back to article Apple to devs: Code for the iPhone X or nothing from April onwards

The Apple rumour mill has buzzed with speculation that less-than-completely-astounding sales of Cupertino's latest iPhone, the X, mean it might not be long for this world. But Apple's now obliterated such theories with an overnight update to its app submission instructions that makes it plain the X is here to stay. "Starting …

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Tens of millions of iPhone X have been sold to end users. No matter what the rumours say, iPhone X will be with us for at least five years, even if Apple stops selling it today.

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Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

Why do Microsoft and Apple introduce experimental stuff to their key bread and butter products?

I've no problem with Windows 10, but don't neglect your core business (workstation/server in the case of MS) products to force people over to use 'experimental stuff' like Metro Style Interfaces/Continuous updates (a conveyor belt they can't jump off) on the tools they use day in day out.

If the product is better it will find it's own natural cadence of uptake. The problem today, it often isn't, the products are littered with tools which benefit Apple and MIcrosoft (telemetry/data slurping) and in truth, add little to your own productivity over what you were previously using.

iPhone X is fine, but a cheaper 'no nonsense' identical iPhone XSE without the depth camera, accessed with a pin code/possibly a fingerprint reader (somewhere) would be a bigger seller right now for business for a lower price £600-£700, until field of depth Apps/Augmented reality goes more mainstream.

Forcing the issue helps no one, as Microsoft has shown with the rollout of Metro Style Tile interface. It's taken Microsoft 5 years to tweak the Metro Style Interface (and upset a lot of folk along the way) and it's still not there yet/still pretty much unloved.

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Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

They aren't requiring devs to "code for the iPhone X", they are requiring them to code for the notch. The X was already rumored to only be sold for a year even before reports that its sales weren't meeting (possibly inflated) analyst expectations.

Next fall they will have three notched phones, one that's basically identical to the X, one that's plus sized (6.5" screen) and one sized halfway between with an LCD screen that will be the cheaper model. So it makes sense they want new apps (the requirement doesn't impact existing apps) to take account of the notch because by summer 2019 there will be a quarter billion notched iPhones out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

"iPhone X is fine, but a cheaper 'no nonsense' identical iPhone XSE without the depth camera, accessed with a pin code/possibly a fingerprint reader (somewhere) would be a bigger seller right now"

In fact it's all a bit superfluous beyond the perfectly acceptable iPhone SE at £275 brand new.

Four inches in my pocket is more than enough, in fact there's no extra room in there due to the Whopper sitting alongside it.

I have a theory that goes along the line that big screens / phones are inversely proportional to Whopper size, that's why big screens were, at least initially, favoured and popular with females.

;-)

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Facepalm

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

There is a cheap "no nonsense" iPhone out there now, it is called the iPhone 8. It will still be out there next year, as "last year's model". And probably two years from now, if like this year with the 6S they continue selling "year before last's model". This fall they will have a cheaper model without OLED (which now that the manufacturing issues for the 3D scanners are licked, is the main driver of increased production cost for the X) so you will even have one that still has the latest and greatest CPU, etc.

Though I'm sure you won't admit it if true, I imagine you probably were wanting a "cheaper no-nonsense" iPhone that didn't include the fingerprint reader" when the 5S was introduced, right? I get it, some people don't like change. People whine that Apple doesn't innovate, but when they do something new some people are screaming "I don't want that!"

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Re: Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

Doug. Don't agree. As soon as Samsung puts a fingerprint reader under the screen, the notch idea / 3D depth camera for sign-in/authentication is dead, point blank, dead. "It's Dead, Jim" - Dead.

A fingerprint reader under the screen wins every time.

3D augmented reality is still a possibility though. How?

Apple's principle to make a device have worth/appeal/distinct features on its own - so it in effect, it competes with other Apple products in the range, there is overlap, but generally, there is also a distinct feature, be it price/size/screen tech/resolution etc.

Hence, it's going to get difficult when you have both technologies available; both an under screen fingerprint reader and a 3D depth camera, because the under screen fingerprint reader doesn't compete with the Depth Camera, it absorbs its main function, authentication. Having both pushes up the upfront cost.

The way Apple get around this, is having both features in a device, but the Depth Camera is deactivated and activated via a monthly software subscription, or App developers software subscription, so there is no additional upfront cost of the phone, but if you activate the Depth Camera, you pay a monthly subscription via the AppStore, directly/indirectly to Apple.

But cleverly, Apple still offer the current (older) iPhone X without subscription (and without under screen fingerprint reader). Oddly, this gives the iPhone X its own appeal over a subscription based device with both.

Apple could do this with regard a quick hardware fix too, let you activate some 'reserve' on-device storage, but pay for it as a subscription, 'for the convenience', meant as a short-term measure to get you through until the next upgrade, to keep you all 'Applely'.

That approach is Win.Win ;).

That's where I see it going.

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Cheap "no nonsense" iPhone 8

@DougS £699 for the 64Gb model is 'cheap' ?

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Joke

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

to the Whopper sitting alongside it.

Burger in your pocket?

big screens / phones are inversely proportional to Whopper size, that's why big screens were, at least initially, favoured and popular with females

Oh, *that* Whopper. Never mind.

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Re: Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

Even without Face ID you still have to have either a notch or a top bezel, unless you drop the front camera, microphone and speaker. A slightly smaller notch is still a notch. Even if/when you are able to drill little holes in the display for the camera etc. you'll still have to treat that area specially since part of the display is going to be obscured.

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Re: Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

@Adam - Totally agree. Personally I don't have Samsung or iPhone, but I've been watching the media of those that use both.

The fingerprint reader wins because once you get used to it, you're grabbing the phone in a fingerprint ready grip when you pick it up, so it is already unlocked by the time it sees your face.

The face reader on the X has to wait until it sees your face and then evaluate and unlock. It is a step back for the vast majority of people I'm watching on youtube (and trust to not be fanbois of either particular platform.)

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

While I hate to be in the position, but..

While I agree with your comments about the Metro interface, Microsoft did improve it a lot by crossing it with Window 7's start menu. Not perfect, but a good improvement.

However, the Windows 10 Enterprise edition does not enforce the update requirement, and apparently does not send telemetry. Microsoft do release the major updates for the Enterprise edition, but if you wish to deploy these, you have to use any existing deployment system you have. The Enterprise editions of Windows are also barred from joining the Insider Preview program, at least the publicly accessible rings.

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Boffin

Re: unless you drop the front camera

No, just make the bezel a little bigger. Use space for some REAL buttons!

The no buttons on front idea is stupid.

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

Win 10 and Office Ribbon.

Porcine Cosmetics, they can't properly fix it unless they go back to 2003.

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

@Steve the Cynic:

"Whopper" can also mean an outrageous lie. Perhaps he meant that. Though why he'd keep one of those in his pants, I don't... Ohhhhhh.

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

Win 10 and Office Ribbon.

Sigh. Is there any chance that some day, maybe in another decade, people will stop going on and on about the "Ribbon?"

Agreed though, Windows 10 is crap.

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

>Forcing the issue helps no one

Shareholders? Isn't that the only thing that matters these days?

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

Sigh. Is there any chance that some day, maybe in another decade, people will stop going on and on about the "Ribbon?

The chance of that is exactly equal to the chance that Microsoft will finally get rid of that abomination once and for all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

"I have a theory that goes along the line that big screens / phones are inversely proportional to Whopper size.... "

Nope, I have a very large phone and it sits happily in my pocket next to my Whopper ..... and by pocket, I mean the chest pocket of my jacket.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't understand the rumours, I'm seeing people using iPhone X's everywhere, and the when I ask the owners are really pleased with them.

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Re: Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

My £500 OnePlus 5T unlocks from my fizzog instantly, with or without glasses, and in low light.

My colleague's £1000 X does neither.

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Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

People whine that Apple doesn't innovate, but when they do something new some people are screaming "I don't want that!"

"Innovation" does not mean "change for change's sake that needs to be forced on people".

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Re: unless you drop the front camera

"The no buttons on front idea is stupid."?

You obviously haven't used it. The swipe based interface on the iPhone X is far more natural and quicker than anything I've used since the Palm Tre. I hear the BB10 Hub was similar but I've never tried it so I won't comment.

Picking up an iPad or another iPhone, even + size, feels wrong after only a few days of using the X.

I would put money on Google developing a similar interface for their next version (Maybe not P but certainly Q).

Buttons are dead.

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Re: Reg got it wrong in the headline. Again.

Either you mean the X doesn't open with your face, which it shouldn't or you're lying.

I have an X and it opens with or without glasses, in the dark or daylight and even when not looking straight at it.

Granted, it doesn't do that immediately as during the first few days of use as it's learning but from day 3 or 4 it's fantastic to use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

@Anonymous Coward; "Four inches in my pocket is more than enough, in fact there's no extra room in there due to the Whopper sitting alongside it."

*I* don't have a phone in my pocket at all. Enough said!

(Statement above is absolutely correct... the implied boast somewhat less so).

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Anonymous Coward

iOS 11 SDK

The asteriod that finally wiped out the Apple dinosaurs into extinction.

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So they're going the Unity route? Whatever, same final result, it will just take longer if they decide to insist at all costs...

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"Apple wouldn't issue such an edict if the X was on the chopping block. "

Quite the contrary. If one of your smartphones is flagging, make almost every large dev team buy one to test compatibility and ensure it has a base of apps.

To be honest, I would HATE to be dictated to in such a manner as a developer.

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"To be honest, I would HATE to be dictated to in such a manner as a developer."

It isn't a nice position to be in, but the Apple ecosystem has been good to developers. They make far more money on iOS than they do on Android. But I do feel Apple can shout jump at their developers and they will only respond with "how high?".

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Anonymous Coward

We develop for Apple and Android

We have two apps each for Apple and Android in each of the respective store.

We don't have a model of every Apple phone as we can't afford it, and I suspect most other companies can't. Don;t forget that if you have an IOS10 iPhone X, you also need an IOS 11iPhone X as well as an SE, an iPad Pro, etc etc. Even with Apple only kit, the permutations are enormous. Android is even worse, apparently our app is available on over 9,000 different devices. We have no chance of testing a fraction of that, never mind buying the kit.

We do what everybody else does, we have a few sample phones at different OS levels, and we use emulators a lot.

The Xcode emulators are fine for making sure that the UI is OK, that things look OK. However they do have limitations. From memory, Xcode emulators cannot handle Apple Push Notifications, the GPS emulation is fine for dead simple stuff, and for riding a bike around California, its junk for real world testing. The Javascript emulation under WebView is also wrong, when you put an app in the background on the emulator, things like timeouts still run. That confused us when we started up. However at the end of the day, a single laptop can test against a variety of emulators to check the code looks OK and stands up, we then test against a smaller set of real world devices across IOS 10 and IOS 11.

The Android emulators are variable, the Intel HAXM one is not fit for purpose and is unusable even on a top end machine. The Genymotion ones are very good. We get a pretty realistic emulator that has Android Push Notifications, whcih is nice, the GPS is still crap though. But each version gets better and allows us to test. Again we have to go down to real world devices just to be sure.

We'd really, really like Apple to do proper emulators that really work, There're about 50% of the utility of the Android ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

Interesting that you'd already given up on iOS 9 (and now Apple too from April 2018), that's a lot of devices to drop.

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Thumb Up

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

How does it feel to know your app runs on so many different devices?

People can use your app on their phones, tablets, watches, toasters, fridges, washing machines, treadmills, etc.

Android solved the problem of kids fighting over the computer. Put the computer in everything.

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Re: We develop for Apple and Android

"How does it feel to know your app runs on so many different devices?"

There's a massive difference between knowing your app could work on 9,000 devices, and knowing it works on 9,000 devices.

I doubt any one developer knows for certain that users of all 9,000 devices get the same experience as they intended.

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Re: We develop for Apple and Android

Suspect this doesn't really tell us much about the X itself, tbh, but rather than all iPhones will be adopting the notch in future.

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They make far more money on iOS than they do on Android.

That's not been true for a while. Developers that sell their apps tend to make more money on IOS than on Android but ad-based apps make far more on Android than IOS because the market is so much bigger. But there also publishers that moved to Android-first development for their paid apps because the market on Android was bigger.

That aside, there's nothing from the announcement to indicate that the stupid notch is here to stay. Apple has a lot more to do there to convince website developers of the need for a really pathetic CSS extension.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

There is no iOS emulator. This is a big difference to Android. There is an iOS simulator. The code is running native x64. There is most definitely no JavaScript emulation, it is just webkit as expected. Continuing to run in the background is a reasonable complaint though. This is something that happens with apps in general on the simulator. They aren’t paused.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

IOS9 was about 2.5% of our market, wasn't worth the effort. We check and log these things. I know that you're trying to make a cheap and snide comment but hey, we thought about this...

The single biggest codebase in our library was handling notifications, remote and local, we had different sub-systems for IOS8, 9 and 10 as Apple kept changing the libraries and how they all worked. It was a great relief not to have to keep checking on what would run on older versions of IOS. From memory, our notification code was approx 3,000 lines of 21,000 lines. Our test suite for handling all the different versions of notifications was enormous.

Also moving to IOS 10 meant that we could get rid of lower powered devices such as the iPhone 4s. Great phone in it's time but things move on. Getting rid of the iPhone 4s meant we could also get rid of different sized introduction screens which were hard work on the smaller, lower powered phones.

If you check the stats on Apple devices and what they are running, we aren't giving up many devices at all but thanks for asking...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

Mmmm.... not convinced our app runs that well on a washing machine. It does require a touch interface and a GPS unit. If we can find a washing machine that has this, we'll try and port it across.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

We know it doesn't work that well on all 9,000 Android devices. The upside to Android is that it can work on so many devices, the downside to Android is that it might not work on so many devices.

Our issues are:

1. Screen sizes and resolution. There are so many weird ones out there. Not everybody confirms to a nice Google Phone resolution and aspect ratio.

2. The manufacturer modifications on older versions of Android (< 6.0) are a nightmare and still are for some people. Samsung had a habit of changing the OS, specifically around notifications. Huawei also do this. If anybody from these organisations are reading this, I was going to write something else, but I'll be polite and say STOP FUCKING UP ANDROID!

3. GPS chips vary from device to device and the quality of theit location varies tremendously. We have people who show us their location as 100m off from where they are, some people are spot on to 5m.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

You are correct, I wrote in haste and didn't phrase my answer correctly.

However whether it is an emulator or simulator is slightly moot, it's still not that good as opposed to the Genymotion emulator.

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Joke

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

Mmmm.... not convinced our app runs that well on a washing machine. It does require a touch interface and a GPS unit. If we can find a washing machine that has this, we'll try and port it across.

Yes, but imagine how soft that interface would feel with the right conditioner...

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Re: We develop for Apple and Android

"Mmmm.... not convinced our app runs that well on a washing machine. It does require a touch interface and a GPS unit. If we can find a washing machine that has this, we'll try and port it across."

Considering that Google insists on having GPS turned on for their Daydream VR, which only tracks head rotation, not movement, and thus is only suitable for sit down games, wouldn't surprise me at all to find GPS in a large device that only sits in your laundry.

On the other hand, if you load your washing machine wrong, it'll vibrate like crazy and might start walking. The GPS is so you can find it if it walked too far.

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Joke

Re: We develop for Apple and Android

To be clear, it's notch going anywhere.

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Gimp

Suckers...

Starting a rumour that "it might not be around for long" is the oldest trick in the book to get people to buy something they might not otherwise have bought and thus increase sales.

Anyone who genuinely thought Apple would axe their latest greatest iPhone has been sucked in by the marketing trick.

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Re: Suckers...

You are 100% correct. I was once in sales. In sales we used to call this technique, "the power of the take-away". When people are on the fence with a purchase, all you have to do is "suggest" the chance of buying it is at risk and they knee-jerk react to buy.

This tells me a lot about Apple and how it manipulates customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suckers...

Plus there's the opposite psychology in this messagage now ... while some people might have taken the "it might be going away" rumour as a trigger to get one before its too late ("when its gone tis gone" as loved by wallmart/tesco/etc) others might have held back on basis that if its going away they didn't want to be left with an orphaned product so the "its staying for ever" message now plays directly to them (n.b. of course, Apple aren't saying that the iPhoneX is straying - just that developers have to behave as if it is staying for ever)

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FIA
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Re: Suckers...

Anyone who genuinely thought Apple would axe their latest greatest iPhone has been sucked in by the marketing trick.

It's a pretty good marketing trick though. I find Apples 'guerilla marketing' (for want of a much better term) fascinating. Take this story for example. Where has it come from, where did these rumours start? Apple is famously tight lipped about things like this, only revealing what sales info it has to do by law in financial calls. Also often not breaking down figures into specific models; yet our unnamed source is telling us that the iPhone X isn't selling well? How do they know? What were the sales targets? (It's a Veblin good, I expect it's targets weren't high compared to a mid range model, how is it selling in relation to the 8 for example). Suffice it to say, I bet few outside Apple actually know how well or badly any model of iPhone is currently selling.

So where did the rumour come from? It seems like a lot of these Apple stories are self generating. Apple, being the large company it is, generates page views and marketing research sales, so analyst speculate, and rumours start. Then the self citing internet kicks in and it snowballs. It works too, this article, like most Apple related attract lots of comments, so even more views.

Combine that with the weird myopia that seems to occur around Apples phone product line and it makes for some very interesting watching. It almost seems a given when reading Apple articles that they make the iPhone, but they don't they make a whole range of iPhones. There's a comment further up this page suggesting Apple should make a cheaper, no frills, iPhone X. They do, it's called the 7. Which they still sell. Want a cheap (for Apple) iPhone, then buy the SE. Yet it often seems in the media that these phones don't exist. When in reality I expect they make up the bulk of Apples sales. Think about that, Apple have basically managed to have their cake and eat it. They're perceived as a high end luxury brand selling a single expensive product, but they're not, there a higher end consumer electronics company selling a range of products from the eye watering to the fairly reasonable. They've managed to extend further down the market but without the perception that they have. A lot of companies would kill to be able to pull off this trick.

When all's said and done this story is just 'From this date you must use the latest SDKs and ensure you support the latest devices', which isn't unreasonable, or that unusual, yet it's about Apple, so you get millions of page views, a boat load of comments and idiots like me going off on one for paragraphs. That reality distortion field really is living on....

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Re: Suckers...

WTF are you smoking? They are going to stop selling the iPhone X this fall, but are introducing three new phones which will all have the same design (one identical to the X, one plus sized 6.5" and one in-between the two in size with an LCD screen that will be the cheaper version)

They want apps to take account of the notch, because there will be a lot of phones with it in the future. This isn't some "buy it now or you'll never have a phone with the notch" gimmick like you thickos seem to think.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suckers...

Really if I was about to buy something and the salesperson said it may be the last chance I'd think, hmmm are they about to replace this with a new one, so, how much of a discount will you give me to take this old model off your hands ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suckers...

> Take this story for example. Where has it come from, where did these rumours start?

It's not a rumour, it's an email that Apple have sent to all their registered developers - tens or hundreds of thousands of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: marketing trick

I disagree. Apple has never hinted at the iPhone X would be axed. It was ANAL(ists) such as Ming-Chi Kuo[1] who from their insights into the Apple supply chain that make these IMHO stupid statements.

If Apple were to make this sort of statement their share price would drop like a stone that is tossed into a lake. Wall St hates Apple (like many here) so any news like would make huge waves as the APPL stock is sold off rapidly.

[1] If you doubt me then google his name and add 'iPhone X' at the end.

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