I’ve been reading the reports from the leaked GM build of iOS 11. First off, it would be funny if Apple released this build on purpose to throw everyone off track. But I doubt they would spend the time and money to make a fake build in parallel with the real one. Anyway, this build is giving sneak peeks of what is, and isn’t, included with the iPhone X. And after reading them, I’m not sure I want one. To be clear, I haven’t touched one and I won’t know for sure until after I have. But there are a few things I am looking for in a new iPhone:
- performance (I want to be able to run ARKit and MLCore well)
- feature set (I don’t need latest and greatest, I need mainstream)
- price (I don’t want it to cost a lot more)
At best, the iPhone X seems to at best equal the iPhone 8, namely the 8+ in all of these. It has the same processor and RAM. The iPhone 8 will have 2GB but the 8+ will have 3GB, same as the iPhone X. So the 8+ should perform equally as well as the X with ARKit, MLCore and the other awesome on device software that is packed into iOS 11. As far as feature set, I’m concerned about the lack of Touch ID. While Face ID sounds cool, I wonder how practical it is. This namely has to do with low light situations. For example, if I get a push notification in the middle of the night and need to unlock the phone to see it, am I going to have to turn on the lights to do it? Or will I have to stumble around in the dark for my glasses to see to enter my passcode? Also, what about in a crowded place? Are people going to think I am recording them? With all of the prank vlogs becoming so popular, people are wary of cameras on phones in stores. And how to test Touch ID apps on the iPhone X? The battery is mainly a concern because my iPhone is 2 1/2 years old and the battery isn’t what it was when I bought it. But I want to make sure that new toys on the device won’t eat up the battery too. And of course there is price. Apple has not made a significant difference in the price of new iPhones in a while. If I am going to pay the premium price tag, I want a phone that works. Not a phone with buggy experimental features and a laggy processor that drain the battery.
Of course, these are just my concerns before the launch. And if I could justify buying both (really justify having both on a cell plan) I would. And if I could buy both and just put one on a cell plan, it would be the iPhone 8+. Currently, I’m leaning to the iPhone 8+. I’ll get at least double the storage I have now, the same processor, the same RAM as the IPhone X and it won’t cost me any more than I am paying now. Then Apple will have year to test the ‘cool’ of iPhone X and work it into next year’s models. In the meantime I’ll be able to do what I really am interested in which is iOS features like ARKit and CoreML. And I can take the money saved from the iPhone 8+ and get the LTE Apple Watch which is also something I’d rather have. Regardless, even the iPhone 8 is going to outclass everything that exists today, even if it doesn’t look as cool.
In a few months, assuming there are still some left, I might go for an iPhone X to try out some of the new stuff. But until then, I’m not convinced I’ll plunk down $1000+ for a phone to be a guinea pig using experimental features. That’s the best of both worlds for Apple. And Apple has done ‘special edition’ products in the past too. Very often they were buggy and hard to use, focusing more on style than functionality. At the end of the day, they ended up being collectors items for the Apple faithful. So while I’m not saying that the iPhone X will be like the Newton or that $300 book of product photos (or even the Touch Bar which I still think is stupid), I’m not ready to get one yet. We’ll see what happens after the launch.