IT HAS BECOME something of a tradition at INQ that, after the iPhone launch, with all its bombast and bluster (and when I get the night off because I'm a nuisance and generally hang around all night heckling anyway), I get a right of reply.
As the Head of Android Studies at The University of INQuiring, it falls to me to point out that most of the offerings aren't actually new. Unusually this year, I couldn't heckle as I was on a plane.
Of course, the first thing I did when we landed was to check the news, and nearly choked on what I assumed was once a cheese bagel. Because there is only one story this year.
Those prices. Am I right?
With the iPhone XR, named, presumably after the film certificate of the porn you can watch on the new screen, clocking in at a £749, let alone the top-end XS Max at £1,099, Apple has completely fallen off the edge of reason.
At least it was honest - in the keynote, the message was ‘we weren't sure people would pay a grand for a phone - but they did, so let's see what we can get away with'.
Now, I'm not one for whitewashing the good stuff, so you do get some bang for that buck, but the very idea that anyone would pay that much for a chunk of plastic and Jonny Ive's cranial wankings beggars belief.
In fact, I'll go further. Charging that much because you can is a direct exploitation of the millions of money-poor, geek-rich around the world - including some of its poorest countries, who simply feel they have to have it.
That said, the arrival of IP67 at an entry-level (IP68 for the posh ones) is certainly a step forward, and there is lots to love about the arrival of a 7nm chip.
I was at IFA this year and was quite bewildered as to why Huawei, who recently pipped Apple to smartphone shipments number one, decided to announce their latest chipset - the Kirin 980 - before the first phone to use it was ready.
Now we know. There are a lot of similarities between the Kirin, and the A1 Bionic. Firstly, the 7nm wafer size. Huawei announced it first. Now Apple reveals they're going to have one in our hot little hands first.
The AI, Huawei's big thing, has been adopted in the A12, so Huawei wanted to remind us it was already ready to launch the next level of theirs.
We'll be interested to see how they match up. That's if Apple decides they want to lend us an iPhone this year. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for Carly's letter to Santa.
But here's the thing. Aside from that, yet again, Apple is playing catch-up or at least also-ran. And this isn't just a 'FFS Apple' but a 'FFS industry' - the competition now isn't "best smartphone" but "same smartphone, slightly quicker" or "same features, different order".
Which brings me back to my original point. There is nothing here that other manufacturers aren't doing for significantly less. So the price structure is just horrendous.
Worse still, along with the latest Apple Care plans (a scheme I grudgingly admire) is the option for Apple to set up the phone and get it working for you. Where's the fun in that? Not only are they charging through the nose - they're actually taking away the best bit.
It feels almost like Apple has given up on trying to attract switchers from other operating systems. Nobody is going to spend this kind of money, and then have to change the rest of their ecosystem - wearables, accessories, and of course, rebuying all their apps.
No. This year's iPhones are aimed at those who've already drunk the Kool-Aid. And will keep drinking, and drinking, and drinking until the bailiffs come knocking. And that just says to me that Apple has finally jumped the shark from a technical innovator who I grudgingly respected, to and I use these words carefully, f*cking racketeers, pure and simple. μ
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