Talking Points on 2018 iPhone Announcement

EDITORIAL: 09.14.18- Apple, Inc. unveiled yet another round of new iPhone models at their special event on Wednesday and I came away disappointed and almost depressed after listening to (I’m visually impaired) the replay of the livestream online later that evening on my two year old iPhone which has now become obsolete as a result of the announcement made by the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company.

That brings us to my first disappointment which comes over the fact that the long since rumored iPhone SE 2 did not surface earlier this year as predicted by the rumor mills and it was even suggested that it might surface at this week’s special event. The absence of an update to the iPhone SE on Wednesday seems to point toward the full retirement of the popular device that was a surprise hit with people like me who wanted a smaller sized smartphone clamored for and went out and purchased. I highly doubt that a formerly current model albeit two years old — although there was a minor refresh last year with its two initial capacities doubled — being offered for sale would be discontinued with the unveiling of new models without the announcement of a successor especially two years out. Logic dictates, and Apple’s pattern of yearly upgrades suggests, that the iPhone SE is now dead along with any possible sequel, sadly for me since I love my iPhone SE (a 2016 64GB model) and was waiting to upgrade in hopes and anticipation of an SE 2.

Note: 2018 iPhone prices from Apple & its carriers are now live on our exclusive iPhone Price Tracker.

The iPhone SE, which was still being sold by Apple this year as a current option in retail stores and online, is now no longer offered as an option online. I have no way to check if they are still on display in-store and available for sale until the three new models arrive or whether it already has been pulled but the point is moot. Say goodbye to the iPhone SE.

With no iPhone SE 2, that probably would mean that there will be no iPhone 8S either. The iPhone 8 was released last year so an 8S should have emerged this year based on the yearly upgrade cycle. That also suggests that next year we should see an iPhone 9. Or did Apple decide to skip a 9 model altogether? It’s all so confusing what Apple has done. Remember that there was never a 7S model last year to succeed the 7 and Apple immediately jumped over to the 8 and released the special edition iPhone X for the device’s tenth anniversary.

The new 2018 iPhone lineup, from left to right, the XR, XS, and XS Max. (Photo: Courtesy of Apple)

Speaking of confusing are the naming conventions Apple has employed for the new iPhone models. The iPhone XS is the regular model, the iPhone XS Max is in essence the Plus model, and the iPhone XR is the budget-friendly model. Why did Apple decide to use two new monikers with “Max” and an “R”? Come to think of it, calling it the “iPhone X SE” would have been even better. Am I correct about these naming conventions or am I totally off on this?

Even more confusing are the many different spellings that Apple has used throughout. I checked different sources originating from Apple, from their website to the Apple Store app, and they have the iPhone XS spelled as “XS” and “Xs” or even “X S” with a space in between. It is even the same with the iPhone XR with it spelled both “XR” and “X R” but I have not come across it as “Xr” anywhere.

I have no idea which is the official spelling of each at this point and I did not bother to contact Apple on the subject as I am sure they are extremely busy fielding questions from many and bigger media outlets. I guess we will find out eventually and the many different spellings found (at least at the time of this writing) could be the result of the need for immediacy in publishing the many printed materials in different venues where information about the new products are being released. I suspect that the standard and official spelling has not been referenced by the different parties involved in distributing information to the public and hopefully they will clean everything up after all the stress in preparing for the big announcement has subsided and someone with a clear head will spot the mistakes. But that’s pure speculation on my part based on my own research.

Back to my disappointments, My second one is Apple favoring the larger sized smartphone as evidenced by this year’s new lineup. The new iPhone XS, the smallest of the bunch, is just a tad bit larger than the, get this, the iPhone 8 Plus! The latter has a 5.5-inch screen while the former has a 5.8-inch screen. The budget-friendly model being the new entry level model should have been smaller in my opinion but even the size of the iPhone XR falls in between the XS and the XS Max. No wonder they gave it a new moniker with “Max”! (They should have just called it the iPad nano).

I am not a fan of the larger smartphones that Apple has released in recent years and they keep getting bigger, everything now starting out at the size of last year’s Plus model. I think Apple needs to cater to those who would like a smaller phone, bucking the trend of bigger is better in the smartphone industry. I was planning to upgrade this year and as you already know, was hoping for an update to the iPhone SE. With no SE 2 on the horizon, my only option now would be to get last year’s iPhone 8 which is still being offered for sale. It’s now an old model but it will still be newer than my phone right now (which I found to not be that much larger than my iPhone SE in comparison). One reason I want a smaller phone is because most of the time I use my iPhone one-handed and anything larger than an SE or 8 feels awkward and very uncomfortable in my hands from personal “test driving” of the phones.

These iPhone announcements as of late kind of depress me because I can’t enjoy these unveilings in visual terms being completely blind. Granted this of course is not Apple’s fault and I commend the commitment to accessibility by the company making its products usable right out of the box to visually impaired people like me so that I can still use an iPhone (or my iPad mini 4, a sixth generation iPod touch, and my three Macs). But on my personal depression, I could not see what the new devices look like and can only rely on the descriptions I heard from the Wednesday special event and from what I have read from various sources. The most I will be able to do to experience the grandeur of the new iPhones is to touch and feel them in my hands.

I have not seen what an iPhone looks like since my previous device, an iPhone 5. I know what a 5S and my SE look like though because they are the same on the outside. After I lost my eyesight in 2013, the excitement of an iPhone unveiling — or any Apple product launch for that matter — and the sheer joy of upgrading my phone is gone. In fact, that is the reason I held on to my iPhone 5 for as long as I did, skipping the usual two-year cycle forced upon you from a wireless contract because I did not feel that an upgrade would benefit me if I couldn’t enjoy its appearance and features. But after four years, my iPhone 5 was getting slow and its battery life abysmal so I decided to upgrade to the SE, in essence an iPhone 6S in a smaller package, the one that was just right for me.

The “Goldilocks” sort of story is that the current iPhone model available to me at the time I decided to upgrade was the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. I knew that the Plus was the phablet size model so did not consider that one at all. I wanted to know how much bigger the 6S was compared to the 5 so knowing that my sister owned an iPhone 6, which was the same size as a 6S, I took a look at hers and compared it to my iPhone 5 and did not like how it felt to use. I had heard of a forthcoming special edition device that Apple was rumored to be releasing and details were that it would have the same body as the iPhone 5S but with upgraded specs so I considered that option and waited. Then the day came that the then new iPhone SE was officially announced and I had my heart set on my new iPhone and could not wait to get it!

Other than the iPhone 6, the only other models I have touched and felt in my hands, using my iPhone SE as a source for comparison, are the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the iPhone X while at a recent visit to an Apple Store. When I heard about the edge-to-edge display (minus the infamous notch which I find hard to visualize) of the iPhone X during last year’s iPhone announcement, I almost cried at the thought of how beautiful that must be to have to view things on its screen, knowing I would never be able to experience that ever.

The last disappointment of mine is over the iPhone announcement itself. The Wednesday special event focused on the iPhone though it also featured the Apple Watch, its distant cousin of sorts. Where was the Mac? There were no computer updates whatsoever as was expected and predicted to happen at the special event. It may be due to the fact that I had been on a long hiatus of covering Apple but I can’t remember the last time in recent years that Apple has held a special event to showcase and announce a new computer-related product. It seems they quietly update their computers through a press release instead of holding a special event like Wednesday’s or like they used to do at the Macworld Expo prior to 2009, their final event (which I attended and covered for PowerBook Central). The Mac was the heart and soul of the company and while I love every iPhone I’ve owned since my very first, the iPhone 3G, my favorite thing about Apple is the Mac and it feels like Apple has brushed aside its computer business or seemingly swept it under the rug in favor of the iPhone.

Do all these disappointments mean that I am starting to lose my so called “Apple fanboy” status and my love of all things that come out from Cupertino? No, not a chance. It’s just that I think there are some areas of concern that Apple has to address as seen through my slew of disappointments, those being how it should keep a smaller phone in its lineup and put its focus back on the Mac.

If you missed the iPhone announcement on Wednesday, here is the link to the video: “Apple Special Event – September 12, 2018.”

So what did you think about the Apple announcement and the new iPhone models? And do you agree with some of the things I’ve raved and ranted about? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below (make sure you are logged in to your Facebook account on the web beforehand) or personally drop me a line by emailing me at: j.leo@macprices.net.

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