with iPhones, but for whatever reason Android phones have rarely “worked” properly for me, and I am not sure why. I know that other people have said the same thing about iPhones, so I’m thinking that people have a certain concept in their head of how a phone is suppose to work, and when it doesn’t pan out that way then it’s been a waste. For me personally, I use my phone to browse the web and to take photos and to text people, and to check my email sometimes, and that’s it. I’ve never had the newest, best phone on the market, I’ve always been a few models behind, but I enjoy using them since they just work for me and what I want to do.
    posted by gucci mane at 7:10 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    The question is, what can I do with this device that I couldn't do before?
    Well, for me, it was only at the iPhone 8 - so last year - that my phone camera became good enough to leave my real camera at home for some things. Before, trying to use phone pictures in prints, or in the screen saver on the TV, was a nonstarter because the picture quality just wasn't up to par with the stuff out of my old DSLR or my Olympus M4/3.

    There's still a gap, but it's now close enough that, this summer, for the first time, I mixed in iPhone pix with real-camera pix for the final set of our UK vacation pix, and don't find them obviously worse.

    That's a big deal for me. I won't buy the phone that they announced today; I usually get at least 2 years out of a phone, but no more than 3. Mine are on a heavy duty cycle, so the tend to get kinda janky by the 36 month mark. The camera quality jumps in the last couple revs have been tremendous enough that I'm actually excited about what will be possible for my next phone in 2019 or 2020.
    posted by uberchet at 7:29 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


    Here's my end of the night take, fueled by bourbon and having been an iPhone user (and recent watch adopter) without buying every new phone they release.

    I'd love to see a smaller form factor iPhone, the only thing I can think of logistically is Apple ran the numbers and decided it wasn't worth it diluting their launch event with it.

    The Xr is their "low cost" high end phone at $749 vs $999, but Apple also launched the SE not at their September event (Shiny Best Ever iPhone month), but a March education event. Not saying Apple is gonna launch another one, but this probably wouldn't be an event for Apple to feature a "Also here's our $399 phone." They want Wall Street to love their 2018 numbers and Q4 is big new iPhone season for them. So this launch wasn't going to include a smaller / cheaper iPhone. There may be one launched later on - the SE launch was a one off, so hard to know.

    ios12 still supports iPhone 5s and later, and they made a big deal over how it's more about making old phones perform better (in part because of addressing the battery related forced upgrade stuff I'm sure) than entirely amazing new features.

    Dual Sim support is huge. As someone who travels in Asia and Europe, yeah, I get it, it is easy to find a phone there that has dual sim. My coworker bought one accidentally (and enjoyed it) while in Singapore because he was just trying to get a new phone. Unless you are specifically seeking it out, you're not going to even know about in the US/North America. Now every US carrier's flagship iPhone is going to have dual sim support - and Apple make's a very easy "use this local sim for Data, but use my primary Sim for everything else" button - so hopefully their roaming plans get with the program (AT&T wants to charge me $120/month for 3gb data roaming overseas? that's 2x the cost of an iPhone Xs that lets me buy a $20/5gb sim - which themselves have roaming data plans usually for free in their neighboring countries).

    And the Xs features the 600mhz spectrum (possibly the Xr also), which makes T-Mobile a much more viable option for areas otherwise not available. Not really a surprise - Apple doesn't like multiple skus and probably the only reason this didn't happen last year was there wasn't an Intel chipset available that covered 600mhz in time for the X launch.

    I'll probably pickup an Xs for the dual sim support alone - it's easier with their payment plan program - but that's the tipping point to make me give up Touch ID for Face ID.
    posted by mrzarquon at 7:45 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


    > Also it's weird coming into these threads and seeing people engaging in brand tribalism like thirteen-year-olds — it can't POSSIBLY be good, because it's made by Brand I Don't Use — but also people engaging in in-your-thirties-and-forties "I feel like I don't get excited about things like I used to" wistfulness, sometimes simultaneously.

    mostly i just like talking about gyres
    posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:17 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


    I switched over from 6+ years of iPhone/ATT to Android and GoogleFi in 2015. Now I'm thinking about going back to T-Mobile because GF's service around here absolutely stinks. Also I've been considering getting an iPhone and an Apple Watch (since I can't take my phone into my workplace but I CAN take an Apple Watch). Today's announcement hasn't really managed to push me in either direction...especially since they didn't release a new low-end iPhone.

    But this thread has been helpful, so thanks everyone. Maybe I will figure out what to do about my service by the end of the year...
    posted by elsietheeel at 8:28 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


    I use Mac products for work, and in my home, except phones. I've always preferred Android.

    Then I discovered I can't block or remove YouTube on my kids' Android phones, without using a third party app as a kludge. This is a deal breaker for me, and I'm off to buy the cheapest iPhones I can find to get the wonderful parental controls they offer.
    posted by davejay at 9:07 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    So, for the people above who were asking about reverting back to a previous version of iOS: you can kinda sorta do this. If, say, you install iOS 12 next week and then you change your mind, you can go to ipsw.me, look for your device, and then download the signed software update you want to revert to [1]. The file you are downloading is from Apple; ipsw.me merely organizes the links for easy access.

    Once you have the file downloaded, plug your iOS device into a computer that has iTunes. Make sure to do a backup (however you prefer) before you restore. Select the device, and on the overview screen, there should be a button to restore the device. On a Mac, option-click that button (I assume alt-click for Windows, but I've never tried), and you should then be presented with a file picker where you can select the IPSW you just downloaded. From this point, it's just like any other iOS software update.

    I am an iOS developer and I have done this many times with ipsw.me and have no reason to suspect anything (since the actual IPSW comes from Apple). Also, for reference, I installed beta 1 of iOS 12 on an iPhone 5S, and I was surprised at how snappy it felt. That doesn't mean it won't break third-party apps or do something else you don't like, but it was surprisingly good even earlier this summer.

    [1] When you install an iOS update, the device verifies the update with Apple, at which point, it is digitally signed. Apple stops signing IPSWs at their discretion. For big updates, like from 11 to 12, they tend to sign older versions for a few weeks; smaller ones might only be a few days. However, this is solely up to Apple, so make sure it's even possible to roll back before you try this. macrumors.com seems to post updates as to when versions stop being signed.

    PS: The naming for these devices is utterly ridiculous. If I read it as ecks-ess, I think of the nightclub here in Las Vegas. I agree with Twitter that ten-ess is of course "tennis". Then of course you have the ten-smacks. The ecks-arr I don't even know what to do with.

    PPS: I am literally asotnished that ANYONE has a TextBlade.

    I pre-ordered *in January of 2015*, and eventually cancelled because their behavior started to look like failure was likely. That was almost 4 years ago. They have been taking people's money for FOUR YEARS, and you're telling me it's still not actually shipping?


    I completely forgot that I had ordered one of these (probably around the same time) until now. I'm surprised that anyone has even been able to use one. Seriously wtf.

    posted by bonje at 9:22 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


    wildblueyonder, iOS 11 works just fine on my SE. I’ve noticed no difference between it and iOS 10. I’m looking forward to 12, just because it’s supposed to make my little phone even faster.
    posted by lhauser at 9:41 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


    I work at a secure facility where we can't have any electronics with recording capacity on us while working. Which means I listen to my audiobooks (without which the job would be unbearable at times) on my iPod Classic. Which my parents bought me back in 2008. Ten years, still works.

    I don't like a lot of how Apple has evolved over my lifetime, and certainly they encourage regular replacement with the Newest Model, but I appreciate that they build a solid enough product that you don't have to replace the damn thing every 2-3 years if you don't want to.
    posted by AdamCSnider at 10:46 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


    Oh yeah, I actually managed to get into the test group for the TextBlade too, uh, two years ago I guess? It's been a really long time, and I don't really use it much. It's been really good to have a couple times in a pinch, though.
    posted by DoctorFedora at 12:51 AM on September 13


    Technology is supposedly getting better but it really doesn't feel like it.

    I'm annoyed that they've taken away the home button so you have to use Face ID. I know, this was a thing from last year but I've been leapfrogging my phone purchases and so this is the year I have to seriously contemplate adopting this. And I know, everyone already knows what I look like - and what I buy, and what I sound like, and my shopping preferences and my political leanings - but still, annoyed.

    I'm annoyed the cheapest version is still $750.

    I'm annoyed that a week ago I tried to get some mp3s on my phone (not purchased through iTunes, just some random hypnobirthing mp3 files I downloaded) and it was just... impossible. Through a series of googling and random clicks I managed it, but also managed to delete one track from Beyonce's Lemonade album. RAGEFACE. (Ironically, it was the song 'Sorry', which I think was a perverse #sorrynotsorry joke from Apple). The whole experience made me nostalgic for Winamp.

    I'm annoyed that the watch still looks so "tech bro" and I seriously question if there's any women designers on that team at all.

    I'm annoyed that I will probably end up getting this phone in the next 6 months and not really enjoy the process. If I spend almost $1000 on something, I want to feel ecstatic and excited. Instead, I'm gonna feel resentful and bored. And this isn't just about Apple and the iPhone, I'm sure I'd feel this way about buying any phone these days. I feel way more excited about buying a new washing machine.
    posted by like_neon at 3:30 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


    I upgraded to an iPhone X last year because my phone contract was up and I love NOTHING MORE ON THIS EARTH than rolling around in my bed on a Saturday morning, brainlessly thumbing through Instagram stories and Reddit and Twitter, and I will spare absolutely no expense in granting myself this joy. I really like it. Face ID was hinky at first, but now I'm thoroughly used to it, and the camera is gorgeous. I'm sure the newest iPhone is equally gorgeous.

    What really surprised me, though, is just how useful my Apple Watch is. I use Apple Pay every day on the Tube, and not having to fish out my phone from my pocket is surprisingly helpful. I use the Pomodoro method obsessively at work, and having a timer right on my tiny child-sized wrist is great. I have no idea what I'd do with a bigger one.

    I am, however, salty that THERE ARE NO NEW GODDAMNED MACBOOKS. My old Air is getting long in the tooth and I'm desperate for a replacement, but the Macbook Pro upgrades are too rich for my blood.
    posted by nerdfish at 4:59 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


    These threads always somewhat baffle me in that so many people seem to replace their phones on an annual, or biennial, schedule. The idea that you wouldn’t use an expensive piece of equipment like an iPhone until it actually couldn’t do the job anymore is very foreign to me.

    My wife is still rocking her 6s like a champ and has no interest in replacing it any time soon. She runs her life out of that phone, and none of the subsequent flavors of iPhones since the 6s has moved her upgrade meter (maybe the SE bumped the meter a bit. But not enough to lay down the cash for it.) Yes, sometime in the future, it will no longer be able to get OS updates, but that’s not entirely a game-changer, either, as long as the phone continues to do its job as needed.

    As for me...I’ve yet to join the smartphone age, though it seems like I’ll need to eventually. The current iPhone SE seems to check the few boxes for me, so maybe I should grab one while they can still be had. None of the newer models hold any interest for me. They just seem like consumerist overkill to me. But, of course, I have few needs for a phone, so ymmv.
    posted by Thorzdad at 5:02 AM on September 13


    The idea that you wouldn’t use an expensive piece of equipment like an iPhone until it actually couldn’t do the job anymore is very foreign to me.

    I was a little cheesed that I had to upgrade from my 5S after I broke the screen and dropped it in the toilet (not simultaneously). The camera was completely hosed, and it got burning hot under even moderate loads. My mom is still rocking her 5S, and it's totally fine, and almost definitely overkill for her, still. I think we reached desktop sufficiency maybe 10-12 years ago, and smartphone sufficiency happened around the time of the 5S. If you don't need bells and whistles, that's enough power for just about anything.

    That said ... I'm really happy with the 7. I wish it were just slightly less-tall for one-handed use, though.
    posted by uncleozzy at 5:51 AM on September 13


    Nerdfish, if it’s any consolation, there’s apparently pretty strong evidence that this is going to be one of those years with an October thing for the iPad Pro and the Macintosh line
    posted by DoctorFedora at 5:53 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    these threads always make me feel like ive accidentally wandered into the springfield retirement home
    posted by entropicamericana at 6:20 AM on September 13 [11 favorites]


    I've had cell phones for 25 years. For the first decade or so, I definitely got a new phone every year, because they were so heavily subsidized it was silly not to -- plus, they were getting materially better pretty quickly, especially in battery life.

    I went through a few smartphones before I got to the OG iPhone, but since going to the iPhone I've MOSTLY been on an every-2-year cycle. Part of this is because my phones get a hard duty cycle with heavy use and (typically) lots of travel, but the other thing is that for most of the history of the iPhone, they got a **lot** better every iteration. Remember, the first version wasn't even 3G.

    This has never seen remotely profligate to me. The upgrades mattered, and made my life better. SOME of the time we could repurpose my castoff phone for my wife, who makes much lower demands of her phone, but not every time.

    I used my 6 for the longest -- 3 years -- because it had a headphone jack. At the end of 3 years, last fall before the introduction of the 8/X, I got a new 6S in order to preserve headphone jack access, and planned to give my 6 to my wife. It still worked rather well, which goes to the point made above about Apple hardware quality.

    Unfortunately, it then died in a tragic desk-and-coffee accident before we could make the transfer, so we needed another new phone. I gave Erin my new 6S, and sucked it up and bought an 8. I hate the lack of the headphone jack, but holy SHIT is the camera amazing. And, as a cyclist, I appreciate that it's no longer possible to ruin my phone by getting caught out in the rain.
    posted by uberchet at 6:26 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    I kept my Nexus 5x until last month when the bootloop-of-death finally killed it long out of warranty range. I bought a very nice Pixel 2 which has such an amazing camera that it's a little scary.
    posted by octothorpe at 6:44 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    These threads always somewhat baffle me in that so many people seem to replace their phones on an annual, or biennial, schedule. The idea that you wouldn’t use an expensive piece of equipment like an iPhone until it actually couldn’t do the job anymore is very foreign to me.

    When you hop on the iUP bandwagon it just becomes a monthly expense lost in the noise rather than an expensive piece of tech you have to hold on to. It's my second most important piece of tech and the one I work the hardest. Of course I'm going to stay on the forefront if I can keep it cost effective, which iUP does.

    The two year cadence is usually because that's the cadence cell phone providers used to work with providing subsidies. If you didn't upgrade every two years you were leaving free money on the table for the carrier to have. People just got used to it I guess.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:07 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


    I just want to know what the R stands for
    posted by panic at 7:11 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]




    I just want to know what the R stands for

    Reduced?
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:18 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    And, as a cyclist, I appreciate that it's no longer possible to ruin my phone by getting caught out in the rain.

    Yeah, this is why I will probably suck it up and buy a new phone rather than keep my SE going. I've already replaced the screen several times due to water damage, the camera is messed up due to water damage (maybe fixable? I haven't checked), and some things just don't really work anymore (the volume and play/pause controls on earbuds, for example) due to water damage. In every case the damage came from being caught out in the rain on my bike.
    posted by enn at 7:44 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    (Also: I can understand Apple not making a reasonably-sized phone anymore because they've never worried about pissing anybody off. But how can it be that there is no Android phone—not even a shitty one—as small as the iPhone SE? Surely there is some money to be made here? Whenever I get annoyed enough by Apple to consider switching, I am reminded why I don't: every single Android phone is as big or bigger than the already-too-big iPhone X form factor.)
    posted by enn at 7:47 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


    The two year cadence is usually because that's the cadence cell phone providers used to work with providing subsidies.
    In the good old days, the upgrade cadence as defined by subsidy was ONE year, which was GREAT.

    Of course, phones sucked then.
    posted by uberchet at 7:49 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    Surely there is some money to be made here? Whenever I get annoyed enough by Apple to consider switching, I am reminded why I don't: every single Android phone is as big or bigger than the already-too-big iPhone X form factor.

    Because it's actually really hard to do. Small, high performance, cost. Pick two. The iPhone SE is a miracle of engineering that it can pack that high performance inside that small a device. Smaller means less area which means heat dissipation goes down dramatically which really starts to limit your options.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:08 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    I've had cell phones for 25 years. For the first decade or so, I definitely got a new phone every year, because they were so heavily subsidized

    You had a heavily subsidized cell phone in 1993?
    posted by praemunire at 8:21 AM on September 13


    The proof that apple really, really doesn't care about their customer is that they've depreciated the SE, in favour of this hodgepodge of poorly named, indistinguishable, massive phones that have worse battery life.

    I have a feeling we'd still see the SE around if they hadn't chosen a lower price point for it (and we'd still be buying them, even if it was at a premium... why mess with perfection?)
    posted by Yowser at 8:28 AM on September 13


    > The proof that apple really, really doesn't care about their customer is that they've depreciated the SE, in favour of this hodgepodge of poorly named, indistinguishable, massive phones that have worse battery life.

    And yet they promise (and the betas bear out) that iOS 12 will work *better* on hardware going back to the iPhone 5S. Good luck finding another manufacturer who will even support hardware over 3 years old, let alone promise improvements in performance on even older devices.

    Yes, I'll agree with you, it's hostile to some consumers to take away a device they really liked. I guess capitalism gives you the option to switch to a different vendor who should be happy to take your money.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 8:33 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    You're right, there are so many options for 4 inch phones, whatever was I thinking? So many one hander pocketable phones.

    So. Many. One handed. Pocketable. Phones.
    posted by Yowser at 8:39 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    (Hey at least I'm not one of those people that miss.. the iPhone X.. even though they just released three phones completely indistinguishable from the X except that each one is more ridiculously large than the last, like a reverse Zoolander phone)
    posted by Yowser at 8:41 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    You had a heavily subsidized cell phone in 1993?

    Here's a RadioShack catalogue from 1993 with a $250 subsidy.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:41 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


    And finally, Apple promised that iOS 8, then iOS 9, then iOS 10, then iOS 11 would have better peformance. iOS 12 seems to be the first time they are honest.

    They don't get any points for lying for four years.
    posted by Yowser at 8:49 AM on September 13


    > You're right, there are so many options for 4 inch phones, whatever was I thinking? So many one hander pocketable phones.

    Yeah, that's my point. No one else has figured out a sustainable way to make them, either, while providing the modern required feature set and performance. To pick up on the discussion upthread:

    >> Surely there is some money to be made here? ... every single Android phone is as big or bigger than the already-too-big iPhone X form factor.

    > Because it's actually really hard to do. Small, high performance, cost. Pick two. ... Smaller means less area which means heat dissipation goes down [up] dramatically which really starts to limit your options.


    I'll add to that: the primary power consumption source on the phone is the screen area, but for a given thickness, a larger screen also means a larger volume for a battery - so those should cancel out to first order. At second order, you have to subtract a constant battery volume to fit in the rest of the electronics, but also a constant power draw to run them. So the scaling gets ... complicated. Regardless, small things are hard to make, and wear out faster.

    See also: every single other smartwatch is larger than the Apple watch.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 8:50 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    Eventually the large phones will also downgrade in quality, maybe, and in a couple decades we'll be hyping this kind of thing.
    posted by witchen at 8:53 AM on September 13


    Cadence used to be linked to Moore's Law, but that's over. Phones don't change much between generations these days. I think the two years we're seeing now is more linked to lithium battery chemistry, which in the high-energy-density variant used in mobile phones tends to fade after around 500 charges. And that's one reason manufacturers glue the batteries in now, too.

    The thing I like about my Android phone is that it's an awful lot cheaper. Over two years, it costs me five quid a month for the hardware, which is about an hour's work at minimum wage, and that seems to me to be a polite price point for ubiquitous tech.
    posted by Devonian at 8:58 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    And finally, Apple promised that iOS 8, then iOS 9, then iOS 10, then iOS 11 would have better peformance. iOS 12 seems to be the first time they are honest.

    They've been struggling with the yearly major version cadence. I will say, once the fixer team gets onto things the final versions are typically rock solid. 11 was just such a disaster. 9.3 was rock solid, 10.3 was awesome and we got it by March but things haven't improved very much with the 11.x line. So much so, 12.0 is looking to be the best launch version in years.

    I'm still annoyed that 11.4 has botched iMessage in the Cloud so badly.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:16 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    these threads always make me feel like ive accidentally wandered into the springfield retirement home

    I think jony's got a few more years before that, but I wish he would-- it'd improve Apple's UX immeasurably if their primary testers were aged 70+

    (obligatory Amazon Echo Silver link)
    posted by gwint at 9:21 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


    On the one hand, that almost nobody is making small phones says that there isn't much demand for small phones. On the other hand, the people who want small phones really want them, and I don't blame 'em. I admit that, had there been an update to the SE last year, or a similar sized new phone, I might have gone for that instead of the 8 Plus. I do love the heck out of my 8 Plus, though. Especially the giant battery.
    posted by SansPoint at 9:30 AM on September 13


    Definitely Not Sean Spicer: I've been using the iOS 12 Public Beta on my iPhone 8 Plus and iPad Air 2. Since the 8 Plus was a top-of-the line, I can't vouch for improvements there, but my iPad Air 2 is much faster on iOS 12. It's incredible. And the OS has been insanely stable for a beta. The only problem I had was the glitch with the stupid pop-ups asking me to update to a new version that hadn't come out yet... Annoying, but if that was the worst glitch in a beta process, things could have been a lot worse.
    posted by SansPoint at 9:32 AM on September 13


    Yeah I put it on the iPad Air 2 I use and the iPad Mini 2 we had lying around. Putting it on the iPad Mini 2 was like night and day. It was a whole new device.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:37 AM on September 13


    safari definitely seemed snappier
    posted by entropicamericana at 9:40 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    Here's a RadioShack catalogue from 1993 with a $250 subsidy.

    Interesting (although did anyone ever actually use a Tandy?). I wonder why the CA prices are different.
    posted by praemunire at 9:41 AM on September 13


    On the one hand, that almost nobody is making small phones says that there isn't much demand for small phones.

    There is such a thing as market failure.
    posted by praemunire at 9:42 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


    There is such a thing as market failure.


    Could it be that more people like larger phones?
    posted by skewed at 10:34 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]




    Could it be that more people like larger phones?

    When every company in an industry devotes all their resources to flooding the most popular segment while ignoring a smaller but completely unserviced niche, that's a market failure.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:49 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


    Lots of people like larger phones. But not everyone does. The SE was widely reported to have sold better than Apple expected when it first came out. I'm sure it's not selling so great these days, but that's because it's showing its age.

    On the one hand, that almost nobody is making small phones says that there isn't much demand for small phones.

    It's not "almost nobody," it's—as of yesterday when the SE was discontinued—actually literally nobody. Markets can't price goods that are not manufactured for sale.

    Small, high performance, cost. Pick two.

    The belief that a smaller phone has to cost less is, I suspect, why nobody wants to make them. But I don't think it's true. I would have a much easier time talking myself into paying $1000 for an SE-size iPhone XS than the actual iPhone XS, because for that kind of money you should really get a no-compromise device, and something I can hold onto only with difficulty and which digs into my leg every time I sit down is definitely a compromise.
    posted by enn at 10:55 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


    I just don’t see the supposed technical issues behind Apple not releasing an updated SE (as opposed to audience, price, etc). The SE had functionally identical guts to the 6s, and could handle the power draw and heat dissipation. Given that newer chipsets have similar or even better power efficiency, there’s no obvious technical reason Apple couldn’t build an SE2 with the guts of an iPhone 8.
    posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 11:02 AM on September 13


    Given that newer chipsets have similar or even better power efficiency,

    Overall they're more efficient but they can burst faster and harder which is the contention when you're dealing with a more compact form factor.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:05 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


    Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong
    posted by entropicamericana at 11:38 AM on September 13 [11 favorites]


    You had a heavily subsidized cell phone in 1993?
    Yep. It was a "bag" phone that plugged into the cigarette lighter in my car, but the phone itself was free with service.

    For the next several years, I got a new phone every year, because you could get a better phone for free.

    Then the market reached a point where they looked at your usage and billing and had a tiered scale of phone subsidies based on that.

    Then digital happened, which grew the market insanely but resulted in lower average bills, and the rules changed so that new phones that you'd actually WANT weren't free, but still carried a pretty large subsidy. Even so, super-popular phones like the old Moto StarTAC (and the later RAZR) often sold at a premium.
    posted by uberchet at 2:27 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


    The side conversation about the new iPhones they announced seems kind of interesting. Someone should maybe make a FPP about that, so it doesn't get lost in this "complain about technology and reminisce about extremely old phones" thread
    posted by DoctorFedora at 5:54 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


    My favorite phone size is that of my base-dialing teal Bell Princess.
    posted by mwhybark at 7:37 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


    My favorite phone size is that of my base-dialing teal Bell Princess.

    I'd love to see a Princess rotary phone converted to cellular.
    posted by fairmettle at 12:30 AM on September 15


    Well I copped the Xs in space grey. My last phone was a 6s but I've been using my old 5 for the last couple weeks since my 6 took a crit hit to the screen, and while it's got its issues I am remembering why we liked small phones. The jump to all the whiz bang and the size of the Xs will certainly be a bit of a shock.

    I will make cartoon animals say funny things with my face and maybe I will try fortnight and I am worried it won't fit in my pocket and then, eventually, it will become unremarkable and we will gather again in a year amd say most of these same thing again.
    posted by wemayfreeze at 8:59 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


    iOS 12 was just officially released, and the reviews are starting to come out:

    iOS 12 on the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Mini 2: It’s actually faster!
    posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:10 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


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