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 …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    analogue headphone jack FTW

    1. Naselus

      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'.

      1. David Austin

        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...

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          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).

          1. iRadiate

            Re: Dunno, Man

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

          2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            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?

          3. P. Lee Silver badge

            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?

          4. 2Fat2Bald

            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.

          5. Wayland Bronze badge

            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.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

      Phablet FTW.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

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

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

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

  3. W Donelson

    Once again, a distorted and misleading article

    No wonder Apple blacklists you

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      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....

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      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.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        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)?

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

          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.

      2. Chemical Bob
        Trollface

        Re: Once again, a distorted and misleading article

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

        Masses of what?

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          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.

    3. W Donelson

      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."

      1. Vector

        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.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    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.

    1. John 104

      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?

      1. CommodorePet

        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

      2. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge
        Holmes

        Re: The timing of this 'release'

        @ John 104

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

      3. Hawkeye Pierce

        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.

      4. WolfFan Silver badge

        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.

      5. W Donelson

        Re: The timing of this 'release'

        Google: STOCK SPLITS

      6. StephenD

        Re: The timing of this 'release'

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

      7. Richard Tobin

        Re: The timing of this 'release'

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

  5. James 51 Silver badge
    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!'.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      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.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        @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)

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          >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.

      2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        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.

      3. James 51 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

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

      4. Phil Kingston Silver badge

        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.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          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.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            "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.

      5. Updraft102 Silver badge

        "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.

      6. Marcus Fil

        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.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >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!

    3. Mage Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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.

  6. Dwarf Silver badge

    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.

    1. bernardo.ortiz

      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.

  7. Thomas Gray

    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.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

      I quite like lightning. But apart from an "another drawer full of expensive useless cables" grumble, I'd have gotten over a change to USB-C quite quickly and easily, and I'd be happy about it now.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

        Personally I don't think Apple will ever adopt USB-C on the iPhone. In a few years when inexpensive but reliable wireless earphones can be made, they'll add wireless charging and drop Lightning.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

          >Personally I don't think Apple will ever adopt USB-C on the iPhone. In a few years when inexpensive but reliable wireless earphones can be made, they'll add wireless charging and drop Lightning.

          I can't see that happening until all airlines allow Bluetooth (or similar) to be used in flight. I have no idea as to how feasible that is.

          Also, wireless charging is inefficient - no biggie if you're at home, but it is unsuitable for external battery packs and cases.

          Personally, I don't think the 3.5mm headphone socket is perfect - because I have an active job, the cable can catch on things so I'd rather a MagSafe-style connector.

          As for Apple abandoning the 3.5mm socket, it really depends upon how quickly you get through headphones, earbuds and phones. For me, I lose and break earbuds regularly, my quality headphones usually outlive my phones, and some of my phones have had better quality sound output than others. If my current Sennheissers had a DAC built in, it wouldn't matter which phone, tablet or laptop I used them with.

        2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Apple shouldn't have continued with the Lightning connector

          I hooe they don't adopt USB-C. It's a typical PC bodge with far too many contacts and the crudest possible way to make it insertable either way up. It does bring a bit to the PC's USB3 (more power, more speed) but it's a crap replacement for lightning.

  8. Buzzword

    Headphone socket

    The 6s had a headphone socket. The 7 doesn't. That's the main reason.

    1. Wibble

      Re: Headphone socket

      > The 6s had a headphone socket. The 7 doesn't. That's the main reason.

      And it's 20% cheaper.

      1. Tom Womack

        Re: Headphone socket

        Apple seem to have had real difficulty manufacturing the 7+, so if you wanted to walk out of the shop with a large Apple phone you got a 6S+; and it seems that most people who want an expensive new phone want a large one.

  9. djstardust Silver badge

    Told you so

    Been waiting for this moment.

    Apple just take the piss, pure and simple.

    Their phones are average at best with features taken out like the headphone jack which is inexcusable (but it does reduce the manufacturing cost of course)

    Their laptops are mid spec with few ports (again to reduce manufacturing costs) and they are at least twice the price they should be. You can get a fully loaded Dell XPS equivalent for half the price.

    And their storage costs are horrific.

    They need a good kick in the nuts to come back down to reality and this may just be the start of it.

  10. Charles 9 Silver badge

    (users needed to use a phone one-handed, Apple argued)

    Thing is, some of us have big hands and fat fingers, meaning a larger phone is more comfortable for us, yet we're still able to use them with one hand. Anyway, I've always been a two-handed phone user (hold in the weak hand, tap with the strong), probably because I was weaned on a phone with a hardware keyboard which pretty much requires you use two hands.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: (users needed to use a phone one-handed, Apple argued)

      I like using it one handed, means I can drink my coffee in the morning on the loo whilst browsing Reddit.

      Got to get some of that /r/crappydesign in before breakfast.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: (users needed to use a phone one-handed, Apple argued)

        Just watch which hand you wipe with... that oleophobic coating can be slippery.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: (users needed to use a phone one-handed, Apple argued)

          It amused me to observe that 4" iPhones are roughly the size of playing cards - objects that evolved over decades to be helf easily in one hand, and sonvey a small amount of information very clearly.

          In contrast, 5-6" phones are roughly the size of postcards, objects that have for decades been used to display nice pictures.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Told you so

      I think you may be surprised when the actual results are announced. While they might not be what some people expected or predicted, Apple will still be pocketing very large profits. Your price comparisons are not quite accurate (equivalent specs including weight are similarly priced) but Apple probably does need to be careful on the high-end of overdoing it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: (users needed to use a phone one-handed, Apple argued)

      "some of us have big hands and fat fingers"

      Some recently inaugurated have tiny little hands and a fat head full of weird ideas.

      Probably Tweets from a 3.5-inch phone.

    4. Joe Gurman

      Re: Told you so

      Er, seen their latest. Quarterly results then? Gnash those teeth, mate. They continue to do quite nicely selling ice to Eskimos.

  11. knarf

    Listen and Charge at same time

    I have an iphone 7 after many years of a Nokia 1020.

    When I moved across (not an upgrade it was a move!) I asked the "genis" for an adaptor where I could listen to music and charge the phone at the same time. This adaptor didn't exist in the apple shop. No demand it seems.

  12. Halfmad

    I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

    It was the iPhone SE, I begrudgingly have to say I like it a lot after 4 years with android handsets I can feel the downsides but it was the right size and unlike many I only use it for phone calls (gasp), camera and podcasts.

    I simply didn't want a bugger phone but mobile phones seem to constantly be heading in that direction making getting any sort of deal on a small phone (such as the Sony Z5 compact) harder.

    I just feel like Apple has lost it's way a bit with much larger handsets and dropping the headphone port, I can't see me upgrading the SE at any point, in a couple of years I'll probably be back on Android if there isn't an SE4 with a headphone port/wireless charging (My SE has this thanks to a wireless case adaptor).

  13. Slx

    I would be very confident this is down to the headphone jack issue.

    A lot of people I know have opted to skip the iPhone 7 because they aren't convinced by the lack of headphones.

    Common myths I've heard:

    1) People think you have to use the Apple wireless headphones and no other type works. Where as in reality any bluetooth headphones work.

    2) People think you can't connect analogue headphones to the phone at all, whereas in reality it came with an adaptor dongle which most people will probably leave connected permanently to a pair of headphones anyway.

    The only real issue I could see with it is that you can't charge and listen to headphones at the same time. That's pretty stupid and will mess up a lot of people's setups with older cars and so on.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

      I simply didn't want a bugger phone

      I agree. These new ridiculously huge phones are a right pain in the arse...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

        "These new ridiculously huge phones are a right pain in the arse"

        I think he was referring to the back door.

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        re: Not Spartacus

        You're storing it wrong, then.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

        YMDV

        Wife just went from Z30 to iPhone 5S and has trouble with the small screen ... poor eyesight does not help.

        She only switched because an app was no longer maintained on BB 10 starting January this year and the iPhone 5S was in a drawer, nobody in the family (yes, with teens) wanted it, they have large screen Android phones.

        Mind, I was also given two Windows Mobile phones and nobody wants to even consider looking at them, around here at least ...

        As for large phones being a pain in the ******, I never considered inserting them into there ... I have seen purpose-built appliances for that, maybe you should buy one?

        1. jamesb2147

          Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

          Dare I ask what put you in the market for machines that did that?

    2. DougS Silver badge

      If that's true, then why are more and more Android phones also dropping the headphone jack?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >If that's true, then why are more and more Android phones also dropping the headphone jack?

        Because you have a huge choice of Android phones available to you. Those people who have already found wireless headphones to their liking (joggers and gym bunnies?) won't mind a phone without a 3.5mm port.

        In any case, I haven't heard of any of the big names dropping the 3.5mm socket wholesale.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        I just got a LG G3 second hand.

        It's probably the biggest I'll ever use as a phone. But it's light and thin. Don't want or need thinner.

        It has a jack. The jack wouldn't be in the way even if 30% was shaved off the thickness. The thickest area is around the camera, so the jack has nothing to do with this.

        Point is, all modern phones are big now. How can a small jack not be accomodated? It's just bizarre reasoning by some navel gazing product designers who lost touch with what people want.

    3. YourNameHere

      Re: Listen and Charge at same time

      Here is a device that will let you listen and charge at the same time. Not perfect, but...

      https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ultimate-solution-for-non-stop-music-and-charging-iphone-gadget#/

    4. YourNameHere

      Adapters

      One slight issue with the statement

      " 2) People think you can't connect analogue headphones to the phone at all, whereas in reality it came with an adaptor dongle which most people will probably leave connected permanently to a pair of headphones anyway."

      I happen to have about 4-5 ear buds in use right now. One at my work desk, one at my home desk, one in my truck, one by my bed stand so I can listen to books or music if I cant sleep. Plus two-three spares in my backpack that I take on work trips. And these are all cheap $15 buds or less. I am not about to by an adapter for all of these. Plus I do have a tendency to loose them as well. :)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Adapters

        I tend to lose or break ear buds. Most of the breaks come from the cable being yanked, and the failure occurs near the 3.5mm plug - so a MagSafe style breakaway adaptor would be preferable for me.

        My headphones can break, again near the 3.5mm plug. I have even looked into buying or making a short 3.5m Male to Female adaptor, with the male bit being L shaped. This would reduce the mechanical load in the cable. So yeah, I wanted a dongle even before a dongle is necessary! Sometimes I have been known to apply some Sugru or SikaFlex to the cables of new earphones if their cable gland doesn't look up to the job. Some Sennheisers had replaceable cables, but the replacements weren't cheap, and the current models seem to have abandoned this.

        In time, this fuss will die down. Adaptors for older headphones will be dirt cheap (and in the process protect the cables of the headphones from mechanical strain). The advantages of having the DAC chosen and tuned for specific headphones will improve sound quality (or make the same sound quality cheaper to achieve), and noise cancelling headphones will be cheaper and easier to use (because they won't contain a battery that needs charging).

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Adapters

          "The advantages of having the DAC chosen and tuned for specific headphones will improve sound quality"

          No. All it does is increase cost for the headphone. This cost has to be kept under control, so the parts used will be dirt cheap, and sound quality will suffer. You choices will be limited as well.

          If what you descibed was the norm, someone would come up with the brilliant idea of separating the transducer (headphone) from the DAC and amplifier. Perhaps putting the latter near the actual battery and logic stuff in the phone, and connect them via a long thin cable to the transducers. Brilliant!

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Adapters

            >No. All it does is increase cost for the headphone.

            If your headphones outlive your phone (which they should) that's not an issue. I don't know if you've noticed, but the cost of silicon gets cheaper over time.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Adapters

              Since I like good sound quality I have never bothered with blutooth connected heaphones, and such. Why can't we have both? Use your lightning connected headphone, or blutooth compressed stream awfulness if you want to. Other's can use the 3.5mm jack.

              I don't see a large choice of quality earbuds, circumaural, or IEMs around.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Adapters

        You can buy the 'official' Apple ones for $9 at Target, down to $0.99 plus free shipping for ordering obviously unofficial ones from China (complete with Engrish specs on the page!) but they should work fine since Apple doesn't really care about counterfeit Lightning chips when charging isn't involved. I'm sure there is a middle ground of non-Apple but MFi certified ones as well.

        Surely $4.95 to buy five isn't too awful.

    5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Listen and Charge at same time

      You obviously didn't look very hard did you.

      there are many available at very reasonable prices on Amazon and other sites. They'd be a lot cheaper than buying from Apple anyway.

      Anyway, like others I have no reason to upgrade my iPhone 6 bought secondhand from a Pawnshop.

      At the risk of getting slapped hard, most phones these days are fine for most users. It does no matter if it runs Android or iOS, the functions avaible in the basic device or with a few apps are more than enough for 99% of users.

      But security is possibly another issue altogether.

    6. Boo Radley

      I agree, I have to have a headpgone jack to use my credit card reader. That means I had to stick with my paid for Note.

    7. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

      >It was the iPhone SE, I begrudgingly have to say I like it a lot

      Indeed, my mate is still on the iPhone 4S, after replacing its battery himself. It's just a really well designed little thing, slips in his pocket easily, looks sturdy.

      I had the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which was a cracking little phone, but the official Sony case was rubbish as it left one edge exposed. Sod's law dictated that it was this unprotected edge that fell against a sharp ridge and shattered the screen. Had the Xperia had an aluminium bezel like the iPhone 4 instead of it's ABS bezel, the drop would have left its screen unscathed.

    8. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Adapters are just tacky, and a source of trouble and frustration. The total opposite of what Apple is all about! Idiot move by Apple, and I can guarantee that the jack will be back on iPhones.

    9. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Listen and Charge at same time

      This lets you do it, though not much use if you want to charge from an external powerpack while on the move

      http://www.apple.com/shop/product/ML8L2AM/A/iphone-lightning-dock-rose-gold?fnode=97

    10. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: I got my first ever iPhone in 2016

      Ditto, went from a Nokia 920 to the iPhone SE.

      I like the compatibility but the Windows UI on the 920 was far more flexible and suited to my blunt fingers. A bigger phone might have helped I suppose but I'd rather have the option to have fewer bigger icons on each phone screen.

  14. gnasher729 Silver badge

    One reason is that many people don't see much of an advantage in a newer phone compared to an older one. My wife bought an iPhone 6s instead of iPhone 7 because it was £100 cheaper. She would have bought an iPhone 6 for even less money if O2 hadn't stopped selling them just a week earlier. Everything is nice and large in zoom mode (that's why she was getting a 6 and not a 5), everything runs without any delays. There is no advantage in an iPhone 7 that would count for her.

  15. TRT Silver badge

    And there's the newer iOS...

    The newer phones come with only the newer iOS.

    Incremental improvements my bottom. Excremental improvements more like.

    No more analogue clock display yet they won't show seconds anywhere but in the App's icon for people trying to, say, set an old fashioned clock or timer from an accurate source.

    Can't change a timed event to all-day or all-day to timed without knowing the secret method which is pants.

    Can't set a text message from a favourite to bypass the "Do not disturb" feature (OK, this bug has been present since iOS 8). Yet the new "Emergency Bypass" feature allows text from nominated contacts to override both Do Not Disturb and the Mute Ringer switch. Just WTF?

    Sorry Apple. Your former days of making the UI as smoothly intuitive as possible are over. There will be a peak UI, you were close once. You are moving away from it.

  16. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...Even though Apple included an adapter in the box..."

    It's a "Lightning" socket, therefore it's proprietary, and I assume it's DRM-infested with an endlessly annoying revenue-enhancing chip.

    I can't even stand the Apple Lightning charging cables. They're already a moderate pain in the a$$ and a money-grabbing annoyance. Them rolling the codes with every iOS updates leads to another batch of cables being trashed. Even those supposedly, but not actually, MiFi Certified.

    I *refuse* to get my headphones and earphones sucked into a similar DRM-enforced, unreliable, easily-lost, DRM-infested crock of shite.

    Screw Apple. I've bought an Asus ZenFone 3, which has a lovely headphone socket.

    The decision makers at Apple are fools. Don't understand simple Game Theory. Idiots.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "...Even though Apple included an adapter in the box..."

      Don't understand simple Game Theory.

      No you don't understand! This isn't a game! It's a way of LIFE!

      Did that sound convincing?

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: And there's the newer iOS...

      Found another gripe with the AirPlay quick access panel changing. It now only shows video capable air play receivers.

  17. John 104

    If it isn't the case, and canny buyers are simply more aware of value, then new gimmicks packed into this year's iPhone 8 may not be enough to renew demand.

    You do realize, of course, that this statement makes no sense in the context of the millions of drones who buy the product?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "You do realize, of course, that this statement makes no sense in the context of the millions of drones who buy the product?"

      Those drones, you'll note, aren't as rabid as they once were. Apple's Midas Touch is fading.

  18. Simon Rockman

    The Chinese market

    The love of bigger phones in China is easily explained by the glyph based language.

    The characters lend themselves to a bigger screen.

    But I'd hazard that Apple's real problem is Trump. If he starts a trade war with Chiiina, there will be tariffs both ways. Importing phones made by Foxconn will attract penalties. It might also be the same for the vast majority of other handset manufacturers (I can only think of one being built in the US and that uses a Sharp screen) but price rises there will be bad for sales. All the phones I'm buying for my business have gone up in price because of Brexit.

    Worse will be the tariffs Apple will face selling iPhones in China, when the Middle Kingdom retaliates the locally produced stuff will be very much better value.

    Then Apple will announce that it's electric car is a Lamborghini rival and an not the mass market cheap Tesla everyone is hoping for (you don't hire Alex Hitzinger to build a Skoda) and the market will really turn on Apple.

    Having a phone which is a couple of inches too small will be least of Apple's problems.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: The Chinese market

      But I'd hazard that Apple's real problem is Trump. If he starts a trade war with Chiiina, there will be tariffs both ways. Importing phones made by Foxconn will attract penalties.

      Foxconn is, allegedly, 'considering' building a site in the US. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/business/foxconn-might-build-plant-in-us.html?_r=0

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The Chinese market

      SR "...that it's electric car is a Lamborghini rival..."

      It's 'its'.

  19. Marty McFly

    I don't know what to do..??!

    So I am bought in to the Apple infrastructure with all the apps, etc. I also really like Apple's stance on privacy pursuant to last year's news stories about being forced to unlock iPhones. I am currently on an iPhone 6.

    HOWEVER, a family member has an iPhone 7 which I had to configure for them. I absolutely hate it. The lack of a headphone jack sucks. Wired headphones simply just work and they are not another widget to have to charge up all the time. The biggest thing is how they screwed up the home button. Instead of a defined tactile click, the phone vibrates. Give me back the damn click! Apple 'innovated' a vibration to replace a simple click, but I believe the iPhone 7 has actually jumped the shark.

    Apple seems to be going the way of Microsoft with Windows 10 - change for the sake of change, rather than change due to useful innovation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't know what to do..??!

      Change for the sake of change is the modus operandi of the world economy. This is because the world trades energy off the back of the petrodollar, which relies upon speculation for its value.

      Every major multinational company is indebted to the stock market and the petrodollar. Therefore every major multinational company is compelled to keep pumping out new products every year, otherwise they can't pay back the shareholders and their stock valuation tumbles.

      If we stop funding companies with debt, then the companies are no longer compelled to structure their product releases around the whims of the shareholders. But that also means adopting a new monetary standard, which risks destroying the current economy.

      Tough choice.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: I don't know what to do..??!

      "Instead of a defined tactile click, the phone vibrates. Give me back the damn click!"

      I understand the annoyance, but that home button really has been a source of reliability issues!

      I'd be willing to relearn just for that reason!

    3. Wade Burchette

      Re: I don't know what to do..??!

      What I really really hate on the new iPhones is the pressure-sensitive touch screen. If you push hard, that is like the right-click on a computer. So now to move icons or open apps, I have to barely touch the screen. The home button is the same way. And I also hate how you no longer can swipe to unlock after the first tap of the home button, you have to tap home twice. And it took me 15 minutes to figure out that the 'TV' app also stored the downloaded movies. Don't even get me started on the new iTunes. It took me another 15 minutes just to figure out how to transfer music. And I have yet to figure out which pictures are synced to the iCloud and which are not.

  20. Fazal Majid

    It's the headphone jack, stupid

    We're well past the point of diminishing returns on smartphones, where they are good enough and combined with the end of carrier subsidies, we are in a replacement market where people will just keep their phone until it breaks, just as they do with PCs or tablets.

    Apple was spectacularly clueless to give its customers, most of which are still in a every-other-year replacement schedule, a reason not to upgrade by abandoning the headphone jack.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Re: It's the headphone jack, stupid

      No doubt that ate into their record quarter. Uh huh.

  21. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    FAIL

    "Hardware is so over"

    Hardware is never over. Software is never over. Apple is failing because they refuse to eliminate the premium design prices even though they ran out of premium design ideas years ago. Most of their recent "upgrades" have been frustrating brand lock-in attempts rather than useful features.

    1. jamesb2147

      Re: "Hardware is so over"

      Agreed.

      As someone else mentioned, this isn't the end of phone hardware innovation... it is perhaps the end of phone hardware innovation until a major new tech can be developed (e.g. flexible displays, mentioned earlier by another commentard).

      It just might be the beginning of the end for Apple, however.

  22. Slx

    The technology has basically matured to a fairly standard shape and interface.

    I don't think you're going to see as many wild changes from any of the phone makers.

    It's a bit like the way we went from crazy PC physical designs and UI to a fairly standardised desktop metaphor back in the 1980s and 90s

  23. Joe Gurman

    Well....

    ....there's much true in this (peak smartphone, not just iPhone), but Wall Street doesn't appear to believe Mr. Moskowitz, judging from the share price activity over the last week. We'll know next Tuesday when Apple reports earnings for the last quarter of last calendar year. Saying iPhone 7 sales are sluggish is probably predicted on reports from parts providers that Apple has cut back.... because so many people have purchases phablet-sized 7 Pluses instead. Let me just guess which phone has the higher margin.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Well....

      Whilst Apple makes most of its money from phones, it has a history of making money by stealing the lunch of of others, including Sony (iPod), HMV (iTunes), Nokia (iPhone) etc. The idea that a smartphone is so good that the user has no need to upgrade was foreseen by Apple years ago. Apple knows what its history is. And it has a shitload of money to spend on acquisitions and R&D.

      The above does not guarantee them success if they choose to break into new sectors. However, it does give them the benefit if the doubt before writing them off.

    2. Joe Gurman

      Re: Well....

      I know it's tacky to reply to my own post. I swear I'll never do it again, but Apple's quarterly results just came out and I'm certain the author will want to correct his prognostication.

      He's probably been resisting that stock-in-trade of the tech press, stories on how Apple's peaked and is heading for the gutter since 1997 (when it nearly happened), for so long, he couldn't resist. I mean, they're bound to tank at some point, right?

      What would be more interesting for a tech site would be some serious reporting, maybe with (horrors) someone who writes about marketing in tow, on why a company that sells non-innovative, overpriced bling has done so well the last 16 years or so. If it's really not innovative If it's really just bling, that is. Now that would be interesting reading, and might actually help some of the younger readers decide what kind of employer to seek/startup to join.

  24. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    It's so friggin obvious. People do not want to carry around adapters and sh*t to be able to use the earbuds, IEMs, or headphones of their choice.

    Stupid, stupid decision to remove a small, simple and standard connector.

    Instead they should have made it more reliable and less prone to break.. It's a great connector that makes the various USB types seem rather crappy.

    And renaming "stupid" to "brave".. Ehhh..

  25. Quinch

    Gratuitous SMBC comic;

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-new-thing

  26. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Lockin sales?

    I wonder how many iPhone sales are nothing to do with the phone itself merely the fact its the only way to access certain software. My daughter ended up getting a second hand iPhone simply because of Facetime - she just had to have that but none of the other 'features' were of interest.

  27. DrXym Silver badge

    Removing the headphone jack was just dumb

    The only reason it was done to sell proprietary and licensed headphones that only worked on Apple devices. This is par for the course for Apple but perhaps this time they've pushed their fanbase a little too far.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    History Repeating

    Saw this is the 90's before Jobs came back and saved them. It's getting all Gil Amilio. Flailing product lines, no clarity.

    No Jobs now .... they're fucked long term.

    and removing the earphone jack was seriously dumb.

  29. jma

    What I really want in my next phone

    A sunlight readable screen. Remember in the days of LCD Black and grey/green screen, you could read it in sunlight? Well I want it back, and would pay lots for it....

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019