[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.]
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.
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.
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.
English is a messy language.
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."
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
> 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?
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.
Maybe they weren't trying to keep it in stock in the US.... it surely had lower margins than the other models
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.
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.
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
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)
- 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.
- 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.
I'm going to hold off getting it now, so thanks for saving me some future pain, I appreciate it!
Seriously, if the watch had a camera, I would leave my phone at home.
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.
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!
Happy to provide links to articles on the topic, but <insert search engine of choice> will easily find them too.
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.
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).
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.
This article has some great numbers on pocket size variation between men's and women's pants.
Is the iPhone suddenly everyone's preferred device for playing Fortnite or something?
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.
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.
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.
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!)
Battery life. Physically, phones are mostly battery. Smaller phone = smaller battery.
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.
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.
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 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.
As still others have observed, this duopoly situation in the smartphone market is maybe not the best thing ever.
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.)
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 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 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.
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.
He commented that it's a nice iPad Mini, but not great to carry around like a smartphone.
Apparently Apple disagrees.
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").
Interesting to know, but nobody's gonna do that. Like how you're "supposed" to say "LEGO bricks" insteado of "LEGOs."
Also, I think Apple prefers it to be called "iPhone" rather than "the iPhone". Who knows.
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
I guess the workaround for this is
Launch Settings app
Display & Brightness
Change back to the app you were using
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.
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 do at times find myself trying to increase the brightess on a sunny day, only to find the iPhone already at maximum.
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.
Of course now it's old, but would sell better if it received some love from Apple.
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 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:
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.
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).
As you could imagine, I’ll be preordering the XS Max (despite the name).
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).
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
Notably, it lacks an OLED display, perhaps (to me anyway) the best feature of the X.
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 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.
IIRC the Pixel 2 started at $650 as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Having an SE and an 7 for the same price would still give people choice, and possibly even bigger margins on the SE.
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.
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 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.
If it is a 6S, you may be able to get it replaced for free:
Glad I made it in under the wire.
This is mostly caused by the OLED screen which is why this years lower end introduction has an LCD screen
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.
Seemingly some issues with the casing, though I know there are plenty of other videos that show a Nexus 6P not bending.
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.
This is not all you get with Apple.
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.
Samsung phones have always felt plastic-y to me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gasp! How do you skip to the next song!