back to article Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

The phrase "Peak Apple" has been used many times, only for the fruity firm to bounce back. Cupertino has amassed a vast fortune by ignoring the carping experts. However, the latest bout of iPhone fatigue might be more than a passing bout of flu. It's prompted one Wall Street watcher to downgrade Apple stock. The specific …

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analogue headphone jack FTW

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Waiting for Apple to reveal the brand new, exciting analogue headphone jack in the iPhone 8, alongside declaration of their 'tremendous courage' and about how it's inclusion will be a 'game changer'.

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Dunno, Man

I can only offhand remember one other time Apple implicitly admitted they made a mistake, and backed down: the 3rd Generation iPod Shuffle. They went from 4 way Button on device > No button on device (Meaning like iPhone 7, speciality headphones are required) > 4 way button on the device

Other than that, Apply normally power through whatever they want, and drag the surprisingly sticky market with them: I can't think of any other company the could get away with their premium laptop and premium phone, together costing at least £1,500, not coming with a cable to talk to each other by default (USB-C to Lightning)

At this point, I think they'll stick to their guns, and our old 3.5mm friend's gone for good. The only tangible change I expect this to have on apple is they won't drop the adaptor in the box just yet...

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Re: Dunno, Man

If you had a blank slate - i.e there were no existing 3.5mm devices on the market - would you use the same format today?

I've had MiniDisc players that have developed faults with the 3.5mm jack (fortunately they had a second audio-out 3.5mm port at line level). I've had an early-ish Creative Labs MP3 jukebox fail for the same reason, because the port was soldered directly onto the main PCB. I've broken lots of headphone cables by snagging them on things - the failure occurs by the plug. I've had a Sony Xperiaphone where the Tip Ring Ring Collar was not sufficient for them ('cos you only get mono in) so a TRRRC 3.5mm port was used in order to support stereo in (for noise-cancelling headphones that used the phone's silicon, and for stereo microphones).

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Re: Dunno, Man

With that kind of track record perhaps it's you that's the problem and not the technology?

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Phablet FTW.

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Re: Dunno, Man

"I've had a Sony Xperiaphone where the Tip Ring Ring Collar was not sufficient for them ('cos you only get mono in) so a TRRRC 3.5mm port was used in order to support stereo in (for noise-cancelling headphones that used the phone's silicon, and for stereo microphones)."

The beauty of that is that these jacks are normally designed to be compatible with totally bog standard 3.5mm stereo headphone plugs!

Don't USB ports, lightning ports, and what have you, break?

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Re: Dunno, Man

>If you had a blank slate - i.e there were no existing 3.5mm devices on the market - would you use the same format today?

I've always been concerned about breaking sockets since the 80's when that was what invariably killed personal stereos. However, I haven't had that problem with modern kit.

On the other hand, yet another rechargeable item is not what I want. If I were starting from scratch, I'd be going with something like magsafe with an optical/electrical converter in the volume control widget and power supplied alongside the optical link. Perhaps we could have rechargeable wireless headphones which can charge off the phone, when they are connected?

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Re: Dunno, Man

With respect, that's not a problem with the format. It's a problem with the implementation. Used to annoy the crap out of me the way so many electronics providers would solder the darn socket to the board. If they just spent 5p more making the thing and screwed it to the casing with flying leads (as the standard was designed to be used) - it would have been fine.

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Re: Dunno, Man

Laptop power jacks have the same problem when soldered to the board. IBM solved it by having flying leads and a plug to connect to the board. No strain on the board and the socket can be changed easily. Apple solved the power jack problem with a magnetic plug and socket. They removed that feature though.

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How many iPhones got tossed because people drilled their own holes? :)

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Trollface

They put these rumours out themselves because they know their customers well and know exactly how much extra hardware it will shift.

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Once again, a distorted and misleading article

No wonder Apple blacklists you

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Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

Care to explain exactly what's distorted and misleading about it? Otherwise you just look like another Apple fan who can't take criticism....

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Joke

Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

I detect the sarcasm, but you need to add a comedy tag to avoid confusing the masses.

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Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

Jeffy, I'm confused - is your advice directed at W Donelson (dissing an article by the Executive Editor) or at sabroni (insinuating that there are fanbois who can handle criticism)?

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Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

Reuters and other news media:

Apple shares back in vogue as Wall Street bets on iPhone surge

"Apple's 15-percent rally since mid-November pushed the stock to levels not seen in more than a year and boosted over 100 mutual funds that became shareholders in recent quarters."

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Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

Methinks you did not properly understand the article. El Reg is not saying that the stock is down, they're saying that analysts (well, one analyst, at least) predict the stock will be down.

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Trollface

Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

"you need to add a comedy tag to avoid confusing the masses"

Masses of what?

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Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

I interpreted W Donelson's post as hilarious. Perhaps it was too subtle? Requires an icon?

The massive number of downloads (54+) are those "masses" that missed the joke.

Who knows if my interpretation is correct... I'm certainly reading between the lines.

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Pint

Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

CB inquired "Masses of what?"

'Teeming masses of unwashed humanity' ...

...is the usual expression. But that'd be rude.

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The timing of this 'release'

just before Apple releases its results (31st Jan) tells me that the people who make a living from shorting APPL stock may well be out in force. The stock is currently at $121.91. I think they'll be betting that it goes below $110 in Feb 1st as (IIRC) Apple release their results after the market has closed.

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

@ Steve Davies 3

$121? My how the mighty have fallen.... Didn't this stock used to be in the $600s?

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

You're not serious, right?

<quote>$121? My how the mighty have fallen.... Didn't this stock used to be in the $600s?</quote>

http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/08/10/apples-stock-split-history.aspx

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Holmes

Re: The timing of this 'release'

@ John 104

yes, that was in 2014, before the stock was split 7-to-1.

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

@John 104

Stock hit around $700 at one point but that was prior to Apple splitting the shares 7-1. The adjusted high is a bit over $130 I believe.

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

$121? My how the mighty have fallen.... Didn't this stock used to be in the $600s?

It went above $700, and then was split seven ways, so if you had one share worth $700 plus you handed that in and got seven shares worth $100 plus. It has since climbed. At $121, that means that the old stock would have been well past $850.

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

Google: STOCK SPLITS

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/08/10/apples-stock-split-history.aspx

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Re: The timing of this 'release'

Yes, just before it split 7-for-1.

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Coat

It is isn't happening now it is going to happen sooner or later. Here's hoping the phone and IT industry in general can focus on genuine innovation now rather than 'ohh it's 0.1mm thinner than last year with even roundier corners!'.

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And exactly what sort of innovation is anyone else doing in phones? There have basically been incremental upgrades from everyone the last few years. Now rumor has it that the iPhone 8 (and the Galaxy S8) will have more screen area for the same phone size by removing some bezel and putting the fingerprint sensor under glass. While more screen area is nice, that's not exactly earth shattering.

Please tell me what sort of innovation you are thinking Apple should be doing, or are expecting from anyone else.

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>It is isn't happening now it is going to happen sooner or later. Here's hoping the phone and IT industry in general can focus on genuine innovation now rather than 'ohh it's 0.1mm thinner than last year with even roundier corners!'.

Yet nobody who has commented about the industry's lack of innovation in the last few years has said what their idea of an innovative smartphone would look like. I suspect that this is because current smartphones already do what people want them to do.

For nearly a decade, most of my mates had 'candybar' mobile phones, primarily for texts and calls, and even the later models with colour screens didn't really add much functionality. The style of phone everybody uses these days - oblong slabs composed mostly of a touchscreen roughly 5" in the diagonal - could not have arrived earlier, no matter how 'innovative' LG or Apple had been - because chips weren't quite efficient enough. As it was, the first iPhone was pushing at the limits of what people would bear in terms of price and battery life.

In the future, we might expect silicon to be yet more power efficient, and batteries to store more energy- that's when you can expect more obvious innovation. There is plenty of time and money being spent on achieving just that. Or when LG make OLED screens that can be rolled up. But hey, obvious innovation is overrated. There is a lot to be said for refinement. For around a century, bicycles have been three triangles made of welded metal tubes attached to a couple of pneumatic tyres. The design is a good un!

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@DougS

Hehe, we've just posted much the same comment! However, I did note that James wasn't singling Apple out here!

There are things I would like from a phone that aren't currently provided - but hey, I'm a fussy bugger and a product designer! Hell, I'm the sort of weirdo who might get some genuine use out of a Project Tango (real-time 3D environment mapping) phone. The point about being a product designer is that you have to consider how people who are not like yourself will use something. The fun thing about product design is that it sits across disciplines, such as the science of materials (which can be tested, stretched, squashed, simulated) and people (who are surprising, and strangely resistant to being stretched and squashed)

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my last upgrade

was HP Pre3 to Galaxy note 3 (still use it), bought a Note 4 too recently but it's sitting on a shelf, I'm fine with my Note 3, Note 4 has more pixels but for casual use I can't see a difference(I'm sure I could under certain conditions). I haven't personally owned any other Android phones, and no IOS either.

The specs were pretty stark:

Telco network speeds 7Mbit -> 42Mbit (6X)

Screen 384,000 pixels -> 2,073,600 pixels (5.4X)

CPU Single core 1.4Ghz -> quad core 2.3Ghz (guesstimate at least 5X)

Memory: 512MB -> 3GB (6X)

Storage: 8GB(internal, no SD slot) -> 32GB(internal), 128GB SD (20X)

Camera: 5MP -> 13MP (though I use it in 8MP mode) (1.6X)

Battery: 1230mAh -> 3200 mAh (2.6X)

Weight: 156g -> 168g (though weighs quite a bit more now with wireless charging back and glass screen protector, I don't have a scale to know exactly how much more, maybe 200g)

The note 3 has replaced any use I had for tablets as well.

Sometimes I miss the keyboard of the Pre3 though my hands are very big and it was hard to type on anyway. The stylus on the note is handy for precision stuff for sure, though I don't do much hand writing or drawing.

Note 3 works fine for what I do, it would of been nice to get more security updates, but I am very careful on what I use the phone for anyway.

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I like what fairphone is doing in terms of modular design. pushing that angle so phones can be upgraded or repaired the same way as desktop computers would help to reduce waste. Secondary eink screens to enhance battery life. Reintroducing replaceable batteries and memory. There's also stuff like foldable phones which probably aren't that practical but do look cool. Then there's wacky stuff like bone conductirs for the sound. Could go on but you get the idea.

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Innovation?

You can NOT "innovate" a particular product category for ever. It reaches maturity.

What about longer battery life, longer product life, more robust, and five SEPARATE connectors for charge, HDMI, data master, data slave and analogue audio/ear/mic. Then it could be used as a pocket sized dockable computer or a phone.

My ancient Sony Z1 nearly achieves this. My tablet is a FAIL. No way to power except on USB, previous model had a power jack. Can't connect USB slave devices and charge on USB, only USB host + charge. Only "casting" via wireless, which needs special TV HW and doesn't work with most apps. Previous tablet and old Z1 phone has a real HDMI port.

I hear there is an Apple Watch too, which is useless without an iPhone.

Apple sacrifice functionality nowadays for "marketing" appearance / "show room" cool, c.f. Waste bucket styled Mac, iPhone 7, Mac book pro touch, the x10 overpriced BT earbuds etc.

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For innovation there's companies sticking heat cameras and molecular scanners in handsets. We could do with some decent optical zoom and quality audio. Project Tango might be a thing. I'm a fan of any upcoming device that may offer a degree of ruggedness married to some decent specs (not achieved by sticking an iPhone in a rubber sleeve). Maybe we could do with a different shape that's not so razor-thin that if gives me cramp after holding for a while. Or build in one of those ring things on the back that are trending (yet ridiculous). What would be truly innovative would be some crazy new battery technology. Heck, even stick a solar panel in the back so those of us in sunnier climes can charge up on the windowsill sans cable. And that's all just hardware.

Software, specifically the raft of digital assistants, looks like being where the manufacturers see the fight being. Do I want my phone say, tracking how many times I've Google Pay'd a pint that evening then automatically ordering me an Uber before I make a tit of myself? Probably not. But I can see how stuff like that may be cool.

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"Please tell me what sort of innovation you are thinking Apple should be doing, or are expecting from anyone else."

Well, it could use a headphone jack.

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I thought the iPhone 6 was foldable. Or did you mean foldable and still usable too?

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Re: Innovation?

Innovation would be new exciting features like bursting into flames. Yes, technically it's been done before by the competition (as is often the case) but Apple would do it with more style and so the fans would love it, and buy shiny new replacements from Apple.

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Thank you for playing! :)

>For innovation there's companies sticking heat cameras and molecular scanners in handsets.

Good on 'em. Those features (which really are using the base phone for it's screen and CPU/GPUasCPU power) might be better as add-on modules, no? Even if your day job is an insulation technician, do you really want o carry the extra bulk when you're in the pub?

>We could do with some decent optical zoom

That will usually add to the bulk of the camera. You could envisage snap-on lenses, or else there is the Nokia 1020 approach which assumes most zoom photography is in the day time and most low light photography is social and wide angle. Apple's approach is reasonable - just add a second camera with a zoom lens. Then there is that project on Kickstarter which uses about a dozen sensors and lenses, and does cunning stuff in software (one gets the idea their end-game is to sell to phone vendors). Then of course is the zoom approach used by Panasonic et al in their 'rugged' cameras: a mirror at 45º is used to increase the distance from lens to sensor. Oh, I nearly forgot - the Samsung cameras with real 10x optical zoom that also happen to be Android phones. Oh oh oh, one more - Sony took their brilliant RX100 camera and pared it down to just the lens and sensor and called it the QX 100, to be paired with Android phones. Dang, neglected those DSLRs with phone controls. So: You have options. (Phones aside, even on dedicated cameras low light performance is usually traded against zoom range)

>and quality audio.

Has been done plenty already. The Sabre DACs from ESS are considered the dogs bollocks, and are in in phones from LG (G2, V10, V20) as well as from one of the recent Chinese upstarts. In time, the DAC could be supplied by Sennheiser et al in their headphones, by Google in their Chromecast Audio, or by Sonos in their speakers, or by Yamaha in their AV receivers etc etc. Some version of the Galaxy S III had Wolfson DACs.

>Project Tango might be a thing.

Maybe, but not for everybody yet - there is no 'killer app' yet for Joe public to justify the RAM requirements and cost of extra sensors, though of course in time those costs will fall to negligible. There might be scope for using Project Tango to sell clothes online ('scan' your body, and let M&S online show you what their shirt looks like on you). Possibly a candidate as a modular 'add-on'

>I'm a fan of any upcoming device that may offer a degree of ruggedness married to some decent specs (not achieved by sticking an iPhone in a rubber sleeve).

But easily achieved by sticking an iPhone in an Otter case. Next!

>Maybe we could do with a different shape that's not so razor-thin that if gives me cramp after holding for a while.

Again, stick it in a case of your choosing. Otter for the building site, fine leather for the ambassador's party. The point is, the slimness of the phone allows you a choice of 3rd party cases.

>Or build in one of those ring things on the back that are trending (yet ridiculous).

You've lost me. Genuinely, I don't know to what you are referring to. The fault is probably mine because I'm not down with the kids.

>What would be truly innovative would be some crazy new battery technology.

Yes, but the market for those (and thus the investment in their development) is not exclusively mobile phones. Maybe LG will develop such a battery, maybe Panasonic, maybe some unheard of university spin-off. We haven't got such wonder batteries yet, but rest assured it is not for want of throwing money at the problem. You can't blame mobile phone vendors for not speccing a technology that doesn't exist yet - it's like saying Toyota isn't being innovative because their cars don't fly and aren't fuelled by banana skins, and whilst they can reach 88Mph they don't travel in time.

>Heck, even stick a solar panel in the back so those of us in sunnier climes can charge up on the windowsill sans cable.

Again, probably best suited to a modular add-on. I mean, if the solar panel was useful for 6 months a year, why would you want to carry the bulk of the device around with you in winter? Efficiency aside, wouldn't you rather the solar panel charge a battery pack, so it can continue to accumulate solar rays when you're actually using the phone? And if you're not using the phone that much, why the hell are you needing to charge it so much? Also, you'd want your solar panel to be bigger than your phone. Because physics.

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Re: Innovation?

>What about... ... five SEPARATE connectors for charge, HDMI, data master, data slave and analogue audio/ear/mic.

Or you could just use a headless computer, ARM, x86 or otherwise, to achieve the tasks you need. Shit, Raspberry Pis and the like cost next to faff-all, so why not have one in addition to your phone? That way, you can work at your tiny computer AND answer a call or pop down the shop without having to unplug the half dozen cables you've just outlined.

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"Apple's approach is reasonable - just add a second camera with a zoom lens."

Being too lazy to look it up, I'm still 95.48% sure that the second camera has a different fixed lens, not a zoom lens.

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Okay then ..

"Please tell me what sort of innovation you are thinking Apple should be doing, or are expecting from anyone else."

How about a battery/stored energy that lasts a week (like my Ericsson, before Sony, mobe used to)?

How about surviving a drop of 1.5 m onto gravel - without needing a new screen?

How about a waterproof SD-slot?

How about £200 off the cost of a handset?

There is room for innovation - just not in the direction that Apple favours.

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>I'm the sort of weirdo who might get some genuine use out of a Project Tango (real-time 3D environment mapping)

Games designers anyone? Wanna hunt zombies around your house? How about a "Fifth Wave" type game?

As for innovation, that tends to get drip fed because the tech companies know they can't produce much of it.

I have modest requests... my daughter erased all the photos on her phone because when she plugged it in to a mac for the first time, itunes defaulted to "restore iphone" way below the button which said, "continue." So much for your user friendliness, or is that deliberate to encourage cloud usage? Either way, Apple has earnt a little more of my hate.

How about a home server for cloud instead of Apple's cloud? That can't be too hard.

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Perhaps if they would stop inventing problems and realise what people want, then people will buy their stuff again.

iWatch -nope, got a nice one from a jewellers, it will still be working and probably fashionable in 20 years time, unlike the iGadget.

Wireless earbuds - then an application to locate them for when you loose them - nope. Give me a 3.5mm plug and I'll just buy a new pair like I've been doing for years.

They can also take a look at the stupid pricing. Drop a couple of hundred pounds off a phone and a lot more from the laptops and I might talk to you again. A good place to start is by looking at how much FLASH memory costs, its not £60 for a +32gb increase. Take a look on Amazon, a stick costs about £15 and that's after profits, shipping, the plastic package, PCB and driver chip - all of which you've already got on the lower model.

Then - stop crippling the previous generation as soon as a new one comes out a vain hope that it will force people to the latest version with its nice little price premium.

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I think you are right. Apple charges premium prices for their phones. Yet give a smaller phone, less DRAM, less FLASH than other premium phones. This is important for the Chinese market. It is similar to the days when Cadillac people quoted that pound for pound they were cheaper than a VW bug.This did not make Cadillacs cheap, nor does it make a premium phone superior to another premium phone. But, this is how the market appears to be selling in China, the largest and fastest growing market in the world.

Don't know who I am quoting, but "the customer is always right, even when he's wrong". Apple needs to adapt. Supersize me Apple!

NOTE: Per apple technical posts, Apple justifies higher prices by buying premium FLASH memory which is faster than typical FLASH used, offsetting the costs with less DRAM which no becomes unnecessary. Don't know if technically this strategy is working, business-wise it is not anymore.

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Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

I think Apple missed an opportunity with the 7 to switch to a USB C connector. Since they were mucking about anyway, it was the ideal time - and would have synced up nicely with the decision to go that way with the MacBook and MB Pro.

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