The best iPhone ever... for a few days
On Friday September 22, the iPhone 8 started shipping, and it’s the best iPhone ever, like every iPhone released every previous fall ever was. The difference this fall is that it’ll only be the best iPhone ever for a limited amount of time. The iPhone X was announced at the same time as the 8 during Apple’s Fall 2017 keynote presentation, and it is the future of the iPhone. For the first time, Apple is releasing a flagship iPhone in a short amount of time after releasing what would normally be the flagship iPhone.
Who is iPhone 8/ 8 Plus for?
I’ve been wondering who will be getting the iPhone 8 now instead of waiting for an iPhone X. Having passed by the downtown Montreal Apple Store on the morning of the 8 and 8 Plus release date, there was no huge lineup. The diehard iPhone fans that buy every iPhone on day one will not be getting the 8 and 8 Plus - they’re all going to wait for the X. This seems pretty obvious: why get a regular iPhone when you can have a technically-superior iPhone just a few weeks later?
Most people think I’m one of those people that needs the latest thing, but I’m really not. The only reason I upgraded my iPhone 5S to an iPhone 6S was because we needed a second iPhone for the family, as my wife’s Android phone was completely dead. The plan for the next upgrade is to get a new iPhone sometime in the late winter or early spring, and then have the battery replaced on my iPhone 6S since there’s a repair program available for my model. This way, next spring, my wife will have an iPhone 6S with a fresh battery, and I’ll have either an 8 Plus or X.
This is where I’m faced with a decision. Do I go with latest and greatest, or with the evolution of a proven formula? The tech geek in me is saying that it’s no contest: get the iPhone X. However, the budget conscious dad that wants to be able to go to Disney World every year (Ed note: el oh el) needs to get the best bang for my buck. With everything pointing to a severely constrained supply for the iPhone X, I’m thinking that by next Spring, the price of the iPhone 8 Plus will be pretty low through my carrier. I would need to sign a two-year contract, but that doesn’t bother me since it’s always less over the course of two years than buying the phone outright.
What will the iPhone Landscape look like a year from now?
What the future holds for the iPhone X is what is making me deeply consider the iPhone 8 Plus. There’s safety in buying the iPhone 8 Plus, since it’s the fourth refinement of the iPhone 6 form factor. At this point, Apple has worked out most, if not all, of the hardware quirks (like the bending that happened with the iPhone 6 Plus). The iPhone X is a new product and even if there’s a “ten” in its name, it really is an “X” in that we don’t know what to expect. Apple is usually pretty good with first generation products (ex. Apple Watch). However, what will the iPhone X look like after a year of iteration?
The most obvious answer is that Apple will be better at making the model. Everything points to the iPhone X being difficult to manufacture, both in obtaining components and putting them together. This in turn drives up the price. Supply will not meet the demand for several months at the very least. An edge-to-edge screen is not new, but shipping it in the quantities that Apple needs to provide and the fact that it’s a higher quality OLED screen than others, does make it more problematic than previous iPhones that featured standard screens.
Future iPhone Xs will be available at a lower price. Prices will come down for the flagship model, and of course, Apple will have the previous model around for purchase as they have done for several years. At least, this is my hope. It could go the other way: the new, higher price is here to stay, even once the iPhone X model iPhone becomes the only type of iPhone.
Notches and Batteries
I don’t see the notch going away for at least a few years. Ultimately, Apple wants everything to go away, leaving only a screen - that was the whole premise of the iPhone and the multi-touch screen; nothing but direct contact with what you’re doing on the device. The thing is, with everything that is packed into that notch, it’ll be a while before that happens. The next few years will continue with camera improvements and chip speed and efficiency. There will also likely be a version with a larger screen surface.
My biggest hope for a future iPhone is an obvious one - a much longer lasting battery. During the work week, my iPhone is used a lot, mainly because I listen to podcasts. My iPhone 6S lasts me through the day only because I charge it at my desk back to 100% at least once per day. On the weekends, this isn’t much of an issue because my iPhone is mostly on standby. However, an iPhone with double the battery life would be a huge change.
Writing this has convinced me that I may eventually want to get an iPhone 8 Plus; mostly for the better camera and battery life, and since I don’t want to pay the premium that the iPhone X will carry. The demand for the X will likely lead to a lower-priced 8 Plus once I decide to get an iPhone early next year. It’s all up in the air for now. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m getting a new iPhone sometime in the next few months, and probably going to Disney World next summer.