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Apple Special Event [video] (apple.com)
197 points by pome on Sept 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 492 comments

I'm amazed by the sizing. The SE appears to be gone. This means the smallest device you can buy is the 7/8. Many still find this to be too large. Considering Apple's history of selling older iPhone models at a lower price, it seems like two years from now the bottom of the line will be the Xs and Xr announced today. The smallest lower-end iPhone available at that time would be the Xs which is larger than the 6/6s/7/8. Obviously I have no idea what Apple has planned, but the push to increasingly large devices seems like a bad idea.

During Steve Jobs

  Rationally sized phones
  No gimmicks
  Few model numbers
After Steve Jobs

  Phablet sized phones
  Gimmicks everywhere (Animoji, AR, etc..)
  Lots of confusing model numbers
Basically Apple has become like every other phone manufacturer. It goes to show how much a good leader at the top of a company matters. I will keep using a SE for the foreseeable future.

  Fits in my hand
  Cheap to self replace screen/battery
  Has a headphone jack

And yet despite your criticism they are selling more devices than during Steve Jobs by a large margin. My iphoneX is by far the most usable and comfortable form factor of a smart phone I’ve used in the past decade. I’m just glad Apple has far better ways to decide on their device strategy than internet hot takes to so reliably and predictably miss the boat.

Are you sure Apple is selling more devices because of the new direction OR the mobile market is just larger than it was 7 years ago.

What new direction ?

Apple is following the same path they have done since the original iPhone. They have always had models at different price points.

The new direction they are referring to is clearly the phone size increase.

Which started under Steve Jobs (the 5 was the first bigger screen).

Crucially, though, it had a bigger height but not width.

> And yet despite your criticism they are selling more devices than during Steve Jobs by a large margin.

They seem to be slowly losing market share, though.

Yep. I bought iPhone 8 because I wanted to try force touch and faster CPU. Well, it's a feature I could skip (actually I don't even understand why is it there, long press would work just as well) and iPhone SE size would be more comfortable for me (I came from 4S). I'm using iPhone 8 for a few monthes and it's still very uncomfortable to use for me, it's too huge and I can't reach every screen point with my thumb. Certainly a degraded experience from using a smaller phone. I hope that they'll make something smaller next time I'll change phone.

Once you've become used to positioning the cursor with force touch, you never want to go back.

This could easily be done in software alone. I had cursor positioning on iOS 5 through jailbreak software.

Have you tried tabbing the home button lightly twice?

I know and it's terrible solution. It oftens gets reset when I'm tapping something (but sometimes it's not), so I have to double-tap again (especially when I want to edit URL in Safari). And anyway reaching any screen point with one hand is vastly superior experience than using workarounds. I've found myself using two hands more and more and that's a step backwards.

May be better UX design would solve that. Any controls should be at the bottom part of the screen. But iOS is not there anyway.

I'm not sure what proof there is than phablets are irrational as you've stated.

I got a Note 1 phablet after my iPhone 4 as an experiment. It was an audacious device where Apple had gotten stagnant. While the galaxy note 1 was a premature priduct, the phablet form factor was a constant constant piece, and it nearly ended the use of my iPad. My android phablet remains in my life/because Apple missed the boat on screen sizes and is playing catchup.

The phablet phenomenon is real and a calculated tradeoff.

Phablets have cut into other markets and for most people globally if a movie is the Mir primary computing device, the phablet is more appealing. In the case where summertime doesn't use a phone much, they often have a tablet, laptop, etc.

Not having a headphone jack remains a pain, Bluetooth ear buds need to be at 20 hrs of battery life to get wider adoption.

Agree, but the iPhone X is damn near perfection, without Steve. Which is admittedly surprising.

During Steve: imac, power mac, macbook, macbook pro.

Now... WTF.

More revisionist nonsense. You left out a few models which makes the product lineup almost identical to today:

MacBook Air was released in 2008.

Mac Mini was released in 2010.

Can you please edit the name-calling out of your comments here? ("revisionist nonsense", "this comment makes no sense"). I appreciate that your comments have gotten less uncivil over the years. Please don't relapse.


The MacBook Air didn’t overlap with MacBook as it does now.

The Mac Pro didn’t overlap wih the iMac Pro as it does now.

The iphone overlapping 7,8,Xs,Xr.

iPad Pro 10.5 overlap with regular iPad.

This comment makes no sense.

Steve Jobs was only alive during the early days of the iPhone where Apple was focused on implementing basic features like 3G. We are in the era where what you call gimmicky features are all that is left.

And customers are asking for bigger phones and more phones at different price points. This myth that Steve Jobs never listened to customers is just that a myth.

I went from a 5.2 inch phone to an SE myself, largely for size reasons. Those big phones are just too cumbersome, even if the screen is nice.

I'm very disappointed they didn't use the edge-to-edge screen ability to reduce the physical size and keep the screen size the same. A 4.7 inch screen in an iPhone X design would be perfect for me. It would be barely bigger than the SE with a much bigger screen.

Yes, the 4.7-inch screen is optimal for me, too. Apple should've kept this screen size and made the bezels as small as possible.

This applies to the SE, too -- keep the screen size and makes the bezels smaller.

In a way, the iPhone XS is a step back from even the iPhone 6, because it's bigger.

Apple seems to be doing things arbitrarily nowadays, like Dell and other OEMs that Apple (fans) loved to mock years ago.

An 19.5 : 9 Screen Body with the same width of iPhone SE would incidentally lead to a 4.7" iPhone Xr. I think it is highly likely we see that next year. Although also likely to cost $649.

I also recently went to an SE from a 6S. The iPhone Xs costs $1349 for a 512 GB device!

I have some younger kids who have the SE models, I like them because they are cheap(er), they work in the apple ecosystem I have, they are small enough for kids to carry around w/o breaking them, and I can easily track everyone. I won't be buying them any of these new ones, either stick to older SEs or purchase cheaper androids for them now.

Much the same story here. Was hoping for an SE 2 for my kids as they're moving up to secondary school and hoped they could keep their iPad game progress. Android ahoy

What's wrong with the SE1?

It's not sold anymore

It is, just not from the Apple store.

https://www.apple.com/iphone/compare/ "Available at authorized resellers"

Translation: "Discontinued, but 3rd-party retailers will keep selling their stock until it runs out."

So what's wrong with topbanana buying the SE for his kids right now?

For one, it won't be supported anywhere near as long as a device launched today. It would still be getting iOS updates during their entire high school career.

Nothing, but should probably move fast if the intent is to get a new one.

If the 128gig SE was $1000 I'de still buy it.

Aren't the new 7's near the same price as the old SE's? You also get something cool with the 7, no breakable home button :)

yea. I usually buy them a phone when they head to middle school because communicating with them becomes more important for pickups after school etc. Even the 7 seems a little too big for them, and they are definitely more breakable even with a case (aside from the mechanical button as you mention), more surface area I guess.

I'd love an SE sized super-budget iPhone (for kids).

iPhone SE started at $349. iPhone 7 starts at $449, so somewhat more expensive.

And a _lot_ larger. 'Reachability' is pretty much required for one-handed use, so it makes using the phone more annoying.

I was really hoping for a sweet new SE replacement. I don’t want a big phone but I do need to upgrade my SE’s battery and move on from a 16gb drive. What are my options?

Bought a 32GB one myself to get out of that situation, along with the larger battery were the assurances that (second hand) it was probably a year newer than the 16gb (16 and 64 models were year one, 32 and 128 were year two).

Aside from the size, I'm more concerned at the prices of phones going over the $1k+ mark as the new normal. Sigh.

Probably pointless to argue this, but I really see new iPhones as cheaper than ever given how long I can keep one without feeling left behind.

I have an old 6 that is quite snappy on iOS 12 beta for everything but intensely graphical new games. I really don't expect to replace last year's X for at least 2-3 years. It wasn't that long ago that it was crazy to keep a phone longer than a year.

Now, AppleCare really needs to be extended a year to 4 full years from 3.

I bought last year's iPhone X and it was $999 for the cheaper version + $200 for apple care + $160 for airpods + $20 for case + Taxes.

I think the iPhone XS is only marginally larger than the 7/8 and has a much larger display.

The size of the display is actually the important measurement for one handed use. My thumb can reach the far corner of the screen on the 8 but not the X.

The swipe-based navigation system on the X family actually makes a huge improvement on the old “reachability” feature of the 6/7/8/Plus. Instead of the awkward double-touch-the-home-button-without-pressing gesture to slide the screen down for one-handed use, you can actually just swipe the little home indicator down instead of up and it will do the same thing, only faster.

For some reason, this isn’t enabled by default, but it’s a big enough usability improvement that I would actually consider a large X-family iPhone because of it.

There is a thumb extension sold in Japan for such iphones.

That's a good point, and an argument for why the iPhone X should've had the same screen size as the iPhone 8, just with smaller bezels.

Besides, the slightly bigger body of the X (ignoring screen size) makes it slightly less comfortable to hold in my hand.

Does anyone think they'll make a next-gen SE next year? It could simply be they didn't want to release four phones this year.

I was looking forward to March this year for a new SE. Then I was looking forward to today. Now I'm looking forward to March again.

I remember people saying the same last year.

Then why discontinuing it now?

The iPhone 8 is still available in a 4.7" screen, right?

That's only marginally larger than the iPhone SE's 4.0" screen.

I use an iPhone SE, but only because it was ~AU$400 cheaper than the 4.7" iPhone 8.

Edit: I'd like to be on the record as having said I think these large screen size phones are, for my use case anyway, ridiculous. I work in a metal fabrication workshop and have to have my phone on me. There's no way a 5.8" phone is going to last more than a month in my pocket.

Apple's adoption of Face ID is a big deal from a design POV. Apple was famous for adopting superior technology early and with Face ID they're adopting inferior technology late.


face id is more relible than touch id. you no longer have to remove gloves, you can open it with wet fingers and it is faster. also, all mu touch id phones started to give more fingerprint recognition fails after 1year+

I have a 6s and I'm going to get an 8 at the new lower price. That should last me a few more years as phones are "fast enough" now. Hopefully, by the time I need another phone, the bigger is better thing will have passed.

I think the most important reason of having bigger devices is performance vs battery.

You can not extend a smartphone and give feature like OLED, Neural Engine etc without considering affect on the battery.

They want bigger device to solve many those issues. If they release the iPhone SE update they can not compete with other iPhones in terms of feature and performance.

Also it have huge involvement of iOS updates also. When they release iOS update you have to think all the device these updates support else people will make noises.

I would expect quite the opposite. The bigger the screen the more dramatic the power draw to illuminate all the extra square inches.

That was borne out by my experience with the SE when I first got it, having better battery life than any other smartphone I'd owned.

My plan for now is to hang on to the SE for another couple of years, with battery replacement when it gets too tired.

Small point, but you are assuming the only direction a phone can grow is height and width. Thickness would also allow a larger battery.

This give Apple 2 years time to replace the SE. Actually more one year to research, observe the various markets and to decide and then one year to implement. In any case the button seems to be dead 8-( so any small form factor phone won't be a straight successor of the SE.

The reason I don't totally discount the SE is the effective lowering of prices by Apple in the new line-up. They clearly want to grow on the lower end of the price band now.

One reason I moved to iPhone SE from a 5.5 inch Android one and a half years ago was its size and form factor which among all the options available at the time seemed perfect to me. (The other reason was of course being invested in Mac ecosystem all over)

I would want to go back to stock Android after I retire this SE, but when I look around I don't really see a decent 4 inch stock Android phone either.

> seems like a bad idea.

Bad idea for whom, and why? Because of your personal preference for a smaller phone? Clearly, the market doesn't agree. Well TBH, I don't know the market numbers, but surely Apple doesn't cull their lineup of products that are selling well?

The market has spoken loud and clear since 2010, when Androids bigger than iPhone became popular. iPhone dragged it's feet till 2013/2014 because they didn't want to appear conceding that they were wrong, but eventually they had to buckle.

There haven't really been many attempts at making small flagship-quality devices in years. Didn't the SE immediately sell out when it was released? I struggle to believe no similar market exists today, but Apple obviously has a easier and more profitable path maintaining the device collection they announced today. I just wish they didn't.

I was thinking about replacing my SE with whatever was announced today, but instead I'll be continuing to use it until it dies/isn't supported any more. Maybe I'm alone on that, I dunno.

You’re not alone! I think I may replace my aging SE with a new SE.

Edit: I was wondering if an Apple Watch / iPod Touch combo could be an option but it seems they don’t play well together.

I wonder how much of a factor size was in SE sales; of course some customers clearly chose it with size a primary concern, but I suspect many more bought it because it was a good phone at an attractively low price.

The iPhone 7 still carries the flag for price conscious customers today, even if it is more expensive. The SE was a very unusually strong low end value proposition by Apple standards at 349 dollars for the 32GB handset, and I suspect this _much_ more than size mattered. Cheap small sized Android handsets have never really sold in remotely meaningful numbers in recent years (and Sony made some resonably solid designs), which gives me further pause as to how well "small" as primary feature sells now.

It is definitely a shame for those who did value the SE for its size, but iPhones are unabashedly mass-market devices, and for better or worse bigger appears to sell. I do think an imaginary SE design with the full size screen design of the X with FaceID etc would be a gorgeous looking little device though...

"selling out" doesn't mean anything without an actual quantity number. It doesn't even mean apple underestimated demand, because they could have intentionally understocked to get the "iPhone SE sells out in minutes" headlines.

The best clue that the small phone market is actually a small market is to look to android: the smaller phones don't sell particularly well, especially in the premium tiers. The only company really making a go at the small phones is sony, and they're basically failing.

Big phones fit in my pockets and in my wife's purse, but not in my kid's pockets. He chose the SE, because it fit his pockets. He's still growing, so we'll probably be able to postpone getting him a new phone until he's bigger, but it seems an odd choice for Apple to eliminate the most kid-friendly size. I would think that bringing more kids into the controlled theme park that is iOS would matter more than the margins on this particular device, but I guess Apple moves in mysterious ways.

> Didn't the SE immediately sell out when it was released?

Pretty sure no one in this thread knows more about SE sales than the product people at Apple making these decisions.

Right, I get this feeling that there's a boardroom of execs out there saying "well, the Samsung Note sold a whole lot of devices, clearly the reason is because it's big!"

Then the release a bunch of only-big iphones, which sell more than the previous generation of iphones, and they go "Aha! We're on to something here!"

Like, there's a ton of reasons that sales of a new gen of iphone could be higher than previous, or that the note sold more than some other iphone model, etc, without having anything to do with physical size of the device.

I for one am absolutely desperate for a galaxy s1 sized device with a headphone jack, long battery life, and reasonable performance, regardless of thickness. I would probably pay 800 dollars for such a device. It's just me here and now but judging from other comments I've seen I bet I'm not alone.

You think that product demand is only conducted by putting a product on the market and seeing how well it sells? And you're posting on HN?

Sorry for the snark but damn this trope was stale 4 years ago. Apple has more than enough money to throw at researching whether or not it's worth it to make a particular size phone without first producing said phone.

If you knew the top part was snarky, and snarky enough to justify apologizing for, why didn't you just save you the time of writing it and me the time of reading it and thinking "gee thanks asshole"?

Nope, I don't work at Apple, I have no idea how they do market research. They sure do know how to make money, though.

Well, there's 4 generations of phones now that came in two sizes (6, 6S, 7, 8) so I would assume they've got a little more to go on than Samsung's quarterlies.

Yes, they were stock constrained for many months.. infact, I tried to buy one 3 months ago, and they didn't have any in the store. I think they just didn't want to make them...

If you want to push margins, larger devices selling for higher absolute prices are a better option.

Imho, it's harder to convince people a "smartphone" is worth USD $1k+. But a laptop / tablet replacement? That's reasonable(!) compared to a MBP...

Given Apple's build costs don't scale with device size (++screen, +battery, +gpu/mem), selling the same internals in bigger devices for more is a win.

So you continue expanding device size and price until you discover the market boundaries. And unlike Samsung S*/Note, Apple has the ability to say "These are the only form factors this generation, if you want the newest iPhone..."

> Given Apple's build costs don't scale with device size (++screen, +battery, +gpu/mem), selling the same internals in bigger devices for more is a win.

Only if those customers buy the bigger device, and if smaller phones require the latest internals. If these people stick with their older/smaller devices, you've lost a sale. If you can get away with 2-year-old internals in these smaller phones, it could be much cheaper to produce than the latest flagship.

I don't know what Apple's margins are on these devices, but a couple months ago AT&T was offering the current (final) iPhone SE for $50.

> Apple has the ability to say "These are the only form factors this generation, if you want the newest iPhone..."

True, but the SE was never about appealing to users who wanted the newest iPhone.

Apple wouldn't leave money on the table in an effort to save face. It came out in the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits that they were caught flat footed.

From a technical standpoint, they could have released larger phones before they did. What stopped them is that UIKit and iOS apps were not designed to handle multiple screen sizes or any screen except for the 4 inch iPhone and the 9.7" iPad until iOS 7 and support improved in IOS 8.

From a technical standpoint they could, but they didn't because their technology wasn't ready?

So .. they couldn't?

Hardware - they could release bigger phones.

Software - they didn’t have the framework to allow for it.

It would have been like all of the Android phones that copied the notch before the OS was ready.

If the new Apple processor is actually 7nm fab, that means that Apple is performing at a higher level of execution than basically everyone else in silicon land. Intel just failed spectacularly at shipping 10nm and TSMC is just beginning to do 7nm production hypothetically (I don't think any major production runs have been announced yet, but please correct me if I'm wrong).

If Apple is shipping 7nm in iPhones, that's actually incredible.

Edit: After doing a bit of research, it seems like Intel is actually the odd duck out and TSMC is doing the fab on these chip runs as well as the fab on Huawei's new chip with dual Neural Processing Units. It's actually just Intel that's failing to produce smaller and smaller chips (again, TSMC is producing 7nm for this Apple run as well as Huawei's new chip).

7nm != 7nm - there's a lot of variety between processes.

7nm on a (relatively) small ARM is also a different world to 7nm on a chip the size of the latest Intel's.

Yep, for most intents and purposes, the "nm" race is mostly used for marketing akin to the "GHz" race back in the 90's and 00's.

See this presentation from Mark Bohr from Intel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApWOf6J858Y

6.9B transistors doesn't look small by any standard to me..

Concur. I almost passed out when that slide came up.

die size would br interesting indeed.

TSMC is Apple's sole fabricator for their A series chips so they must be able to make 7nm chips.

Yeah, I realized my error and edited the post.

> It's actually just Intel that's failing to produce smaller and smaller chips

Actually Global Foundries just announced they are abandoning 7nm for the short term.

Size is really just a marketing term at this point. Intel "10nm" is about the same as TSMC "7nm". Size of various features is roughly the same between the two. Global Foundries decided to not touch this cycle (at least for the short term). Samsung also decided to slow their pursuit of "7nm" and focus on "8nm".

> Global Foundries decided to not touch this cycle (at least for the short term).

Sounds like GF is dropping out of Moore's Law's race entirely, and changed their strategy to focusing on improving the higher nodes instead:


AMD has announced 7nm parts also. So, they are only slightly later than Apple with TSMC 7nm.

They killed the SE! Now we're stuck with screens too big to use with one hand. I really really dislike this.

Yeah, this feels like a huge shame. Android doesn't really offer anything comparable either. I realize the market for smaller devices is a minority one, but it is really so small that no-one will cater to it?

You'll have to remove my SE from my cold, dead hands. It's not just one handed operation, it's simply a much better size and I'm yet to see any reason I'd want a bigger one.

I think the problem is that there are two types of people that use phones, those that think of a phone as a mini-computer, and those that think of a computer as a very large phone.

Many of us on HN are probably in the first group. I look at my phone as a portable computer that's a big compromise for portability; as soon as I am within range of an actual PC, I will switch to using that. (Example, my phone is great for checking when the train is going to arrive. But before I leave for the station, I've already checked the schedule on my computer.)

That usage pattern probably places us in the minority. Many people are using their phone to do things that they can't do on a computer; Snapchat, Instagram, games, etc. Those simply don't run on computers. But they suffer from the same ergonomics complaints that we do, so they make a good market for computer-shaped phones. And that is what Apple is releasing today.

Sony offers top tier Xperia models in compact sizes, and has for several years.

https://www.sonymobile.com/us/products/phones/#filter= (ctrl+F for "compact").

Amazingly, they also offer official AOSP builds (https://developer.sony.com/develop/open-devices/latest-updat...). LineageOS is also supported on the Xperia Z5 Compact. GApps optional for the privacy conscious.

> LineageOS is also supported on the Xperia Z5 Compact.

There's also unofficial support for the more recent XZ1 Compact.

I was immediately put off by the generous bezels on top and bottom.

Sony had really improved on this aspect of late (actually kinda got rid of that questionable design and form factor that was ubiquitous in Sony phones). It seems they figured they need it back for some reason.

Remove Google, add iOS and I consider it. (privacy…)

You can flash it with AOSP and then there's no Google: https://developer.sony.com/develop/open-devices/latest-updat...

Oh wow. That info should be spread!

Yeah but then you've got to use an xperia phone.

This will probably be my next phone. I have a Pixel v1 right now and unless the Pixel 3 impresses me a lot I will be moving over to a Sony Compact. All the features I want (including a headphone jack and large battery) in something that isn't a mini tablet.

The first seconds I was so hoping the XR would be the new SE with fullscreen lcd at 4.2'' and a bit cheaper, not such a giant beast. I even endured the tiresome 'incredible bla …' … just to be disapointed.

That's ridiculous: I was hoping the SE2 rumours would turn to to be true. No idea what I'll upgrade to when my current SE stops running up-to-date iOS then.

It would make a lot of sense to hold off on announcing it for a lot of reasons: customer confusion not to mention encouraging spend on pricier devices.

Could realistically be a holiday release or 1q 2019, especially since they won't have a Red phone to release then.

Here I go, getting my hopes up again. I think realistically March is the best bet, but if I'm being honest with myself, I don't seriously believe Apple will release another SE-sized device.

Actually yeah .. the original SE was a special release now that I think of it ...

SE is awesome for travel where you want the phone to fill certain critical needs then stop distracting you.

There will be a thriving SE market on eBay.

Best moment when a friend with oversized Plus had spontaneous SE envy.

Well, I don't know about you but I wouldn't even list mine on eBay with a $1000 reserve...

I'm really upset about this. I HATE large screens and not for the lack of trying!

It’s not even the SE. I have an 8 and like the size. I would have preferred the Xr to be the physical size of the 8 so I do t have to move up if I want something newer.

The XS is the smallest of the lineup, and pretty much the replacement for the old baseline, it's 5mm taller and 4 wider than the old baseline IIRC>

The larger screen means you can't touch the far corner with one hand, though.

I already couldn't do that on a 6 without a grip change from my regular hold.

As an SE user, me too. I wished they would have done a refresh for the SE.

I was sure if I wanted the old design I had to buy it before the next iPhone. But yeah, standing still isn't really a good look for a tech company... Just because I don't want to use my face as a password or talk to a virtual assistant, or hold a phone that slips out of my hand and smashes on the ground due to rounded edges doesn't mean the iPhone X/XS/XR aren't great phones....

Definitely great phones, but I still prefer the iPhone SE size. If they upgrade the SE with the innards of the XR + with same cameras + full front screen, it would be perfection.

While I liked the smaller size, the fact is that the vast majority of people prefer a larger screen for all sorts of reasons. The solution is for app developers to move as much as possible to the bottom section of the screen, which is happening relatively quickly on iOS.

Secondary actions may still require a second hand, but most primary actions should not.

This is what everyone is saying, but the "vast majority" is what, 95% of a vast market? 97%? That still leaves a decent-sized market, which I would think could sustain a perfectly viable business.

Apparently I would think wrong, but what's the issue? Is it just not possible to manufacture a high-quality small phone for a mere 1% of the world market? Plenty of Android manufacturers are making decent phones for much smaller market segments than that...

Not disagreeing with you, but as a developer, I'm happy that we can now do UX design for 4.7-inch phones, and prevent installation of our app on smaller phones.

You do that in an indirect manner, by requiring NFC, thus eliminating 4-inch phones, which don't have NFC: https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/De... (Cmd-F nfc). If Apple had updated the iPhone SE with NFC, this trick wouldn't work any more, and I'd be forced to do UX design for 4-inch phones.

Till I find product-market fit, I don't want to be distracted by overhead like this.

Just curious, since I'm not a mobile developer, is most app design done with pixel perfect layouts now? I vaguely remember watching a YouTube tutorial years and years ago (iPhone 4 I think) about making apps and many of the interface elements would expand/contract to the devices screen.

Not bashing on your decision, just generally curious. If so, that sounds like a lot of work to make custom interface layouts for a half dozen devices.

Entirely reasonable question, but I wasn't talking about making custom layouts for each device. I'm also talking about a single UI design that is responsive to different screen sizes. But instead of supporting all iPhones, if we instead support 4.7-inch screens and above, that's less work, because there are fewer cases to handle.

Taking your example of expand/collapse, when you implement it, it's more complex than it appears when watching a Youtube video: you now have to handle three states: a collapsed state on small screens, an expanded state on small screens, and big screens, which don't have expand/collapse. This imposes more work on the designer to design for these states and make sure they're all usable and look good, perhaps with animated transitions between them. On the engineers, who have to deal with multiple code paths and edge cases. On QA, to spend more time trying to test more scenarios on different devices. Everything sounds simple till you code it up :)

Now, if you could eliminate this complexity by not having to collapse the control in the first place, that would be simpler. Maybe there's enough space on the 4.7-inch screen for that.

UIs scale up better than down. I prefer to do UI design for the smallest supported screen size. If we choose to support 4-inch screens, we may have to choose a UI design that's not optimal for 4.7-inch and bigger screens, which the majority of our users actually use. Whereas if 4.7 was the baseline, we may be able to come up with a better design for most of our users.

All these problems are, of course, solvable, but if they take X amount of time to solve, is there something more beneficial you can do in that time?

That sounds directly user-hostile. Imagine if HN's web server served 401s to everyone with a Mozilla user agent.

I see where you're coming from, but you're missing the point that startups are all about finding product-market fit with the least money, time and people.

Guess what's worse than an app that doesn't support your particular model of iPhone? An app that supports all possible devices and configurations, but that doesn't solve a problem users care about. Then all the time and resources that went into it go down the drain.

Literally everyone already has a Mozilla user agent.

I had already been feeling slightly worried since installing Moment and being informed that I spend 1.5-2 hours a day looking at my phone.

Not being able to replace my current distract-o-phone with another comfortably-sized one might be the thing that convinces me to give the new Nokia bananaphone a try.

I have iPhone X. I use the Reachability function often, and find it fairly easy to use the phone with one hand.

Same as I with a 7. Reachability is quite well worked out.

2 years ago got a 7 over a 7+ for single handed use felt the SE was too small. Now, I'm just so at ease on the rare occasion that I get to use it. Said owner doesn't like it claiming its 'slow'. I on the other hand just may switch over to a refurb SE.

I've gone through a few of them since buying mine 6 months ago, and yeah it's going to be slow unless you manage to get one with iOS 10 on it.

Apple seems to be pushing real hard towards its OS upgrades. I imagine staying put on iOS 10 would involve a bunch of challenges including effort and time. Can't find a lot of resources to follow online either.

In stark contrast is my Moto X2, after 2 years of heavy daily use before my current phone, and one screen replacement is still chugging along pretty well on its archaic version of Android.

The argument that iPhones have superior hardware and build quality resulting in longer usage is negated by this constant push for upgrades. I think I know where I am headed for my next phone.

I am impressed the X(s) has more screen space than my 8+ has in a similar form factor. So I can have more screen without having to jump up again in size.

I do admit however I would have liked to see an X in the same size as a base 8.

An theoretical iPhone Xr 4.7" would actually be the same size as iPhone SE. Something that Apple may consider doing next year.

I can imagine Apple has quite a few linguists on its payroll; They are still beating the words “beautiful” and “best” to death in their keynotes. It’s tough to not be excited about new features that are debuted upon each release, but it’s also getting monotonous to hear, “Product X is the _best_ version of its kind. Product Y is the _most_ <adjective> we’ve ever created and its pictures are simply _beautiful_.”

Yesterday evening, my daughter noticed an iPad had been removed from its case and held up the empty one asking what gives? My immediate response, "What you're looking at is the THINNEST, LIGHTEST, iPad we've ever produced. It's 127% faster than the case alone. And now for something we know you're going to love. In the past you've enjoyed lunch, and you've told us about how much you liked late lunch. Tonight we have something really special for you, and I can't wait to tell you about it. Introducing dinner."

The thing is, when Steve Jobs spoke such words unironically, the apple fans swallowed every word whole. And the non-fans were comparing it to existing products but also didn't really remark much upon it. But yeah, when they keep repeating it when there is nothing new to report...

"Unapologetically nutritious."

Lmao, thanks for making me laugh at work.

I am not a native speaker but the repetition of "best X we have ever built" or "best X yet" or "most advanced" and their unimaginative variations took away what could have been one of the best (pun intended) product launches of the year.

Not only, but the overuse of "Product X is the best $thing we have ever made", while hearing also "and we completely redesigned it" pretty much every year creates the overall impression that they keep getting things wrong.

It's a content-free statement, so it always makes jump to thinking about a sad distant future instead. Like a heat death of the universe, or when there is just a decline in economies of scale, the next phone might cease being the best ever produced.

Apple site on the XR: "Brilliant. In every way."

Reminds me of Fury Road: "I had a baby brother! And he was perfect in every way!"

Their lack of vocabulary is INCREDIBLE.

Their ability to communicate to terrible english speakers is also incredible.

Sad attempt to continue imitating the speaking style of Jobs. I'm sure Steve would have moved on to new adjectives, or mixed things up a little more, if he was still with us.

Not much the choice of word but the context of use, when Jobs said something you knew, being Jobsian elitist, it meant something. The boys today on the other hand.. feels like a cult a little bit.

Not to mention if the product isn't the "best" they've ever made, what good is it? Saying "best" at a new product announcement might as well be replaced with "newest". And how stupid does that sound?

also “this is breakthrough” all over the place. not a native English speaker but this sounds wrong to me.

It is wrong. And it's annoying.


There is a joke here somewhere relating Apple's marketing speak and Trump's speech patterns...

It occurs to me today how sad it is that we only have two viable mobile ecosystems these days. I have an iPhone SE, which Apple has opted not to update. That's their decision to make, I suppose, but no-one else can make iOS devices and I really don't want to switch to Android (it isn't ignorance, I've used it since the Nexus One, I've just grown to dislike it for privacy and UI performance reasons over time, and it doesn't have great hardware in the size I want either)... and there aren't really any other choices.

Sigh. It's enough to make me nostalgic for Windows Phone.

UI performance in Androids is decent these days. Privacy, well... no.

Even within the Android ecosystem, it's very sad that innovation is stymied. The only ones that even try are LG and they always fall flat.

There's a long list of different Android phones I'd like to see:

- Keyboard / Accessible phones. My mother in law has some disabilities that prevent her from using a touch-phone and she's using an Android phone with keyboard for messaging. Once it breaks, I'll be hard pressed to find a replacement

- Small size phones with decent specs. Lots of people are very vocal about that, a current coworker spent a lot of time searching and got frustrated, the only small phones available were basically dumbphones

- Specialist phones, I can't believe we still don't have phones with physical camera button and better swappable lenses (I think Sony tried that one, and there are some add-ons).

Sure there are a lot more undeserved niches.

I miss the camera button on my Nokia 928. All of the Windows phones were required to have it. Now my Nexus 5X occasionally opens the camera when I don't want it to (It thinks or is accidentally triggered for a double power button press.)

I looked into phones with physical keyboards a couple years ago for my mother, and I couldn't find anything except an old LG feature phone that hadn't been manufactured in years.

I had a Samsung S3 mini that was a bit slow but worked alright. Battery was a problem, but the phone was old when I got it. It worked well for most things except extensive reading.

I had an Alcatel Idol 3, and the display was pretty low resolution for its screen size, but I would get almost two days of battery out of it between charges. Unfortunately the physical power button broke.

On Android, you can assign volume buttons to be there shutter button. You can also open the camera at anytime even when locked, by double clicking part button.

Yeah, and none of those options work as well as the camera button in the old Nokias (I was a happy Nokia user as well, but they missed the boat with their software, even though their hardware was top notch)

This is a matter of taste. It works better for me. I have used phones, Sony's specifically, that do sport a dedicated button. I never used them because I'm not used to the location of the button I use once in a while. The power button however I use multiple times an hour so I can put the phone into camera mode and take a photo with my eyes closed.

I think every single phone in the last 10 years uses a volume button as a shutter.

-keyboard Blackberry key2

-small size Sony xz2 compact

My mom has one of those compact Sonys, it's laden with crapware that pop up notifications day and night and cannot be uninstalled. Her being her, she doesn't know what to do with it all.

I am going to take a good look at the phone again soon, but I honestly can't recommend Sony to anyone who isn't tech savvy and/or doesn't intend to root it (I guess I should have after all -- by now many hours went into configuring it, and since you can't back an Android phone up properly, I'd have to redo all of that).

Cool, I'll have to hunt for a Blackberry key2 then. Thanks for the tip!

Same. I'm clinging to my 6S (and possibly doubling up on cases for protection) because I truly don't want anything on the market now. I imagine in a year or two I'll be forced into something else but this is disappointing.

If you haven't yet, it might be a good idea to have Apple replace the battery at the $29 rate before the end of the year, to extend it's useful life.

I still use my Lumia 650 DS as 2nd phone, and as usual on the Android world my LG is stuck on Android 6 patch level April 2018, while the Lumia keeps getting regular updates.

FDA approval to market the new Apple Watch as a medical device is a huge deal.

More than a huge deal, simply astonishing to this retired long-time neurosurgical anesthesiologist. To have 1)shrunk the giant oscilloscope/monitor (1-1.5 cubic feet/±50 lbs.) atop my anesthesia machine AND eliminate the long tangled lead wires connecting to the never-available sticky gel pads that sometimes came loose in the middle of a sitting craniotomy, necessitating the anesthesiologist's equivalent of the death crawl under the stifling drapes without disturbing the surgeon, glued to his operating microscope in which every movement, even the slightest, appears like Mt. St. Helen's; 2)eliminated the need for an electrical outlet and extension cord; 3)included the capability to store endless ECG traces without needing paper for the oscilloscope printer, which more often than not wasn't working, and when it was only recorded on demand such that if you missed ectopic beats, you couldn't show them to a colleague in real time to get a second opinion: this is a magnificent engineering and design achievement. Using a thumb from the opposite hand to close the loop and act as the third functional lead is so sublime, I'm gobsmacked. The red ring on the crown is perfect as an accent for this function, along with its acting as a cellular capability indicator. Knowing just what this device has accomplished in the terms above, I might just get one just to marvel at the greatness of American engineering. "Designed by Apple in California" — indeed.

Hasn't this been addressed by products like AliveCor's kardia line for a while now? I'd prefer the form factor of a phone-paired device over a watch in a multi-patient environment.

Same here. I was actually surprised at how affordable it was, maybe it was harder to sell FDA and ECG to general public? I was expecting something like $599 or even $699.

To me this new Apple Watch was the star of the show.

I wonder if that ECG feature might change the market perception of the device - maybe that was the intent. With the ECG and slip and fall detection, I sort of thought it makes the Apple Watch sound like the most consumer medical alert bracelet ever.

For people with aging parents that don't really use mobile phones, I could many watches purchased as safety devices. (Though the battery life doesn't make it ideal for that...)

Yeah, agreed. I have never thought of buying an Apple Watch for myself or as a gift, but after seeing that, I would at least consider buying them for my mother and mother-in-law.

Agreed on the battery life. The concept is a good idea but my mother would never keep this charged up and on her wrist constantly enough for it to be relied upon.

That was my thought too. Hmm I wonder how bulky a battery add on to get the uptime to a week at a level of monitor-only activity might be?

The slip and fall protection is great. I had a tree branch fall a few feet from my head last weekend. Probably not big enough to have killed me, but I would have sure as hell been too concussed to figure out how to use the phone. Of course there wasn't cell service anyway, but that's a different issue.

If there was any cell signal on any technically compatible network, your emergency call would've been carried by another network.

I wonder if the new slip and fall detection works with motorcycles. There is quite a market for apps and devices to detect motorcycle accidents and notify someone in case something bad happens while your on 2 wheels. That would be a pretty good market to get into, basically for free.

I am interested in the idea of having one and using it on multiple members of the family, can it differentiate among a number of users? That would be a nice feature. Kind of how you personalize a car for multiple drivers.

No, it's very much a single-user device, still tied to an iPhone.

Fall detection, heart rate abnormality detection, wouldn't seem to be the type of things you'd want to only use for a short time each day anyway. You could presumably use the ECG feature on multiple people, however.

Would people line up to buy the Rolex Submariner FDA-approved version?

May I ask why is it a huge deal?

With FDA clearance you're allowed to brand and advertise your product as a "medical device". Also, without FDA approval, you have to be very careful about certain terms you use to describe your product's features. For example, without FDA approval, you cannot say your device "monitors" falls. You can only say it "tracks" falls. There are several other limitations because the FDA doesn't want you making these types of medical claims to customers unless the FDA has approved them.

Source: I worked on a fall detection app for the Apple Watch last year.

With a prescription you’ll be able to use HSA/Flex Spending or insurance to buy one.

That's fucking brilliant. Tesla, are you listening? I want the car to be an FDA approved monitoring device.

It seems like that could be possible, even without a prescription. I can buy any number of non-prescription things with my HSA now. Obviously this seems a little different than say a blood glucose testing device. Next year they will probably amend it with a "*excluding Apple Watch"

Why would an insurance company care about what you do with your HSA/Flex account. They aren't out of any money.

The IRS might care since they are the ones who enforce the rules surrounding their use, not your insurance company...

I took the parent post as implying that the insurance company would try to exclude purchasing the Apple Watch.

Sorry that was not clear (and this response is late). I know my HSA admin limits use of those funds for medically approved things only. I assume based on rules that the government created. I am just speculating that they may have to start dealing with devices like this which have a dual purpose, mostly not medical.

"This feature has received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, meaning it can be used as a medical device — a move that is part of Apple’s increasing push to brand the watch as more than a fitness device." - https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/12/17850660/apple-watch-seri...

It is not easy to get any FDA approval. Companies go bankrupt after spending millions and still don't get approved.

It's a 510k "clearance", not an "approval". It's relatively cheap and all you have to do is show your thing (ECG in this case) is effectively the same as other similar devices (older ECGs) for medical purposes.

Was looking for this in the comments.

The ambiguity there is abused by many companies on the fringes of consumer health and cosmetic products.

> A 510(k) is a premarketing submission made to FDA to demonstrate that the device to be marketed is as safe and effective, that is, substantially equivalent (SE), to a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval

When you have more money than the government that’s no so much of a problem.

Technically Apple has more money than some governments, it's nowhere near the US Government's: Apple's entire assets could pay for under 18 months of net interest on the public debt (263bn in 2017).

The US has negative money, they are in debt. I have more money than the US.

The U.S. federal government can accumulate only debt, it cannot accumulate savings. Why? Because any surplus it generates is stored in Treasury bonds, which are also counted as debt.

Things are different for the federal government. It's an institution of last resort, so the normal ways of thinking about personal finance don't apply. It can't open a "savings account" anywhere, because every other institution on Earth is smaller and less reliable.

The US has assets to cover its debts in spades. Nobody would give them money for free if they didn't.

And the debt is owned at ~50% by the government itself or the Fed and ~20% by various non-federal investors (pensions, mutual funds, local governments, individuals) with the rest being owned by various non-US entities.

Maybe you can make an offer to buy the US with 30% of your net worth. Then resell to a hedge fond.

I don’t think I have the patience to deal with the ‘deal maker’ in chief, sorry. I’ve heard he’s got quite a lot of experience with bankruptcies though so he might have new ideas to deal with all that debt the US has been taking on lately.

Yes, Apple is excluded from that statement. The company which had a budget of $1 billion for their new headquarters and end up spending $5b :-)

And have that still be a rounding error on their balance sheet. :-)

They have different types of approval based on the risks involved. Some are a lot easier to obtain.

Didn't theranos get FDA approval too.

clearance, not approval.

You're totally right, huge distinction. Sorry for mis-speaking!

Anyone know how ECG from the watch compares to a device like the QardioCore [1] (or more traditional Holter monitor, i.e. the recorder with pads/wires all over)?

[1] https://www.getqardio.com/qardiocore-wearable-ecg-ekg-monito...

Sounds like the QardioCore has a 3 lead ECG. Couldn't find too much more on that, as their website is painful at best. Holter monitor is a 12 lead ECG but with some decreased signal fidelity. This is just a single lead monitoring for rhythm like a tele strip.

I wonder if I can use my flexible spending account to buy one now.

FDA approval doesn't hold much water anymore with things like a study of 25 people is enough to get transition contacts approved [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16864566

The showmanship really feels like it's run out.

Even when it was the post-Jobs Ive and Cook it was still captivating, but this is just tiresome.

I just wish they would stop saying "the most advanced X ever made". Every new revision of a product is the most advanced version of the product.

And the most expensive. Maybe they could get J. Ive to use his best "I'll be your server today" voice and purr about how, "We think you'll agree that this is the most expensive iPhone we've ever made."

Just read your comment and hit play on the livestream to hear Jonny Ive immediately say "the most advanced LCD in a smartphone"...

I understand that to a degree, there theoretically could be a better screen in a competitors phone, though I still think its tired out.

The constant "This is the best X that Apple has done, or the best X in an iPhone/iWatch" was seriously grating. Well, duh, new year, new products. If this wasn't better then apple wouldn't be releasing it....

Why would they stop? They have people like Rene Ritchie who live and breathe what they say and repeat it on their website for other people who live and breathe it.

The Apple Watch announcements were intriguing.

The iPhone announcements were, I agree, quite tiresome. So much so, I closed the window a few minutes into Schiller's discussion of the chips in the new models.

I suspect it's because I can only do so much with a phone and nothing in the "smartphone" space jumps out to me as "revolutionary". It seems that innovational leaps in mobile computing will depend on what software becomes available.

The thing that really annoyed me was that after virtually every segment it was "I have a video I want to show you" that was just regurgitating the precious segment.

Either/or, not both.

I send and receive text, sound, and images on my phone. I don't need a revolutionary anything to do that, and the only thing keeping me upgrading is eternal bloat of applications.

What would really be revolutionary is a phone that wouldn't shatter when I drop it.

Because at this point phones are kinda boring. The new chips seem cool, but look completely wasted on a phone. Where is the iPad Pro with the new chips? What about the long rumored MacBook with A-bionic whatever?

Nothing in todays announcement makes me want to upgrade my current iPhoneX. Better graphics on a tiny screen? Yawn. The basketball tracker demo was neat, but those are very specific use cases.

The Apple Watch looks like it is really coming into its own. They should have closed with that.


You know what would have really blown the doors off the one more thing? If the iPhone Xr started at $499. That's how you grow the market.

Would you say they just phoned it in?

It would be noteworthy (amazing, beautiful, best ever, etc, etc) if they did that, with (e.g.) a live presentation out and about around the world, instead of running the stock The Ghost of Steve Jobs Says Wow script generator macro.

But I guess if you're a trillion dollar company you don't have to try all that hard to think different.

(the previous poster was making a phone pun)

> but this is just tiresome.

Especially the exaggerated adjectives. Everything's "gorgeous," "beautiful," or "stunning," even if it's just a featureless black slab like every other phone for the last 5 years.

This presentation gave the this feeling more than any other I can remember. However, thinking about it now I realize this is a relatively minor event compared to many or most in the past. This was a year of an "s" iPhone model with minor spec bumps, a new lower-end model, and an updated watch with a design that is not radically different. You really can't compare this with unveilings of technological leaps or massively new products.

Especially the iPhone xr was a very annoying tiresome repeat of a repeat. After 15 minutes they named about three specs that are different: color, lcd, camera, size.

I could do with less video presentations, they break the flow too much for me. It is almost like intermission during a movie.

Phones just aren't as exciting anymore.

I wonder how phones were pitched before the iphone... 300 instead of 250 contacts ? I guess it was mostly aesthetics..

Aesthetics for the regular people.

Geeks would go though which feature set from J2ME, or Symbian OS were being made available, specially on Nokia and Sony-Ericson models.

I mean, nothing to make a keynote about. I think a phone release was mostly a salesman event.

Actually they used to be presented at company sessions at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

oh right

You sound like the sort of person who shouldn't be watching the live feed, and wait for the articles, like me.

Agreed. And I thought the applause was very...scripted? It seemed like everyone was waiting for the appropriate time to clap and when they did it was very lack-luster. Almost like it was a bunch of Apple employees responding to cue cards or something.

Might be just me but Cook felt like he'd had lessons on coming across more passionate and excited, he was over-emoting so much at times.

Previously he's felt a bit dry at times.

It is interesting that Apple will now sell 7 distinct phone models. Throw in the different capacities and carriers and you have a few dozen different SKUs. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a notable deviation from their early approach to the iPhone.

When the original iPhone launched there was no other product like it; nowadays they need to be able to compete with Android on price.

Compete on price? They're getting more and more expensive...

Flagship Androids are also getting more and more expensive.

Both Apple and Samsung are going to get their lunch eaten by Xiaomi, Huawei and the rest I guess, then.

I'm eagerly awaiting the Pocophone F1 release here in Uruguay.

That must be an odd definition of "lunch", given that Apple tends to capture roughly 80% of Smartphone profits, Huawei about 6%, and Xiaomi even less than that.

Now. But they're in serious danger of being disrupted from the bottom.


Low-end disrupters (think steel minimills and discount retailers) come in at the bottom of the market and take hold within an existing value network before moving upmarket and attacking that stratum

For a value of "now" that includes the last 10 years. And for the entire time, low end disruption has been predicted, with the list of designated disruptors occasionally changing.

One pretty good barrier that Apple has built and defends well is the phone as a status symbol and object of desire.

But, as a phone, I think low end disruptors are here, and I can't understand why people would pay 3 or 4 times as much as needed for a phone - other than that they have the money, and they want the phones for reasons unrelated to performance (aesthetics, perceived quality, privacy, etc.).

Xiaomi in particular is trying to erode that particular Apple barrier, their flagships are already objects of desire in India, China and in my country (Uruguay).

That rings true. Huawei owner here who, when purchasing, was doubting between a Lenovo, Xiaomi and this Huawei. Didn't have to think long when seeing what Samsung asks for a mid- or high-end phone (or when comparing specs of their low-end models).

Steve Jobs was the one who axed a lot of their products in their early years.

And he also added a lot of products during his time.

Sorry, what's an SKU?

Stock Keeping Unit, basically an identifier for a unique product. Usually pronounced "skew."


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