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The iPhone Franchise (stratechery.com)
177 points by smackay 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 217 comments



I see a lot of complaints here about the size (trend) and lack of smaller, SE-like option. But if product cycles really do take around 3 years (from conception to release), then 2019 might be the year. The SE was released in 2016 and was supply-constrained for quite a while. Obviously this is pure speculation but if Apple was sufficiently surprised by its success, maybe they decided in that year to "completely re-imagine" (sorry :) that form factor. And retiring the SE this cycle, given the apparent absence of good alternatives in the Android camp, might store up some demand to boost next year's sales. Like I said, pure speculation, but I wouldn't give up hope just yet.

[addendum: I'm just listening to the latest ATP podcast episode to put myself to sleep, and lo and behold John Siracusa takes pretty much the above position while Marco Arment takes the opposite side. So now they've got a bet going on. Fun little coincidence. Check out the podcast if you don't know it yet, it's right in the ballpark for people who would comment on this article.]


After lamenting the size of the 6🅂 following my iPhone 5, I was happy to get an iPhone SE as a burner for DEF CON this year. I was shocked at how small it felt. I've gotten so used to the extra space afforded by the 6-8 form factor. I still think the 6/SE is my favorite design, but would find it hard to go back to it as my daily driver.

Now I'm looking at the X🅂 and have the same reservations. I don't want a larger device in my pocket (and have pockets that the 6🅂 is already unsuited for), but will probably like the extra screen space once I'm used to it.


I went from a 5s to an X, and I really liked the size of the 5s and always took it in my pockets. My X is still a fine fit in my pockets, and it’s a gigantic upgrade over the 5s.


I’ve been using an se on my current holiday and way prefer it. Thinking of making it my daily driver


Call me out of touch if you like, but why would you buy a burner phone at a price point that's higher than what many Android users are willing to spend on their main phone for 2 or more years?


Because at DefCon, you are likely more secure on iOS over Android...


That's the only reason I could think of, yeah. And sure, DefCon is expensive anyway, but... do you need a smartphone if you can bring a burner laptop for <200 bucks?


I'll cross my fingers your speculation is correct.

There will now be an "apparent absence of good alternatives" in the iPhone camp too. The SE will be nearly EOL hardware soon, and the smallest iPhone is now a 5.8 inch screen. The minimum price point is also now $750 for current hardware. The SE was partially a low cost option for emerging markets as I understood it, so either they're planning on previous year hardware as the affordable option, or they'll need to release something that doesn't cost so much soon.


The minimum price point is also now $750 for current hardware.

I don't think that's quite true. The minimum price point on Apple.com right now is $449: https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-iphone/iphone-7

I know a lot of people are saying the SE is dead, and I believed that, too, but it's still there on Apple's web site. Just go to iPhone > Compare, and either click the "See all models" link, or select it (or anything back to the 6) from the drop-down.

The SE is listed as "Available at authorized retailers," but you can still buy the 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8Plus from Apple.

The 7 is $449.


By "current hardware" the GP presumably meant the most recently released phones, ie the last generation. The iPhone 7 was released 2 years ago.


Yes, I could have been more clear about meaning “current generation”. The implication being the phones that will have a long life of support and relevance. When the SE came out it was using Apple’s latest iPhone processor. You can still buy a new SE but it will be deprecated by Apple and run newer software for a lot fewer years than the current-gen X phones. Likewise a couple years from now when the 7 and 8 are out of software support the only options will be large phones if Apple doesn’t reintroduce a smaller phone.


I interpreted "current" to mean what is currently available. To me "last generation" would be "latest" phones.

English is a messy language.


I can't beliebe they don't even mention the iPhone SE, arguably the best value 'out of band' iPhone


I don't even see SE as a value phone, it's just the best damn phone available from any manufacturer. I've used this body style exclusively since the 5 came out in 2012. It's the perfect form factor. I simply cannot understand the appeal of these massive phablets. A phone is a tool for calling, texting, and listening to music. Anything else is for a laptop/desktop (to me).


I was saying the same thing a couple of years ago. I held on to my SE as long as possible because I didn't want an iPad phone. "There's no way I'm upgrading," I said. I thought those with iPhone Plus' and Galaxy Notes were either giants or hard of seeing.

However, I have the X now and I can't imagine going back to anything smaller. When I look at my buddy's SE now the screen looks so tiny. I guess the moral of the story is, "Don't knock it until you try it... at least for more than a few days."


I have a 6, I'm planning on going to an SE just so I can actually reach the top of the screen with my thumb one handed.


I had a 5, then a 6, and my last two phones have been SE for that reason. It’s great. Really fits in the hand. No more double tapping to bring down the screen or awkwardly straining to reach buttons on the left hand side. Like, I will hit this reply button with one hand right now...


I upgraded to an X from an SE and I miss the small form factor a lot. I’ll definitely go back down in size the next time I upgrade assuming Apple make that phone.


Are you able to operate the X with one hand? If not, was the transition difficult?


I went from a 5s to an X.

Typing this one-handed using the right-aligned keyboard.

There’s also an accessibility feature that allows for pulling down the display if you have trouble reaching the top-right.


Personally, I see those as software hacks for an ergonomic failure. I understand why people want big phones and I'm glad they have those options. But I don't want a software band-aid to be required to make a phone usable for me. I just want it to be the right size.


The problem is that “right size” is a tradeoff. A phone is a thing you hold, a thing you read, and a thing you carry around with you.


The X is actually usable with one hand for me without those features. But the keyboard alignment is very nice and a single hand motion away so why not use it? No phone is going to fit everyone’s hands, and making it 5s size means you miss out on the X’s big screen.


Absolutely, I highly recommend trying the various sizes in person either at an Apple Store or at another retailer. The hands-on test was what sold me on the Apple Pen.


I also love my SE (and loved my 5S and 5 before them), and I do quite a bit of "real app stuff" (but no games).

I don't mind being a little behind on the processor, and I don't care about Face ID. I really hope they keep it in the lineup and give it a little update to at least an A10, but I fear they won't.

The "Compare iPhone models" page[0] still lists the SE, but says "Available at authorized resellers" under it.

It sure looks like they're going to make us "supersize" to at least the 7/8 sizes, and eventually to the X size. Which will be a real disappointment to a lot of people I know.

I doubt I'd ever switch to Android but I wonder if there's a market niche open for a really good non-Apple 4" phone, for people who care about the form factor more than the price.

[0]: https://www.apple.com/lae/iphone/compare/


I tried recently to find a good Android with 4” screen. I suspect they do not exist. There are sub 100usd phones from China with terrible screen and camera and unknown build quality, but nothing comparable to SE.

Recent Sony Xperia Cpmpact du to the edge-edge design could be a replacenent for SE if they had a version with sub 5” screen. But the available models are too big for my taste.

So I ended up with SE and hope that at least for 3 years I will have small quality phone.


>A phone is a tool for calling, texting, and listening to music. Anything else is for a laptop/desktop (to me).

I think you've kinda acknowledged an understanding that how people's usage of the device differs is the reason such devices may or may not appeal. I make and receive very few calls or texts on my phone, it's primarily a device to get emails, listen to music, watch video.

These devices are a lot of different things to different people, so it makes sense there's a fairly wide range of (sometimes mutually exclusive) features that different folks prioritize.

There's also an element of chicken-before-egg - If you had a larger format phone possibly you would also start using it for stuff you currently use your laptop for?


I think Stratechery did mention it in passing:

> presuming Apple follows its trickle-down strategy for serving more price-sensitive markets, that means in two years its lowest-end offering will not be a small phone that the vast majority of the market rejected years ago, particularly customers for whom their phone is their only computing device, but one that is far more attractive and useful for far more people.

...though I'm not sure where he gets the idea that the market rejected the SE?


Average sale price for iPhones is too high for the SE to be a large percentage of sales (I think)


Apple discontinued it yesterday, it's not part of the lineup.


Apple (very predictably) scrubbed all mention of the SE from their site right after the keynote. If you believed Apple was going to keep it around or update it then I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.


Not quite: Click this link [1], click "See all models", and scroll all the way down. It's still listed as of 2018-09-13 11:40 EST.

[1]https://www.apple.com/iphone/compare/


That's just there for comparing to models you are likely to be upgrading from. They have it listed as "Available from some resellers only".


Now try to buy one from the apple site...


The iPhone SE is essentially non-existent in the US. Its primary target is developing markets like India where the phone is made. Most people I know aren’t even aware the SE exists. If they see it in stores, they just assume it’s one of the older iPhones. Hacker News is the only place I see the SE getting any significant attention.


Apple couldn't keep the SE in stock for months after it launched in the US. It released at the end of March, here's a thread complaining about it two months later:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/iphone-se-constantly-ou...

I got mine at the end of June, 3 months after it was released.

For the iPhone X, sure, blame stock constraints on new manufacturing and low part yields or something. This was basically an iPhone 5; Apple knew how to build it, they either severely underestimated how popular it would be or they couldn't keep up.

At this point it's 2.5 years old (more or less the guts of an iPhone 6s), so sxg's friends that assume it's one of the older phones aren't even wrong. If Apple had ever updated it I'm sure they'd have kept selling better.


> Apple couldn't keep the SE in stock for months after it launched in the US

Maybe they weren't trying to keep it in stock in the US.... it surely had lower margins than the other models


Apples been challenged about restricting supply on models before and always vehemently denied it, that it would be a self-defeating strategy, including ex-employees speaking retrospectively. Supply chain analysis seems to back them up. I’m sorry I can’t give references, there’s a long complicated history of this.


As another anecdote, I've had Android user friends borrow my phone and comment on how nice it is. But nobody's made a good 4" phone on that side of the market in a very long time.


I always thought that one of the reasons for the SE's success.

Smaller and cheaper Androids are generally terrible, the SE was a great performing phone in a small case. Which made it a good option for buying for the kids and those who don't want to spend absurd amounts.

My anecdote is I wanted to get off Android, and I've owned a couple of phablets and loathed them, so the SE seemed the only viable option.


> Smaller and cheaper Androids are generally terrible

Completely agree.

Most of the smaller Android phones are in the value band so the specs leave a lot to be desired. I'm still switching between my Lumia 950 (5.2) and my OnePlus 2 (5.5). The OnePlus even at 5.5 feels like a bulky brick phone compared to the Lumia.

I've been on the hunt for a smaller Android, but have yet to find a smaller form factor with decent specs that beats my Lumia.


That's the annoying thing - a tiny 0.5" increase in size makes all the difference between fits nicely and uncomfortably large.


i like the screen size (5.5-6"), but i really don't like extra weight.

i'd much rather have a 4" phone if it was ... 50-80g lighter. but if thats not possible, i'd rather stick with the bigger screen

btw, the 4" and 5.5" are often around the same size if you include the whole phone. there was just so much spacing around the display earlier


It's really quite a bit bigger. Here's a side-by-side of the 4" SE and 5.5" X

https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/59dcdd8c6d80adae008b5...


oh, i was talking about android phones, as the parent comment was looking for one

and if you're comparing the old ~4" phones, they're often very similar in size to the current 5.5" phones, as the chin is often gone (fingerprint sensor is often in the back)


I recently switched from a Lumia 950 to a Sony XZ1 Compact because I wanted something that would be more pocket-friendly.

Good:

- Speed-wise it is a huge upgrade. Everything is instant. The memory management is superb. I can open an app one day then come back to it a week later and have it sitting right where I left it.

- Build quality is great. Plastic back, so no case required -- that was one thing I also loved about my Lumia 950.

- Battery life is easily 2-3x that of my 950. On top of that it also charges faster.

- It has a great display, significantly brighter than the Lumia 950 display.

- The display does not scratch easily, unlike my Lumia 950, which required a screen protector or else it accumulates numerous fine scratches rapidly. This phone lives in my pockets without protection for 2 months and has acquired zero scratches.

- Developer-friendly, with monthly updates. They even have complete AOSP device trees on Github, with detailed instructions on their developer's website to go with. Other than Google, who else even does that? I was impressed.

Bad:

- The 720p display is noticeably pixely. Also not as easy on the eyes as an OLED display.

- There is no chance you'll find a good glass screen protector for this, thanks to how the display curves just a little bit into the sides.

- It has hard metal corners. This is not a phone that curls up comfy in your hand.

- The speakers are crap. Stereo front-facing speakers, yay! No, hush that, the speakers are crap. Even at their loudest I miss notifications. That was not something that happened with my 950, which was crazy loud.

- The camera is inferior to the Lumia 950's camera in almost every situation other than handheld in low light. I was comparing the 950's camera to a Pixel 2 before I bought this XZ1 Compact, and it held its own against that as well, with its greater resolution offering a big advantage -- except handheld in low light. The camera on the 950 is something special. Also: no RAW on the XZ1 Compact. No RAW on any Sony phone, pretty sure. The XZ1 Compact's camera isn't bad, its pretty good, actually, it's just not superb like the 950 or Pixel 2. The noise reduction applied to its JPEGs is too harsh, that's its biggest problem. Not a camera you'll want to make prints from.

For a small Android, I don't think there's really any other choice than Sony compacts. The nearest competitor [in the US] would be a Pixel 2, which is much larger.

All-in-all, the only major things I miss about the 950 is its camera and its super loud and clear speaker.


Thanks for this great rundown on the XZ1. It was one of the phones I was eyeing up as a possible upgrade from my 950.

I'm going to hold off getting it now, so thanks for saving me some future pain, I appreciate it!


That is also something I worry about. There's been a bit of talk of a potential update to the SE but I hope they will keep making a 4" phone. I have gone from an iPhone 6 to an SE and I seriously enjoyed the experience of having a smaller phone I can operate with one hand again.


If they keep the casing the same size and go no-bezel on it, it'd still be reasonably usable, but you'll need Reachability to get the top of the screen one handed. 4" diagonal is about the max my thumbs can cover.


Maybe time to move to a watch? ;-)

Seriously, if the watch had a camera, I would leave my phone at home.


Agreed


When I went to finally get my SE a few months after release all stock but the 64gb rose gold were sold. I’m a dude but I wanted the phone so bad that I didn’t mind the colour.


Dude, I love my Rose Gold SE. I got it because it was cheaper used, but it's such a nice color. Own it!


>> "I’m a dude but I wanted the phone so bad that I didn’t mind the colour."

That's such a strange qualification. Guys who aren't afraid of pink ("rose gold") are about 10x more attractive. It's a strong signal that they might not be a toxic jerk.


IMO Space Gray was the best option on the SE because it's the only one that had black bezels on the front. The white glass with a thin black border around the screen area always looked disjointed to me on the other colors.

For some reason I don't mind it on my iPad, but iPhones I think the black bezels look a lot better ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

iPhone XR with colored cases and black bezel is looking good though!


The iPhone SE is very popular with many women I know due to its size and ability to fit into women’s pockets. Women’s pockets are terrible in general. Many further refuse to buy a new iphone until another smaller one comes out.

Happy to provide links to articles on the topic, but <insert search engine of choice> will easily find them too.


Weird. I've seen the exact opposite. The only people I know who own the SE are men who care about owning the right thing for their life, and not a social signaling device (usually high income, high net worth, or very well-educated).

For most of us, we would gladly pay $1000 for a small version of the XS, but the market for people who like big phones vastly outweighs our niche preferences.


Indeed. IF they made an XS Mini with a good enough camera I’d probably buy it even at the Max price point.


To add some anecdata, all the women I know love their iPhone plusses because they spend so much time looking at their phones. Women also tend to have some sort of purse or bag, so the large phone ends up being less of an issue.


Once you give up on pocket-ability, you may have well go whole-hog and go Plus. Neither the regular or the Plus will fit in a women's pocket, so why settle.

The SE still remains hugely popular amongst women, including my wife who doesn't know if she's going to stay with iOS when her SE gets old (due to size).


I keep reading these statements wondering what kind of women’s jeans I own. My plus has no problem fitting in any of them, I just prefer to put it in my purse.


There's a lot of variety in people's physical size and shape. Smaller women have smaller pockets.


I’m not the one who downvoted you, but I don’t see how a woman’s body size has a significant impact on their pocket size. Are you saying men’s pockets are a lot different in size when the waist size is 44” than the ones on a 30” waist?


> Are you saying men’s pockets are a lot different in size when the waist size is 44” than the ones on a 30” waist?

Yes? Have you held pants up next to one another, pants that use more material have larger pockets to stay proportionate. If pockets remained the same size as the pants grew they'd visually shrink and look terrible, no item of clothing does this.

I've gained and lost weight, I know first hand this to be true.


https://pudding.cool/2018/08/pockets/

This article has some great numbers on pocket size variation between men's and women's pants.


I guess, just annoyed it's always thrown as the defacto complaint about the "Plus-sized" phones when it's really not true across the board.


Nobody said it’s true across the board. As the OP, I clearly said “many women”, not “all” or even “most”.


True - exactly why my wife chose one earlier this year. Her main criteria was "it has to fit in my back pocket" - which meant 4.5" screen. There's so few of those devices in the modern smartphone market - and yet I wonder why? I'd happily keep my phone small if it didn't mean compromising on performance...


Performance gets mentioned a lot, and I'm curious what people are doing with their phones that demands so much of it.

Is the iPhone suddenly everyone's preferred device for playing Fortnite or something?


I think the things people notice most are fast fingerprint recognition for unlock, app launch times particularly the camera, and visual effects and post-processing in photography. Face unlock on the X also takes a lot of horsepower.

It will be interesting to see how noticeable the performance improvements fit older models in OSX 12 will be. My 6s is very noticeably faster than my wife’s 6+ so I’m hoping hers gets a bit of a speed bump.


While I haven't owned a statistically significant number of different smartphones, the lower-end Android devices I've owned have seemed poorly tested - especially for problems that skirt the dividing line between the phone developer's responsibility and the app developer's responsibility.

For example, I once had a device where Skype would only use the rear-facing camera. Another device received a software update which couldn't be installed as the internal storage had been consumed by updates to apps like Facebook that were _impossible to uninstall_.

Flagship products seem to receive marginally more testing; I speculate phone companies' employees mostly dogfood the flagship models.


considering how popular "webapps" (monstrosities with 5M+ of compressed javascript) are, you need a powerful CPU even if all you're doing is browsing.


The A9 seems to still be up to the task, despite being nowhere near as powerful as what's in these newer phones.

It may not always be that way, I admit. But I'm not sure that my Stockholm syndrome with respect to the ad industry has developed to the point that I'm willing to spend hundreds of extra dollars on additional hardware and data plan to solve a problem that I could solve for free with an ad blocker.


True, but Apple likes to keep products around for a long time, unlike other phone makers. Their latest and greatest high end monstrosity comes with premium performance and a premium price tag. Meanwhile Apple is plenty happy to sell you their flagship from two or three years ago a more budget-oriented option.


I also wonder. I play Hearthstone on my phone, and I plan on playing other resource-intensive (or poorly programmed) Unity games (Magic Arena when it goes out).

I do know of people that play Fortnite, but they have to be in the minority... (actually 3 million reviews means it's not a small minority!)


Do you not use the modern web?


I used a Moto G 2015 until earlier this year. With Firefox and uBlock Origin, browsing didn't seem slow to me at all. I browse a lot of sites but not a lot of webapps. I used native apps (Slide and Materialistic) for this site and for reddit.


I haven’t noticed lag in Safari or apps in general on my iPod Touch from 2015


> There's so few of those devices in the modern smartphone market - and yet I wonder why

Battery life. Physically, phones are mostly battery. Smaller phone = smaller battery.


Smaller phone = smaller screen = doesn't need as large a battery. The SE has a smaller battery than the 6S, yet equal or better battery life in every category.


Same here.


The iPhone SE is very popular with many women I know due to its size and ability to fit into women’s pockets.

And purses. My wife chose the XS over the Max simply because when she had a 6 Plus it didn't fit in any the the brands of purses she would buy.


> The iPhone SE is essentially non-existent in the US.

It supposedly represents (based on an article I'm not going to try and dig up again) about 10% of iPhones. iPhones are about 50% of the US market, so that implies about 1 in 20 smartphones in the US is an iPhone SE.

Certainly not a market leader like the Galaxy or the marquee iPhone models, but "essentially non-existent" is overstating the case a bit.


I've heard it's around 5% of iPhones in the US based on app user data.


Which may be a biased way of estimating total share of the phone market, if SE users have different app consumption habits from users of other models.

Which is a plausible hypothesis. Choosing a phone that's got a markedly smaller screen than anything else on the market seems like the kind of thing you'd be more likely to do if you don't intend to spend a whole lot of time looking at said screen. Whereas, if you're going to be spending a lot of time Facebooking or playing games on your phone, then yeah, having more screen real estate is going to matter relatively more to you.

It might also explain why Apple's not demonstrating too much concern about servicing the SE camp - they (OK, I should come clean here - we) might just not be a particularly profitable segment of Apple's user base.


I think, instead, they know people like me will have to pay more for a device that doesn't meet my needs very well. They can leverage the fact that I need iOS, and can proceed to force people like me to pay more and more because we're locked into the ecosystem, even if there aren't any phones that are compact.

I got my SE for $100. I think y'all are unsatisfied with that revenue, and at this point, the XS is my next best option. So, I doubt they are discontinuing because they don't care about us. It's just a calculated bet that they won't actually lose us.

>they (OK, I should come clean here - we) might just not be a particularly profitable segment of Apple's user base.

I think this is a bad way to think of it, though. I know that's the way a McKinsey analyst might think of product, but it doesn't have long term focus. It's a lot like how Facebook quit caring about unprofitable people (the well-educated crowd), in order to cater to the consumerist suckers. But as the interesting people who created the content that built facebook into what it is today have fled, that content has gone with, and consumerist suckers are no longer entertained. The people I know with SEs are kind of like that crowd. If you start putting Androids into their hand, the rest of the people will take notice and follow.


Probably well-calculated. As many others have observed, with the iPhone SE leaving the market, the only remaining options for small phones are underpowered and low-quality Android models, and feature phones.

As still others have observed, this duopoly situation in the smartphone market is maybe not the best thing ever.


I have one and I love it. I got it from a T-Mobile promotion where they gave away a free SE with the purchase of an iPhone (including another SE). So I got my wife and I matching phones.

The SE does everything I need, fits comfortably in my pocket (unlike my previous phone, a Nexus 5X), and was a great deal. (I am over my desire to have the latest tech that I had in my youth. I'm 55 and I'm just interested in accomplishing other goals that are less ephemeral.)


I love my SE but as an iOS developer I'm ready for an upgrade. I went into this year sure I'd be upgrading to something new, but they've offered me nothing.

The March and June events came and went without anything interesting, and now everything is a variant of the same phone with no headphone jack, oversized and overpriced.


I'm 31 and I think I'm reaching that point, at least regarding smartphones. I bought the iPhone X and I think it'll be the last flagship phone I'll buy, unless a real great innovations appears in the horizon. Phones are getting expensive and kind of boring, they're increasing their price without offering any real innovation. I just don't see the value added to my daily life when I pay for the top phone in the market.


35 here. Can confirm. I can't say my iPhone X has been worth what it cost, and I'm unlikely to replace it until it dies.


Are you SURE about that? I know a LOT of folks who have stayed with that form factor. Some are women with small hands, but not all of them -- and virtually none of them are HN-nerdy-types.


I'm not a woman (although my hands may be on the small side for a male) and I still like the SE because of the form factor. One handed use, folks.

I would even pay XS prices for the same form factor, if only Apple bothered to make one...

To continue with the anecdote-is-not-data theme though, my wife is hanging on to her 5C for dear life because ... it's BLUE. So at least they got some part of the female demographic with the XR.


I mainly know (and am) the nerdy type that wears skinny jeans. The "bigger is better, why would you want such a small thing" crowd is alien and bewildering to me ;). Humans seem to optimize for echo chambers.


I agree, as a guy who wears jeans that are not baggy, the big phones have serious usage issues. Put them in your front pocket, and they're jamming themselves into your hipbone when you try to sit. I owned a 6+ and was happy to upgrade to a smaller 8 later. I wish I could have a smaller phone that that was somewhat current.

I don't understand how women deal with it, with jeans that are tighter fitting and have smaller pockets. I think most women wearing form fitting jeans put it in their back pocket while walking and then have to put it on a table or something while sitting. Or they put it in their purse, where the size isn't a problem.


My parents have them. Despite that (or maybe because) whenever I see them I ask them WTF they're thinking keeping a phone with such a limited screen, they insist that they "don't like" modern phablets, though they've never even used one. Go figure. Apple sells enough for their stores to carry the SE, so it's not really a developing-nation-only phone.


I had one and love it. I’m able to use it without limitation one handed (often while carrying something or otherwise unable to use both hands), something I struggle with on my X. I also don’t like having things in my pockets so the small size was fantastic.

I was gifted an Apple Watch and that has helped with a lot of things I would do single handed on the SE previously, like quick reply text messages and getting directions.

There’s a market for small high end phones. It’s likely just not big enough for Apple (or anyone really) to care about.


A friend and his wife both have iPhones X (do you pluralize that as iPhone Xs even through that's the new model?) and they both gripe about the size.

He commented that it's a nice iPad Mini, but not great to carry around like a smartphone.

Apparently Apple disagrees.


> do you pluralize that as iPhone Xs even through that's the new model?

I'd have to go digging, but there was a Twitter thread in which I participated about this that Phil Schiller chimed in on. Apple's official(?) stance is that you never pluralize iPhone; instead, you use the word "devices".

"A friend and his wife both have iPhone X devices" (or, more likely, "A friend and his wife both own the iPhone X").


Found it via MacRumors https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/29/phil-schiller-dont-plur...

Interesting to know, but nobody's gonna do that. Like how you're "supposed" to say "LEGO bricks" insteado of "LEGOs."


I often see sticklers for the "official" Apple terminology fighting losing battles on forums and comment sections trying to tell everyone to pronounce it "iPhone Ten" rather than "iPhone eX".

Also, I think Apple prefers it to be called "iPhone" rather than "the iPhone". Who knows.


Related thing, I remember some people (probably me included) making fun of Microsoft for skipping Windows 9, and now here we are with iPhones.


I find the X small. It's tall, but certainly not large. And the iPad mini comparison is obviously a joke, but really:

https://www.phonearena.com/phones/Apple-iPad-mini_id7523/siz...


Can you hold securely in one hand and pull down Control Center from the top right corner with your thumb? It's one of my most commonly used features and when I tried one in the store it was impossible for me. (EDIT - try this left handed, it's even worse)

    Walk outside
    Glance at my phone
    Want to turn the brightness up because the sun's out
    Set down whatever I'm carrying in my other hand
    Turn up the screen brightness
is not how I want to use my phone. I guess you get used to not being able to do that, or you get one of those adhesive grip nubs on the back of it, but "Can not be used effectively one handed" is basically my threshold for whether a phone is large or not.

I guess the workaround for this is

    Homescreen
    Launch Settings app
    Display & Brightness
    Increase slider
    Change back to the app you were using
Works, but that sounds like a huge nuisance.


> Can you hold securely in one hand and pull down Control Center from the top right corner with your thumb?

I can, but usually I swipe down inside the launcher bar which pulls the top of the phone down. Then I can perform all the normal actions. Admittedly that shortcut is not very discoverable.

https://mashable.com/2017/10/31/how-to-use-iphone-x-reachabi...


I actually tried that in the store (the employee didn't know what reachability was, I had to google the gesture) and still couldn't reach it.

That might be because I use phones left handed, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm left handed and my car keys live on the right side where my car's ignition is.


I have huge hands, and have no problem - but a left handed gesture mode sounds like an awesome idea.


Controls are swiped from the bottom. Also, the automatic brightness obviates the whole scenario.

I do at times find myself trying to increase the brightess on a sunny day, only to find the iPhone already at maximum.


On the iPhone X they moved Control Center to the top right corner, swipe down from the battery/wifi icons. They had to move it because the bottom swipe was repurposed to do the home button's job.

In iOS 12 they're pushing this change out to iPads as well, instead of keeping Control Center in with the app switcher. I don't mind this because I'm not trying to 1-hand my iPad while I'm walking around, so there's always a finger that can reach the top corner.

I'm not sure about existing iPhones w/ home buttons in iOS 12, I've only been running the beta on my iPad.


That's a mistake I think, I use that gesture a lot, and can't reach the top right of my phone easily without two hands.


Agreed. The only phone it works on is the SE and they just killed it. Maybe all of Apple’s designers are right handed and have long thumbs.


Hmm, I'm right handed, but hold the phone in the left.


on the iPhone X, its the top right corner.


Try the large version, it's screen is the same height, but it's just ~2 inches more narrow.

https://www.phonearena.com/phones/Apple-iPad-mini_id7523/siz...


The poster I responded to said the current X.


Sure, I am just saying they keep getting closer to tablet territory. So, IMO it was interesting to check out.


They sell 7 different phones though. I have a hard time believing that if one of them were small to cater to folks like me, 6 remaining large phones would not be enough to cover the "mainstream" market? Most of their phone models are barely differentiated from one another. What's the compelling use case for buying an iPhone 7 Plus right now?


Price. It’s big phone someone is happy to pay for. I believe the 7 and 8 use the same exact screen and case so there’s some savings to be had with parts commonalities v.s. another form factor for the “cheap phone”.


I sold quite well when it was launched: https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/apple-iphone-se-markets...

Of course now it's old, but would sell better if it received some love from Apple.


My coworkers were talking about how good iPhone SE is yesterday in our company social chat. Just a datapoint, from Boston, MA. I didn't know of iPhone SE but I never used iPhone before.


My (20 yo) kid has an 8 and still grouses that he misses his SE.


Happy with my SE


Ok, but lets actually measure the temperature of the pot every now and then. I just bought an iPhone 8 pre-announcement because my phone was broken and in the store I realized that the (original) iPhone X is just too large. And there wasn't going to be a better, smaller phone after the announcement. The trend might be for larger phones but extrapolated ad absurdum they will be tablets and people will wonder why they don't like phones anymore. I would have paid more for a smaller iPhone X, but that doesn't seem to be an option Apple will entertain.


The iPhone SE, while not the market maker by any means, still carries a non-negligible share of that market. It seems silly for Apple to just drop that entire size offering when there is clearly market demand for it.

Remember the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle? Historically Apple has known that users care about device size, and us users do still do.

Here's an idea: take the iPhone SE, shrink it 1/4" but retain the screen size by giving it that edge-to-edge screen look like the others. Now you have a sexy iPhone Nano that you can offer to that customer segment before they look elsewhere.

Disclaimer: I am a male with normal sized hands that loves his SE.


The thing about looking elsewhere is— what alternatives are there on the Android side?

The XZ2 Compact is only marginally smaller than the iPhone 7. At this point the 7 (Apple refurbished) is cheaper than even the XZ1 Compact and will probably be viable for longer with software updates. Many Android users consider the S8, Pixel and Essential to be "small phones" now.

Even though the SE is discontinued, it's still eligible for Apple's battery replacement program. So there's a level of long-term support there that most Android phones lack:

https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/battery-power

I'd argue Apple now has an iPhone Nano in its product line: the Apple Watch with LTE. Which is great, but still a generation or two away from being a well-rounded device (especially battery life).

Anyways, I'm surprised and annoyed that Android manufacturers aren't clawing for market share with a small, reasonably priced device. Except for Sony, who doesn't seem to be trying that hard in the US market.


> It seems silly for Apple to just drop that entire size offering when there is clearly market demand for it.

The question is, how large is that demand, and how worth their while is it to cater to that.

(Note, by asking this question, I'm not implying that I think the demand is small. I'm just trying to clarify the issue at hand).


Too late, I’m already looking at Sony Compact again.


Sony Compact phones although are powerful on the spec sheet, they usually perform badly in comparison to SE, specially on the camera department.


Funny but being an 7 Plus owner I opted to skip the X due to it being too small. In particular because it’s skinnier than the 7 Plus, that means most commonly viewed material is smaller, e.g Photos, and landscape video while the phone is held upright.

As you could imagine, I’ll be preordering the XS Max (despite the name).


Why not the XR? You get a slightly smaller 7plus with taller screen and all of the features of XS bar the second camera and 3D Touch which both provide limited added value. On top of that you will have better battery as well.


> taller screen

The problem is that the taller screen is skinnier. And the width is most often the limiting size. For example, if you're watching a movie, a 16:9 image is limited by the width of the phone. So a skinnier screen means a smaller movie. Same for viewing photos. Basically most tasks result in a smaller viewing experience.

The taller screen really only buys you a better experience for reading long text (websites, ebooks, etc).


fyi, the XR is in the same class as the XS Max, it's just 2x instead of 3x. The XR will still give you both more vertical and horizontal space than the XS, all software will present the same as the Max with the split view showing up in landscape, and it's cheaper.

The only benefits to the Max over the XR are:

- even harder to see pixels (not that you'd notice them on the XR)

- 3d touch

- camera


> all of the features of XS

Notably, it lacks an OLED display, perhaps (to me anyway) the best feature of the X.


I personally prefer the font rendering of the lcd screens. Oleds even at 400+ppi do not look as smooth (at least to my eyes). Also not a big fun of burn in.


I agree, the RGB subpixel layout really gives better sharpness over PenTile at the same nominal PPI. I'm sticking with LCD phones as I really don't want to have to worry about burn-in, especially with several years of use.


Same here, except at $1100 for 64GB I might have to consider going back to an android phablet.


The mistake that I see most analysts make with regard to the iPhone launch events is that they make them right away, based on their initial gut reaction to the keynote. While their analysis may make sense and be completely reasonable, there is a very big difference between the thought process one has when viewing the new models side-by-side at the keynote and viewing them side-by-side on the Apple site or in an Apple store with an intent to purchase.

While it may seem completely irrational to pay more money for a smaller screen with the exact same processor (XS vs XR), the truth is that lots of people (the type of people who buy iPhones at launch) typically gain a lot of their identity from their phones. They want the best model and getting the cheaper model just won't do. There is a practical argument to be made here as well: most people use their phones more than any other device they own. What's an extra $150 over the course of 2-3 years to have a better screen, camera, and construction?

If I were to buy a new iPhone right now, I would probably go for the XS over the XR. My reasoning would be that the XS+ is too big for my day-to-day use, but I would rather have a better camera and display. But even if I went for the XR, that's still a win for Apple. They want to remain top of the market in smartphones, but they also want to capture as much of the TAM as possible while doing so. What they have achieved and why I like the strategy they are using here, is that they are capturing max TAM at the top of the market. They aren't interested in competing with commodity phones at the lower ends.

Normally one could make the case for this being the definition of the Innovator's Dilemma and they are ripe for disruption. However I don't believe this applies to Apple because they have tie-ins due to software and services that make switching to another device extremely painful. There are lots of phone manufacturers who have been able to compete with Apple on hardware for years. But without the software and ecosystem, Apple customers will not consider switching. So it's not really a question of whether customers will leave Apple for Samsung/Google/Other, it's a question of whether customers will switch from one iPhone to another. I believe that even if this ever happened, say a surprisingly large number of XR's sold compared to XS's and the ASP came down, Apple would have lots of levers to pull to correct this and they'd still be in pole position. They could cut features from future base models or axe a third base model all together in the next cycle, for example.


I'm not even sure that other manufacturers can effectively compete on hardware.

I used Android for years (mostly Nexus devices), but eventually gave up because Apple's phones had higher build quality along with fewer bugs. Their security posture and snappier response time (when I switched at least) were just bonuses.

When they finally had text forwarding and iMessage after Google let Voice languish for years in favor of an ever increasing amount of not very good chat applications there was no longer anything I missed.

At best the other devices are at par, mostly they're just cheaper with trade-offs in quality.


I love iPhones, but if Google were to price the Pixel 3 at $650, a lot of people would pause and at least think about going Android. The Pixel 2 had a better camera than the X, so it’s likely that Pixel 3 would compare favourably to the XR. And Google’s cloud services far exceed what Apple offers.

IIRC the Pixel 2 started at $650 as well.


Anybody know where to get nice-looking iPhone SE 128GB, unlocked?


I'd recommend to give the next size up a chance.

I had a much-loved, carefully-charged and -protected iPhone 5 for about 3 years. I thought it was perfect and that it was all I needed.

When I finally upgraded I was given a 6s, and it took about 3 days for me to realise it was just much better. I still have the 5 somewhere, and it makes my hands want to cramp just thinking about going back to typing on it! The screen real estate is also a huge improvement for just about everything.


Alright, for a countering point of view, I bought a 6 the day it was released. Used it for a year. Battery issues aside, I found the form factor too thin, too rounded, and too slippery.

I had to buy a case just to not to feel like I was going to drop it.

I went back to the SE, and it reaffirmed to me that this design was peak iPhone. The squared edges let me stand the phone up on the side. There’s no silly camera bump. I’ve used this phone, the 5, and the 5s for over 3 combined years with no case needed.

I’ve dropped these phones a couple times and it’s survived them all. I can use it one handed without the reach, then cancel what my palm hit, then reach, then cancel, then remember the “reachability” home double tap. It has a headphone jack. The volume up button isn’t opposite the power button.

And you know what? It’s still plenty fast. All this for a cheaper price and more pocketable form factor.

The SE is a great phone, easily my favorite of the iPhone lineage. It’s too bad it seems to be going the way of the dodo.


I’m not convinced it’s going the way of the dodo. They can easily add it back later like they did initially.

Their current phone line has no compelling upgrade path for me. I’m not allowed to take photos where I would be using the phone the most.


i got a used one off ebay (had a 16gig SE, and cracked the screen twice). got one last year for around $250 - 64g. I'll probably get another one - seen some for around $130 now - just to have it around. I don't intentionally throw it around, but at ~$200... I don't particularly care if it's banged up a bit, and at $130... even less so.

An upgraded SE - just improved camera and memory - would sell. I think it would sell well enough to hurt sales of the higher priced models though, and probably won't happen.

Do they just assume everyone gets bigger after a few years and suddenly want/need bigger devices? SE-size ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of folks size-wise.


This is really all I want. I don't want a smaller form factor. I don't want a bigger form factor. I want this form factor, and since everything keeps getting smaller, that's more room for a battery or whatever.


With the removal of the SE form the lineup, none of the phones that Apple currently sells fit in the average women's jeans pocket. https://pudding.cool/2018/08/pockets/

That's straight up crazy. I can't believe the market decided "ability to easily place in pocket" is no longer an important feature of cell phones. Especially with Apple's multi-decade history of telling us that thinner and smaller are objectively better when it comes to computing devices.


That's why I'm not switching to the newer IPhone from the older SE. If can't easily carry phone in the pocket I would better use IPad with LTE module since I carry a briefcase anyway.


If the margin on bigger-screen phones is a multiple of the margin on small-screen phones, then that gives Apple a strong incentive to pretend that people want big-screen phones even when they don't.

Also, being a company that relies so heavily on hype and branding, maintaining more than three or so offerings in a market segment is totally against their DNA. We're being dragged kicking and screaming into Apple's vision of it's future cash pile.

One more reason why I preordered a Librem 5.


but... just offer the same price then (or bump the price slightly to protect the margins). margin alone doesn't really explain enough.

Having an SE and an 7 for the same price would still give people choice, and possibly even bigger margins on the SE.


I thought I had answered that in my second paragraph. Apple just isn't the kind of company that can offer real choice. Have you ever gone to a restaurant that had like a hundred different menu items? The chances of any one being really really good is practically zero.

Apple has a lot of product lines already. Phones, laptops, desktops, watches. Too much diversification of one product line effectively makes it two product lines, each of which needs its own department and management structure.

If Apple wanted to be Samsung, sure, I guess they could do that. But they don't.


Cheesecake Factory?


Not an exception. They do everything somewhat well, not very well, and even that level of quality is subject to human vagaries like how well the cooks are trained or even how well they're feeling today.

Whereas I can go to my local bar with like 3 main entrees and a rotating special and know that no matter what I order, it's going to be awesome. Seriously, I never knew how good sliders could be until I let them show me.

The Cheesecake factory is Samsung, and my bar is Apple, at least back when Apple was still great at everything.


I never see women with phones in their front pockets. It’s always in the back pocket, or purse.

</anecdata>


That’s because they can’t. Women’s front pockets are either non-functional or entirely too small to be useful.


But most women’s jeans pockets could still comfortably fit the original iPhone. They got the ergonomics right initially with Jobs in charge.


I am a woman and I don't think the ability to fit a phone in a jean pocket determines best phone dimensions. Most of my pants don't even have front pockets and even large phones fit perfectly well in my purse. I much prefer having a large phone screen to a small phone that can uncomfortably fit into only few items of clothing I regularly wear.


I downgraded from a 6 to an SE and have been really happy. I'd like a slightly better screen (better black levels and contrast), but apart from that it's great.


Technically, isn't that an upgrade, or at the very least a sidegrade? The SE is newer and has better specs in most areas.


SE has mostly 6s internals, IIRC.


Yeah, so it's a step up from the 6 overall.


Yep, my 4S was better in the dark. Surprised by the regression.


How do you "carefully charge" a phone? And by how much would that extend the battery life?

I am on my second "flagship" phone that is down to an hour of battery life after 2 years. This time I will attempt to replace the battery because these things cost way too much to replace every 2-3 years.


You can get it replaced for $29, which is cheaper than doing it yourself in most cases:

https://www.apple.com/iphone-battery-and-performance/

If it is a 6S, you may be able to get it replaced for free:

https://www.apple.com/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/


Supposedly, lithium ion batteries like to be totally drained before being charged and then charged to max before being unplugged. I personally find this regime difficult to attain with phones because I'd rather not have the phone die while I'm far from a charger, so I often start charging when it is at 20% or so. And when I have to go to work, I unplug the phone, even if it isn't at 100% charge. I think most people do similarly, but the battery would really prefer you use it all the way up and charge to max. I think this is what the GP means by "carefully charging."


Isn't that regime for old NiMH batteries that had the "memory" effect? I thought for lion it's the opposite, never fully charge and never fully drain.


Yep, fully draining just wears the battery down faster.


Not true. Actually, the less capacity is utilized (of theoretical maximum), the longer will be lifetime of li-ion batteries. For example, if kept between 20%...80%, they may last for 10x more cycles. That's why electric cars' batteries does not need to be replaced every couple of years.


Interesting, thanks for correcting me.


It's almost as if you have no idea what you're talking about and are just making stuff up. The top reply proves that.


I’ve bought two SEs on Gazelle and three on Swappa. I’ve been happy with all of them. Typically “fair” or better quality will look nice.


+1 for Swappa; always have had good experiences on that site.


I just walked into an Apple Store last month and bought one.

Glad I made it in under the wire.


Since the event yesterday I've been thinking about how these new models play out with Apple's history of selling the older phones at a discount for two years. The X was replaced by the Xs and is no longer for sale. I wonder if this trend will continue with only the Xr line remaining for sale for the following years. It would mean producing half the number of models of older iPhones going forward. Instead of 7, 7 plus, 8, 8 plus they would only have Xr and Xr 2019 replacement two years from now. Would this save them a significant amount of money?


I think the X is not for sale because the Xs is an identical phone, except for the newer A12 chip and increased water resistance by 1m. If they were to sell the X it would have to be at a lower price point, then who would buy the Xs at $1000?


They've generally kept older models around, haven't they? The 7 is nearly identical to the 8 and didn't get discontinued last year.


The X is too expensive to make for them to be able to significantly lower the price and keep selling it.

This is mostly caused by the OLED screen which is why this years lower end introduction has an LCD screen


Many have made fun of the new names using roman numerals and moving to "Max" instead of "Plus", but I think it all makes a lot of sense when you look at the larger picture. They are clearly making a major change to the product line and the way we all think of the product line. They don't want the Xs Max to be seen as the newer 8 Plus, it's a completely new, higher-end product.


High-end excess for the tennis club crowd.


I know the X is pronounced as "ten" but I can't help reading the XS model as "excess" instead of "ten s" in my head. I have a hard time imagining no one in Apple marketing noticed this.


They needed to move to "Max" instead of "Plus" because it's significantly larger than the "plus" model phones. They should have just gone with iPhone XS++. :)


iPhone XS with classes.


It is just a larger version of the XS just like plus is a larger 8. The name is irrelevant if the facts don’t change.


Nope, the "Max" is just a larger version. The "Plus" phones, however, had other distinguishing features apart from the size, such as a better camera.


I have a cheap-ish (certainly compared to iPhones) Huawei and the design and quality of manufacturing is on par with Apple.

IMHO, Huawei is going to turn out to be a tougher competitor than Samsung.

Edit: I thought this was a mature place... Apparently not. Or you guys all work for Apple.


The Nexus 6P Was not a great phone construction wise.


hmm, i don't know if i'll agree with that. My Nexus 6P worked flawlessly till i dropped it from 4 ft. on a solid block of metal and the screen broke.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTIaUH6PIvo

Seemingly some issues with the casing, though I know there are plenty of other videos that show a Nexus 6P not bending.

sho 31 days ago [flagged]

> the design and quality of manufacturing is on par with Apple

You've got to be joking. Huawei is decent for the money but it is not even in the same ballpark as Apple. In the everyday experience of owning and using the device the iPhone is dramatically better in every way imaginable.

Just because they managed to put the screen on straight doesn't mean it's a competitor. You're probably being downvoted because it sounds like you've never actually used a high end iPhone. I've encountered many huawei phones in mobile testing and it's simply inconceivable that any educated consumer would prefer them over the Apple offering except for the sole consideration of price.


I've got an Elate and like it. Not my daily device (iPhone SE still) but if the Elate was slightly smaller, it might be my daily device. Was surprised at how good it was for $65.


> design and quality of manufacturing

This is not all you get with Apple.


You don't only get it with Apple. Check out the Nokia 7 plus, or the Honor Play. See what you get for your money there too.

Also, not everyone thinks Apple stuff looks that great. Always looks boring to me, like expensive cars. Designed for people with money but no taste.


You do realize you're talking about featureless slabs of glass, right? Yes, I'm making a joke, but out of all possible objects acquired for reasons of taste, a phone has got to be one of the least personal fashion accessories. I suppose you could always put a colorful case on it.


Sure, but then it boils down to Android v. iOS because Huawei's phones are as nice as classy as Apple's now and the top of the range may have higher specs.

Samsung phones have always felt plastic-y to me.


I disagree. The SoC performance will be worse, and I think the screen too.


I also won't pay $2k+ CAD for a top of the line Huwaei.



Thanks. Changed from https://stratechery.com/.


Articles like this are so far removed from reality it's hard to take seriously.

The screen on the XR is absolutely indefensible - it has the same PPI as an iPhone 4. It is worse than the 8, which is already worse than the screen in my 3 year old £200 Oneplus X. I have both and I would happily replace the 8 in a heartbeat if it wasn't a work requirement.

Yeah people will buy it because they've convinced themselves they're somehow cooler if they do, but not because it is in anyway a competitive product.


Is PPI the only thing that's bad about it? In that case I don't see the issue. PPI differences haven't been noticeable without effort since the iPhone 4 anyway.


It’s 326 ppi which has been the default on the iPhone 4 up to 8 and I think it’s fine. You can’t discern pixels on it (Typing on my 6S)


I absolutely can discern pixels on it. The comparison to an S8 is just not even close. It's an inexcusable PPI for that price in 2018 even being the "cheap" iPhone. I'm sure the X is fine but I haven't really used one much.


Yes you can if you scrutinise it at 4cm and have good eyes but for everyday use at normal distances, you can't.


Honestly I can see the subpixels of any oled display. This does not happen with high ppi lcds. I don’t know why but the oled subpixels do not blend as well as the lcd ones


Most OLEDs use the PenTile layout, which means that each logical "pixel" only consists of 1¼ subpixels, whereas in RGB panels every logical pixel is always three subpixels.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PenTile_matrix_family


>300 ppi is really tough for most people to tell a difference. Breaking that barrier is what got me to buy the Kindle Voyage.

I don't think there is a difference between a 326 ppi and a 500 ppi phone. What I care about is color depth, brightness, view angle, and whatnot.


>color depth, brightness, view angle, and whatnot.

When I put side by side my iPhone 8 (LCD) and Oneplus X (AMOLED), it's the Oneplus that has better colours and viewing angles.

The iPhone becomes almost unusable with sunglasses on as well, something I found out the hard way when I wanted to use it as a satnav one time.


I also found it ridiculous how he says users are better off without 3D Touch. IIRC, some functionality can only be accessed through it, so certain features have no way of working on the SE or XR.


With more powerful competitors and increasingly rational consumers, the question is how long can apple play this game?


Are you suggesting that they are, as it were, doomed?


Apple will only truly lose the "beleaguered" label when they finally perish, no matter how dominant they become.


What makes you think consumers are becoming more rational?


Sure, Apple still makes the best smartphones and will sustain its current momentum and cash flow for the foreseeable future.

It has gone from a company built around its products to a company focusing on its shareholders with a CEO that is absolutely clueless when it comes to product development.

It's sad but surprising? No.


> with a CEO that is absolutely clueless when it comes to product development.

I know, if only they'd appointed a CEO who would have developed new products beyond the things Steve Jobs had imagined, we might have had a popular smart watch, or maybe wireless earbuds that didn't suck.

And sarcasm aside, the homepod seems like some sort of me-too misfire, but it's not like apple hasn't had those for decades as well (apple tv, ipod hi fi dock... performa after performa...) not to mention actual misfires like the controlless ipod.

Whatever legitimate complaints there are to trot out, an inability to do product development can hardly be among them.


I agree with you on the smart watch and wireless earbuds (although perhaps the latter can hardly be called an achievement given the amount of resources Apple has).

They also managed to all but ruin their computing product line, to the point where people prefer to use ancient machines over recent ones.


> They also managed to all but ruin their computing product line, to the point where people prefer to use ancient machines over recent ones.

The unhappy folks are pretty vocal, but I'm pretty sure Apple have good user data about how the machines are doing: as you say they have a lot of money to spend on the marketing. And historically they have been pretty unromantic about abandoning things that don't do well (iPhone 5c is discussed in this article).

FWIW I am typing this on a 2018 MBP and it's pretty good -- well worth the purchase to me (I can understand if other peoples' mileage may vary). The touch bar is plainly not aimed at me (it would require looking at the keyboard to use, and as I'm a software developer I have never used a function key in my life) but I simply ignore it. And I don't post about it in prominent sites. I don't use the thunderbolt ports either but I also don't wrote about that.


> as I'm a software developer I have never used a function key in my life

Gasp! How do you skip to the next song!


I press a button on my Bluetooth headphones :)




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