Apple Hits it out of the Park... Again

Pick your jaw up off the floor or clean up the drink you just spit out because you can’t believe the headline on MY blog. Did Aaron Hales actually give Apple props for the new iPhone XS? I am all for giving credit where credit is due. I have written numerous times about how Apple changed the game. When they introduced the first iPhone many people had no idea what to think and didn’t take it seriously. Today, what was started over a decade ago (though even the smartphone movement wasn’t STARTED by Apple—they did, however, give it a huge “bump”) has created a market where smartphones are as ubiquitous as neon in the 80’s.

I digress, however, because the only thing Apple knocked out of the park with the new iPhone XS Max was their seemingly unbelievable $1000 price tag introduced with last year’s iPhone X. See, there is the sarcasm regarding Apple you know and love from me.

It’s true. Last year the world was shocked to find out the newest iteration of the iPhone would set them back a cool grand. Unbelievable as it was, diehard Apple fans shelled out the money for the latest and “greatest” iPhone. For users and fans of iPhones there was a lot to love about the phone—even if they hated the notch.

For anyone who has ever used any other smartphone, it was much ado about nothing. Apple finally introduced features and tech other manufacturers has already been using, in some cases, for years. Yes, years. Their Face ID was admittedly (credit where credit is due) the only real innovation. Face unlock has been around for years, but Apple took it and improved making the feature even more secure than fingerprints. They also put in a camera that honestly provoked a little jealousy from this Samsung user (although I now have the BEST smartphone camera on the market—Note 9).

Apple was not the first to implement a smartphone that was, for all intents and purposes, full-screen. To implement their new full-screen, “best screen on the market,” they had to call their “friends” at Samsung and use their technology.

OK. I don’t want to rehash last year’s model. I also understand this is what is considered the “off year” for the iPhone. Every other year, Apple makes minor improvements—upgrading memory, processing, resolution, etc. Things which are improvements over the year before but not normally anything to merit an upgrade if you bought last year’s model. However, at a time when smartphone development seems to have hit a wall, across the board, as far as innovation goes, Apple happily stood at the wall and said, let’s just plant some flowers here so it looks better and add an extra row of bricks at the top—just one row, nothing too different from what’s already here.

There certainly were no surprises by Apple. To say it was underwhelming would be an understatement. At this point, it would be surprising if Apple DID present anything new or innovative at their iPhone events. The even was unlike the recent Samsung event which unveiled the Note 9 and presented an innovation on the S Pen, a revamp and simplification of the DeX system, and the introduction of their own speaker system which allows multiple speakers to be linked into a full sound system. Yes, Apple had a new version of their watch—just like Samsung did a month ago.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many things that Apple and the iPhone are doing right. They have created a user-friendly system. I interpret that as “old and boring.” It is a system which locks everything down and unifies (simplifies) it to ensure a child or your grandma can use it. That is part of what I loathe about the iPhone. I can’t make it my own. When Apple implements something it is usually fully vetted, the kinks and bugs have been taken care of, and it works perfectly—usually (Apple Maps launch not included).

And the truth is, most smartphones have incremental innovation at this point. Even the advances Samsung announced a month ago were not anything “new.” They were the next generation of what they have already been doing. Few manufacturers are “changing things.” I think of Lenovo/Motorola and their Moto Mods. That is something different. I’m not into it, but at least they are thinking outside the box, “What can we do to stand out?” If there were a Mod I was in love with I might actually consider the phone, but I don’t want to have to carry around something else along with my phone.

I love the fact that my phone simplifies things. I don’t have to carry around a planner—my phone is it. I don’t have to carry around a camera—my phone is it. For the most part, I don’t even have to carry around my wallet—my phone is it. That’s what I love about my smartphone. SO I guess it’s a back-handed compliment to Apple for not presenting us with something like a Mod that creates additional tech you have to take with you.

So, it’s all new, but really the same—except the price. “Hey batter, batter…” Swing and a miss Apple. Swing and a miss.

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