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The iPhone SE was the best phone Apple ever made, and now it’s dead (techcrunch.com)
391 points by coloneltcb on Sept 14, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 353 comments

I have an SE, and I like it. The size is nice, I like that it lays flat, I like that it has a headphone jack. Newer models don't have compelling features my SE lacks, and take away things I like. I have no incentive to upgrade, and will likely explore other manufacturers when it eventually wears out.

I have an 11" Macbook Air, and I love it. The size and weight is nice, the keyboard is great, the touchpad is precise, I love that it has MagSafe, and I consider the ability to plug in DisplayPort monitors and my USB-A devices a must-have. Newer laptop models don't have compelling features my Air lacks, and take away things I like. I have no incentive to upgrade, and will definitely explore other manufacturers when it eventually wears out.

It's frustrating when a company makes products that suit your needs well, and then changes its mind. I just don't seem to be in Apple's target market anymore.

I'm in exactly the same situation. The SE's killer feature for me is that I can easily operate it with one hand. I commute on the NYC subway, and that means I have to be able to hold a handrail with one hand while using my phone with the other. I "downgraded" from an iPhone 6... because apps put controls everywhere on the screen, and I just couldn't hold the phone and operate it with the same hand. (The thing was also very slippery; it never slipped out of my hands and got smashed, but I always felt it was inevitable.)

I am also not planning on upgrading. The iPhone X family looks great. Amazing screen. I don't care about a home button or a headphone jack or whatever the improved battery life is. Until I can be guaranteed a seat on the subway, it's all a net negative because I can't actually interact with applications during my commute. (When I'm not commuting, I have a 32" monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse which is WAY BETTER than a 6" phone and my finger.)

(More honestly, I don't see $1000 in value-add over my current phone. I don't need the latest gadget to be happy... but if it makes me $1000 happier over its lifetime, sign me up.)

I feel like it's a cultural thing. "Designed by Apple in California" where you just drive to work so a bigger phone is only a benefit (larger battery, easier-to-read text when you're using the phone). But in NYC, small is a huge benefit, and it's a shame that the transit-deprived West Coast tech companies don't understand our use case here.

I feel like it's a cultural thing. "Designed by Apple in California" where you just drive to work so a bigger phone is only a benefit (larger battery, easier-to-read text when you're using the phone). But in NYC, small is a huge benefit, and it's a shame that the transit-deprived West Coast tech companies don't understand our use case here.

Ahh, you nailed it and I've bitten my metaphorical tongue to avoid saying loudly: the damned mobile phone ecosystem is designed and tested by people in giant suburban, car environments like California. Not subway takers. Not pedestrians. The giant two-handed phone design obviously is torture on a subway. With navigation buttons even Andre the Giant would have had trouble reaching.

You know what else, though, shows the bias? Apps that think they're always connected to data. Even Spotify, with its glorious offline ability to play music, hangs stupidly in its main home screens (the one that has the we-made-this-for-you playlists). Other video playing apps with no real caching or notification or awareness to the user when there's no data.

There are many examples of blind spinning waiting type hanging behavior, as if no one can fathom using a phone during a commute that isn't in a car (or a red yellow and green type of bus?)

Sorry but this does not sound very convincing. If the car culture in California is causing Apple to produce large phones, why didn’t Apple start doing it earlier? It’s not like the sprawling suburbia of California only came into existence in the last few years.

Samsung, on the other hand, has been producing huge phones that no one is going to be able to use with a single hand since a long time ago, and has no problem selling them in places like Hong Kong. It doesn’t seem to me that it is suburban culture that is inflating the size of phones.

(Don’t get me wrong. I like dense urban environments, public transport, ability to use apps without internet connection, and, at the same time, smaller phones.)

If it's the car culture that causes the big phones, then Korean and Chinese manufacturers should be making small phones, no? But they don't.

I feel like the bigger and more important modifier is whether your phone is your primary computing device.

I think the big phones are:

1) To show off.

2) A battery life hack. (Number of pixels to illuminate goes up like the square, volume of the battery in the phone goes up like the cube... so larger phones will have better battery life. This was a huge, huge, huge concern on Android when the big Android devices started showing up. Remember the days when your Android phone couldn't even last 8 hours in your pocket at work? That is when the big Androids started showing up, and Apple introduced large phones after that.)

3) Most people don't use PCs anymore, so their phone is their only computing device.

These three concerns obviously weigh into the equation in addition to usability on public transit.

But really, New York is kind of unique in how over-capacity the transit system is. Tokyo is similar. Bought a Japanese phone recently?

I'm pretty sure that phablets are primarily due to demand, either by consumers or developers. Market research certainly indicates that users engage more with larger screen sizes

I'd be curious to see some study around that.

It would certainly explain a lot. The dreaded ad-driven 'engagement' obsession rearing its ugly head again.

People buy them for sure, but I'm pretty sure that market research is not why they were invented. People were not carrying around Nexus 7s in their pockets, which are not much bigger than current phablets but predated the existence of them.

Aren't Android phones all developed in transit-oriented societies in Asia? And they're even bigger...

But in HK it is socially normal to wear your iPad sized phone on a lanyard around your neck, and indeed to have loud conversations with it in the MTR.

And to walk around with it a foot in front of your face and inevitably bump into any- and everyone that dares wander into your path.

Yes, that's true, but at the same time, flip phones remain(ed) popular in Japan for years after smartphones took over the West due to their physical keypads and small size.

My experience was that flip phones remained popular in Japan for 2 reasons: corporations that didn't want to pay for data plans for their employees, and elderly people who were more comfortable with buttons. Never heard anyone here say they have one for the size (although they may very well exist)

Japanese is a lot less cumbersome to type on a numeric keypad than English. (The common input method was that every key had a consonant and the number of times you pressed the key was the vowel. Current touchscreen input methods are very similar, using the position for the consonant and a swipe direction (up/down/left/right/none) for the vowel. Wayyyy better than having 26+ touch targets on your tiny screen for English.)

> I feel like it's a cultural thing.

I don't think culture has much to do with it.

Apple's market cap is over $1 trillion. They sold over 40M iPhones last quarter. They have way more data than either of us do, and the market has spoken: there is not enough demand for small phones to justify a separate SKU.

(Also, as a fellow strap-hanger for 6 years, I just shoved my phone in my pocket and listened to podcasts while riding. But I know everyone has a different use case!)

EDIT: Folks complain on one end about Apple’s lack of product focus and on the other end about cutting out SKUs that do not make sense at their enormous scale.

As much as you all love the SE, it went untouched for years at a time. I imagine there were no components that made sense for the smaller SKU as Apple transitioned to larger phones (and batteries, crucially). It is also a low-ASP phone to begin with, which makes less sense for a company who increasingly makes “luxury” tech products.

Obviously it is for Apple to decide who Apple's customers are. It is just really sad to have something that works so well for me that no longer exists.

I won't buy a large phone, which in 2011 meant I could buy the best phone on the market and in 2018 means I'm facing a future with some phone that just doesn't match a 2011 iPhone in looks, style and maybe even functionality and objective quality.

I'm sure they have great reasons, but it is very tempting to wave a fist in the sky and yell "why do they have to keep changing things?". The Apple ecosystem was great for me, and now I'm being forced out. It is like watching open source projects try to nuke themselves out of existence with the Big Trendy Rewrite; except Apple is wildly profitable and successful.

Apple would sell millions of the SE2 without cannibalising sales. Every other phone manufacturer would salivate at this opportunity, especially at 100%+ margins. "Not enough" smacks of a lackluster excuse of an adhd department head.

You have absolutely no idea if any of this is true and you risk nothing saying it. It sure sounds nice though.. :)

Making things at the scale that Apple makes them is hard. If the SE was a great business idea, Apple would keep doing it. Maybe they will make another one in the Spring. It's not dead dead yet.

My understanding is that the SE is made out of leftovers—not in a micro sense of things literally left sitting on the factory floor, but rather in a macro sense: they're made from the tail ends of multi-year component supply contracts, where Apple is obligated to take receipt of components that no longer feed into any current product they're building. They're a "bone broth", a way to use up those tailings and make a profit (however slight) off of them.

This was also true, ten years ago, of the iPod Touch. It was the reason for the iPhone 5C. It's at least partially the reason for the iPhone XR today. It's also the reason Apple keeps selling the iPhone 7 and 8.

The problem (for consumers) is that, eventually, you run out of the tailings you were using to make one of these "byproducts", since you never signed on to produce more of them. (That being rather the point of the whole process, from Apple's perspective.)

Once the supply contract for iPhone 5S "chassis" components is run through, that'll likely be the end of that form-factor. No device Apple has produced since then has that form factor, so there are no hand-me-down components to repurpose into a new device of that form-factor.

They would however hurt the quarterly profit numbers. The SE costs less and the profit margin of ~38% on $800 is less than ~38% on $1000+

It’s just business

Apple will probably sell 70,000,000 in 90 days this quarter. I think they know how to sell a lot of phones

What does 100%+ margins mean?

They probably mean it costs less than $175 to make and they sell it for $349.

That’s a gross margin of 50%.

Yes.... unfortunately many do not understand the difference between Margin and Mark up.

Just for the records:

Margin = profit / sale price Markup = profit / cost Profit = sale price - cost

I frequently meet people that are not aware of the above.

They released the SE, originally, because there was enough demand for it. They said pretty much exactly that in the announcement of it. That demand clearly still exists.

Does that demand exist at a scale that makes sense for a $1T company with many rapidly-growing product lines and high product margin expectations, though?

they don't actually know the demand for all these new iphone Xx models. it's an educated guess. and... to some degree, a portion of the market will go wherever apple suggests they go anyway.

apple got caught 'behind' in the 'bigger phone size' competition, and it seems they'll keep going bigger.

you could keep the 'high margin' on an se-sized phone - people would buy it anyway, because they want that size.


Guess how much a 128GB SE goes for now, if you can even get one?

To add to this, the SE represented 8% of their iPhone sales so far this year.


Nothing is clear at all, just because you want it to be true.

> They have way more data than either of us do, and the market has spoken: there is not enough demand for small phones to justify a separate SKU.

Let's not pretend this is some natural result of "the market". The UX of most iOS apps, including Apple's, has been steadily getting bloated with bigger buttons, bigger labels, more padding in text fields, and reams of whitespace. This is personally annoying, but manageable on the bigger, newer phones. On iPhone SE it means that many apps can be maddening to use - with only a little bit of content visible on screen in some situations.

iOS 7 on the iPhone 5 form factor was great. iOS 12, not so much. Apple clearly sees no future for the smaller phones and their UI designers consider them an afterthought. It's little wonder that only diehards are willing to put up with this kind of UX compromise.

I moatly use mobile web, and maybe 2 screens of common apps. The SE works great for me. Every now and then something is a bit off, but I’ll just ditch the rare site/app that doesn’t work right. There’s plenty to do in this life.

I'm specifically thinking of the Music and Messages apps which show very little content while typing a search or message. It's hard to reply to a set of text messages when it feels like you're reading them through a keyhole and typing anything scrolls you back down to the bottom. Music is just as bad and shows ~1 result while the keyboard is up during search.

The wins that define Apple didn't come from the market analysis approach you're referring to.

Can you elaborate?

It think it means that some of Apple's wins came from building something no one knew they wanted. So no amount of market research would have led to it.

> I feel like it's a cultural thing. "Designed by Apple in California" where you just drive to work so a bigger phone is only a benefit

This born-and-raised Californian also rides the subway (bart) to work every day, and I'll have a hard time giving up my SE for similar reasons to you. Don't let assumptions about what California is like get in the way of a good argument.

I loved the SE, but last year in New York I suddenly knew the SE form factor was doomed. I forget the app I was using, but with the navigation buttons at the top and the options at the bottom, there was less than a 1 inch vertical bar with the content left. I want my cell phone in one hand and my coffee in the other.

Clearly app developers had already abandoned the size, but worse I realized how horrible all the apps had become. Apple iOS apps are now the same complicated disasters as every other platform. I was hanging in there with my Mac Book Pro 2011 hoping for a new machine that deserved to have Pro in the name and now I knew that soon there wouldn't even be an iPhone that I could use with one hand (comfortably - Yes I have heard all of the Apple apologists and Android phablet fanatics)

It is difficult to remember how lost we were, Microsoft Vista, Donut and BlackBerry. Steve changed the world one last time, but can't imagine Apple will again.

The iPhones sold off within a day and the Mac Book Pro 2011? To a musician with a rig that connects to Firewire.

Oh Apple...

I'll never abandon the 5" phones just because people make terrible UIs

Meh, I ride the BART every day in California, and before that I rode the tube every day in London. The bigger size is just something you get used to, it doesn't prevent one-handed operation, you just use Reachability or do a little hand shimmy.

I get the elegance argument about 4/5/SE design, but the screen size thing is just the market speaking. A lot of people use their phone as primary computing device and a bigger screen is nice when it's your only device.

Yeah, I can just about manage a 7 one-handed. But definitely couldn’t go bigger. Not a fan of the big phone thing at all. It’s not just a problem on the train, either; a one-handed phone is also useful while walking.

I have ridden the Paris Metro, London Underground, and NYC Subway.

Never have I had to hold a cell phone to do so.

What do you do on the train? Stare off into space?

A lot of people use it as a time for reading, and your phone is the logical thing to use for that purpose.

I had a 13 inch MacBook Pro 2016. Sold it. Went back to using my 2013 MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone 7 and I miss my headphone jack every day. The best phone I ever owned was the se.

Apple is happily going off in a nonsense direction where their products are less and less useful because they are less complete and therefore less “self reliant” as devices.

See that’s what people don’t articulate. It’s not that the design changes are bad. Some are great. It’s that the balance of great design and great utility is what made apple impossible to beat as a phone and a laptop, and then there was the fact that they were seamlessly integrated (something apple has still failed to fully exploit — their stuff could be mind blowing). This is what made the brand great, and I feel like people miss that part of the argument.

When you bought a 2013 MacBook Pro, you didn’t need to buy accessories because it had it all - hdmi, usb, etc. - and it was useful without any additional accessories and met or exceeded my needs in almost all circumstances. I didn’t need a dongle to present and I didn’t need a cable adapter to charge my phone. When I packed for a conference I would grab my laptop, a power supply (that I could trip over in hotel rooms while working with no worries and that neatly wrapped up), and an hdmi to dvi adapter in case the projector failed, but that was it. Now I feel like Apple has externalized all of that utility in an effort to boost margins or go thin, and it’s basically made the devices reliant on a host of adapters, both for phones and laptops (and actually the 2013 Mac pro was the same problem).

Apple needs to understand what made them great was that they weren’t the ultimate steak knife, they were the ultimate survival knife, and get back to building the most useful, thought out and self-contained devices like they used to. They had a sweet spot, but we’re going back to the Apple cube across all product lines again, and nobody wants that.

The pro computer failure and the move away from nerd needs to slab of glass has lost balance and is heading into design over substance. The pendulum needs some rebalancing.

> When you bought a 2013 MacBook Pro, you didn’t need to buy accessories because it had it all - hdmi, usb, etc. - and it was useful without any additional accessories and met or exceeded my needs in almost all circumstances.

Except it didn't have VGA which is still popular in conference rooms to this day, so you needed an adapter for that. Some people probably needed an adapter for Ethernet as well.

Not to mention you needed a MagSafe 2 charger instead of a universal USB C charger.

> effort to boost margins or go thin, and it’s basically made the devices reliant on a host of adapters

They did it on the MacBook because USB C is more convenient than having specific use ports. The same reason you're happy that the 2013 MacBook had two USB three ports instead of two PS/2 ports and a serial port.

As for removing the headphone jack from the iPhone, they did it because you can send audio over Bluetooth or lightning. No reason to include a redundant port that does only one thing.

> universal USB C charger

This mythical device does not exist. USB-C PD includes 5 different power profiles[1] and even if your adapter is big enough subtle compatibility problems still pop up - my colleague's laptop complains about his adapter every time you plug it in for some reason. The situation is better than when every PC product line had their own power connector, but if you were in the Mac ecosystem you already mostly had the same thing because every laptop just used the same of Magsafe connector.

USB-C also brings back the problem of tripping over the power cord and sending your $3000 laptop careening towards a wall or the floor.

> As for removing the headphone jack from the iPhone, they did it because you can send audio over Bluetooth or lightning. No reason to include a redundant port that does only one thing.

What if I want to charge my phone and listen to music and own really nice headphones that don't need to be upgraded every year? Oops, can't do that anymore without this monstrosity: https://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAH9D7KY71...

I've been using the top rated "budget" Bluetooth headphones from The Wirecutter for a year now (Jabra Move) and they blow. Like most bluetooth devices, the connection only works "most of the time", sometimes they connect but don't identify as headphones (?) and I have to power cycle them.

They also weigh noticeably more than my previous favourite, portable, wired headphones (Sennheiser PX 100-II) with worse sound quality to boot. I only noticed this when switching back to my wired headphones after I forgot the Bluetooth ones at work and realizing that the wired ones felt almost weightless by comparison. If this is the best that Bluetooth headphones in the ~$100 range have to offer, I don't want it.

Oh yeah, and I have to charge the fuckers every day because what I needed was another device that's useless unless I remember to plug it in constantly when I'm not using it.

Thanks Apple.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_(Physical)#PD

Why does having five profiles make it difficult to be universal?

Those are deprecated anyway. All you should need to know about a charger is the max wattage.

> All you should need to know about a charger is the max wattage.

Right. It should be that easy, but in practice not everyone is going to implement the spec correctly. If you call Apple support when someone else's power adapter doesn't work I guarantee they will tell you that only official Apple power bricks are "supported".

At the moment, in practice, I've mostly seen USB-C chargers showing up with newer tablets, not laptops. So if you need to bum a charge from someone you're probably going to get a charger that's too small.

> This mythical device does not exist. USB-C PD includes 5 different power profiles[1]

It does exist. Yes, there are issues like the ones your colleague experience but most of the time you can charge your phone, MacBook, or Windows laptop with the same USB C charger.

> USB-C also brings back the problem of tripping over the power cord and sending your $3000 laptop careening towards a wall or the floor.

You can buy an adapter for this if it's really something you're worried about [1].

It should also be pretty clear by now that Apple expects most of their users to not be using their MacBook while it's plugged in. The majority of MacBook owners will rarely need to thanks to the improvements in battery life over the past five years or so.

> What if I want to charge my phone and listen to music and own really nice headphones that don't need to be upgraded every year?

You can't. Again, most people never use this functionality. It is unfortunate for those that do but that's why the adapters exist. Much like the lightning to USB 3 adapter I have for my iPad. It would be convenient for me if I didn't need that adapter to plug a midi keyboard in, but the amount of people actually plugging midi keyboards in doesn't merit including a USB port on the iPad.

All of your complaints about bluetooth headphones are perfectly valid. Some people like them, some people don't. Lucky for you, a $9 dollar adapter for your wired headphones will solve all of your problems. Hardly even worth complaining about, especially if you were willing to spend ~$100 on a set of bluetooth headphones.

[1] https://www.snapnator.com/

Well, I will just not buy devices with no analog audio out.

Saved those adapter, charger, hassles and all my existing gear works great!

Same for ports. I will not purchase one of these all in one port devices.

Charge and listen happens all the time in cars, BTW.

MIDI is not comparable to the charge and listen case.

Besides, a whole lot of people hate dongles. I am one of them.

And yes, I stepped right off the Apple train the moment I heard these things were coming. Did not look back.

I have things from the freaking 80's, like great headphones, that work just fine. Got other things to spend my money on, and chasing adapters down really is not one of them.

> You can't. Again, most people never use this functionality.

I don't think I'm THAT much of an exception. I sit at an open-ish desk all day and wear headphones to block out ambient noise. I also need to charge my phone at some point in the day if I want it to last through my commute in the evening. This means that I often need to charge while listening.

Given the popularity of open offices and limitations in phone battery life, I don't think this is so rare.

2015 is the latest best macbook pro.

I’d argue even further. The 2015 MacBook Pro was the best laptop ever. The keyboard, the screen, the power, the OS made it an amazing machine.

Nothing has come close since.

But it presumably still lacked a TrackPoint, so how could it be the best laptop ever? ;)

This. Just moved back from my 2014 rMBP Pro to a 2012 Thinkpad X220 for the trackpoint and keyboard. Shame about the display but eh there are external FHD displays when you really needs to. Retina screen and trackpoint is going to be amazing when I upgrade to a X1 sometimes I guess haha.

Do you have an IPS display for your X220? It doesn't increase the resolution, but it does make it much better. (The X220 is pretty easy to swap the screen on too.)

No I don't, but I am looking to swap the TN display with a FHD IPS screen, as mentioned in [0], but sadly there are very few aftermarket kits around these days last I've checked.

[0] https://hackaday.com/2016/08/26/making-a-thinkpad-great-agai...

I have a couple of the FHD mods from here ( https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=122640 ), but they took quite a while to get to me, and by then my enthusiasm for experimental soldering had waned, but sometime I will try.

But even just swapping in an 1366x768 IPS panel for the TN panel of the same resolution makes a great difference. And those you can find fairly cheaply.

People were saying the exact same thing about the 2012 MacBook Pro after the Retina came out.

Well, the 2012 model was very nice. Also OSX of the era was bit better perceived than current ones, I think it was in some ways around the peak of OSX.

I think the point is more about people being so change-averse that it's basically impossible to take many of the "reviews" of new generations of Apple products seriously. Every time they roll out something new the universal consensus on sites like HN is that it's not just useless but actually has negative utility; it's the worst thing anyone has ever put on the market; if Apple ever does manage to sell any of this piece of crap they'll all be returned and exchanged for older models; Apple will be bankrupt within the year because they just don't understand how to make good things anymore!

And then a couple years later when the next next generation comes out, suddenly that worst-thing-ever-that-was-going-to-bankrupt-them turns out, actually to have been amazingly great and darn near perfect, so why did they go and mess it up!

Responding to you on a '15 MBP-- completely agree. Mine is still running like the wind, in great physical shape, and now sports a Big Lebowski sticker. What more could I want?

Agreeing with you on a 2015 i got new this February.

Fun comparison; for all their efforts to reduce the physical size of the device Apple has managed to shave whole 2.5 mm from the thickness. To get that, they have needed to drop ports, compromise keyboard, and reduce battery size about 15% (99.5 Wh -> 83.6 Wh).

I don't know what sort of bubble the product manager or whoever lives in that makes that a reasonable tradeoff. Sure, it might seem neat on paper that they have reduced the height 13% and total volume 18%, but in practice, well...

Compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 6th Gen they’re just one mm thinner, but much worse keyboard & ports config and 20% worse battery life. I guess it’s exactly one mm too thin. The Lenovo also weighs 1358-1126=242 grams less. And then there is also the silly TouchBar...

Indeed, I consider myself lucky that I happened to by a Macbook in 2015. Hopefully by the time I need to upgrade they'll have sorted things out again. Otherwise I may have to go for a windows pc next time.

Would you mind elaborating a bit? Why 2015, as opposed to something a bit older or newer?

I’m considering getting a MacBook but I’m thoroughly uninterested in a new(ish) one.

2015 MBP 15" retina has the older, more reliable, keyboard, magsafe power, decent CPU and adequate GPU, HDMI, 2 mini-DP, regular USB 3 ports.

You could go older but there's no need unless you want a DVD drive. And you'd sacrifice CPU performance and maybe memory capacity.

Alas, it seems the Apple official Refurb store sold the last of their 2015 MBP models earlier this year. The earliest ones I see now (in US/UK/HK stores) are 2016 models.

You could swap out the DVD drives for a second hard drive. But that era MBP was a bit underpowered IMO. I had a great 2012 before the keyboard started failing. Now enjoy a 2015.

The MacBook Pro actually had two Thunderbolt 2 ports, not Mini DisplayPort.

You are correct. But they're backward compatible with Mini DisplayPort. The only cables I've seen people plug in to them are minidp to {DVI, HDMI, DP}.

External hard drives are mostly USB3, and I don't know anyone with an external GPU.

I got a 2015 pro new from the apple canada online store in feb this year

The 2015 was the last of that body style, so it has the latest "guts" (CPU etc) with the previous keyboard and ports (USB-A, HDMI, Magsafe). Plus, with the non-mechanical touchpad, there's room for a slightly larger battery¹.

1: "The 2015 revision brought the modern Force Touch trackpad and used the space savings to increase the battery to 99.5 Wh, just under the 100 Wh carry-on limit for most commercial airlines" from Marco Arment, https://marco.org/2017/11/14/best-laptop-ever

have you ever repeated that line in an Apple store or any other tech shop?

it turns into the twilight zone with the rebuttals they come up with. mostly it is related to the sells and extrapolating that to consumer satisfaction.

Agree - I'm still using my 13" Mid 2009 Macbook - it has everything on it that I need, I got offered a latest Macbook from work, had to turn it down. That weird bar at the top, a keyboard that just feels horrible to type on, and a shiny screen that is just not for me.

Of course this is a matter of taste, but I seriously don't get the hate for the new keyboard. It took me two days to get used to it. The one thing I concede is, that it is loud.

It's super clacky, there's no key travel, and it's hard to blindly feel the edges of the keys. There's also no escape key.

The 2018 keyboard is much less clacky than the 2016 one but the travel is the same. I’m glad most of my typing is on an external keyboard anyway.

I don’t have a problem with Esc being on the Touch Bar because it’s the leftmost target and nothing is that close to it. Maybe I’d feel differently if I was a regular vi user.

The key travel is very important. When you can type 140+ Words per minute key travel becomes important to stop rsi in the wrist.

Sounds like my old Atari 400, except it did have Esc.

I liked it well enough until keycaps started sticking to my fingers and falling out while I was typing. I think the overheating weakens the tiny and fragile plastic hooks. Also, some keys get stuck or repeat letters but I got used to it.

If it is a 200€ laptop, I might be okay with this. But paying 2800€ (15" model, least expensive configuration) and then not being able to work because the keyboard falls apart … unforgivable. Let’s hope Apple introduces a more reliable Pro laptop next year. Until then I have to plug along on my 2014 model.

For me, there was a huge difference between generations of the butterfly switches.

The first gen felt like typing on a flat surface for me, whereas the newer ones feel really nice to type on.

I use my work supplied brand new MBP as a glorified desktop Mac Mini attached to a 4k 32" monitor.

Get a 2015 macbook pro. That's the highest spec macbook without the things that would annoy you.

Assuming you were offered a MacBook (as in, non pro), you made a great choice. The dongle life is grim and even with the right ones (good luck there) you get stuck. Yuck.

The MB12 has no touchbar.

Was this reply for me?

Yes it was meant to you. The post you replied to:

> That weird bar at the top, a keyboard that just feels horrible to type on, and a shiny screen that is just not for me.

There is no touchbar on MB, so they could not been offered that.

Ahh, thanks. I thought you were correcting me, not offering an alternative.

> I just don't seem to be in Apple's target market anymore.

I say this more and more each day. I'm in the same boat with the SE, and it's also the same with the MacBook Pros for me. I bought a refurbished MacBook Pro last October, the one from 2015, the last one with a great keyboard.

It seems that April 2016 was the peak of where Apple and I aligned.

This topic coming up feels like such incredible validation for me. I’ve held this opinion for a while. I went back to the 5s(e) after a jaunt with a 6s and it really is a superior phone for me.

I would gladly pay £1000 for this phone to be a first class citizen again, it feels like apps aren’t optimised or suitably spaced for the small phone. But I _love_ the size, the design. The touchID- everything is where it feels like it should be. Ugh.

FWIW. I even jumped to android to get my tiny-phone fix. But Samsung crapware pushes me back.

Just get any small Android device which is supported by AOSP and derived distributions, install one of those (Lineage comes to mind, AOSP Extended, MoKee, etc) and you're set - no 'crapware', no data harvesting if you don't feel like being harvested. No need to pay ₤1000 when you can get what you want for around ₤150 I'd say?

> get any small Android device

Examples? I was shopping a while ago and the _only_ option I saw was Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact.

I actually love mine, except they look old. Damned durable though. Slipped out of my hand in Home Depot and took the fall like a champ.

There aren’t many (any?) Android phones the size of the SE with remotely acceptable specs.

I'm hoping the trend will shift again soon. Stop buying giant phones people!

I've been using the Sony XZ compact, headset jack, waterproof, USB C, figureprint scanner. XZ2 has no headset jack, but at least USB-C for a standard wired headset.

I have been a big Xperia fan for awhile now but I can't really reconcile paying that much for the XZ2 or XZ2 Compact when the XA2 (which I ended up with) is small-enough--as small as the Compact, but manageable, and I don't have large hands--and costs half the money or less.

The design language for the XZ2, particularly the weird back, is unappealing to me too, and the button configuration hearkens back to the Z3 (still, IMO, their most satisfying design).

If only Sony had not followed the fad of putting a glass back on the Z3/Z3C... I've replace the back on my wife's Z3C two times now and lo and behold, it is cracked again. The back glass is more vulnerable than the front glass which makes it all the more annoying that it is there in the first place as it serves no purpose other than to look shiny.

There's a lot of hate in this thread for some of Apple's design choices. I do understand it. I just want to share my counter-viewpoints - these are my personal preferences obviously.

1) I moved to all bluetooth back in 2012. Headphones and wires have always been a nuisance for me. I'm not sure why Apple removed the headphone jack - but I never felt the need for it. I don't even carry the dongle anymore.

2) I loved the HTC One's display. I don't like screens that are too big and hard to handle but the iPhones were always too small for me - too hard to read anything. I switched to iPhones only after the 6 - and yes, that's because finally it had a screen size that I liked.

3) I did love Magsafe - no doubt about it. But I'm ready to let it go as well. I can now go to pretty much any desk at my office and plugin a Dell usb-c dock - that's shared with PCs and start working. At my permanent desk, I have just one dongle/adapter to which everything is hooked into - it's actually simpler than my previous setup where I had a 4-port USB Dongle + Display port Cable + Power adapter to plugin/disconnect. Now it's just one cable to plugin to my computer. And yes I have tried some docks as well - it was still at least two.

When i put on wired headphones they always work, no matter what. I dont have the responsibility to keep them charged, which is great.

and you don't have to bother pairing them...

MagSafe is such an awesome feature. The newer MacBooks have usb-c but the cables don’t fit right. So you may think the laptop is charging, but it’s not. So annoying going to meetings and seeing the battery dead.

New Apple very much seems to optimize for their profit margins and gimmicky features at cost of usability.

I think Steve Jobs may forever be remembered as the CEO who legit gave a shit about usability.

Guaranteed someone/a few people at Apple are reading this thread and sending an email to their boss to do some more mkt research into demand for an SE refresh.

As another poster downstream pointed out, they could be saving the release of the new SE for another announcement in 6 months to avoid cannibalizing their new flagship phones

Why discontinue old SE then?

As a low risk way to assess the real impact. It was low margin as others have pointed out. To remove it will have minor revenue impact, and by doing it at same time as launching new phones they are testing to see if this is the time that will force/cajole/motivate the 5/SE users to finally 'let go' (of the form factor or their money) and go up to the XR.

The announcement is basically telling those users (and there are millions of them!) that it is time for a change.

The decision is good business sense. And given they often announce products in Q2 as well they will have data of demand for new phones, and also how many have exited the Apple ecosystem due to price, and then in March they should be able to decide whether or not in best interests to release an SE2 or bring back the SE1.

As to margin above it should also be pointed out that the components in the SE are now aged. To do the same again, and take latest components and stuff into a smaller form factor will take a major engineering effort as new components and usage is for a larger cavity inside. To take all those and stuff them into a smaller space is actually like inventing a whole new phone - one literally has to rethink the physics of everything. Big investment.

Also if they continue to sell the SE it means they and suppliers must continue to produce the components and parts. And for much of this that means factories worldwide, including here in mainland China where i live, need to keep running nearly obsolete processes, equipment, and that wont be viewed well by their investors unless it is a cash-cow.

This is done for business reasons. When a company gets bigger than most global trading blocs the decisions they make have enormous global trade implications from the mine to mainstreet.

App developers already started abandoning the platform over a year ago. Sure the app would work, but usability keeps getting worse. 80% of people use their phone as their primary computing device. Within the 20% are niche markets and some are not price conscious at all. Eventually someone will figure that out.

I feel _exactly_ the same. And I know many, many other people who feel the same thing too. Apple will eventually run into a wall, like it did before in the 90's. They don't have a clear vision or connection to the actual user. They just milk the cow that Steve Jobs left them.

I have a 128gb SE that I love. I guess I will be keeping it for much longer than I anticipated, or until Apple again produces a smaller form factor phone.

For me it’s not an issue of being able to use it with one hand. It’s an issue of having a phone that itself is just small. It fits easily in my pocket where I barely notice it. I don’t want a phone that feels like an iPad in my pocket. I don’t want something that feels way better than my wallet in the keys+phone+wallet combo that I always have with me when out in public.

It is light to carry around and I can throw a case on it and it still a reasonable size.

Absent the introduction of another smaller model, I guess I will be forced to upgrade to a larger phone in the future if I want to stay with iOS (which I do) but I will be doing so with no enthusiasm.

Phones are at the saturation point that laptops have been for a while. A 2015 phone and laptop work great for everything I do. Google Maps, Podcasts, email, texting and calling and web browsing are not gonna suddenly need a new generation CPU to work supremely smoothly. I honestly don't understand why people keep buying new phones every year unless they play a ton of high end games.

Hah, as if. I had to upgrade from an iPhone 3G to a 4S and now an SE, and it wasn't because the phone was damaged. The software gets slower every year. Things that used to work fine will one day get "updated" (which btw is irreversible) and overnight will become slower and jankier, forcing you to eventually give in and buy a new model just so you can get back the same performance you used to have before.

Welcome to the future.

From what I have seen, something about the phone necessitates a decision for replacement of one or more problematic parts (usually screen or battery) or upgrade to a next generation and most people I know seem to choose the latter.

Hell, I could (and have) gone back to 2013 and survived easily. Even a Nexus 5 is perfectly adequate for me, with a comfortable screen size to boot!

It’s not a change of target market, it’s profit margin. Now people will need to pay more if they want an iPhone, it’s as simple as that

I would gladly pay markedly more for an updated SE with newer internals, perhaps an uprated camera etc in the same case (that can't be improved) and keep the headphone jack. Especially as small phone choices have dwindled to zero.

Surely not having to redesign case, mechanical switches etc should give scope for more margin, not less?

Yeah, I think they'll keep pushing until they reach max profit. If they go to high in price and profit falls, they have enough cash to ride a year, then they'll release a lower price version and spin it to be something about cost savings in production. Never, we got too expensive and had to back down.

I recently bought iPhone 8 256GB. I paid a lot for it. I would buy iPhone SE, but it's hardware is too old, its fingerprint reader is old and it lacks force-touch. If there was iPhone 8 mini or something with identical hardware, I would buy it for the same price.

What circumstances do you find force touch to be helpful for? It seems to be the only thing really lacking on the newly announced XR phone.

I never had first-hand experience with force-touch before, so I thought it would be an useful feature. I'm using it mostly for moving cursor and occasionally to preview web pages by force-touching the link. Also you can force-touch notification and e.g. type answer immediately, I don't actively chat, but I imagine that there are people who will find it useful. Anyway now I don't think that it's a very useful feature, but it's nice to have it.

> I have an SE, and I like it. The size is nice, I like that it lays flat, I like that it has a headphone jack. Newer models don't have compelling features my SE lacks, and take away things I like. I have no incentive to upgrade, and will likely explore other manufacturers when it eventually wears out.

This is what the author of the article should have written. Instead he's filled his piece with inane bollocks.

"It honed that design to a cutting edge and then, when everyone expected the company to leap forward, it tiptoed instead, perhaps afraid to spook the golden goose."

It's really difficult to look at the iPhone X and not see a company leaping forward. Look at the critical reception and customer satisfaction. This is a phone which was widely considered to be a huge leap, and which Apple explicitly acknowledged at the unveiling.

> It was the best object Apple ever designed, filled with the best tech it had ever developed. It was the best phone it ever made.

At the time, arguably. There's little disagreement that the processor, camera, screen, GPU, and security in iPhone X is better.

> To me the SE was Apple allowing itself one last victory lap on the back of a design it would never surpass.

Just such a painfully bad take. Staggering.

> Newer laptop models don't have compelling features my Air lacks

Honestly, after you try a retina MacBook display - you can't possibly think that it's not a compelling feature worth upgrade. My old macbook air's screen looks like complete garbage now after I use new macbook pro's daily.

> Newer models don't have compelling features my SE lacks

While I do like SE design too - the camera on that thing is just horrible by today's standarts

I’ve had various retina MBP since they came out as work laptops, and still use various non retina screens on some personal laptops.

In a vacuum, I guess the Retina display is nicer? It’s not something that I really find very noticeable, personally.

You mean, the iPhone 6S camera is horrible as well? Because the SE and the 6S share the same sensor... Sure, it doesn't have the AI-powered features of newer camera software and it also isn't a dual camera system, but I reckon it's still good. I prefer the Pixel 2 for photos to any iPhone anyway (still waiting for the new iPhone Xr/Xs features, fake bokeh effect et all, it may lives up to the Pixel's standards).

> I consider the ability to plug in DisplayPort monitors [...] a must-have

Out of curiousity, is there any advantage of DP compared to HDMI? I've never had anything that would use it, and HDMI makes more sense as a standard-to-upgrade-to, coming from DVI monitors. Quick googling suggests HDMI has twice the data bandwidth as well.

(not that Macs offer much in the way of HDMI ports anyway...)

Older HDMI had limits on screen resolution and refresh rate.

Multi-display support is a big factor.

I think the situation is that many consumers are willing to pay $800+ but would also be very happy with the $400 iPhone SE experience.

My 13" i7 MacBook air is still my daily driver. I wish I could upgrade the RAM to 16gb, other than that it's plugged into an external monitor mostly and gets the job done, while adding very little weight to my backpack.

I miss MagSafe, particularly when I trip on the cable and my laptop jerks across the table perilously.

I dont have an iphone, but it doesnt look like the size of the X is much bigger than the SE. https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-x-iphone-8-size-comparison/ https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7lFHo...

That's showing an 8, the entire SE is ~1/10" bigger than the 8 screen alone. That's a decent chunk smaller with then bezel, and considerably smaller than the X.

> I just don't seem to be in Apple's target market anymore.

I'm not sure why it's so hard for people to understand that Apple's market is people who want to be cool.

They don't sell hardware devices, they sell coolness.

These people don't care at all about how the phone/laptop is. It doesn't matter that you only have USB-A adapters or mini-jack headphones, if Apple says that the new cool is USB-C and AirPods, you are going to buy that and then snicker at people using the "old stuff".

It's like in the joke: the only thing worse than not having an iPhone is having last year's one.

It wasn't always like this.

I used Windows laptops from various OEMs up until I switched to a Macbook in 2011.

The quality of the software (all the UX/UI beauty and reliability of Snow Leopard, iTunes used to be good) and hardware (touchpad was revolutionary, backlit keys, great keyboard layout for toggling sounds/brightness, built-in HD camera) was YEARS ahead of the competition, which is just now starting to catch up.

If you look at the market now, all the laptops look like knock-offs of Macbook design, and the software is evolving to be that way as well.

Apple was ahead of its time for usability and a frustration-free experience, but it's a stretch to say any of their new products are cool. Apple Watch/Airpods/iPhone 10X SE are not cool...they just signal that you have a lot of disposable income

Now that I am stuck with Windows again, at least Lenovo still knows how to make a great keyboard, and I will note that the trackpad is fantastic (Still second to Mac so far though)

In my opinion, Thinkpads have always held the #1 spot in the keyboard category, over Apple and others. Apple does have arguably the best trackpad, but the Trackpoint wins out for me. I wouldn't want a laptop without one.

> iTunes used to be good

I'm always surprised by this. I remember trying to use iTunes back when I had an iPod Video and it was a piece of garbage. I guess it's different in osx?

I find iTunes to be fairly close to garbage on OS X as well. Maybe if I used it more, I’d learn it, but at this point, I mostly just use it to backup and restore iDevices. Anything past that, and it’s even money whether I’ll need to google to figure out how to get what I want onto or off the phone using iTunes.

I also agree that OS X 10.6 was the pinnacle of consumer operating systems. Nowadays I use a Surface Book. Microsoft finally knocked off the Macbook successfully and stuck in a tablet with a pen and access to the full desktop OS. Windows 10 is not bad once you disable every form of notification.

10.6.8 was the best.

pour one out for a dead homie

then take a double shot if you're going to try to use the new versions of itunes

Although this was modded down, he's right.

Here's the history of Cadillac tail fins of the 1950s and 1960s.[1][2] Each year, the tailfins were re-designed to make the previous year look un-cool. Apple follows that approach. The new models are not better, just different.

(The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado [3] was "peak tailfin". The tailfins almost reached the height of the windshield. We'll have to see how far Apple pushes their "notch".)

[1] https://justamericanautomobiles.com/cadillac-tail-fins-1948-... [2] https://justamericanautomobiles.com/cadillac-tail-fins-1960-... [3] https://jalopnik.com/5915106/1959-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz...

He'd have a point if they weren't making the best hardware, highest performing chips, the most ethical company regarding privacy and security, or the best operating system (that's the one mark on my list that I'll admit is subjective).

Unless your definition of "being cool" is wanting the best, I'll take that.

(silly comment ahead, but it is contextually relevant)

the best would have a headphone jack

I have said this for a while . Especially since the era of Jony Ive.

Apple is now a fashion & lifestyle company. It sells the brand first and foremost. Every thing else is secondary.

As long as people keep buying MacBooks in absurd numbers, apple will keep going down this path.

Do these people need a $2000 MacBook to edit photos, consume media and work on office ? No. Do they still buy MacBooks ? Yes.

And there you have it.

"Absurd" numbers? Total Mac laptop sales are tiny compared to PC laptops bought in mass numbers and used basically to run Chrome and Excel.

You're also of course distorting the average sale price of Apple laptops, which is way under $2000.

Apple sells user privacy and products that work better and last twice as long as the competition. Everything else is secondary.

As an aside, you don't seem to have mastery of when the Jony Ive era began, at least not if you are referencing a post about the iPhone SE being the best.

> Apple sells ... products that work better and last twice as long as the competition.

not a chance. my original black macbook had the dvd drive replaced like 4 times before they replaced the whole computer, because it never worked in the first one. my 2011 macbook pro was never able to use bluetooth audio due to known and common bluetooth audio buffering problems, it struggled to age, even after upgrading to 16GB of ram where mac os x seemed to just say "thanks, i'll take all of that now", and eventually petered out as the trackpad diminished and the wireless card stopped working, rendering it useless as a laptop. my 3 year old ipad air has been having random reboot issues and recently just stopped turning on. apple will "repair" it for $300, which is around 50% of the original price. my brother, who buys nearly every iPhone and iPad version, has the same problem with his iPad air, and his iPhone 7s plus completely stopped working literally one day after the 1 year warranty ended. apple would do nothing. i don't own a single apple product that still works, and i take good care of my stuff. meanwhile, my lg phone and surface pro, which take way more abuse in that they actually leave the house, still work. i have never owned an apple product that just works, and i don't know anyone who has.

There's really been two Ive eras though.

Before and after he stopped taking nearly all design cues from Braun and Dieter Ram's work.

The iconic designs were from before.

Could you share pointers to their work?

Start with this for the obvious ones seen in Apple's products: https://www.cultofmac.com/188753/the-braun-products-that-ins...

The Design Museum has a better background of his career. You should be able to spot a few more borrowed ones, and not just by Apple. https://designmuseum.org/designers/dieter-rams

That's kind of reductionistic. Most liquor, cars, technology and clothes are sold as coolness. I agree Apple leans into it heavily, but so do Samsung and Google (although less effectively). I don't think coolness is all of it.

I've talked with a lot of people about why they stick with Apple. Why the pay so much and then pay even more money for accessories. No one really has a compelling answer they just shrug and say "it's what I've been using" or "I'm bought in."

I think people are aware of the ways their being nickeled-and-dimed, I just don't think people care enough to switch. And I kind of don't blame them.

Switching ecosystems is a lot of work. If your whole music library and playlist collection is on Apple music, exporting it to Spotify is time consuming and confusing, you may not even know you can do it with a tool. You'd also have to learn a new OS, re-buy any apps you've previously purchased. It's a pretty big hurdle to switch.

No one really has a compelling answer they just shrug and say "it's what I've been using" or "I'm bought in."

I made the jump from MBP to Surface and I’m very happy with that choice. Great screen and keyboard, thin and light enough for anyone reasonable, swapped VirtualBox for WSL and that’s great too. Still waiting to see any of these ads people claim W10 is infested with too.

Not if it has Touch ID, is a bit smaller and has no face scanning. Arguably a bit older is the sweet spot as then you have a headphone jack too.

You're not wrong.

I just wish they'd decide that quality, reasonably priced hardware without gimmicks was the new cool.

I bought an iPhone SE last night.

The smartphone industry's decision making in the last few years has been... bizarre. I've been an Android user up to this point because I appreciated the vast feature set, open architecture and diversity of hardware that I could find. That initially meant settling for a lot of the quirks and general cheapness of early Android phones - Apple had them all so thoroughly beat on polish. With the advent of really good high-end phones from Samsung and others, and the great advancements in Android's software, it seemed to me that we were getting to the point that there was no particular reason why anyone should prefer an Apple smartphone over any of the other high-end options.

The phablet craze and the ridiculous explosion in screen size should have tipped me off that something was very wrong with the industry. It didn't make sense to me that literally no-one would offer a phone that was small enough for one-handed use. And then they started eliminating the headphone jacks. And then... the notch. Multi-billion dollar development teams started chasing each other down degenerate design paths. The modern smartphone is this weird art project that's uncomfortable to interact with, and doesn't have a lot of basic features I use. Swappable battery? Expansion slot for microsd? Rare, and getting rarer.

Worse, Google seems to have totally abandoned the initial premise behind Android, and every handset manufacturer has erected a walled garden filled with bloatware and with no expectation of any future support. If I'm going to live in a walled garden, I would rather live in a nice one.

I won't put the iPhone SE on a pedestal. It's older hardware, and you're definitely sacrificing some battery life and camera quality (two of the few positives of these modern phablets). But I can reach across the whole screen with my thumb, and I can listen with any set of headphones I want, and it's really very pleasant to use - after only half a day of use, it has just seamlessly disappeared into my life. Exactly as it should.

The SE was what drove me to buying an Apple smartphone and I'd very much like to stay with iOS, which clicked in a way for me that Android never did. I will not buy a phone ever again bigger than the SE. It really is the perfect size, and it even looks and feels very good, too.

It's the first smartphone I've ever used that I actually enjoyed.

(Even though it is rather inconvenient and cumbersome to move data from or to the device.)

I use this:


... which allows me to treat everything in my iphone as a filesystem and pull items off / delete them / add them, etc.

I am not sure I could be an iphone user without this tool.

> The smartphone industry's decision making in the last few years has been... bizarre.

Is it really that hard to believe that most people like phones with larger screens and there's little reason to include a third way to output audio from your phone (in addition to Bluetooth and lightning)?

I'll kind of give you the notch, but I honestly like the look of the iPhone X quite a lot.

Why not go with the Xperia XZ1 Compact then? Because of this? ->

> Worse, Google seems to have totally abandoned the initial premise behind Android, and every handset manufacturer has erected a walled garden filled with bloatware and with no expectation of any future support. If I'm going to live in a walled garden, I would rather live in a nice one.

I'm asking because I'm torn between Xperia XZ1 Compact and the iPhone SE...

edit: forgot the "Compact" part...

> I'm asking because I'm torn between Xperia XZ1 Compact and the iPhone SE...

As someone who's in the likely unique position of carrying an iPhone SE and an XZ1 Compact in their pocket every day (and a Pixel), I'd recommend the iPhone SE:

- The iPhone SE is 20% lighter, which you notice over an extended time of using both phones.

- The camera on the XZ1C is frankly abysmal. The iPhone SE has a far better camera.

- I think the iPhone SE runs iOS better than the XZ1C runs Android.


- I think the XZ1C has better battery life.

- The XZ1C has a MicroSD slot.

- You can install open source ROMs and MicroG if you want to own your device.

I have the Xperia XZ1 Compact and it's a good piece of hardware. Sony's put a bit of bloatware on it, but also Stamina Mode which I think is worth it vs Google's stock. Signal strength and speed have been good for me. I reboot it every few weeks.

But, using an OS made by an ads company is starting to get a bit creepy, so maybe it's time to switch.

Yeah the XZ1C hardware is exactly what I'm looking for. On the software side tho: Amazon and Facebook apps pre-installed, Google tracking, but also that kind of bullshit: https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/09/13/pixels-suddenly-sta...

I used an Xperia Z3 Compact for a while before I bought an iPhone SE and loved it. Sony's walled-garden for Android was pretty nice, I'll probably be back as long as they continue making compact phones once my SE gets too slow/old/breaks/whatever. The SE was my first iPhone, and unfortunately seems like it might be my last.

I also had a Z3 Compact before switching back to an SE. There was some stupid crap, off the top of my head I believe the camera's image processing was DRM locked and didn't work in any 3rd part camera apps. Low light noise reduction was the most obvious symptom.

This might have been fine if Sony's camera app wasn't a trainwreck compared to the 3rd party developers'. It also meant that image quality in other apps like Snapchat suffered. I was never 100% clear on whether the better camera algorithms were available to 3rd party devs if they bothered to implement them as a Sony specific feature, or if they were entirely locked to Sony's own camera app. In either case, 3rd party camera apps were bad.

Similarly, if you unlocked your bootloader you'd lose those image processing DRM keys and the camera turns into hot garbage.

> Sony has updated the text of the bootloader unlock warning on its website to be clear about the camera impact. It reads, "...the removal of DRM security keys may affect advanced camera functionality. For example, noise reduction algorithms might be removed, and performance when taking photos in low-light conditions might be affected."


I don't know whether they're still doing this nonsense or not. Other than that it was a decent phone. They didn't mess with the OS too much. I don't hate Android as an OS, but it seems like whichever OEM you pick you're just deciding which particular flavor of bullshit you want.

Wow that's an especially bad case of Android Phone Name

Apple iPhone XS Max Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Seems the same to me

Z5 Compact user here. It's very good, only occassional issue is Sony's "What's new" bloatware and its notifications. Easy enough to swipe&ignore.

I wish Sony will keep this line alive, Apple SE was only real alternative when I was buying the phone . . .

I've considered Sony's compact series of phones, as they're about the only higher end phones that are small enough for one handed use.

The XZ1 itself is quite a large phone, 73 mm wide. I find those quite awkward to use.

XZ1 Compact is different from XZ1. Make sure you are checking out the right phone specs.

I meant the XZ1 Compact sorry. (I edited my post since)

> The smartphone industry's decision making in the last few years has been... bizarre.

By selling what the market wants? From sales figures it is quite clear what people want and it's probably because the phone is most people's primary computer outside of work. That's not the case for a typical HN user, but big screens make a lot more sense when you don't come home to a computer.

That’s the problem with monopolies. They’re the company offering iOS devices. So if they suddenly make only big phones then there won’t be any demand for small iOS devices because none are for sale (new old stock doesn’t count). It automatically makes the big phone choice a winner simply by incumbency. As a result, Apple cannot know the size of the small iOS device market.

> Apple cannot know the size of the small iOS device market

What are you talking about, Apple knows this more than anyone. Why do you think they abandoned the SE?

Without trying to answer why, they appear to have discontinued 1/3 of their line if this source is accurate.


The 6s and SE were their last remaining headphone jack phones. Maybe they’re trying to force the wireless headphones change as well as pave a way for new models. The SE actually sold more this year. But adding it’s 8% made it a clear 33% model replacement.

Except they sold a small phone and it sold poorly?

I bought a used SE to upgrade from my 5C. I'll never buy a bigger phone than this. We've had smart phones for 8 years now. I've figured out my use cases. They don't really need the latest and greatest. Podcasts, Maps, email, Safari. None of these really need a 12-core CPU to work flawlessly.

I'd do the same if I could still find a new LifeProof Nüüd for it or a very convincing alternative. Otherwise it wouldn't last very long anyway...

Can I ask where you bought it from? I've been trying to find a new one and haven't been having any luck other than eBay

My local Best Buy had a few in stock.

Compared to the iPhone XS, the iPhone SE:

    - Costs $650 less
    - Does everything I need it to
    - Does it one-handed
I'm sure the new camera and OLED screen and everything are very nice but I just don't care enough to spend 3x as much money on fancy phone with a huge screen when I'm already trying to stare at my phone less, not more.

Maybe the goal is to make phones so uncomfortable to use that you won't want to take them out of your pocket.

And they were talking about wanting to make devices last longer to use less materials and reduce waste! The solution to that is apparently:

    - Use more materials to make larger phones
    - Make the phone more difficult to grip securely
    - Wrap glass around the edges so it can always land on glass no matter how you drop it
    - Move control center so far away that you have to let go of the phone to reach it
iPhone SE 2 please.

The Watch might be the SEs spiritual successor, or they let the small form factor (pocket watch) die to sell more wrist watches..

They've already started making the watch bigger. How many generations of "now 25% bigger" watches until you can no longer wear it on your wrist?

I guess I'll buy the iWatch XXXL in a few years and cut out the strap to have a iPhone 5 form factor phone with updated specs...

The watch is smaller. The watch screen is bigger.

Great comment.

2 thoughts: web browsing is a bit grim and the need for using 2 hands seems irritating, especially as you’ll be scrolling a lot on a small screen.

Take off the band and use it as a phone? We could all put them on chains again instead and walk around like 19thC gents with their chained pocket watches?


Obviously you lose the heart rate monitoring, but apparently people do this.

Actually, that's a far more appealing form factor for the watch than wrist as I still find smart watches too bulky for my taste.

Edit: Someone did it nicely already - I could quite happily use this. https://twitter.com/MatthewSchneier/status/61039642844413132...

That's my plan. No joke.

I have half a mind to do this as soon as it gets big enough (as that seems to be the trend for the watch too) to use for browsing and maps.

Tho... how much functionality does the watch have if you don’t pair it with a phone?

It really is that simple. Phone makers are ignoring the basics. The ~60mm width of the original iPhone was not an arbitrary design decision - it's how wide it needs to be to get your thumb across the screen without having to shift your grip.

Something Apple even highlighted in their advertisements at the time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O99m7lebirE

i can get my thumb across a pixel 2 xl just fine. however, i cant get even 50% up it on the left side and 90% up it on the right side. i can reach the top of a 5/se no problem. height is the problem, not just width.

The width is almost exactly the width of a pack of cigarettes. If those marketing folks know anything it’s what to make something feel good in your hand.

The "marketing folks" had nothing to do with it, of course. "Marketing folks" make zero design decisions for Apple. Design folks make those.

So don't compare it to the XS, compare it to their cheapest phone in the line (which the SE was), the iPhone 7 at $449. The price difference is $50.

A bunch of reasons:

1) Because the iPhone SE was a new phone with flagship quality 6S guts, and I'm commenting on the apparent direction of Apple's new phone development.

2) The iPhone SE was price dropped to $350, so with the 7's new price drop it's $100 more expensive, not $50.

3) Everything I said about the XS applies to the 7 too, if not as strongly. It’s been a continuing trend.

4) I’m looking from the perspective of an existing SE customer, many of which will be looking to replace their phones this year or next. No current SE users are interested in replacing a 2.5 year old SE with a 2 year old 7 for $450.

    - Will lay flat on a surface without requiring a case to do so

Agree, though everybody with an SE had better put a case on it as they become increasingly irreplacable :(

This is why my iPad Pro has a hard case instead of just a smart cover. The whole reason I got the damn thing is that you can write on it with a stylus, but somebody at Apple decided "Let's make this not lay flat on a table because people are buying a tablet to use it as a camera."

The only thing I've ever taken a picture of with it is probably a whiteboard.

With "Continuity Camera" or whatever it's called (1-click to take a photo with your camera and automatically import it into a program on your Mac), this becomes even stupider. Take the camera bump off and do that with phone to iPad. Everyone has a good camera on their phone already.

> why my iPad Pro has a hard case instead of just a smart cover. The whole reason I got the damn thing is that you can write on it with a stylus, but somebody at Apple decided "Let's make this not lay flat on a table because people are buying a tablet to use it as a camera."

A more likely reason is that it‘s easier to pick it up from a table if it isn‘t flat.

The sides of the iPad are tapered, you can grab under the edge even if it’s flat. If you needed it to not sit flat my case would have made it harder to pick up.

I bought an iPhone SE when it came out. It's the perfect phone in my opinion. I am fully prepared to use it until it falls apart and it's so well built I think it may take a while.

Nothing they released after it makes sense to me. Too big and they deleted features I want while adding nothing useful to me. I wasn't expecting an SE2 so I wasn't disappointed when it failed to appear.

This iPhone and my MacBook Pro 2015 are the last Apple products I'll expect I'll ever own. Not out of spite but because they no longer make things I need, or even want.

See, I'm the opposite, but I know exactly where you're coming from. I stayed away from the iPhone until they started increasing the screen size, because the original was waay too small for my tastes. But when it came time to get a work phone, I purposefully chose the 5S and then later the SE because I was already carrying a huge phone. I didn't need to carry two.

I still feel the SE is a bit too small to be my main phone, but I do wish they kept making a phone that small. I know my sister prefers it, I prefer it for my second phone, a lot of people liked it.

Plus the 5S/SE industrial design is 10x better than any phone that came before or after. It's just beautiful, it's easy to hold, it's durable. It's just a great small phone, even if I think it's too small for my tastes.

I started with the iPhone 4 then moved to Android for a bit with a Galaxy S3. I thought the S3 was perfect until I went back to a iPhone 5S. When the TouchID gave out, I went with the SE.

Much like you, I believe that the SE is absolute perfection.

Even with my large hands, I don't personally have a need for anything larger. The only benefit, for me, is that I could have a larger playing field for Galaxies [1] -- but that's about it.

Combine the form factor with the fact that 11.3.1 is an excellent version of IOS that is also jailbroken, and I've pretty much covered the bases for my needs and desires.

With the SE and talk of the SE2 (RIP), I was really hoping that smaller phones would catch on.

Macbook-wise, I'm on a late 2013 15", and I love it. I'm quite protective about both of these devices, as there doesn't seem to be anything comparable coming down the pipeline.

[1] https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/puzzles/js/gala...

> This iPhone and my MacBook Pro 2015 are the last Apple products I'll expect I'll ever own. Not out of spite but because they no longer make things I need, or even want.

I'm on this boat too. SE and 2013 MBA user here. I like Apple much more than any of the competitors but their recent products are far away from my needs. I don't know what my "upgrade" path will be.

> Nothing they released after it makes sense to me. Too big…

The iPhone XS itself is 13mm wider than the S.

As someone who uses an iPhone 7 Plus with one hand, I'm surprised that 13mm would make a difference. I'd be curious to hear what you thought after using one for a week.

It's the screen size that matters. I can reach the top corners of a iPhone5-sized phone with ease. iPhone6-sized phones require me to strain or give up and use the reachability feature. I don't think I'm alone in this.

> I'm surprised that 13mm would make a difference.

13mm is nearly 1/4 the length of my thumb. I do not have unusually sized hands.

13mm wider than what? There is no "S"...

Goodbye SE, you will be missed. You had every feature a person could need. Your tiny screen kept the addictive app mania at bay. You fit in every pocket. You survived a drop a week for 2 years. You could not survive apple's quest for more profit margin.

Bear in mind the iPhone SE was not announced/released alongside the flagship iPhones in a September event, but in more low-key fashion 6 months later. There's still a chance something might come to fill the gap. They wouldn't want it to distract or cannibalise sales of their flagship models.

I would very much like to believe this, however, had there been plans for SE 2, they'd have let SE on sale until SE 2 was out.

I wish I'm wrong and they release SE 2 after reaching their margin profits with X series.

I believe the solution to the SE is the XR model. Apple thinks it's the phone for the "Every Man" except the every man doesn't have a 6 figure tech salary and thinks it's about $250 too greedy.

This deserves more upvotes. I feel like it's an important note.

Having lived all my life through a period where it was safe to assume that eletronic devices would only get better, it hasn't been easy to adapt to this new trend.

We'll make it thinner, regardless of optical limitations, just leave a camera bump. We want edge to edge display, but need a camera on the front and can't quite put it under it yet: behold the notch. We will assume Gordon Gekko was ahead of its time and simply have everyone use preposterously large phones.

The iPhone XS has a total 6.3" diagonal, with 5.8" display. The SE has a total 5.4" diagonal. If you gave it an edge-to-edge display, you could get a 5" diagonal screen on it, which is bigger than the iPhone 7 screen size (4.7" display, total diagonal is 6.05").

So a maxed out screen size on an SE body would give you a better screen than the 7, but in a smaller phone. How is this not an obvious direction? Lag the other hardware by 1-2 years to keep costs down a bit and avoid directly competing against the XS. I'd still buy it.

With the Touch ID that isn’t really a button but is, and the headphone jack. With current generation internals I’d pay more for that than the current phones.

Sadly most of us would not be able to reach the top of the screen one-handed on a phone that size. Even on an iPhone 4 form factor it’d be a stretch for those of us without enormous hands.

Macbook Pro Mid 2012 / iPhone SE user here (just bought a 2nd 128gb SE last month)

Apple has lost my business for upgrades with their new product direction in both laptops and phones

But we are not their target market anymore - it's the people/enterprises that can splash out $1-2k every year for the latest pic taking and video watching tech

And there are enough people out there to keep the company's revenues booming and the market happy

Would love to see someone focus on our slice of the market again, I just don't know if it can be done in a profitable way at this point

Honestly, in some ways I liked the iPhone 4/4s even better. It had the best hand feel of all of Apple's phones. But, when I upgraded to a 5, I did appreciate more screen.

I have an SE now, and I am totally dejected about these big phones. I don't live on my phone (like the rest of the world seems to). I want something that fits unobtrusively in my pocket and that can be easily manipulated with one hand.

Fie on Apple!

Agreed about the 4s. I expected having the same form factors with less borders for a bigger screen. There was quite a potential in that (edge to edge screen might been exciting the coolness chasers as well). Shame did not happen.

Also, agree.

I was playing with my 4S yesterday. I like its heft and size.

I would love to have a replacement board for it to run whatever.

The problem with smartphones today is that it hurts to hold them in the hand. The SE is the best phone Apple ever made, but man do I wish Apple brought back the rounded-back form factor of the 3G/3GS.

Someone mentioned this in another thread, but I think there's a huge market for an iPhone "Nano," something between an XS and Apple Watch in size, but that has 85% of the functionality of the XS. No gimmicks, no bullshit, just a beautifully made "utility" device.

I love my SE. The form factor is perfect for me. I'd gladly buy a "XS-SE" to get the camera upgrade. The rest? Not so much. RIP

There's just no room in Apples lineup for loved products with small sales numbers. Case in point: the 17" Macbook Pro. I have large hands, large fingers, and enjoy having a massive display on my laptop, and it was perfect for me. I would love nothing more than for Apple to make a true desktop replacement laptop. However it seems their only interest anymore is in appeasing the mass market of ultra slim portable devices which most people want. You simply cannot buy a Macbook quality 17" laptop in 2018 and that's insane. I really think there's a market opening here for someone to fill that niche.

Wasn’t the keyboard the same size as on the smaller laptops, just with acres on each side?

Keyboard is the same but you have a lot more space to stretch out and rest your palms for larger hands. I’m cramped in 15” and 13” is totally unusable.

Yes. All sizes, even 11" air, had the same keyboard. The touch pad might have been bigger.

No, the 11” Air had a smaller keyboard: just look at the function keys on it.

The 11" Air keyboard is the same width, but not quite as deep.

Every film director in the world groaned in unison when they heard the 17" was discontinued. I wish the newest version didn't have such awfully outdated specs, I'd love a 17" MacBook Pro again.

The 12" MacBook sells very poorly and it's still here.

> Flat, symmetrical design? Check. Actual edges to hold onto? Check.

Every iPhone made by Apple after this, in my view, is a “wet soap”. They’re all so slippery and bound to fall from one’s hands easily. I personally cannot hold them without a case that mimics flat and better edges, essentially changing the shape of the phone to that of an iPhone SE and also increasing the weight. What a lost opportunity to make a great device again in every respect, Apple!

From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple seems so shortsighted and completely out of touch with what people love (not jut like), want and desire. Mac mini, now iPhone SE...voting with your wallets alone won’t help while ASPs of new iPhones are more and profits are increasing. Write to Tim Cook over email and let him know why you’re switching. Maybe, just maybe, when the good times start to turn bad, Apple may realize its follies and change course.

These kind of articles also help, but consumers need to voice their thoughts to Apple. Send emails to the top people and also write on Apple’s feedback page.

> From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple seems so shortsighted and completely out of touch with what people love (not jut like), want and desire.

Consider for a moment that it's actually you that's out of touch with what people love, want, and desire.

They sold like 200 million iPhones in 2017. Hard to believe that they don't know what consumers want.

Agree. Apple marches to its own tune. But it’s also sad that it ignores passionate users who have been evangelizing its products.

My wife is really annoyed at the death of the SE. It's the biggest phone she can hold and use in a single hand while holding stuff in the other, dealing with kids, etc. As the screen is getting water damaged and it's generally becoming flaky with age, she might have to jump ship to Android but she really doesn't want to.

It sounds like there aren't any small Android phones either, at least not high quality ones.

I sympathize: I actually prefer the original 3.5" screen iPhone. Even the 4" screen seemed a bit too tall for comfort. I finally decided if I was going to need two hands periodically anyway, I might as well bite the bullet and go with a large phone.

She had a Sony Xperia briefly between the iPhone 5 and the SE which was pretty small. The current smallest Xperias (XA1 and XZ2 Compact) are now rocking 5" screens though, so only half an inch smaller than the X/XS.

The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact was a great phone. But unfortunately it had a design flaw that meant the screen would become unglued and it's very hard to repair. I "upgraded" to the X Compact but it's complete garbage in comparison. So many things wrong with it. I really don't want a big phone, though.

Samsung Galaxy S6 may be your best bet.

There are still a few third parties selling them, and (non-factory) refurbs all over the place. Might want to grab one up now while there’s still stock.

I, for one, can never purchase a device that has to take a photo every time I lift it. That’s literally illegal where I’d use it 95% of the time. I also can’t be the only person who doesn’t get much utility out of the selfie cam.

But I definitely like having a phone that fits comfortably in my pocket with my wallet - and that I can use one handed.

Couldn’t they ditch the notch by having the speaker on the edge of the device? I have no problem hearing the speaker with my phone pulled away from my ear.

>I, for one, can never purchase a device that has to take a photo every time I lift it.

iPhone X series is great fit for you then since it doesn't do that. Face ID uses an infrared dot projector and independent viewer to do a 3D read and then that goes directly to the independent security processor which acts as a black box (all cryptographically tied together, just like Touch ID). There is no photo of your face being taken let alone going anywhere. You can quite literally and trivially (as in I just did it right now) completely cover the front facing camera on an iPhone X and it will unlock with Face ID just fine.

If you're just worried about the mere existence of a front facing camera period then you should physically block it or drill it and inject it with black epoxy or something of that order.

>Couldn’t they ditch the notch by having the speaker on the edge of the device?

The notch is pure function defining form where the function is Face ID and a front facing camera. Face ID is a very valuable and important security feature, even if they ever figure out how to get Touch ID to work again through a screen. And a huge proportion of the market wants a front facing camera (as long as it's sufficiently secured, which Apple does a decent job of in iOS). Maybe they'll figure out how to profitably mass produce those features through a screen too someday but I don't see the notch going away in the mean time. Speaker function is by far the least important role there.

FaceID is not a photo. It's a close-range 3D sensor and it does not create a photograph.

I doubt security is going to be mindful of that difference.

Your facility cares enough about phone cameras to get mad about FaceID, but not enough to ban phones with cameras on them?

Your “security” can’t realize the value in features that, you know, make your phone more secure?

You can disable Face ID...

But I'm sure they'll re-introduce a revolutionary new fingerprint scanner soon enough.

> But I'm sure they'll re-introduce a revolutionary new fingerprint scanner soon enough.

I doubt it. Having to use TouchId or enter my code on my non-X devices feels archaic now. FaceId works so well on my X, I often forge the device locks at all. I'm ready to buy a new iPad when it finally gets added.

That has already been done by Synaptics and is used in the Xiaomi Mi 8 [1]. Seeing that Xiaomi copied most of the design from the iPhone X - notch and all, unfortunately - I guess Apple should get a pass when they copy the under-screen finger print sensor from Xiaomi.

[1] https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/xiaomis-mi8-news/

That's what I was referring to. It'd be a great feature. Apple would just nail the design and execution, give it a trademark name, and go to town with it.

Not so sure, Apple have made it clear they’re done with Touch ID, they’ve made enough points that Face ID is way more secure. They would look a bit stupid if they went back on it now and re-introduced touch

You can? News to me! Thank you.

Just don't set it up. You can select the option to skip/setup later and just never do it. Of course you are then limited to using a PIN as there is no other biometric option on the X/Xs sadly.

>Couldn’t they ditch the notch by having the speaker on the edge of the device? I have no problem hearing the speaker with my phone pulled away from my ear.

That triggered my PTSD from watching the Nokia N-Gage ads. That was cringey.

The N-Gage was my first 'smart' phone. Back then, just like now, I did not use phones so much to call people so the 'taco to your ear' pose did not bother me. I'm no gamer either, I just got the N-Gage because it was the cheapest freely programmable phone at the time. It also had good sound and doubled as a media player. In reality it was quite a usable device, all that was really missing was WiFi.

I sold my razer to get the N-Gage and I loved it. I am a gamer and loved the games available to it.

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