Should You Buy The New iPhone?
Kicking off Apple's annual event launch at 3am, CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the tech giant's Cupertino headquarters to announce to the world the latest products we once lined up for.
With competitors like Samsung, LG and Huawei producing smartphones with features never seen on an iPhone, the pressure was on. For years Apple has lost its innovative lead to its competitors -- but 2019 is the year Apple promised innovation.
Apple has announced three new iPhones to the world. The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They will aim to meet the needs of consumers seeking an inexpensive model, a common model and an excessive model, respectively. The days of sub $1000 flagship phones from manufacturers are also long gone, with the new iPhone range starting at $1199, and increasing to $1749 and $1899 for the Pro handsets. The top iPhone model (The iPhone 11 Pro Max 512 GB) will take $2499 from your pocket if you’re able to afford it. They’ll all be available to buy from September 20th.
So what do you get for the money?
The new iPhone range adds improved cameras, with two lenses on the back of the iPhone 11, three lenses on the back of the Pro models, a faster processor, the latest operating system (iOS13), improved battery life and the ability to unlock your phone with FaceID from stranger angles.
While the new iPhones will deliver better photos for sharing on Instagram, surely there is something else?
The new iPhone range will look very familiar when viewed from the front with the notch, housing the front-facing camera and other sensors still intruding on the screen. The new iPhone range does come in additional colour options though, such as a dark green. If you own an iPhone X (introduced in 2017) you might not notice the difference until you compare the back of the devices.
It all begs the question -- should you be excited? Should you pitch your tent at the Apple store in George St, Sydney?
For a number of reasons, this iPhone announcement is a disappointment. When competitors advertise ultra-fast connectivity with 5G, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, reverse wireless charging and devices that look like they’re genuinely new, it is hard to be excited when one of the world’s largest smartphone brands is only playing catch up --and only partially.
As loyal iPhone users hold onto old devices hoping for the next big innovation from Apple, 2019 could be seen as the second year that not a lot has changed. Instead, before this announcement today, rumours already began about the 2020 iPhone, which should have features Samsung models and others already have today.
It appears Apple is just not checking the Suggestion Box anymore -- surely it is overflowing by now.
Given we're talking about the company that really kick-started the smartphone revolution, we shouldn’t be anticipating a 2020 model before the 2019 model has been announced. Apple's failure to surprise and delight its customers is not only evident in the lack of queues on launch day for the last few years -- it's also becoming clear in the swing in customers trying a competitor phone and not coming back.
For existing iPhone users, what you can be excited about is that the operating system arriving on the new iPhone will be available to you from September 20th for free. The new features in iOS 13 include huge improvements to the Photos and Camera app, a new Dark Mode, a huge revamp of Apple CarPlay and an improved Apple Maps. This update may breathe new life into your phone to keep you satisfied until 2020.
What today taught us is something we’ve all started to get used to -- we’re holding onto our smartphones for longer. What used to be a 12 to 24 month turnover has turned into customers using their phones for 36 to 48 months before upgrading. In this sense, if you use an iPhone 8, then today could mean an opportunity for a wonderful upgrade in design and performance, but if you decide to assess the market you might find yourself falling in love with another brand.
Where you invest your next $1000+ should be carefully considered.
Why else did Apple get us out of bed at 3am? Well, a new Apple Watch with an always-on display, a November 1 release date of the Apple TV streaming service to take on Netflix at $7.99 per month, and a new base model iPad priced at $529.
Still not excited?
Sorry to waste your time -- let’s roll the dice again next year.
Geoff Quattromani is a technology commentator across radio, print, online and TV. He can be found on Twitter here and can be heard on his podcast Technology Uncorked weekly.