There's no question, I'm waiting for the arrival of iPhone X, and apparently tens of millions of people across the globe are as well. iPhone 8 pre-sales are brisk but not earth shattering, and that is likely to mean only one thing: iPhone X is going to be a big, big, deal.
I've upgraded every two years since my first-ever iPhone, the iPhone 3G. I'm currently sporting an iPhone 7, which means I should be another year away for my next upgrade. However, iPhone X may have changed my two-year cycle, along with millions of others. I have never considered the larger iPhone Plus models until this past year. With ever-expanding unlimited data plans and my increased use of streaming video, I've found myself wanting a slightly larger display to watch tennis, football or basketball while working out on the gym bike or waiting for my next flight. So why not the iPhone 8 Plus?
If you are on the fence as to whether you should consider moving from an Android smartphone to a new iPhone, but still feel comfortable in giving away virtually every ounce of your 4th amendment right to privacy, prefer a slow and out-of-date processor (coupled with inferior camera technology), are comfy cozy wth an ecosystem that has you searching for fragmented cloud solutions between computer, phone, tablet and watch, and love selling your phone for virtually nothing every 2 or 3 years, then another Android phone may be the right fit for your future.
But before you tell me that the latest iPhones really look appealing, please keep in mind that an Android smartphone provides just about everything you shouldn't be looking for in a smartphone, and you may even get an unexpected bonus or two, such as a phone that explodes in your four-year-old's hands or a nice bit of malware that steals your banking information. These are all clever and surprising things an Android phone can deliver – at any time. Thus, if this is what you have come to expect and live with, then an iPhone may be a complete shock to your digital way of life.
Rumor and random speculation is running rampant regarding Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone, often referred to as iPhone 8. Perhaps the most shocking feature claimed of them all is that the smartphone will sell upwards of $1,400, with a starting price around $1,000. New technologies, such as a larger OLED display, glass integrated Touch ID, 3D sensors, a larger battery and waterproofing are among the reasons for iPhone 8 prices shooting the moon – at least these are the claims.
While many new technologies initially raise Apple's iPhone build cost, this happens with every new iPhone having all-new features. This raises an obvious question: Has Apple ever raised iPhone prices to this extent in the past when introducing a slew of new features? Answer: No.
Apple's newly unveiled Augmented Reality Kit (ARKit) has developers diving in and thinking about the possibilities. Apple provided a presentation of the technology at their World Wide Developers Conference earlier this month and it did not disappoint. Virtual objects were shown on a table, taking into account the surface size, camera movement and lighting solutions, all in real-time. Needless to say it was an impressive demonstration.
During the unveiling of ARKit, Apple had John Knoll of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) provide a Star Wars VR presentation. John introduced Lauren Ridge of EPIC Games, who was backstage, complete with green screen and her VR goggles ready to go. John and Lauren showed off a Star Wars experience and some quick programming, adding in tie-fighters and Darth Vader for what played out as a pretty close call with the Dark Lord. It was cool stuff, but I started revisiting the presentation again. As Darth Vader came towards Lauren, what if she had a physical lightsaber that integrated into the game? ILM and EPIC Games could deliver the holy grail where VR and reality completely blur. But it could go much further.
Lately, Apple has been adding to their space exploration team. Not only does Apple have their sights set on your mobile life, but evidently they look up at night and think about how to reach for the stars. Apple recently added two of Google's satellite executives to some vaguely understood hardware team. In April an inside-the-satellite-beltway blog site talked of Apple working with Boeing regarding Low Earth Orbit (LEO) multi-thousand satellite deployment. Sounds cool, but when it comes to Apple, the age old question remains; What's in it for me?
Have you ever been on a cruise or taken a flight? How about visiting another country far away or hiking to parts unknown? In each scenario internet access often costs far too much to justify, or simply isn't available. If you've ever attended a college football game good luck getting anything in or out of your iPhone, as the towers are typically jammed solid with traffic. Now envision all these places, or virtually everywhere, providing strong signal with amazing speeds for any task, anywhere, any time. That's what's in it for you.
Project Titan, Apple's not-so-secret car program, has apparently been all over the map. But just when the Titan finally appeared to have legs, former Ford executive, Steve Zadesky, who was heading up Apple's automotive project, left the company in September, 2016. Filling Zadesky's vacuum, veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield promptly took over the reigns. According to the New York Times, Mansfield immediately slashed the Titan workforce, whittling the program down to autonomous-only driving solutions. Earlier this week Apple CEO, Tim Cook, just revealed publicly that autonomous driving is indeed Apple's direction. But I've never bought into any Apple CEO's public comments (only delivering part of a picture they want us to see), nor do I buy into the "paper of record" rumors, nor should you.
Mansfield has saved many fledging programs at Apple, working with shoestring teams while delivering remarkable results. Project Titan had become a program losing it's Apple culture, while gaining a bloated staff with far too many Detroit executives running the show. Mansfield was tasked to bring the program back to Apple's roots with a lean and focused team. Evidence continues to mount an Apple car has always been – and still is – on it's way.
It's a curious thing, that Apple. To have all but ignored the Mac for years made going into the Apple retail stores seem like a walk through a computing history museum. "...and here is the MacBook Air. Launched in 2008 and still does not have a Retina display, Thunderbolt, or any other port for that matter." At least it is – slowly – getting harder to point out how slow Apple has been to getting Mac's updated. Cook and crew clearly took their eye off the Mac ball for years, but things have changed in Cupertino, and much needed updates are on their way. Does this mean Apple's leadership is listening to customers, or does it merely explain the pivot due to iPad's constant and decreasing sales since 2014?...
Out of the myriad of announcements Apple put forth on Monday during their 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, one new technology continues to come back around in my mind time and time again. And yet, I'm not sure if I'm as excited as I am relieved – It's a close call. Files App in iOS for iPad is a game changer. Essentially, Files App is the macOS Finder for iOS. A native file directory shipping with iOS 11 for iPads. Yes! And about time!
T-GAAP's been clamoring for an "AirFinder" (or some form of native Finder for iOS) for years. After all, iOS is a slimed down version of macOS. Apple's mobile operating system has always had a file directory, it's just been hidden from the GUI. Files App for iPad that Apple has, bafflingly so, been holding back for years, may greatly tilt the trajectory of iPad forever.
The endless amount of talk regarding Apple's forthcoming iPhone 8 has been nothing short of rumor-staggering. A fair amount of the information seems quite likely, and has given way to any number of new ideas Apple could incorporate. The amazing feat of building the home button with Touch ID directly into the glass is looking more like one iPhone's new realities. But in doing so, it presents a basic problem. How does a user quickly and easily locate the home button on an all-glass, sleep mode display?
Forget about iPhone 8's edge-to-edge OLED display, 3D camera, IP68 waterproof rating, Touch ID built into the glass, or, or, or... The killer feature for iPhone 8 will be AirPods that ship with the phone as a standard feature. Will this happen? Sorry kids, I don't work on Apple's iPhone product marketing team, nor am I close personal friends with Phil Schiller (although "Uncle Phil" has always seemed pretty cool), so I have no idea if this will actually happen – but it most certainly should.
Analysts have been beating the drum that iPhone 8 will cost over a $1,000 in certain configurations, with starting prices nearing $900. If that's the case, I highly question where the massively increased costs for iPhone 8 are hidden? OLED display vs LCD? No. There is no longer a massive cost delta between the two technologies with Apple's volume. New sensors and Touch ID built into the glass will cost more than Apple's current Touch ID implementation. But when Touch ID was launched in iPhone 5s it was also a costly new feature and Apple didn't jack up the prices for iPhone 5s with Touch ID, rather, Apple held prices and focused on selling more iPhones.