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An "iPhone SE-style" upgraded iPhone 8?


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An "iPhone SE-style" upgraded iPhone 8?
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chucker
 
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2019-08-15, 12:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
I can see a certain—if not great—demand for an iPhone Maxi (aka, iPad Mini with the phone app).
Note that the diagonal sizes make it seem as though the iPad mini isn’t that much bigger. It’s actually basically twice as big, because it’s ratio is very different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
I'd never buy one, but Apple Watch and AirPods make the concept significantly more attractive, as they add a "remote control system" of sorts so the iPad could just hang out in a briefcase or purse.

Is the phone headed for your wrist and the screen headed for some fancy AR glasses that will make us all look like fools?
If by phone you mean phone app rather than smartphone hardware, I think that’s spot on, aspirationally. Maybe five years from now, the high-end way Apple customers do voice chat / phone is via the Watch, and the iPhone will be focused on tasks that need more processing power and/or more complex interaction.
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kscherer
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2019-08-15, 12:51

Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. The iPad Mini with phone support. I know there is some confusion amongst customers regarding "cellular" as pertains to iPads. Many of them are under the belief that "cellular" means "phone" when, in fact, cellular data and cellular voice are different animals. I have no idea what hardware one requires that the other does not, but if iPads had the ability to make cellular calls and could be controlled by either the Watch of the AirPods, a lot of them would sell as "cellphones". In fact, it would have the same effect with full size iPads, as I have heard at least twice from customers that if their iPad could make calls they would ditch their phone. However, "twice" across something like ten years does not represent a market that would even pay for the development of the software.

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chucker
 
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2019-08-15, 14:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
Many of them are under the belief that "cellular" means "phone" when, in fact, cellular data and cellular voice are different animals. I have no idea what hardware one requires that the other does not,
None. It’s a marketing distinction. Carriers would rather you pay more for a phone plan.
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kscherer
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2019-08-15, 15:25

Then it seems to me that there is money to be made along this front.
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Robo
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2019-08-15, 15:56

I think the iPhone is going to keep on advancing on its same path toward being essentially a magic pane of glass for your pocket. Anything that’s not essential to that – home buttons, headphone jacks, bezels – has fallen away, and it’ll continue to be simplified and refined. It’ll move to OLED and then microLED, eliminating the larger bezels on the LCD models. It’ll lose the notch, placing the TrueDepth sensor array under the display. It’ll get thinner and lighter again, axes the iPhone has made atypical regressions on. On the back, it’ll gain more cameras and new types of non-camera sensors. Eventually, it’ll lose the Lightning port, and people will freak out. And of course, it’ll get smarter and smarter.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
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2019-08-15, 16:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Eventually, it’ll lose the Lightning port, and people will freak out. And of course, it’ll get smarter and smarter.
"With this newfangled wireless charging and data connection gizmo Apple is forcing on me, all my old adapters don't work any more!"

"Umm, the new iPhone does everything wirelessly. It doesn't need any adapters."

"Yeah, 'cause Apple wanted to sell me all them old adapters, and now none of them work."



Yep. That conversation will happen.

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Robo
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2019-08-15, 18:06

Honestly, I think Apple’s position is going to be that ports of any kind are a “Pro” feature on all of their product lines, like expansion slots once were.

I don’t think we’re there quite yet, but I’m not sure they’re wrong. I’m a pretty “pro” user, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve plugged anything into my MacBook except power. What do “normal folks” use USB for? I think most of the time, it’s for a flash drive – I even hear a lot of less technical people refer to flash drives themselves as “USBs.” But I work at a college now, and I don’t see any of our students using USB drives any more, despite our bookstore’s best efforts to sell them. Everybody just uses Google Docs. Using a thumb drive now feels a little bit like using a floppy disk in 1998.

Like I said, I don’t think we’re there quite yet. But a few years from now, when a larger percentage of smart TVs have built-in support for AirPlay, and the Apple TV is a cheaper streaming stick for the older TVs that don’t? And when MacBooks have built-in cellular connections, enabling connection to Google Docs even when wi-fi is spotty?

It’s pretty clear that Apple views ports of any kind as a compromise, a concession to our lack of progress toward a completely wireless world. And, honestly, they kind of are. Nobody loves having holes on their computer for the sake of having holes, they love what those holes allow them to do, and if there are other ways of doing those tasks that are just as easy without using holes, that’s fine. I think the idea of the user having to plug things into holes on their computer is rapidly going to feel outmoded, like a telephone operator moving cables between holes in a switchboard to move the voices around. Power is honestly the last stand, for many users, and there are ways of delivering power without holes.

I think Apple would love to be able to curve the sides of their wedge-shaped laptops to make them feel even thinner and more elegant, like they did with the original MacBook Air.

I think we’ll have ports on Pro-level hardware for a long while yet (it’ll be one of the distinguishing features). But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, say, the first ARM MacBook is a portless vision statement successor to the 12-inch MacBook.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
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2019-08-15, 18:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Honestly, I think Apple’s position is going to be that ports of any kind are a “Pro” feature on all of their product lines, like expansion slots once were.
I think ports will remain in desktops for some time, regardless of "pro" features. There are just so many things people still plug into a desktop. From hard drives and optical drives, to wired keyboards and mice, printers and scanners. Too many things, yet. Laptops are another story altogether. Most laptop users aren't using their holes for anything other than USB's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
people refer to flash drives themselves as “USBs.”


Oh, how I wish I had no clue what you meant. But, yeah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
enabling connection to Google Docs even when wi-fi is spotty?
I bet Apple's push here will be connecting and integrating with iCloud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
It’s pretty clear that Apple views ports of any kind as a compromise, a concession to our lack of progress toward a completely wireless world.
Anyone who is even remotely paying attention to apple has seen this coming for quite some time. You are correct in noting that it's not quite there, yet. Still a lot of wireless wonders yet to be placed into the market in reliable enough and cheap enough options, especially with stationary computing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Power is honestly the last stand, for many users, and there are ways of delivering power without holes.
Yes, there are ways, but they are still immature. Wireless charging things can be finicky, and there is also a speed thing. Laptops need to charge quickly, and a wireless charging matt for a laptop is bound to be large, expensive, and have to be placed "just so". There are some hurdles here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I think Apple would love to be able to curve the sides of their wedge-shaped laptops to make them feel even thinner and more elegant, like they did with the original MacBook Air.
I think the 2018 iPad Pro contradicts that, and I also think they look better without that curvy thing going on. Although my iPhone X is a wonder of elegance, design, and utility, and it is curved all the way round. But, are holes the only thing keeping laptops from roundness? The ports are all the way in the back, so the front edges could be wedged or curved, and the USB-C port is designed in such a way that it could exist on a curved surface, which is common amongst Android phones. I think there is more to it than just the existence of the ports. There is also a rigidity factor; square tubes tend to be more structurally sound than round tubes where all other factors are equal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, say, the first ARM MacBook is a portless vision statement successor to the 12-inch MacBook.
I can absolutely see that. "This is a wireless device for a wireless world. Here's your power cable."

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Robo
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2019-08-15, 18:58

I don’t think a charging mat is necessarily the route they’d choose. Wireless charging doesn’t work well through aluminum, for starters. Something similar to the iPad Smart Connector seems more probable. That’s not too far off from what MagSafe was, only now it would be flush and integrated into the form of the product.

A completely sealed MacBook, with three dots on the side where you attach a magnetic power cable, seems simple enough. I don’t think there would be any learning curve for users, the way there might be with a charging mat. The cable would align itself.

Eliminating the ingress points from the sides might make it easier to make a spill resistant MacBook, too. That would be a big step forward in making the MacBook work well in real people’s lives.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Robo
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2019-08-15, 20:09

(sorry for the double post)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
I think ports will remain in desktops for some time, regardless of "pro" features.
I'd actually argue that all of Apple's desktops, with the exception of the "education special" non-retina iMac, are "pro" machines. Casual users aren't really buying desktops any more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
But, are holes the only thing keeping laptops from roundness? The ports are all the way in the back, so the front edges could be wedged or curved, and the USB-C port is designed in such a way that it could exist on a curved surface, which is common amongst Android phones. I think there is more to it than just the existence of the ports. There is also a rigidity factor; square tubes tend to be more structurally sound than round tubes where all other factors are equal.
USB-C can exist on a curved surface, but only to an extent (just like Lightning). Tapering the sides of the MacBook inwards to the extent that the 2008 MacBook Air did would make it impossible for the USB-C port to be parallel to the keyboard — it would have to be pointed downward, which is obviously undesirable for a notebook that is going to be placed on a table. And yet, the edges being tapered to a point is a big reason why that first MacBook Air was so striking. Apple has since adjusted that design to a flat-sided wedge shape for a host of reasons (the cost and complexity of the flip-down door, wanting to be able to put ports on each side), and that flat-sided wedge shape has now more or less become the Standard Laptop Shape, but I don't think Apple thinks the tapered-on-all-sides MacBook is a bad design. It just hasn't been practical, yet.

I think it would be good for Apple to avoid sticking with the Standard Laptop Shape for longer than they have to. It's important for them to keep evolving, to do things that are difficult for their competitors to match.

If anything, I think with time we might view the current flat-sided wedge shape as a weird compromise, uncomfortably between the tapered-on-all-sides consumer notebook dream and the flat-on-all-sides iPad Pro/MacBook Pro. I think it's fairly natural for a tapered wedge-shaped product to be tapered on all sides. If the product is supposed to be thin, make it feel as thin as possible, y'know? At least without causing ergonomic issues (and you don't hold a MacBook in your hands by its edges, so I think they're fine there).

But this is getting off into the weeds a bit. iPhones!

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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chucker
 
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2019-08-16, 01:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I’m a pretty “pro” user, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve plugged anything into my MacBook except power. What do “normal folks” use USB for?
A ton of people connect a keyboard and mouse to their laptop. If they’re wireless, they also often use Logitech’s RF solution (incompatible with Bluetooth), so they stick a USB dongle in the laptop.

It’s part inertia/cargo cult, part ergonomics, and part average laptops having really, really bad trackpads.
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chucker
 
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2019-08-16, 01:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
I think the 2018 iPad Pro contradicts that, and I also think they look better without that curvy thing going on.
I’d like to see more of that kind of design again. It sort of goes back to the pre-Retina unibody days — fat slabs of aluminum that make the device look like its built like a tank.
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Robo
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2019-08-16, 02:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
A ton of people connect a keyboard and mouse to their laptop. If they’re wireless, they also often use Logitech’s RF solution (incompatible with Bluetooth), so they stick a USB dongle in the laptop.

It’s part inertia/cargo cult, part ergonomics, and part average laptops having really, really bad trackpads.
I thought of that — the only thing my sister has plugged into any of her MacBooks, probably ever, has been a Logitech USB RF adapter for a mouse. (When she got a USB-C MacBook, she took the path of least resistance and bought an adapter for her adapter.) But if she got a new MacBook with no USB port, she would just buy a Bluetooth mouse. And I have a hunch that suddenly, Logitech would start selling a larger variety of Bluetooth mice at lower prices. I don't think she's particularly attached to her current mouse.

It's definitely a factor, but I don't think it would be a dealbreaker in the same way that, say, a specialized user absolutely needing to be able to plug in an obscure piece of equipment that will never support Bluetooth is (which is why I think they'd keep USB on the Pro). She'd probably be slightly annoyed at first and then, a week later, realized that it was always a kind of weird hacky kludge to plug a USB wireless dongle into a notebook that already had built-in wireless.

I don't think "regular folk" take these things as seriously as geeks sometimes do. Like, I'm sure people on the internet would just lose their shit if Apple made a computer with *gasp* no USB ports. But if my sister saw an appealing new MacBook at a reasonable price, and the one catch was "it doesn't work with your current mouse," I don't think that would make her hesitate to buy it. (After all, if maintaining compatibility with existing peripherals was that important to people, the original iMac would have flopped.) I don't think she would view it as Apple "locking down" the Mac, or whatever the inevitable alarming tech media narrative would be.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
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2019-08-16, 11:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Apple "locking down" the Mac, or whatever the inevitable alarming tech media narrative would be.
I am convinced that it would be perceived as exactly that. The tech media would spare no expense attacking Apple for such horrendous "design" decisions. I mean, after all, we have all of these pluggy-inny-things and we want to plug them in to something. We don't actually use them, and don't actually need them, but by the horn of Africa we want to plug it in anyway! I mean, really. How is poor, dear ol' grandma gonna use that 20 year-old hockey puck mouse if she can't plug it in? Oh, the humanity!

Yeah, the only thing I plug in to my laptop on any remotely semi-regular basis is a flash drive, and that is … hmm … when did I plug that thing in last?

And I really like the idea of that "MagSafe 3" connector thing. I worry just a bit about shorting out something like that, but the design idea is quite good, and would entirely eliminate holes. But, that would also be scorned since, I mean really, you mean I can't use my existing power adapter that I have eleventeen of?

Who let the creeper in?
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kscherer
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2019-08-16, 11:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I’d like to see more of that kind of design again. It sort of goes back to the pre-Retina unibody days — fat slabs of aluminum that make the device look like its built like a tank.
Yes indeed! The current iPad Pro with Pro Keyboard Folio is one of the most elegant designs in Apple's history (although I am not quite convinced the keyboard attachment is secure enough). The overall look and feel of the product is extraordinary, and rugged-looking (it's not rugged, but it looks rugged! ). The current MacBook Pros share that same squared-off look and I like it.

And, back to phones.

I think the current iPhone design is excellent. I do keep my X in a case (I've dropped it once, literally the day after I bought it and before I had it in a case), but I would prefer not to. However, the fool thing feels so amazing to hold when it is naked. Say what you want about glass-backed phones, but boy it sure has a nice feel. Smooth and rounded and comfortable … and slippery as hell! Seriously, I wonder what happens in Apple's labs when it comes to material choices? They pick the best feeling materials, and those seem to turn out to be the hardest to hold onto. Maybe that is what makes them feel so luxurious? Hell, I don't know.

Going forward, I suspect that Apple will dance back and forth with different build materials. Recyclability will of course be a factor, as will elegance. Yet, I wonder if there is a way to etch the glass a bit to make it more grip-able? I don't want a rubber phone, and I just took my X out of its case to feel it and then put it right back in because I just know my old paws are gonna send it flying—probably not, but certainly for sure—and I cannot come up with a way to make the thing any more elegant than it currently is. I mean, these things are the standard bare-ers (did I spell that right? ) for the entire industry. Yet, I'm thinking forward to the iPhone [11] and wondering about that big, blocky camera cluster and thinking it looks ugly as hell! Seriously, the drive to plop in ever more cameras has a negative affect on the overall design appeal and I really don't like it. Although I do understand the drive to continue replacing point-and-shoot cameras with smart phone cameras, I wonder if we are overreaching just a tad? Are there going to be 4 cameras next year? 5? 10? Seems to me someone made a phone that had like 6 cameras on it, and it looked hideous.

Apple has always been good at saying, "Okay, that's enough. Let's keep it simple." Now, it appears that they are responding more to their competitor's drive to "up the ante" needlessly, and perhaps the media's insistence that all phones need to have the same set of whiz-bang features, so iPhones going forward are going to have elumptityleven cameras until you can't even hold the thing without covering one of them up. My dual-camera X is just right! Just the right size, just the right cameras, just the right weight and feel and … It's just right. I guess I could understand them rebranding to the Pro monicker, but more people buy the X style phone than all others, which suggests that "Pro" is not the right name, feature set or not.

I guess that in order to sort that out, the "Pro" phones will have to have 15" MacBook Pro prices. But who would buy that? So, the Pro name will land and people will say, "Oh, I want the Pro 'cause I take pictures!"

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Robo
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2019-08-16, 14:31

I think part of the motivation in moving toward a “sensor square” on the new iPhones is to give them a place to put more sensors/cameras as they increase in number, without the iPhone looking like it has individual cameras just covering the back or something. The whole square is the “camera”; only upon close inspection would you see the individual lenses.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
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2019-08-16, 15:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I think part of the motivation in moving toward a “sensor square” on the new iPhones is to give them a place to put more sensors/cameras as they increase in number, without the iPhone looking like it has individual cameras just covering the back or something. The whole square is the “camera”; only upon close inspection would you see the individual lenses.
Yeah, I understand that. Just not sure how I feel about it.
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Robo
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2019-08-16, 16:55

Yeah, I mean, it’s not exactly beautiful. But i’m not sure what the alternative is.

I think having the “camera bump” just be formed out of raised glass with no metal ring, so the entire back is one piece, will be a nice improvement, even if the larger camera area isn’t.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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kscherer
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2019-08-16, 17:40

I find it very interesting how far the camera has come. Originally, the camera was just kind of an afterthought. Not really very good, but useful. Now, the camera is the biggest selling point of almost every smart phone.

And now people's photo libraries have ballooned from a few hundred to 50,000+! How many blurry pictures do we need?

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Robo
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2019-08-16, 17:51

Well, the thing is, those pictures aren’t really blurry, any more.

I’m a pretty big photog but I’ll be real, my iPhone camera is my primary camera now. I honestly shoot more on my film camera than I do on my “real” digital camera. The iPhone camera has just gotten so good, and I always have it with me, and it’s so easy to share right from the device. It’s the #1 reason why I upgrade my iPhone.

One area Apple absolutely needs to get better is photo storage. Photos have to be the main reason why people run out of iCloud storage space. The competition gives users unlimited storage for their device-captured photos, and that’s a huge selling point. Apple has way more iPhone users than Google has Pixel users, of course. So maybe it wouldn’t be feasible for them to be so generous. But they really need to do better with the iCloud photo storage story.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Capella
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Yesterday, 21:51

My only useful contribution to this thread is, I would murder someone for SE2. My SE is having major charging port difficulties and I don't want something as big as an XR or expensive as an XS.

"A blind, deaf, comatose, lobotomy patient could feel my anger!" - Darth Baras
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Robo
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Today, 02:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capella View Post
My only useful contribution to this thread is, I would murder someone for SE2. My SE is having major charging port difficulties and I don't want something as big as an XR or expensive as an XS.
Yeah, the obvious hole in Apple's line-up is a XR-tier phone that is smaller than the XR. It's just weird that Apple went plus-size-only for their "mainstream" model. There's no all-screen iPhone where the screen is the same width as the 6/7/8.

Apple needs to have an upgrade path for people with SEs (or heck, 6/7/8s) that isn't just "you gotta buy a way bigger phone now!"

(Also: hi!)

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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