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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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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-09, 00:57

Next month, Apple is going to introduce their new iPhones, the 6.1-inch LCD "iPhone R" and the 5.8 and 6.5-inch "iPhone S and S Max." (That's just my guess on the naming, but honestly I think they have to ditch the numbers at this point.) Judging by the past, they'll also cut the price on their older phones by $150, putting the iPhone XR at $599 and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus at $449 and $549, and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will presumably be no more (at least in "developed" markets).

This last year has been an interesting one, though. First, it seems clear that iPhone XR and XS sales haven't met Apple's expectations. This is a little puzzling, because I think the XR is a pretty phenomenal device that brings the X all-screen design to the "mainstream" iPhone price point in a bunch of fun colors, so why wasn't it a success? Jon Gruber had an interesting idea, and that's that maybe the 2018 iPhones underperformed expressly because they brought the X all-screen design to the whole line. To a lot of people, a big chin and forehead and a round home button is the iPhone, and there was no new iPhone-shaped iPhone last year. The all-screen phones have a bit of a learning curve, and the XR is a good bit bigger than the 4.7-inch 6/7/8.

Second, competition in the "midrange" $400-500 segment has been heating up. Most notably, Google has introduced the $399 Pixel 3a and $479 Pixel 3a Plus, which are pretty exceptional values and have the same Night Sight camera, which is honestly the Pixel's killer feature. Just as importantly, the 3a and 3a Plus got Pixel phones onto a bunch of carriers, not just Verizon. Google's not holding back, any more, and anecdotally, of all the people I know who switched away from iPhone, it's always been to a Pixel, not to a Samsung or anything else.

With these things in mind, I think it would serve Apple well to be a little bit more aggressive with their entry-level iPhone rather than just replacing the iPhone 7 with the iPhone 8 at the same prices. And I think it would be good to create a more current option for people who want an iPhone-shaped iPhone, something basically on par with the iPhone XR, but with the "classic" iPhone design, because I think there is a lot of people who still want that design.

I'm reminded of the $399 iPhone SE, which was a surprise success for Apple (in a year where the "mainstream" iPhone 6s disappointed). It was basically an iPhone 5s with the SoC and camera from the iPhone 6s shoved inside, and everybody loved it. It was a small iPhone for the people who wanted a small iPhone and a far better cheap iPhone for the people who wanted a cheap iPhone. They made something for the people who liked the iPhone 5/5s design, because they didn't want to leave anyone behind.

Apple should do the same thing this year. Call it iPhone 9, call it iPhone classic, whatever, but they should beef up the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with the A12 and newer cameras and sell them for $399 and $499. (They can ditch the three metallic-look paint colors for the simpler and potentially cheaper black and white from the XR.) The new phones would be iPhone XR-equivalent, with 3GB of RAM, and would be supported and sold for as long as the iPhone XR is, just as the iPhone SE matched the iPhone 6s and was sold for just as long.

Is that "too good" of a deal? I don't think so. It's actually less aggressive than the iPhone SE, which had the then-current best-in-class A9 SoC at $399, which was two generations newer than the A7 in the $449 iPhone 5s it replaced. These phones would use the year-old A12, making them one generation ahead of the iPhone 8.

And the A12 might actually be cheaper to produce than the iPhone 8's A11. The A12 is built on a 7nm process and it's smaller in area than the A11; it's actually the smallest A-series chip since the A4. The A11 is 10nm, which is shaping up to be a bit of an oddball short-term node, like 20nm was; 7nm is anticipated to be around for a lot longer. That's important, because it means lower prices over the long haul, and I think this phone, as the "last hurrah" of the old form factor, could potentially be sold for good while.

I just keep thinking of the people who have iPhone SEs now, and it's like, what's their upgrade path? Jump straight from their 4-inch phone to the 6.1-inch iPhone XR, which is basically plus-sized? Even people who have a 7 or 8 might not want that. But what's the other option, buy a new two-year-old phone that won't get software updates as long as the other phones? Neither of those seem like great options. And two-year-old phones aren't a very exciting way to compete against the buzzy new midrange competition.

I think the time is right for Apple to pull another iPhone SE. What do you think?

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Dr. Bobsky
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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2019-08-09, 05:01

Meh. I have a three year old phone and absolutely no need at all for a replacement. It functions. It's battery life is fine. I don't see myself buying a new one until I absolutely have to replace it (if it lasts me a decade, I'd be happy with the money I spent). To accommodate this, I have spent a fair amount of money on protecting it in higher and higher quality phone cases (I'm done now, the real leather case I have now will likely outlast the phone). I don't think we're in the era when phones are increasing in quality and apps are increasing in hardware needs that replacement every few years is normal or desirable.

Apple, Samsung, and Google are in this unenviable position where they have to keep topping off their phones because no one wants to buy year old hardware, but there is a much smaller new phone market than a decade ago. Any update is going to be disappointing and is unlikely to drive more purchases or a renewal of that fresh/exciting early smartphone era.

Phones, like computers are 'returning' to white goods status rather than status symbols...
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chucker
 
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2019-08-09, 05:48

Yeah, I'm on an iPhone 8 (in part because at the time, I didn't want to wait much longer for the X, which shipped later — but also in part because I wasn't really sure about that design at the time and wanted others to play guinea pigs). And… it's… fine. Not exciting, but gets the job done. Not slow. Not a bad camera. Not a bad anything, really.

The biggest problem is that smartphones have become so normal and specs so good that upgrades have become… boring.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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2019-08-09, 10:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
upgrades have become… boring.
I'd have to agree with that. My iPhone X is so stupid powerful that I cannot see a need for a new thing for at least 3 years, maybe longer. I have my kid on Apple's annual trade-up thing, and that works well, although she has no need for a Xr, but still. The path makes good sense. However, outright buying a new phone with each release cycle is just silly. These modern phones are more powerful than a large number of laptops.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-08-09, 11:13

I'm still on my iPhone 7. I'm really looking forward to upgrading this cycle. I would actually like a full screen SE size notch or not. I really don't want the physical case to be the same or larger than the 7/8.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
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PB PM
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2019-08-09, 15:02

I upgaded to the XS from a 6s this spring, and the screen space and size is fine. I bigger than the 6s was with the tough case I used. Other than the notch I like it. Never saw anyone with an SE, ever, must not ha e been a hit around here. Wouldn’t mind a shorter phone, like an XS sans the notch spacing, other meh. Used the 6s for 4 years, and don’t see changing again for at least another 4. See how it holds up to future OS updates.
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Robo
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2019-08-09, 16:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
The biggest problem is that smartphones have become so normal and specs so good that upgrades have become… boring.
It’s weird, because the XR is the least boring, least iterative version of the “mainstream” iPhone possibly ever, yet in this thread we’re all bored and it’s not just us, it seems like the market wasn’t particularly enthusiastic for the XR either. Like, if you draw a line from 5-6-7-8-XR, the XR is the biggest change in both form and function. It’s the first iPhone in that line, since the very first, to have a learning curve. If the market was ambivalent on the XR because it wasn’t a big enough change from the 8, how can any future change possibly be bigger than ditching the home button and switching to the all-screen design? But if that’s not it, what gives?

Maybe it’s true that the phones that people already have are just still too good for people to want to upgrade (in other words, Apple isn’t adding upgrade-worthy features). It seems clear that people are keeping their phones for longer. The XR changed the form factor of the iPhone substantially, but what killer features does it have? What does it do for people that an iPhone 7 doesn’t? “Smart HDR” is a much harder feature to describe than “now it shoots HD video!” The low-hanging fruit is gone.

Honestly the only killer feature in the last few years has been Google’s Night Sight. That actually changes how the phone is useful to you, and Google has been rightfully advertising the shit out of it. I’m sure Apple will have their answer, probably next month, and maybe they’ll even add that feature to phones with the A12 (since it’s really software). But Google has it now, on phones that start at about half the price of the XR.

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
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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2019-08-09, 16:58

Actually, it was the X that did that. It was the best selling iPhone in the lineup when it was released, which really makes it the "mainstream" phone, even if it doesn't really fit the definition.

But, I get where you're coming from.

Still, phones are kind of small and we can only cram so much tech into them (although I would argue that they are the most tech-dense items in our existence). But, really, it gets down to, "what else can a phone do?" What it looks like is only part of the equation and, really, the least important (unless your phone's fashion statement is more important than what the phone can do for you). Seriously, what else can the things do? They have replaced our, well, phones, our walkman, our camera, our tour guides, our GPS, our mailboxes, our social skills … well,

The things are everywhere and do a ton of things. What else do you want them to do? The bezels are gone, they're thin, they get pretty darned good battery life, they're fast, they have eleventeen cameras, and stereo speakers…

Sheesh!

AR? VR? They're on our wrists, even! They can't really get smaller (although many would buy that), and any bigger and it's an iPad. How fast does it really need to be? There's only a 1.5" x 1/4" space left to cover up with pixels. I'm seriously trying to think of anything else that cannot be handled in software (which is why I don't get paid to sit in a dark room and brainstorm the future).

What's left? Folding phones? Yeah, that worked out. Yes, they're in the future, but innovation for the sake of innovation serves only to embarrass the innovator. Accordion phones that fold out into 24" x 12" scrolls of digital over-indulgence?

Man, modern phones are cool as it gets. Gonna take a lot to make them even more cool!

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-09, 17:07

Apple is really trying to make AR happen but I’m not sure the public sees that as solving a problem in their lives, at least not yet. Trying to advertise these new phones on the basis of “the best phone for AR” doesn’t tell people why they would want that.

It’s sort of like the “Smart HDR” thing. Okay, great, we’re in a new age of computational photography, but what does that mean for me? Google had the way better answer: “our smart camera will let you capture pictures in the dark that you couldn’t before.” And it does. Google communicated a real-world benefit, not just a feature.

Once iPhones got big screens I think Samsung never really had any killer feature, which is why they started to fumble. But, I have to say, I’m sort of jealous of Night Sight, and I totally get why someone would get a Pixel instead of an iPhone just for that feature. It feels like Apple is playing catch-up on a really desirable feature, in a way that they haven’t been since finally adding big screens.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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PB PM
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2019-08-09, 20:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
It’s weird, because the XR is the least boring, least iterative version of the “mainstream” iPhone possibly ever, yet in this thread we’re all bored and it’s not just us, it seems like the market wasn’t particularly enthusiastic for the XR either. Like, if you draw a line from 5-6-7-8-XR, the XR is the biggest change in both form and function. It’s the first iPhone in that line, since the very first, to have a learning curve. If the market was ambivalent on the XR because it wasn’t a big enough change from the 8, how can any future change possibly be bigger than ditching the home button and switching to the all-screen design? But if that’s not it, what gives?
One of the reasons I opted for the XS over the XR is that the XR is bigger (taller/wider) than the XS, which I did not like at all. I also didn't like the lack of force touch, because yes I use it. The XR also feels cheap like the iPhone 5c (the iPhone everyone forgot about) that I had in the past.

It's not like Apple screwed up, it's just that the smartphone market is over saturated and it's slowing down, all manufacturers have seen huge dips in sales.

Last edited by PB PM : 2019-08-09 at 23:29.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2019-08-11, 14:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Bobsky View Post
Meh. I have a three year old phone and absolutely no need at all for a replacement. It functions. It's battery life is fine. I don't see myself buying a new one until I absolutely have to replace it (if it lasts me a decade, I'd be happy with the money I spent). To accommodate this, I have spent a fair amount of money on protecting it in higher and higher quality phone cases (I'm done now, the real leather case I have now will likely outlast the phone). I don't think we're in the era when phones are increasing in quality and apps are increasing in hardware needs that replacement every few years is normal or desirable.

Apple, Samsung, and Google are in this unenviable position where they have to keep topping off their phones because no one wants to buy year old hardware, but there is a much smaller new phone market than a decade ago. Any update is going to be disappointing and is unlikely to drive more purchases or a renewal of that fresh/exciting early smartphone era.

Phones, like computers are 'returning' to white goods status rather than status symbols...
There is some strong truth to this but Samsung has still managed to increase marketshare along with Huawei. Every person I know (half a dozen people) who has new Android phone in the last year has the One Plus 6T and for the money it looks like a fantastic phone. It makes my iPhone 7 look dated and the size and features for the price are just astonishing. If Apple released their version of that hardware at $650-700 it would be a worthy upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
One of the reasons I opted for the XS over the XR is that the XR is bigger (taller/wider) than the XS, which I did not like at all. I also didn't like the lack of force touch, because yes I use it. The XR also feels cheap like the iPhone 5c (the iPhone everyone forgot about) that I had in the past.

It's not like Apple screwed up, it's just that the smartphone market is over saturated and it's slowing down, all manufacturers have seen huge dips in sales.
No Apple has very much screwed up. They kept driving the price of their version of innovation up while putting very dated tech in the "value" proposition but the reality is their version of value used to be their own price for their own flagship iPhones. The market itself is forcing prices down which means the "value" iPhones become terrible price propositions while the "flagship" iPhones become tolerable from a tech perspective but horrible from a price perspective.

Samsung did not keep or grow marketshare with their flagship phones. They are doing so with their A-series phones which if you look at them, are almost exactly in the same sweet spot as the One Plus phones. The A50 in particular is what Apple should be offering and selling for $500 even though Samsung is getting $350 for it.

These are phones with a front notch. They have in-screen fingerprint readers, AMOLED screens and multiple rear cameras with varying levels of premium features for $350-600. Apple has an LCD screen, single camera phone with Face ID/notch starting at $750.

Understand what I am saying, I'm not saying Apple isn't grabbing the premium smartphone dollars over the Galaxy S series or Note as an example. Samsung isn't selling nearly as many of those phones either because the prices are simply too high.

However whatever the number of dollars of profit to be had there, Samsung and others are still keeping life in their eco-systems and product moving at lower pricepoints while Apple has some rapidly shrinking marketshare.

Apple seriously needs to find a way to make a flagship phone in the $800 range again. (This isn't new this is what they used to do.) Then they need to offer entry into the Apple ecosystem and keep people growing up in it and buying and using all their services for $450-550.

It isn't just that our older iPhones (I own the iPhone 7) aren't slow and can still do the job because that was always the case before. In my household we currently own the iPhone 6 (replaced by kiddo with One Plus 6T), 6S, 7 and 8+. The adults would get our new phones and hand them down to the kids.

We haven't done that because the same number of dollars doesn't get any sort of real improvement. I don't need another single camera LCD screen phone. I already have that. I don't need to spend $150 to improve the storage with the only option available because the middle tier was intentionally removed while upping the base level price $250. That makes it a $400 increase which alters the buying decision. My youngest gave up waiting and bought himself a new phone.

To get my money Apple must offer at least the iPhone X type phone for $750 in their releases this fall. That means two generation old tech for value price. Last year they created the iPhone Xr and removed the X so they wouldn't have to lower the price for that level of tech. An AMOLED screen, face ID and multiple back cameras are at least two generations old for APPLE when this fall rolls around and if they refuse to offer that tech at a two year old price, I won't give them my money.

It isn't lack of innovation. Apple is keeping their innovation at a certain price tier and refusing to even offer the older phones with that tech at the lower prices. They can't hide from the market or themselves any longer. People are moving on.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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2019-08-11, 15:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
Apple seriously needs to find a way to make a flagship phone in the $800 range again. (This isn't new this is what they used to do.)
I think they still do, though. Like, comparing the iPhone 8 to the iPhone XR, the iPhone XR offers a much larger screen (addressing the most obvious way the 8 was behind its rivals), advanced features like Face ID, and the same aluminum and glass design for $749. As a successor to the iPhone 6/7/8, it's a huge improvement to anyone who can stomach the larger size — it honestly offers so many of the XS's features that it makes that phone look like a bad deal in comparison. It has one camera, but so did the iPhone 6/7/8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
To get my money Apple must offer at least the iPhone X type phone for $750 in their releases this fall. That means two generation old tech for value price. Last year they created the iPhone Xr and removed the X so they wouldn't have to lower the price for that level of tech. An AMOLED screen, face ID and multiple back cameras are at least two generations old for APPLE when this fall rolls around and if they refuse to offer that tech at a two year old price, I won't give them my money.
They didn't just take the X and drop the price $250 because the X and XS were designed from the start as a new higher tier of products — it's not like polished stainless steel gets dramatically cheaper a year later. Designing a new "mainstream" iPhone with the X's all-screen design was the right call — Apple was able to give it the latest SoC, which the $750 tier iPhone should always have, and they were able to give it a different personality more appropriate for the mass market. The latest rumor is that this year the stainless steel XS successors are going to be called "iPhone Pro," and that's not a bad way to think about them. This doesn't mean that the $750 tier is "demoted" — it's still every bit the latest iPhone — there's just a premium tier with a more luxurious design on top of it, as has been the case for the last two years.

Face ID? You have Face ID in the XR already.
Multiple back cameras? All the leaks say you'll get that in the XR successor this fall.
AMOLED? You probably won't get that this year. But that's sort of a weird ask, because it's not like AMOLED is an out-and-out improvement over LCD, they're just different. I'd rather they use a good LCD than a bad AMOLED, even if that keeps them from checking of that box on your list of musts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
It isn't lack of innovation. Apple is keeping their innovation at a certain price tier and refusing to even offer the older phones with that tech at the lower prices.
I think the XR is the exact opposite of Apple "keeping their innovation at a certain price tier."

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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PB PM
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2019-08-11, 16:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
No Apple has very much screwed up. They kept driving the price of their version of innovation up while putting very dated tech in the "value" proposition but the reality is their version of value used to be their own price for their own flagship iPhones. The market itself is forcing prices down which means the "value" iPhones have become terrible price propositions while the "flagship" iPhones become tolerable from a tech perspective but horrible from a price perspective.
When I say Apple hasn't screwed up, I wasn't even considering price points in that statement. No argument about price issues, I hated having to pay what I did, but my iPhone 6s was really showing it age (buttons start to ware out, second battery come to EOL etc). I considered getting a One Plus 7 Pro ($899 here), for a long time, before coming to the realization I have too much invested in apps and music to switch to Android. Not even mentioning that I don't want to sell my life to Google. It's even more painful for those of us outside the US, where phones like the XS start at $1300! The XR is $1029, and even the entry level iPhone 7 is $629, for a 4 year old phone... Apple is clearly on crack, no doubt about it. Of course most buyers here in Canada get phones on contract for $50-$200 and don't care about the real price of the phone.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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2019-08-11, 18:42

I really would like to see Apple be hungrier, at the “low end” (which is really the industry’s mid-range). In the US, the lowest “official” price the iPhone ever hit was $349, with the eighteen-month-old iPhone SE, but last year they dropped that entire tier and the iPhone now starts at $449. It’s a little unusual to see Apple retreat from a market segment like that.

Meanwhile, iPads with the same A10 as the $449 iPhone 7 are available from $329 (and have been for nearly eighteen months), and iPods with the A10 are available for $199.

Apple was hungry, with the iPod. They didn’t just go for the high-end, they wanted to own the entire market, and honestly they did. When Jobs announced the $99 iPod shuffle to a shocked crowd, he said “we’re really serious about this,” and they were.

But with the iPhone, it’s like they’ve taken the foot off the gas a bit. Not so much at the high-end (each new iPhone continues to feature a SoC that is at least a year ahead of any other phone, so it’s difficult to say they’re not worth the ask), but at the low end. They seem intent on coasting with year-old and two-year-old models, like they’re okay with the iPhone being like the Mac and just dominating the high-end tier of the market. They were aggressive, with the SE, but then it’s like they backed off and that was just an aberration.

I think that’s a mistake. Especially with all the services Apple is pushing now – Apple Card, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and on and on – and especially with the other devices they’re selling that are designed to work with iPhone (Apple Watch), I think it’s worth trying to reach as many people as possible with the iPhone, even if it means making a dedicated midrange model (like the SE) instead of just selling two-year-old iPhones.

Throw in the fact that there are a lot of people who might not even want the XR’s larger size, and the case for new 4.7-inch phones become clearer.

It’s like the iPad. There was a little bit of weirdness, when the iPad Pro first come out, but you can draw a pretty clear line from the $499 iPad in 2010 to the $499 iPad Air 3 in 2019. The iPad Air is their “mainstream flagship” iPad, like the XR is. (It’s the one the iPad mini is based on.) But Apple isn’t content to just sell $499 iPads or even $399 iPad minis, so they introduced the $329 entry-level tier of iPad, which was in some ways a regression from the iPad Air 2 and mini 4 but reached a lower price point. And making a dedicated model for that price point allowed them to add features like Apple Pencil that wouldn’t have been possible if they just sold two-year-old models.

I think it would be worth considering making a midrange iPhone, for the same reasons.

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

Last edited by Robo : 2019-08-11 at 19:01.
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chucker
 
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2019-08-11, 19:01

I feel the $329 iPad mostly exists for education buyers and not so much individual consumer purchases. If it weren’t for the edu market, I think they’d start with the mini and Air.

(It doesn’t explain why an equivalent $799 MacBook doesn’t exist.)

For the phone, that isn’t relevant, except for even rarer use cases which are now once again kind of covered by the iPod touch. (Why isn’t that an “iPad nano”?)
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Robo
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2019-08-11, 19:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I feel the $329 iPad mostly exists for education buyers and not so much individual consumer purchases. If it weren’t for the edu market, I think they’d start with the mini and Air.
I don’t know. By all accounts, the $329-tier iPad is by far the most popular model – even Apple calls it the “most loved” iPad, which is code for highest selling. The bottom fell out of the tablet market and prices hit the floor; I know Apple’s never going to make a $49 tablet but I think they know they can’t get away with asking $499 for their base full-size model, either. Or at least, they see the value in offering a lower-end option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
(It doesn’t explain why an equivalent $799 MacBook doesn’t exist.)
Apple still sells the non-Retina MacBook Air to educational institutions for $849, or $829/ea in packs of 5.

But yeah, I think Apple’s solution for people who want a sub-$1,000 portable computer is an iPad + a Smart Keyboard.

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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2019-08-12, 02:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I don’t know. By all accounts, the $329-tier iPad is by far the most popular model – even Apple calls it the “most loved” iPad, which is code for highest selling. The bottom fell out of the tablet market and prices hit the floor; I know Apple’s never going to make a $49 tablet but I think they know they can’t get away with asking $499 for their base full-size model, either. Or at least, they see the value in offering a lower-end option..
I mean, they’re not gonna offer a product and then proudly say people don’t want it. They also said the SE is very popular. And then they still didn’t update it for a long time and eventually quietly killed it off.

As for tablet prices, I don’t really see that. There seem to be two market segments, and Apple is addressing both. Yeah, they’re really on the high end compared to some $79 Android tablet, but the latter as a concept has seen so little love from Google in recent years that iPadOS is flawless in comparison (which it isn’t). ChromeOS doesn’t really put that much thought into a tablet experience either. So you pay up a lot for iPad, but if you intend to do anything other than stream videos, it’s unquestionably worth it.

The upper segment is a tougher call — here, iPad Pro competes against Surface Pro and Surface Book and Surface WeHaveFoundMoreNouns, Yoga, and similar products. They have the huge difference (whether it’s an advantage is a tough question) of a hybrid OS; a macOS with some touch-adjusted apps (and a lot of apps that definitely aren’t) if you will. iPad Pro is the purer experience; Windows 10 on a tablet is the more comprehensive one.

I’m not saying they’ll discontinue the $329 iPad (though I wouldn’t be shocked if they do), and there seem to be rumors that it’s getting an update this fall.
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chucker
 
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2019-08-12, 03:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
No Apple has very much screwed up.
Was there a scenario where they could’ve made more revenues? I don’t know that that’s the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
Apple seriously needs to find a way to make a flagship phone in the $800 range again.
Would customers like that? Sure. Do they need to do it? I don’t know that. Why? Just to be like others? Do they also need to license iOS?
  quote
El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2019-08-12, 15:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I think they still do, though. Like, comparing the iPhone 8 to the iPhone XR, the iPhone XR offers a much larger screen (addressing the most obvious way the 8 was behind its rivals), advanced features like Face ID, and the same aluminum and glass design for $749. As a successor to the iPhone 6/7/8, it's a huge improvement to anyone who can stomach the larger size — it honestly offers so many of the XS's features that it makes that phone look like a bad deal in comparison. It has one camera, but so did the iPhone 6/7/8.
When the phone was released no one was knocking the build materials. The screen and lack of cameras are the key deficits. Also it isn’t like they didn’t sell any of them. The overall smartphone market is stagnant with regard to growth and they have shrinking market share within a stagnating market. Apple did replace Touch ID with Face ID but by the time the Xr arrived competitors had moved on to under the screen Touch ID so a larger percentage of that innovation was blunted, especially when available on phones as low as $350. Apple themselves have complicated this issue because they offer a combination of both Touch and Face ID. Finally normally we would be arguing about Apple not purchasing market share and not racing to the bottom with regard to pricing. That isn’t what happened here. We aren’t talking about why Apple should still be able to charge $750 for a flagship phone while others are offering the same for less. Rather Apple raised their prices into such markets forces.

Quote:
They didn't just take the X and drop the price $250 because the X and XS were designed from the start as a new higher tier of products — it's not like polished stainless steel gets dramatically cheaper a year later. Designing a new "mainstream" iPhone with the X's all-screen design was the right call — Apple was able to give it the latest SoC, which the $750 tier iPhone should always have, and they were able to give it a different personality more appropriate for the mass market. The latest rumor is that this year the stainless steel XS successors are going to be called "iPhone Pro," and that's not a bad way to think about them. This doesn't mean that the $750 tier is "demoted" — it's still every bit the latest iPhone — there's just a premium tier with a more luxurious design on top of it, as has been the case for the last two years.
Again no one has complained about stainless steel vs aluminum. For me personally the issues were expensive repairs. The move to glass backs were generated insane claims for repairs. The only way to mitigate that is purchase AppleCare which drove the price even higher. The screen was good for an LCD but competitors were doing the same with AMOLED at much lower price points.

Pro for Apple in other iOS lines has often been related to refresh rates. If the iPhone PRO had a screen with a 120 hertz refresh rate that would be “Pro” in the same way as for the iPad and would also make the higher end line feel dramatically different from say... an iPhone XR successor with an AMOLED screen but at 60 hertz refresh rate.

Quote:
Face ID? You have Face ID in the XR already.
Multiple back cameras? All the leaks say you'll get that in the XR successor this fall.
AMOLED? You probably won't get that this year. But that's sort of a weird ask, because it's not like AMOLED is an out-and-out improvement over LCD, they're just different. I'd rather they use a good LCD than a bad AMOLED, even if that keeps them from checking of that box on your list of musts.
Face ID, sure and the next phones better get whatever improvements across the entire line. By year three the current complaints and prior limitations of Face ID should not be tolerated on a phone that is “ONLY” $750. Any improvements in speed, field for recognition, etc. had better be across the entire line. Multiple back cameras, hopefully but not with any intentional crippling. If as an example you get two cameras but they intentionally remove OIS to drive you up to the $1000 tier then people will see right past that.


Quote:
I think the XR is the exact opposite of Apple "keeping their innovation at a certain price tier."
You’re welcome to your opinion but Apple is responding in a mixed fashion right now. Clearly with the Mac they sort of lost their way for a bit and now their improved response is....honestly still on the edge of marginal but improved from embarrassing. Many of their services are of questionable value so far. I suspect Apple Music and the Card will do well while we will continue to talk about Apple not getting a real good return on news and TV.

Understand that with this refresh we will be on year three of Face ID, AMOLED iPhones, duel camera set ups, etc. All of the features claimed to be necessary to charge $1000 for because they were so new will now be a couple years old. There should be new innovation for the higher level iPhones and the phone that would have the iPhone X level specs should be available at that $750 price point. If they aren’t then it is as problem. For example if Apple doesn’t give not only dual cameras but dual OIS then that will be a form of holding that innovation to a higher price tier. AMOLED would be similar in my view again as everything everyone has been doing including Apple is a couple years along now. This is why so many competitors are able to offer it at a lower price point. Again I’m not saying Apple should go sell it for $550 or $350 as other competitors are doing. However if two years later they can’t sell it at $750 then the problem lies with Apple.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2019-08-12, 15:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Was there a scenario where they could’ve made more revenues? I don’t know that that’s the case.

Would customers like that? Sure. Do they need to do it? I don’t know that. Why? Just to be like others? Do they also need to license iOS?
They basically did the opposite of buying marketshare. They have not maintained marketshare and are watching their percentage of the overall markets drop while charging more. People normally would complain about this but their financials while great did not tank due to the higher pricing.

However as the move to services shows, it isn’t just about the units, it is about the ecosystem. Apple users are more likely to use Apple Music, buy things with Apple Pay, etc. Most other companies do whatever is necessary almost to the point of giving away hardware to get people locked into the ecosystem.

Again I’m not suggesting Apple do any of these negatives. I’m not saying they should be selling a $350-550 flagship phone and chasing marketshare. I’m not saying give away hardware and make it up on services.

However when you used to make the flagship for $750 and now charge $1000+ and short term you do okay but long term now you are going to make up the shortfall on unit sales with services going to the 20-30% fewer people buying your products, that seems a sketchy proposition. Apple has done some interesting things like offering Apple Music on Android, offering the Apple TV app on certain brands of smart TV’s etc.

Apple us doing well with the Watch. The iPad line seems well thought out and covers an array of price tiers. Apple needs to do better here with the iPhone.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-12, 23:13

I really have very few complaints with what Apple is doing on the high end, with the XR and XS. They lead the industry on most all of the metrics that actually matter to people, and while they occasionally miss a feature (like Night Sight) they’re generally the company that sets the conversation. For the most part, the rest of the industry is reacting to what Apple does in a way that’s honestly embarrassing. Resting on their laurels, Apple is not.

It’s really the lower-end phones where I’d like to see them be more competitive (hence this thread). Someone walking into an Apple Store with $500 should be able to do better than an iPhone 7. That’s a pretty huge regression from where we were this time in 2016, where you could walk into an Apple Store with $399 and get an iPhone SE with the latest processor and camera.

And someone who wants an iPhone that is smaller than the iPhone XR, and not potentially four hundred dollars more, should be able to do better than the iPhone 8.

They should really make an iPhone 11 mini, but if they’re not going to do that (and it sure sounds like they aren’t), an “iPhone 8 SE” (not called that) is the next best thing.

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
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-08-13, 02:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
They’re generally the company that sets the conversation.
Yup. They’ve carried what used to be an effect on the Mac lineup over to the iPhone. They’ll introduce a feature, pundits will call it stupid, the entire industry adopts it, and finally it’s seen as the “obvious” way of doing things.

(Sure would be nice if we could see that happen on the Mac again.)
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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2019-08-13, 03:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
They’ll introduce a feature, pundits will call it stupid, the entire industry adopts it, and finally it’s seen as the “obvious” way of doing things.
My favorite is when Apple does something (like ditch the headphone jack) and competitors (like Samsung) spend years making ads that mock them for it, all the while knowing that they are also working on phones that ditch the headphone jack (like the Galaxy Note 10).

But you're right, it's been a little while since they've been like that on the Mac. They're trying to lead (Touch Bar! USB-C everything!) but it doesn't seem like others are following them quite as closely, any more.

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
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-08-13, 03:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
My favorite is when Apple does something (like ditch the headphone jack) and competitors (like Samsung) spend years making ads that mock them for it, all the while knowing that they are also working on phones that ditch the headphone jack (like the Galaxy Note 10).
To be fair, Apple made an iPhone 5 ad mocking bigger phone sizes. Then made much bigger phone sizes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
But you're right, it's been a little while since they've been like that on the Mac. They're trying to lead (Touch Bar! USB-C everything!) but it doesn't seem like others are following them quite as closely, any more.
Right.

I mean… I don't think PC makers went USB everything quickly after 1998; it's just not their MO. But the Touch Bar is interesting.

If Windows 8 hadn't happened, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to imitate the Touch Bar. (Note that Lenovo had the Adaptive Keyboard a few years earlier. But, in typical PC maker fashion, they then didn't follow up on it, leaving no chance to build an ecosystem.)

But now they all have touch displays, and those touch displays have a reasonable (though not great) level of support from the OS vendor, and adding a Touch Bar on top of that is a little weird. (That's not to say that it would be useless.)

IOW, Apple didn't add a new feature here; they provided a significantly different angle to a feature others already had. Which isn't bad, but which does make it a little harder for the others to then pivot.
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-08-13, 10:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
but which does make it a little harder for the others to then pivot.
In a certain sense, that is precisely what you want: Make it more difficult for your competitors to copy you. Unfortunately with Touch Bar, it isn't on every Mac, so developers are loath to put too much effort into it. It needs to reside on the desktop Mac, as well as all laptops in order to get enough momentum to draw truly interesting adoption. At first, it felt futuristic. Now, it feels like a feature for the sake of features, and one that gets too much ho-hum. It is a very good idea, but with not very good execution.

iPhones are like this to a point. They all need to have Face ID, and they all need to support Force Touch. Apple used to be the brand that was focused and consistent. Now, they have too many screen sizes, too many UI differences, and too many screen shapes. They need to find some commonality amongst their products.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-08-13, 11:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
In a certain sense, that is precisely what you want: Make it more difficult for your competitors to copy you.
Oh, sure, but in this case, it really isn't helping the perception that the Mac is no longer forward-looking and trend-setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
Unfortunately with Touch Bar, it isn't on every Mac, so developers are loath to put too much effort into it. It needs to reside on the desktop Mac, as well as all laptops in order to get enough momentum to draw truly interesting adoption.
Yup, that's a big factor.

(And I still don't get why they don't add a Taptic Engine to it. It would help alleviate concerns that you can't feel the keys. It still won't be the same, but closer. Maybe they tried and it wasn't that great, but surely it wouldn't be worse, and would enable some additional uses?)

One good thing: Sidecar in macOS Catalina will effectively bring the Touch Bar to all Macs connected to an iPad. That… won't be many at first, but I can imagine an iMac + an iPad hooked up via Sidecar will actually be a popular setup among creatives. (Competition like Duet Display and Astropad is at least popular enough to be mentioned now and then in the podcastsphere, and Sidecar would have more marketing budget…)

But still, it's… not great that three years in, they don't have an answer to "I want the Touch Bar, but on an external keyboard". Not even just on different Macs, but also on the MacBook Pros themselves: how exactly are you supposed to use an MBP ergonomically these days? You can't easily hook it up to a Retina-like display because about the only option is really expensive and ugly, and you also lose the Touch Bar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
iPhones are like this to a point. They all need to have Face ID, and they all need to support Force Touch. Apple used to be the brand that was focused and consistent. Now, they have too many screen sizes, too many UI differences, and too many screen shapes. They need to find some commonality amongst their products.
Well, at least they're improving the bad Force Touch situation in several ways in iOS 13.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2019-08-13, 14:03

It sounds like they’re ditching 3D Touch with this year’s iPhones. I had high hopes for 3D Touch but that clearly hasn’t panned out at this point. A key problem with it is that it isn’t discoverable, on a UI where everything is supposed to be not just discoverable, but immediately obvious. 3D Touch has clear costs, both monetary and in thickness, and I think Apple feels it’s just not worth those trade offs at this point. The XR ditched 3D Touch, and essentially nobody cared. I don’t think it’s long for this world.

That’s maybe another reason to replace the iPhone 8 with a new model, to eliminate the weirdness of the $449 iPhone having a feature that the $1099 iPhone doesn’t.

The Touch Bar is more interesting. Last month Apple brought the Touch Bar to the entire MacBook Pro line. They didn’t have to do that; just updating the 15W models after two years and giving them quad-core processors would have satisfied a lot of people, and they could have given it Touch ID and a T2 without the full Touch Bar (as on the MacBook Air). But they gave it the full Touch Bar, at a much lower price point. That suggests to me that Apple still sees a lot of value and potential in the concept, even if a lot of users don’t (yet).

Touch Bar on desktops is an interesting nut to crack, because I don’t think Apple will ever put Touch ID on an external device that isn’t built into the system – it’s just not secure enough. So that’s not going to be part of the system. But if Apple redesigns the iMacs and gives them Face ID, that takes care of the secure effortless authentication angle. The T-series chip inside the iMac would essentially project the Touch Bar UI wirelessly onto the keyboard, kind of like CarPlay or how watchOS worked at the very beginning. Gives new meaning to the term “Magic Keyboard.”

Apple’s all about getting rid of the inessential, and I think the F1-F12 keys are something that they’ve felt are outmoded and needlessly complex for a long time. I don’t see the Touch Bar as something they tacked on to give the 2016 MacBook Pros a buzzy new feature; I view it as then finally being able to tackle a peeve they’ve had for potentially decades.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2019-08-13, 15:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
My favorite is when Apple does something (like ditch the headphone jack) and competitors (like Samsung) spend years making ads that mock them for it, all the while knowing that they are also working on phones that ditch the headphone jack (like the Galaxy Note 10).
I love how Apple fanboys call this innovation, as if Apple did something great. It was a cash grab made in collusion with headphone manufacturers who wanted to find a way to increase margins, it sure wasn’t done to improve anything for consumers. Did Apple make some half decent wireless headphones? Yes. They could have done so without removing the plug and forcing users to buy toss away items that will be in a landfill in two years because the batteries are dead.
  quote
709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2019-08-13, 15:15

So do I wear my tinfoil hat over or under my headphones?
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-08-15, 11:11

AirPods debate has been snipped and moved over here. And I think I may have mucked up the redirect a bit.



To get this conversation back on track, Let me ask some questions:

What is the next innovative cycle for iPhones? The big, stupid idea right now (stupid due to feasibility, not concept) is the folding phone, which is clearly not ready for primetime. Cameras? Screen tech? Security? Some killer app? (which I would argue has nothing to do with the phone unless it takes advantage of some fancy new wiz-bang piece of hardware.)

A smaller phone is nothing new, but certainly sought after, although I am no longer a customer for that, having gotten used to my X. Even bigger phones are a thing, although I think they are positively silly, but I can see a certain—if not great—demand for an iPhone Maxi (aka, iPad Mini with the phone app). 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?

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!

Last edited by kscherer : 2019-08-15 at 11:31.
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