back to article Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

You may or may not know that the phrase "industrial revolution" was coined by a Frenchman. "La révolution industrielle se met en possession de l’Angleterre," wrote the economist Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui. What irony, you may think. While Britain was inventing the modern world with its engineering, rich natural resources and …

  1. Bloodbeastterror

    £1,149

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha... stroll on...

    1. David Lawton

      Re: £1,149

      Thats what Steve Balmer said in 2007 and we know who had the last laugh...

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: £1,149

        Thats what Steve Balmer said in 2007 and we know who had the last laugh...

        The difference in 2007 was that it was new and there were a number of big steps forward in hardware design (gorilla glass), ui closely mated to the new capacitive screen and usability.

        In 2017 - not so much. Every "new" feature it has is already shipping in multiple android phones, some of them not even high end.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: £1,149

          The opening paragraphs are perhaps the most relevant - there is not likely to be an audience of 20% of the smartphone market who fancy splurging a thousand quid on a phone.

          I'll grant that Apple have a long history of innovation. Yesterday's announcement feels like them attaching the milking machine to the cash cow's udders.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £1,149

            > there is not likely to be an audience of 20% of the smartphone market who fancy splurging a thousand quid on a phone

            I wouldn't be so sure. Anyone who's prepared to pay £850 for a top-end Samsung is likely to be happy to pay £1000 for an Apple - if only because it integrates so well with the rest of their Apple gear.

          2. Richard Boyce
            Happy

            Re: £1,149

            "Yesterday's announcement feels like them attaching the milking machine to the cash cow's udders."

            That's long been attached. They're now using a cannula to draw blood too. Dracula would be impressed.

          3. Tom 64
            WTF?

            Re: £1,149

            > "a thousand quid on a phone"

            this.

            I could buy a car for that price. A fast car which would probably last 5 years if not 10.

            I know where I'd rather spend the dosh.

            1. The First Dave

              Re: £1,149

              You're talking about a R/C car aren't you?

              A car that costs less than a grand isn't gonna make it through more than a couple of MOT's without costing you the same again.

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: £1,149

                I bought my last car for 400zb, over five years spent another 400zb on MOTs before somebody crashed into it and wrote it off.

            2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

              Re: £1,149

              I was going to reply to this yesterday, but got sidetracked looking at cars for about a grand on autotrader : -)

              I miss our old Nissan Terrano... and for a grand, one could be ours again.

          4. The First Dave

            Re: £1,149

            It rather reminds me of the Twentieth Anniversary Mac - anyone remember/buy that?

            1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

              Re: £1,149

              Friend of mine had one,.... looked all sleek and that, until you saw the power brick, and realised it was slick because half of it was on the floor.

        2. Thomas Wolf

          Re: £1,149

          Assuming Face ID is as well implemented as Touch ID, then people will be paying for a feature that, while not new, actually works well. A path well worn by Apple.

          I do share the author's skepticism about the *convenience* of Face ID over Touch ID. For example, to pay with Apple Pay, I am used to simply pulling my phone out of my pocket, holding holding it over the transaction device & double-pressing the home button for authentication. It *seems* the Face ID equivalent is "pull my phone out of my pocket, double-press the power button, hold up to my face, hold up to transaction device?

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: £1,149

            You only need to hold, not press, your finger over the home button while you present the phone to the card reader if you want to pay with your default card.

          2. Bloodbeastterror

            Re: £1,149

            "Assuming Face ID is as well implemented as Touch ID"

            Well, I think that the demo showed just how well the face recognition works - i.e. it doesn't.

            Apple can bleat on as long as they want about how wonderful a feature it is, but it simply isn't - it's a gimmick, and one that has already been shot down in flames by any number of people today alone. Compared with a fingerprint reader it's total cack, and unreliable cack at that. It's another solution looking for a problem which was cracked a long time ago with a proper PIN solution.

            1. AdamWill

              Optional

              From what I read, the demo wasn't actually a failure of FaceID at all. It's just that the device they tried to demo with didn't actually have it turned on. Someone managed to freeze frame the error message, and it's something like "In order to enable FaceID on this device you must (blahblahblah)" or something along those lines. So it's not that the facial recognition failed, just a configuration issue.

              1. pavel.petrman

                Re: Optional

                @AdamWill: Reminds me of that demo of Mercedes Benz' radar-assisted braking which ended up in negative distance between the demo car and the carefully placed obstacle. It made some rounds over the Internet in its time, and later Mercedes said that actually the driver forgot to engage the system.

                But in case of Apple one would expect (based on fainbois' blabber as well as the musings of guys wearing a black turtleneck in front of other people) that a security feature is a security feature. And as such it shouldn't come with a sticker sayin 'Disable when in need of real security'.

            2. Slx

              Re: £1,149

              In the demo (if you read the text on the screen on the phone) it was prompting for a password to enable FaceID.

              This is normal iOS behaviour and exactly what it does with fingerprint ID. If the phone has been rebooted, it will not allow you to activate biometric security without entering the password first.

              It was a presentation failure rather than a technology one.

              1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                Re: £1,149

                'It was a presentation failure rather than a technology one.'

                Now try and imagine that happening with Jobs at the helm.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: £1,149

            "I do share the author's skepticism about the *convenience* of Face ID over Touch ID."

            Well, it might stop court cases and other demands by law enforcement on Apple to unlock a phone if all they have to do is power it on and point it at the suspects face.

            1. YARR
              Paris Hilton

              Re: £1,149

              I suppose someone has to garner the Vertu end of the market.

            2. ThomH Silver badge

              Re: £1,149

              Per Apple, FaceID doesn't work if your eyes are closed. Or you can hit the power button a few times to disable FaceID until your security code is entered as you see the police approaching.

              Or you can just rely on it not really working very well.

            3. M Mouse

              Re: £1,149

              I thought I read somewhere that if you plug in a USB (or whatever the latest Apple connection standard is) the phone locks again and won't talk, so sucking out all the stored data just won't work that easily.

              That's bound to piss off someone in the back room when an unlocked phone is brought to the office and it locks up again as soon as they plan to suck out the data...

          4. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Dr Mantis Toboggan
          FAIL

          Every "new" feature it has is already shipping in multiple android phones,

          How dare you suggest this. Show me an android phone that allows you to turn your face into a turd emoji.....

          Who says apple doesn't innovate and has run out of ideas...

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: £1,149

        The difference is, the competition for the iPhone X is the iPhone 6+ in my bag, or the 6s+ that I can buy for a lot less than £1,149.

        Can you give me a compelling reason why I should buy the iPhone X rather than go for one of these options?

        1. FIA

          Re: £1,149

          The difference is, the competition for the iPhone X is the iPhone 6+ in my bag, or the 6s+ that I can buy for a lot less than £1,149.

          Can you give me a compelling reason why I should buy the iPhone X rather than go for one of these options?

          Isn't that the point though? When the iPhone was released there was /the/ iPhone, but now, as the article briefly mentions, there's a whole range if you're after an Apple product, and whilst not cheap, they're not the eye gouging price of the X. Apple know this, ISTR that their biggest seller is the SE, the iPhone X is aimed fairly at the gold Apple watch brigade.

          After watching the latter half of the keynote I thought Apple were really starting to lose their way, There were bits where the forced cheering was embarrassing. (wireless charging mat being a prime example). However the more I think about it the more I think Apple may actually be pretty good at this marketing stuff, all the media attention is focused on the X (even the 8 gets little mention seemingly) and that's how it's been for the last few generations, focus on the top end, whereas Apple have very quietly broadened their market without the perception that the brand is being cheapened. Even if in the last few years most of the coverage has been 'meh' at best it doesn't seem to matter. I remember reading many places how the watch was too expensive and going to be a flop; yet Apple are now the number #2 wearable maker. Crazy!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: £1,149

          Can you give me a compelling reason why I should buy the iPhone X rather than go for one of these options?

          Yes. It'll just make you a better person.

        3. DrBobK

          Re: £1,149

          Absolutely. Every year I look to see whether it looks worth updating my phone. It took from the 3GS to the 6 for the first upgrade. I think the 6 will keep going for a few years yet. The only thing that I think the X could do that I'd like is an augmented reality version of 'on foot' turn by turn directions. Not really worth it for the enormous amount of money. Of course if they got rid of the appalling Lightning connector and went back to something that actually stayed connected, I'd buy such an iPhone like a shot!

        4. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: £1,149

          >Can you give me a compelling reason why I should buy the iPhone X rather than go for one of these options?

          You bought stuff on iTunes and you don't want to buy it all again from google?

          You may not buy it now, but eventually, you will. Those who buy now will hide the cost in longer contracts.

          Posted from my iPhone 5, which I intend to keep and use for podcasts, maps, mail, phone calls and browsing while my wife shops.

          iCloud is off.

    2. Paul Ellis

      Re: £1,149

      Veblen goods.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £1,149

      And 20% marketshare... More like 12% these days, which correlates almost exactly the percentage of the population with an IQ less than 70...

      1. FIA

        Re: £1,149

        And 20% marketshare... More like 12% these days, which correlates almost exactly the percentage of the population with an IQ less than 70..

        It's so unfair, why do the stupid people have all the money goddamnit!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: £1,149

          They don't. They just have huge debts....

          iPhones primary customerbase are people trying to prove they are a social status above where they actually are (of course most sensible people know that someone waving an iPhone around actually says the exact opposite).

          The rise of payday loans, cash converters and brighthouse and £50/month phone contracts means that even the most useless chav can own the latest iPhone.

          I see iPhone owner and instantly think "bellend"

        2. plrndl
          Pint

          Re: £1,149 why do the stupid people have all the money goddamnit!!!

          That's actually the wrong question. The smart question is "why don't the smart people have all the money?"

          I think I'll go and ask around in the pub.

      2. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: £1,149

        In other news, Apple have made giant strides in proving that you can in fact milk a sheep...

    4. ckm5

      Re: £1,149

      It's easy to laugh, but for people like me a phone is a business expense and I don't really pay for it. And as a primary computing device, I don't mind spending $1000 on it - that's 1/2 of what I would have spent on a laptop 5 years ago. Having a larger screen in a smaller form factor is a huge plus when working in the field. Never mind that most people will just buy it on credit for ~$35/mo.

      Is the price point outrageous? Not really. Not when you consider a Palm Treo was ~$600 in 2004 (about $800 today) and Blackberries were $800 15 years ago. Even a modern top-of-the-line phones are $700-$800, this is only $200 more. If $200 is an issue for you, then you should be rethinking your priorities and buy a much cheaper or second hand phone.

      I think these will sell out easily - Apple will be laughing all the way and walking away with all the profits....

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: £1,149

        You use an iPhone as a *computing* *device*? I learned to type and graduated from finger painting when I was in primary school.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stop Press! Craig Federighi mentions 'The Register' in 2017 Apple iPhone Keynote!

      I was falling asleep at the unbelieveable 'bionic'/'town squares' OTT marketing baloney, when I heard the words "at The Register". My ears pricked up, what, did I hear that right? "at the... The Register?"

      I immediately step the Keynote video back, 1hr:34m:30 secs, there it is, Craig Federighi, his own words "At The Register", what a twitter meme that would be!

      Set to work folks. ;) We need a Friday article for this, with clip!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The iPhone was unique because it could do one or two things (web and maps, but not much else) much better than the competition at the time.

    A bit of an understatement - the whole UI was many orders of magnitude better, smoother, more intuitive and more fluid than anything that had existed before. We'd never seen anything like it. I think you forget how woeful Windows CE was - the slowness, the crappy UI, the 15 year old region-based GDI juddery screen redraws - changing from portrait to landscape mode on my old XDA involved 2-3 second screen delay whilst the UI tottered its way to stability. The iPhone just animated the flip. Wonderful!

    But the iPhone X is just a bit odd really, and shows how closed and out of touch (no pun intended) the Apple culture has become. Jobs ran Apple like this because he thought he knew best, and he was often right. I have no idea what Cook thinks.

    Touch ID was a brilliant idea, and beautifully executed by Apple - right there in the primary UI control. How could that be better? You don't have to hold the phone up, you can use it whilst it's in a dock without any odd spinal contortions. How is facial recognition really any better? That I don't get. And as for the price...

    However, this will sell and sell and sell. Everyone lives on dreams and credit nowadays. £1,000 is nothing if you don't see it leaving your wallet.

    1. thegambles

      Compare like with like

      I know it's easy to say Windows CE / Mobile / Phone was crap and didn't provide a viable interface for web and mail, but much like people look at iDevice releases and see old copied technology as new, when the only new thing was the face matching emoji, you're not comparing like with like. Windows Mobile 5 with a good skin and after market apps (WM was more about after market even for core apps) was already do almost as easily and elegant (if that was what you wanted) as the 2007 iPhone. When the latter came out it was also hugely flawed - no cut and paste, no viable mobile data - I could go on.

      By 2009, the HTC HD2 came out only 12 months after the iPhone 3G (the first really viable iPhone in my book). As a device it was leagues ahead of the iPhone of that generation with a bigger higher resolution capacitive display. It was also faster with better battery life and arguably the best and most sensibly built phone ever. It was thin, very hard wearing (had very strong alu rear that enabled replaceable battery and SD storage). WM6.5 at the time could be made to work almost exactly like the iPhone if you wanted it, but could also get hideously and wonderfully complex with full desktop like apps (Softmaker Office etc) if you wanted it. Yes, this wasn't for everyone, but looking at innovation - it was great. Beyond this it was amazingly future proof. I, like many migrated to Android and upgraded for years to later releases. Re stability - running aftermarket Android ROMs on a 5 year old device was demonstrable more stable than a 3 year old iPhone that was supposedly endlessly updateable. WM6.5 was a good, stable OS that was targeted at people that wanted a bit more control and options and the best 6.5 device in 2009 was leagues ahead of the iPhone. We mustn't keep comparing the first W CE device with the later iDevices and expect to be taken seriously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Compare like with like

        "Windows Mobile 5 with a good skin and after market apps (WM was more about after market even for core apps) was already do almost as easily and elegant (if that was what you wanted) as the 2007 iPhone."

        Trouble is, the argument you are making is remarkably similar to the sort of argument often trotted out by people in love with Open Source.

        The people who love Open Source will tell you "this software is the best thing since sliced bread and will do exactly the same thing as your overpriced software written by <insert name of your most hated vendor>"

        Well sure. But the typical problem is with Open Source is that the documentation is patchy, you need to spend a lifetime hacking away with config files and begging for help on mailing lists, forums or just plain trawling Google. Plus with Open Source to achieve the same result you normally end up having to install 10 other Open Source packages, each with their own docs, configs, mailing lists etc.

        Or you could just pay the <big evil vendor> and get a solution that works out of the box, and you have commercial support that gives you someone to shout at and an SLA they have to adhere to to get you a reply.

        The argument is very similar to your "Windows Mobile plus good skin plus a bunch of after market apps" argument versus "the iPhone does it out of the box".

        1. airbrush

          Re: Compare like with like

          Sure but Apples whole ecosystem is built on open source, no open source and Apple would have gone bust years ago.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Compare like with like

          Actually, the typical problem with open source is how the documentation spends all its time bragging about how the code is open source, which language it was written in and which open source code libraries it uses, and how you can integrate this with your own apps, blah de blah. Example: Linphone.

          Who gives a fuck?

          Nowhere does the documentation I've found actually tell you how to *use* the bloody thing, in language non-techies can understand. And such documentation is needed, because its UI is confusing and clunky.

          *That* is the problem with open source. It will continue to fail and be largely irrelevant until its makers are prepared to understand and accept that the mass of users treat this stuff as *appliances*, and rightly so. That was Jobs's genius insight with the original Mac.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Compare like with like

            "Example: Linphone."

            Linphone. Hah...sounds a bit like Freeswitch.

            Freeswitch docs are a mess, and its devilishly confusing and over-complicated to configure and and troubleshoot. And the people on the mailinglist just talk you like you're an idiot and should have already known the answer before you posted the question.

            Although, having said which, the Joomla docs make Freeswitch docs look amazing. The Joomla docs are absolutely horrific, truly abysmal and contradict themselves everywhere left right and centre.

          2. AdamWill

            Re: Compare like with like

            Uh, what an absurd assertion. There's about seventy bajillion pieces of open source software, you can't *possibly* make a generalization like this and have it be remotely useful. Some of them are well documented, some of them are not. Amazingly enough, quite a lot like non-open source software!

        3. ChrisC

          Re: Compare like with like

          "Or you could just pay the <big evil vendor> and get a solution that works out of the box"

          Provided that the <big evil vendor> solution works exactly the way you'd like it to work... Count me in as another fan of the old Windows Mobile devices - my first three smartphones all ran various iterations of WM, and I absolutely loved how open the OS was to allowing the end user to tweak stuff to their hearts content if the default way of doing things wasn't quite to their liking.

          As someone who suffers from somewhat iffy colour vision, having the ability to knock up a custom colour scheme which was then respected by pretty much every part of the OS and third party apps, as opposed to the rather feeble lip-service usually paid to this sort of thing by many other OSs (and depressingly growing ever more feeble across ever more OSs as times goes on - don't get me started on how hostile "modern" UI design can be to people with less than perfect vision...) was an absolute godsend, and something I've missed ever since moving away from WM into the Android world. And that was just one of the countless things you could do with WM if you so desired.

          So whilst I'll readily admit that WM wasn't a brilliant choice for the average user who just wanted a simple to use smartphone, and whilst the early iPhones genuinely did shake up the market in terms of making smartphones accessible from the moment you took them out of the box, it does frustrate me at the number of people who seem to equate "needs to be customised for your own personal preferences" with "can't do any of this stuff at all".

        4. Ian Joyner

          Re: Compare like with like

          The thing about open source is it is being used by companies as a quick entry to market to make huge profits out of the free work of many open source contributors, who work on open source precisely because they don't like those kinds of companies.

          http://ianjoyner.name/Open_Source.html

        5. plrndl

          Documentation

          It's a long time since I've used closed source software, but I seem to recall that if you wanted documentation you had to buy a book that cost almost as much as the software, and was probably two versions out of date. The last time I bought software with proper documentation is was, dare I say it, MS DOS.

      2. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Re: Compare like with like

        I bought a Sony Xperia windows phone at roughly the same time the iPhone came out. It was utter shite compared to the iPhone.

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Compare like with like

          Ditto for Nokia X6 - it was shit but Nokia thought it was equivalent.

          I drop-kicked mine and then jumped up and down on it as it was so awful.

        2. AdamWill

          Re: Compare like with like

          They were...really different. You could *do* a hell of a lot with late-stage Windows Mobile devices, but it was an awfully clunky experience. You could do a lot less with early iPhones, but what you could do felt a whole lot nicer than using a WM device. So, I mean, it's kinda natural people have different takes on this.

      3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Compare like with like

        "By 2009, the HTC HD2 came out only 12 months after the iPhone 3G (the first really viable iPhone in my book)"

        Frikking 'A' dude. I too had an HTC HD2, and I was quite happy with it. I also agree that the iPhone 3G was the first viable iPhone, the v1 lacked many features available on other phones, so was rather lacklustre. My wife had a Nokia N95 at v1 release time, had an apps store, 3G, GPS, Maps, and a thoroughly decent camera.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        "WM5 [...]was already do almost as easily and elegant..."

        No.Usable, yes, elegant and easy, no.

        The (real) killer feature of the iPhone was multitouch - a technology Apple acquired- it allowed for much faster and intuitive UIs - and simpler phones (no keyboard, no stylus) with a larger screen, which is also far more useful when you consume contents. The iPod traction and Apple branding were a bonus, they made the smartphone acceptable outside the business area.

        Windows Mobile worked better with a keyboard and a stylus (you could use a finger nail, but was slower). I used a smartphone since the 2002 Treo 270, and tasks like web browsing, watching videos and following a GPS-driven map were less friendly on the smaller screens (and devices with sliding keyboards were bulkier).

        Apple got the UI needed for a small screen, mobile device right. Microsoft for far too long attempted to put a desktop UI on them. It designed the excellent Metro interface too late - and made the mistake to put it on desktop, repeating the same mistake on the other direction - with its obsession of "one UI to rule them all".

      5. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: Compare like with like

        Utter bollocks. Nothing, but nothing that windows mobile did back in 2007 worked in a vaguely usable and reliable way. It was windows. In other words, utter shite.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Compare like with like

          I had four different Windows powered mobile phones, starting with a Qtek 9090 in 2004, and never had any reliability issues with any of them. What was better, at the time, pray tell?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The iPhone was unique because it could do one or two things (web and maps, but not much else) much better than the competition at the time.

      Not quite sure I understand this quote from the article or your response.

      The iPhone did not get Apple Maps until 2012, five years after its 2007 release. Ovi/Nokia Maps had been going for years before the iPhone's release and was a fully-featured solution based on Navteq's maps at the time that Apple Maps sent you down airport runways and other hilarious things.

      Google Maps was released in 2008 and just ate data through a 3G or Edge connection while Ovi/Nokia maps let you download the countries you were interested in before leaving the house.

      Or maybe it's me who's suffering from the Mandela effect...

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        The original iPhone had a Maps app that was written by Apple but that used Google Maps data. No GPS, mind.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        The iPhone originally shipped with Google Maps as its default maps app. When Apple maps came out, all that changed was the data source of the maps, and the fact that it wasn't so accurate at first.

    3. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Me, I don't forget how awful WM, Symbian, the "web tablets" etc were at the time - I complained about them non stop. It's all here.

      Only an outsider like Apple could have given the industry the kick up the bum it needed. (Sony couldn't). The idea of bundling a data plan together with the phone (gasp), so the punter didn't get bill shock, was also ground-breaking at the time.

      But £1,149? For a thing that is stylistically and functionally equivalent to a £600 thing. Really? That isn't £1,000 leaving your wallet, it's £550 flying out of your wallet, then laughing at you as it sails off to that Heaven's Gate spaceship they're building out in Cupertino.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        @ Andrew Orlowski

        It's probably more than that. won't effect sales much though.

        It's not £1100 quid leaving the account of the average iPhone user. It's a few quid more a month and a few quid more upfront when you start your contract. If they saw it like that, the 6-800 quid 'premium' phones would have failed too. They didn't, it became the norm to a large majority of users.

        If phones could only be sold sim free, then yes, this would fail spectacularly. We know that's not how must phones are sold though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The £550 surcharge partially funds apple stores (that might be near you, but probably not) and partially funds keeping the press and media on its side, and ensuring any celebrity near a camera also gets unlimited apple freebies, it also partly funds lots of luxury press events and expenses and other jollies.

        Apple punters pay for all this, like it or not.

    4. rmason Silver badge

      @word_merchant

      A good point and one that is being ignored. 90%+ (guess!) of consumer iPhones aren't purchased outright. They're on contract.

      Apple know it means some of their customers won't bother. To the rest though, it's not "£1100 for a phone" it's £10 a month more and a few extra quid upfront for your contract.

      I think those of you who buy sim free, and aren't bothered about flagship phones, forget that people are happily swallowing 70 quid a month mobile bills because it *IS* important to them.

      What's 80 quid a month and 150 up front when your last contract was 70 quid a month and 99 quid upfront?

      If everyone purchased sim free, and we were all on 7-15 quid a month contracts then this would absolutely crash and burn.

      'We' don't, 'we' aren't, so it probably won't.

      They aren't after my Dad's money, who buys mid range sim free. They aren't after my money, who prefers a different OS they are after my younger sisters money, who I think gets a mobile bill of around 65-75 a month, and has the latest iPhone. So do all her mates. So do all of my wife's mates (etc etc).

      I'm the opposite of an apple fanboy, but I think this will do just fine.

      1. juice Bronze badge

        Fair point...

        "What's 80 quid a month and 150 up front when your last contract was 70 quid a month and 99 quid upfront?"

        Except it's probably going to be more than a tenner.

        At a glance over at Carphone warehouse, the iPhone 7 Plus is 699 quid sim-free; the most sensible contract [*] is around £43 with around £150 up front.

        Interestingly, the Galaxy Note 8 is £869 sim-free and the contract/up-front costs are pretty much identical despite it being £170 more expensive. Presumably Samsung and/or the phone networks are offering a heftier discount?

        Any which way, it suggests that contracts for the iPhone X will be around the 65 quid mark once the initial feeding frenzy subsides, which isn't that much of a jump.

        [*] Unless you want to lob 660 quid at them upfront to get it down to 13 quid a month, though at that point, I'd be inclined to scrape a few more coppers together to buy the phone outright and then go hunting for the best sim-free deal...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fair point...

          You are correct about the price issue. Samsung allows much larger reseller margins so they are discounted significantly to compete. Apple has pitiful reseller margins so discounting is difficult unless you want loss-leaders.

          That's also why Apple basically hoovers up almost all the profits in the industry - its margins are far higher than anyone else's.

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Devil

        Expensive Contract phones

        The operator "free" with contract has to stop.

        It's dishonest, limits competition and means that many customers are subsiding other customers.

  3. bitten

    Our present day view is that the industrial revolution was already 40 by the time Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui was born. History is a moving target.

  4. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Original iPhone was not unique for maps

    Nokia was far better. Mobile web, maybe Apple did better, but still "meh" at the time given prevailing mobile data speeds and costs. What the original iPhone did brilliantly was to offer a beautiful physical experience, being smart, compact, well built, and the first phone with a high quality capacitive touch screen. Compare that to a Nokia 5800 of similar vintage - creaky, crappy small resistive touchscreen, thick and clunky. And then there was iPhone software, which for all its limits was better than Nokia's by a country mile.

    But otherwise, you're absolutely right. Apple have not evolved as fast as their competitors since 2007. And a decade later they are now the ones playing catchup. Apple investors may want to see how taking your eye off the ball worked for Nokia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Original iPhone was not unique for maps

      I think though that it is important to consider a very significant restriction that Apple suffers far more than any other manufacturer; the problems of scale and delivery. Apple makes very few models but sells a very large number of each one. Samsung for example outsells Apple overall by volume, but over a much larger model range.

      So for Apple to introduce a specific feature, the hardware that drives that feature has to be available in very high volumes. For example high quality OLED screens were basically unavailable for Apple, no manufacturer could deliver the volumes demanded by Apple, and the X's OLED is only possible because at the price Apple forecasts much smaller volumes than their "main" iPhone 8 line so the required volumes are now available. But it takes time for the capacity to deliver those volumes to come on stream.

      There are related factors, Apple does sell as a premium brand (and markets itself as a "just works" brand) and so there is a significantly lower tolerance for faults and problems - so new features need to be reliable. Samsung by contrast suffers but more easily survives disasters like the Note fires and other failings. If the iPhone 7+ say had Note type issues and was withdrawn it would have been far worse for Apple than the Note was for Samsung - Samsung users kind of expect the fumbles and tolerate them better, it is part of the downside of pushing the technical envelope faster.

      So I think that Apple innovates almost as fast as it can within the brand envelope it inhabits. It will also probably sell quite a few X's to those who simply must have the latest Apple "thing". They certainly have issues going forward to confront, but the X fits with their strategy as it exists, and I reckon it will be a reasonable success. The right way forward, who knows.

  5. Salestard

    Who buys on features?

    I think we in the tech sector miss one thing when it comes to consumer electronics - regular people simply don't buy the features; it's either an emotive purchase, or a purely practical one. Otherwise, given that taking photos is what most people do regularly with mobes, Nokia would have sold far more Lumias than they did because of the excellent camera/lense combo.

    I'm beginning to wonder if Apple have pursued the X as showroom tinsel to get the punters to their store/stand/website, where you sell them your volume device and get/keep them in the iEcosystem. Car makers used to do this with things like Escort Cosworth, or M3 - notionally about homologation, actually about getting people in, then flogging them the generic beige crap from the back of the brochure - didn't matter the tinsel made a loss, or didn't recoup R&D, as the overall profit model worked.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Who buys on features?

      > I'm beginning to wonder if Apple have pursued the X as showroom tinsel to get the punters to their store/stand/website, where you sell them your volume device

      Exactly. The X is a place holder (like the 1st gen iPod, 1st gen iPhone, 1st gen iPad, 1st gen iWatch... Notice the pattern? :)). In time the yields on the cut-out OLED screens will improve (and thus price will fall and availability will grow), and either an under-screen fingerprint sensor will be perfected or people will get on with the face ID system. HDR video content will become more common, too - Netflicks, Apple and YouTube already offer it (my mate has a daftly expensive OLED LG TV, and it is lovely).

      The issues with screen manufacturing mean that the X isn't destined to be a volume seller, so as such it's a better testbed for this Face ID system than a normal iPhone. And the high price tag doesn't matter too much, either.

      It's all a distraction from the under the bonnet stuff - the first Apple-designed mobile GPU, plus ISPs and other silicon to make the phones better able to interpret the world around it, combined will calibrated cameras and more sensitive gyros. To what use these abilities are eventually put will depend on 3rd party developers - my guess includes fashion retail, games, surveying and product and interior design. This tech is coming to other platforms too - from Qualcomm, Google and Intel amongst others - but Apple will have it across a lot of devices quickly, which bodies well for 3rd party dev support.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Place holder

        Damn good point.

        One day my phone will know it is me. 3D Facial? Maybe, but let's get back to the time we just have to pick up the frigging phone when it rang and answer instantly without faffing around. So it knows it is me because of - I dunno - use your imagination : handprint? The way I move? Body (hand) temperature contour? The grip - strength of, or where I put, each finger? Animal magnetism? Aura? Bad breath? All of the above?**

        Or maybe I need a doggy-style (stop sniggering at the back) chip* implanted in both palms.

        *Could double as a sim card, but let's not get carried away.

        **Edit : come to think of it those fancy scales which measure mass/muscle/bone/fat etc do a pretty good job of identification through your feet and palms. At the moment you still tell the machine who is using it but that hardly seems necessary.

        Ok I am getting carried away.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Place holder

          *Could double as a sim card, but let's not get carried away

          No thanks!

          I watched Kingsman the other night.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Place holder

            On the plus side a way of exploding iPhones could solve so many of the worlds problems <JOKE!>

  6. Andy Taylor

    iPhone 8 can do wireless charging.

    see the website.

  7. Kevil

    No Qi?

    Pretty sure that the iPhone 8 was announced with wireless Qi charging...

  8. Milton Silver badge

    Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

    Fingerprint access and face recogntiion are equally inane "solutions" to mobile device security.

    Yes, it's more or less ok to use them for, say, access to a building, provided they can't be fooled by reproductions, because the whole point is that You and only You are being checked to see if You are You.

    But why would you use a password which you leave everywhere, every single time to you touch something that will take a fingerprint? Why would you guard your sensitive personal data with a password you have plastered on your face? Either of which the Stasi can "hack" simply by twisting your arm?

    The best password is a mixed case random alphanumerisymbolic mashup of at least a dozen characters, and a validation process that will not allow more than one entry attempt per second by any means. It's in my head. Only in my head. Where no gets it unless I wish to share. We'll see how long it takes anyone's computer to get through 14,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 combinations at a rate of one per second—long beyond the heat death of the universe.

    Now if you want to add face recognition as an extra factor, fine: but to rely only on fingerprints or faces is not improving security—it is doing precisely the opposite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      " It's in my head. Only in my head. Where no gets it unless I wish to share. We'll see how long it takes anyone's computer to get through "

      Uh huh.....

      I see its that time of year again for ....

      https://www.xkcd.com/538/

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      > The best password is a mixed case random alphanumerisymbolic mashup of at least a dozen characters, and a validation process that will not allow more than one entry attempt per second by any means.

      For sure, but that's not really practical for a device that might be unlocked a dozen times an hour. At present, the requirement to enter a passcode can be forced on an iPhone by quickly tapping the home button five times (disabling the fingerprint unlock). Attempts at entering the passcode are limited. As of the latest iOS update, even an unlocked iPhone will insist on a passcode before connecting to a computer.

      The FBI weren't happy. There's an Israeli company who can get into that past model of iPhone, possibly by dissembling the phone and cloning the NAND, and it's not impossible that the NSA et al are sitting on some other exploit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

        "At present, the requirement to enter a passcode can be forced on an iPhone by quickly tapping the home button five times (disabling the fingerprint unlock)"

        Just for the record, you know you can disable fingerprint unlock in config, don't you ? ;-)

        You can just leave fingerprints enabled for post-unlock apps-only (if you want fingerprints enabled at all that is).

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

          > Just for the record, you know you can disable fingerprint unlock in config, don't you ? ;-)

          For sure, but Apple also provide a quick way of disabling it discreetly, should you suddenly see some flashing blue lights, or are about to walk up to a US border officer.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      Whilst Face Id can't really be described as a mobile device security "solution", it does provide some rather useful UX functionality - the challenge will be balancing this with security.

      Currently, I walk into my lounge and the Xbox Kinect will recognise me and auto log me in. Likewise it will do so with the rest of my family. Now with the default parental controls, if I try and watch something rated as 15+ with my children in the room the Xbox will prompt me to okay the access with minors in the room. In the mobile environment I can see the benefit of having my phone/communicator recognise that I'm in range and thus give me status updates, accept my spoken commands etc. Also taking the Xbox example, if my phone - using the profile pictures attached to contacts, also recognises when I'm with my friends, other ad-hoc personal area functionality becomes possible.

      1. Paul 33

        Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

        That only works because the Xbox Kinect Sensor is positioned at the focal point of the room.

        You mobile is lay flat on the desk or counter looking up. Unless it's touched by the AllSpark and grows limbs to enable it to stand up and look around, nobody is going to want to walk up to the charge point and look down at the phone to register their presence.

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

          The drawback to actually tattooing your password on your face is that the tattoo artist would then claim copyright on their work and prevent you from actually using it.

          Although, come to think of it, you'd need the mirror image of your password on your boat-race ...

        2. Roland6 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

          @Paul 33 - You mobile is lay flat on the desk or counter looking up. Unless it's touched by the AllSpark and grows liymbs to enable it to stand up and look around. ...

          Agree with your point, however, I'm sure Apple will find some social use case for this feature, particularly as this an Apple device... Hence it will be stood up in the music dock (just like previous iPhones) and given the price paid you would probably want everyone to know you have an iPhone X, so suspect it would be kept on a pedestal positioned at the focal point of the room - as I'm sure a fanboy/girl wouldn't possess a mass market gaming platform such as the Xbox...

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

          Unless it's touched by the AllSpark and grows limbs to enable it to stand up and look around, nobody is going to want to walk up to the charge point and look down at the phone to register their presence.

          You've got to hand it to the Japanese...

    4. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      And what about all those people with terrible memories?

      1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

        Once it is tattooed on your face it doesn't matter how bad your memory is as long as you can find a mirror (and you got it done in mirror writing).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

        Speaking from experience I can say it's not a problem. Mostly I can't find my phone anyway unless it is ringing or it's in my pocket.

    5. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      “The best password is a mixed case random alphanumerisymbolic mashup of at least a dozen characters”

      Absolute twaddle! That might be technically the best password combo but in real life, who is going to remember dozens of passwords like this? It’s just not what humans do. Better password schemes are actually passphrases. Easier to remember and more secure.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

        "Better password schemes are actually passphrases. Easier to remember and more secure."

        But, one, you have to remember a bunch of them, which can get mixed up in your head. And two, what if you have a bad memory.

        For every time someone mentions passphrases or the xkcd comic, I always reply, "Now was that correcthorsebatterystaple or donkeyenginepaperclipwrong?"

    6. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Leave your password everywhere, or just tattoo it on your face

      Simple, just require all iPhone users to have plastic surgery every 6 months to meet security guidelines

  9. djstardust Silver badge

    Even Samsung

    Are starting to take the piss.

    I seem to remember my Galaxy S being less than £400.

    It seems every new release they are whacking on £50 to £100 and just remember the 256gb Note 8 will be around the £1000 mark as well.

    Seriously, if a badge isn't important you will get an almost as good handset from Huawei/Honor at less than half the price.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Even Samsung

      The new Samsung Note 8 isn't far off the price of these new iPhones, and Sammy are reporting record numbers of pre-orders. Even taking pent-up demand (those who wanted a Note 7) into account, it shows there's plenty of folk willing to drop that much on a phone.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Even Samsung

        it shows there's plenty of folk willing to drop that much on a phone.

        While the Note 8 doesn't have "Face ID" it does have DeX and I can see that alone driving some corporate sales. I expect demand for all the flagships to be strong initially because the market is now so big. The real test will be if demand persists over the coming months when it comes to standard contract renewals.

        Of course, Apple is likely to win whichever phone is successful because the margins are so high. My brother, who can normally be relied upon to upgrade with each new release has already declined the Apple Galaxy X as too expensive so he's only getting an 8. Apple shareholders can relax as they can expect a record quarter.

        However, there is no doubt that Apple has for the first time really conceded the lead in the market. The Apple Galaxy X is a beautiful but restricted copy of the Samsung Note 8.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Even Samsung

          There's corporations that use iPhones... A MOD friend of mine was issued with an iPhone running some Blackberry security software.

          As for 'restricted', that depends upon what you mean, and what you're wanting to do. There are applications, especially in areas such as music production and liaising with Leica surveying kit and Nikon cameras that are still better supported / available on iOS.

          The stylus of the Note is it's killer feature, but if Apple were that threatened by it they would easily be able to implement it on iPhone.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even Samsung

            Don't understand the downvote but....

            Anyway, daughter is a corporate lawyer and uses and iPhone 7 and an iPad Air for work.

            On a recent holiday in Spain she was working (on documents) with both while sitting on the beach, with both devices using something Blackberry. Probably whatever Dave mentioned above.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Even Samsung

            The stylus of the Note is it's killer feature, but if Apple were that threatened by it they would easily be able to implement it on iPhone.

            Rephrase that with some fantastic I-Phone feature from a few years ago that other phones didn't have or didn't do as well. Technologically all the other phones were compared with the I-Phone and found wanting, which is why the price premium was justified. The boot is now very much on the other foot and I think Apple's biggest failure with the X was not having something like DeX. Yes, I know there are lots of reasons why they might not want it, but they are going to need it. Just like bigger screens, OLED, QI, water resistance.

            Note, this does not mean I don't think Apple makes great kit: it does and it does remain a leader in some areas. It also keeps the purchasing decision pretty simple for users: screen and memory size. But it is getting closer to relying entirely on its brand and styling.

      2. Naselus Silver badge

        Re: Even Samsung

        The difference is, the Note 8 has been routinely hailed as 'the best smartphone in the world' - as was the Note 7 prior to the whole 'it catches fire in your hands' thing, and the Note 6 before it. Apple never really had to face serious competition for the title before the iPhone 6, and having that title opens the very deep wallets of the 'I want the best, money's no object' crowd - expense account executives, oligarchs, Chinese government officials etc. Basically, the only segment of the population Apple even bother trying to sell to outside the US/UK.

        But the response to the X - even from traditional Apple stalwarts - has been much more mixed than previous models. For something that was pitched as a "major update", the changes have turned out to be decidedly run of the mill, with lots of playing catch-up and not a lot pushing the envelope. It's hard to get excited for 'here's a feature your secretary's 6-year old's phone has had for 2 or 3 years, only we're doing it slightly differently!'.

        The simple fact is, near enough all the new phone's headline features would have been really competitive 18 months ago, but making a big fanfare about adding them now is just calling attention to the fact they were still missing even after 4th-rate brands had started adding them to their mid-range offerings.

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Even Samsung

      This.

      All these people saying 1k+ for a phone will never work are not grasping that people don't buy sim free (on average). I'm sure the same was said when the flagships hit 6-800 quid. People wanted them, were happy to go from a 20-25 quid a month contract to a 50 quid a month one to have them. It became the norm.

      Same thing here. You're already paying £XX per month so you can have the flagship, I can't see that mindset balking at £XX+5-10, and perhaps an extra 50-100 up front.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Even Samsung

        You're already paying £XX per month so you can have the flagship, I can't see that mindset balking at £XX+5-10, and perhaps an extra 50-100 up front.

        Actually, I suspect this segment will fragment (just as it was supposed to with the 5C) into a smaller number of people buying the X and most going for an 8 as the closest thing. Apple will be happy as long as people stick with an I-Phone (existing customers are likely to). They might not even be too disappointed if people get off the upgrade treadmill and go for £xx -10 a month with no upfront and keep their phone until it breaks. I suspect the number of people doing this is likely to increase as it has for every other manufacturer.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People will probably still buy old-style up-market mechanical wrist watches for about GBP2k. The recommended annual service costs a few hundred - and the watch is away for a few weeks

    An ALDI analogue quartz one in a "waterproof" stainless steel case comes in at under a tenner. In my experience the latter is also more consistently accurate. Out of service for a couple of minutes every year while the battery is changed.

    My 1972 Omega Seamaster Cosmic is now relegated to "formal dress" ornamentation with the Wedgwood cameo cuff links.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        I wanted to buy a real leather strap for my 'Limit' wristwatch. I decided not to bother when I realised that leather straps cost more than I'd spent on the watch (£10).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Cheapskate."

        All things are relative. A George Daniels custom wristwatch starts at GBP95k.

        IIRC on the BBC program he said that accurate as his mechanical watches were - they could never beat a cheap quartz one in that respect.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > 1972 Omega Seamaster Cosmic

      Nice. I wish there were more cushion-shaped watches today - the market is flooded with circles-with-lugs.

      A smooth sweep quartz movement, sapphire crystal and 38 mm stainless steel case would suit me nicely. Basically, if Seiko were to make a '68 Chronostop. Lije, if Skagen made sensibly sized watches. Oh well. I'll have to commission a titanium printer to make me one!

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        @Dave 126

        > 1972 Omega Seamaster Cosmic

        Nice. I wish there were more cushion-shaped watches today - the market is flooded with circles-with-lugs.

        A smooth sweep quartz movement, sapphire crystal and 38 mm stainless steel case would suit me nicely. Basically, if Seiko were to make a '68 Chronostop. Lije, if Skagen made sensibly sized watches. Oh well. I'll have to commission a titanium printer to make me one!

        Cushion cases are still out there, you just have to look for them! Almost every micro does one these days. The only smooth sweep quartz movement I know of is the Bulova Accutron II, which is found in a handful of "retro" models with cushion and turtle style cases, albeit a bit larger than 38mm and without a sapphire crystal, for example the Surveyor is 41mm while the Lobster and Snorkel divers are even larger.

        Although given Seiko's obsession of late with re-issues and re-editions, you might get lucky with that Chronostop. Seiko also seems to be allergic to sapphire though.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: @Dave 126

          >Seiko also seems to be allergic to sapphire though.

          Because they have their own Hardlex mineral crystal glass:

          Sapphire is near impossible to scratch but more brittle, thus prone to cracking or shattering if dropped wrong or from too high up. Hardlex isn't quite as scratch resistant as Sapphrine but it less brittle and thus unlikely to crack or shatter.

          From experience, a Sapphire glass is likely to shatter under a point load leaving the watch face exposed whereas the Hardlex will crack. Thus for me, I'll happily skip the Sapphrine price premium.

      2. Blotto

        i'd love to be able to afford a grand seiko.

        funny how they just tell the time yet cost thousands, yet people moan about a hugely powerful computer in your pocket that can do all sorts for £1k.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      WTF?

      @AC

      People will probably still buy old-style up-market mechanical wrist watches for about GBP2k. The recommended annual service costs a few hundred - and the watch is away for a few weeks

      You must be having a laugh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC

        "You must be having a laugh?"

        IIRC the quote originally was six weeks for it to go back to the Omega service department. Nowadays it is so old that the local jeweller outsources to a specialist - who can't do the waterproof seal. Last time round, probably 10 years ago, the cost for a repair was GBP210.

        That's when I discovered such a watch new was in the order of GBP2k. It cost me GBP72 in 1973 when I was earning good money and wanted an automatic with a date setting to fix my work induced time blur.

        The shop's charge for a generic strap used to be GBP7 - then a new owner of the shop charged me GBP25 for the same thing. Next time it will be Timpson's.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: @AC

          The laugh is the idea that automatic watches need servicing on anything close to an annual basis.

    4. 0laf Silver badge

      Nobody buys a mechanical watch because they need a watch.

      Nobody buys an iPhone because they need a phone.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

    to slag off Apple.

    Like Apple, El Reg does not change much over the years

    Glad to see you are on the ball as usual. Keep it up.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

      "Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article to slag off Apple. Like Apple, El Reg does not change much over the years Glad to see you are on the ball as usual. Keep it up."

      It's 1000 notes for a bloody phone. Anyone who buys this needs their sodding head examined.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

      I do often wonder quite how much money Samsung pay The Register in brown envelopes to get them to slag off Apple.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

        The Reg doesn't hesitate to slag Sammy off when necessary as well. Apple are just an easier target due to the Apple Tax, the lock ins, the attempts to trade mark round corners, etc.

        Apple also blacklisted The Regs journos cos they didn't sing Apple PRs tune all the time.

        Its not like they don't invite it on themselves.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

        Nonbody needs paid to slag off Apple. They do it because the company and its followers are so annoying.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

        I do often wonder quite how much money Samsung pay The Register in brown envelopes to get them to slag off Apple.

        At a guess, it's the same amount as Apple pay The Register in brown envelopes to get them to slag off Samsung.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

      Andrew has is generally pretty liberal and even with his criticism and certainly didn't spare Samsung last year. In the past, he's written glowingly of Apple's approach. The only hardware pieces that really jarred were the Windows Phone ones, which came across as a bit too close to the PR briefings.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, Mr O, the go to guy for an article

      For the sake of editorial balance it's only fair to mention that Mr O also slags off Windows phones, and Blackberry, and (I had to search to find it) Android too.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will the X have an appeal beyond oligarchs, expense account braggarts, and the fanbois?

    I might share my hate of their business model and ethics (what ethicks?!) with 99.9% of the register readers, but I don't have much doubt their business model works (shear them short and often, as their coat grows fast) and will continue to continue to work for quite some time. Well, at least until the next world war. They created a mixture of both apple and i-cult of sorts, and the number of believers grows and likely to continue to grow in China, mostly. And the extra price will be even more appealing to pay for the believers who, let's face it, want to feel superior to those unsheared masses who can't or won't spend a grand, and hope that the price increase will help them maintain the feeling of being i-special. And all those wannabes will sell their blood to join the "elite" too. Apple just press the right buttons, so to speak, and price is one of them.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Will the X have an appeal beyond oligarchs, expense account braggarts, and the fanbois?

      "but I don't have much doubt their business model works "

      Their main genius is managing to make phone purchases into a regular revenue stream rather than lump sum purchases. Well, making the providers do it, so they get to keep their hands clean.

      Never really got the Apple rage myself. Supported plenty of professional users of Apple kit, and they are much like pro users of PC kit. If it's a work tool, then there's a budget for it, and mid-high end laptops/desktops/phones are all within 20-30% price of each other.

      While "looks good on desk" is not a factor for many people, for some having the receptionist having a swish looking machine is vitally important. Even if it's all remote connections to the actual work boxen, the power of branding is strong.

      Apart from resellers, never anyone who paid upfront for their iPhone. Always on a contract.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair the industry standard fingerprint readers were pathetic at the time touchID was introduced as well. We'll just have to wait and see if Apple have provided as big a jump with FaceID.

  14. ratfox Silver badge

    Apple will be fine as long as they have an important enough percentage that they can't be ignored by most app developers and accessories makers. The fact that their customers are generally rich helps make their percentage heavier.

    But it's a tricky game, and if they ever lose that, it will be near impossible to turn it around. Unlike desktops, smartphones don't command significant staying power in the workplace, so that when consumers leave, it's over.

  15. Pat Att

    I don't always agree with this author...

    But I believe Andrew has got this spot on. Hopefully this will be the product that forces people to re-evaluate their relationship with Apple.

  16. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    Original success

    "The iPhone was unique because it could do one or two things (web and maps, but not much else) much better than the competition at the time. "

    No. It was the operator contracts with big or no data caps. Till then only rich people or corporate users could afford mobile data.

    The other major factor was the better interface, because they didn't care about annotation or handwriting recognition, both need the higher resolution resistive screen. Capacitive screens were nearly 20 years old. It was the idea of having the phone as primarily a consumer's data browsing device, not a corporate data entry device that was a winning shift.

  17. lbarry
    FAIL

    | It's also far, far safer and more convenient to use in the car

    No, it is not! Nothing is safe for use while driving a car and this comment completely discredits everything else you have written

    1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      I am a road-safety freak but even I can't agree with that. The primary reason for using a mobile phone in a car is surely for satnav, which definitely counts as part of "driving your car" given that the driving test is soon to include it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The primary reason for using a mobile phone in a car is surely for satnav, [...]"

        Police Q&A article. "If the mobile phone is held in a cradle then it must not be touched throughout that journey. The moment you touch or handle your mobile phone as part of your journey, then in effect an offence is being committed."

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          WTF?

          So what's the difference between using a GPS app on a cradled mobile and using the GPS app in a car with a screen built-in to the dashboard or using a SatNav?

          And this article contradicts that:

          Mobile phones: What you can and can't do when you're driving

          Can you use it as a sat-nav?

          "It should be programmed with the route before you set off.

          "If it pops up with a message which requires just one press of a button, such as 'A faster route has been found. Accept/ Decline' you should be OK to do this, as you would with an in-built sat-nav.

          "But if you need to re-programme the route then pull over and stop somewhere safe to do it."

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        I am a road-safety freak but even I can't agree with that. The primary reason for using a mobile phone in a car is surely for satnav

        Well, according to a police road safety course I attended a few years back, the use of mobile phones in cars was the biggest cause of driver distraction/inattention accidents, followed by SatNavs...

        i suspect the only reason the use of SatNavs will become part of the driving test, is to ensure that drivers get some training in the correct use of such aids. Ie. some of the Police/advanced driving skills become part of the normal test.

    2. WonkoTheSane
      Headmaster

      There's an even simpler answer when using a phone as satnav.

      These days, many car stereos have bluetooth to play music from your phone, act as a speakerphone when you get a call, etc.

      Android lets you add the stereo's bluetooth net as a "trusted zone", where it will auto-unlock & stay awake while connected. Especially with a specific car-friendly mode like Android Auto.

      Apple likely has similar functions.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £999 or $999

    Why not just sell it at 1000?

    If someone is stupid enough to pony up 999 then they would be more proud in telling people it cost a grand and lets be honest iPhone users love to show off.

    Sent from my iPhone.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Well, they once sold a computer for $666 so it's a tradition!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facial recognition - "live" sensing

    Does the iOS version have the same feature to defeat holding up a photo - "liveness check" ???

    Honestly, for a feature that I was using in 2014, it's a little irritating to hear people now talking like Apple have just invented it.

    1. Naselus Silver badge

      Re: Facial recognition - "live" sensing

      The facial recog is 3D, and so should be able to tell if you're holding up a 2D image. Though it was also supposedly super-accurate and reliable even if you covered your face/grew a beard / underwent major reconstructive surgery, and then failed to unlock at all during the demo, so...

  20. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Devil

    Facial recognition

    A coworker with a beard had facial recognition enabled on his phone.

    I grew a beard.

    He soon disabled facial recognition.

  21. Sil

    The market is big enough

    The iPhone X is unremarkable for its price, but Apple can count on enough fanboys & girls as well as people purchasing a status symbol first, and a phone second, just like the 1k5 Hermes Apple Watch.

    I would worry more about the iPhone 8 and 8+, which don't seem to generate a lot of buzz, even among Apple's customers, as far as I can see.

    1. Naselus Silver badge

      Re: The market is big enough

      ", just like the 1k5 Hermes Apple Watch."

      The Watch was a bit of a flop, though, no? Much like the entire wearable market turned out to be...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's paying, not buying!

    My tech savvy friend recently asked me which Android phone I'd recommend (as a fairly long term Android user).

    As I started to answer he proudly told me that you can bend an iPhone into close to 90 degrees with your bare hands!

    My questioning look prompted him to tell me that he'd done exactly that to his pink iPhone 6/7 whatever, as he'd got yet another annoying call from his wife that evening, and bent the phone before throwing it in the traffic. (Drunk/ angry etc)

    "I'm fed up of having last year's iPhone everytime my wife makes me but her a new one, she doesn't even do anything but call and browse Facebook"

    I have a feeling he's wondering where $1000 is gonna come from right about now! I know her and she doesn't care, just so long as her friends see the latest in her hand. Apple know the buyers are often not the payers especially in Asia.

  23. namke

    "Does the X astonish in the same way? Does it have the same lustre? You must be kidding."

    Does any phone nowadays? No matter how much <insert phone vendor here> crows about their new releases, do they really make a compelling argument to go and buy a new shiny??

  24. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    iPhone's early unique selling points

    Apple were able to convince the US carriers to stop blocking features that had been standard in Japan for years. I am not sure why people are comparing early iPhone to Microsoft's attempts. A more obvious comparison would be to Symbian.

    The other unique selling point was the exorbitant pricing. The Apple logo was clear statement: "I have money to burn". Other brands may have a flag ship model, but people would have to do some thinking because the same logo is also on bargain basement phones.

    The new model is a step back to what made the iPhone such a success. If anything, I think Apple did not go far enough. The price should be higher and they should cut some of the features. I am sure that what they have done this year will be wildly successful and Apple customers will be able to queue up with breathless anticipation for something more expensive next year.

  25. J J Carter Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Get real!

    It's not magical and it's not game-changing

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Get real!

      One thing I would give Apple credit for is doing everything far better than what the competition was doing. That made their products appealing and the higher cost for that acceptable.

      Over the years that has devolved to paying over the odds for having the status of owning an Apple product and has now moved on to merely being a gullibility tax.

  26. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Yes!

    This weak effort will me music to the ears of MSFT, ready to launch the Surface Phone to disenchanted fanbois.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Yes!

      Surface phone??

      sign me up for one!

      Well, two, the first one will break, won't it?

  27. Wyrdness

    As an iPhone user...

    As someone who's owned iPhones for the last 10 years, my desire to upgrade is inversely proportional to the model number.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's even got a bezel

    The big story was that it was to look like a sheet of glass ... but we ended up with a bezel and a cut out compromise. In order to achieve this compromise they tried to get touch-id through glass and failed - necessitating the step backwards that is face based security.

    Why the wireless charger isn't even ready, when every man and his dog makes them is just a mystery to me, but suggests internal chaos at Apple.

  29. Number6

    I'd like something with the feature set of a Galaxy 4 only with a modern CPU and memory capacity. A lot of the newer ones are too big - the 4 fits in my pocket nicely and the screen is a reasonable compromise between portability and readability. None of this face or fingerprint crap for unlocking either. Dual-SIM would be nice, unless one of the carriers is prepared to offer me two numbers on a single SIM.

  30. Dick Kennedy

    Well, the Reg has been wrong pretty much every time it writes about Apple - starting here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/23/iphone_will_fail/

    If you want a balanced, insightful and unbiased view about Apple you have to look - well, pretty much anywhere else.

  31. DougS Silver badge

    Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is $929

    If it hasn't hurt Samsung, why would an additional $70 hurt Apple? It isn't like there aren't cheaper options.

    1. Number6

      Re: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is $929

      My cheaper option is currently to keep using the phone I bought three years ago. It does what I want, and while the battery holds out I don't see the need to upgrade to something that expensive.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is $929

        Agreed, the replacement cycle was already lengthening because 2-3 year old phones are "good enough" for many, and higher prices on the flagships would probably lengthen it further. Of course both Apple and Samsung have much cheaper phones so no one has to spend $1000 on a new phone unless they have to have the top of the line.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is $929

        I am still using my wife's old iPhone 4. The home button became unreliable on mine. Works fine. Don't use it with apps that need security anymore, eg banking, but fine otherwise. Only grizzle is can't use it for Apple Music.

  32. c1ue

    Open Source magic is gone

    I was at a talk recently with one of the 2 open source proponents who pushed it as being secure.

    He's now changed his mind.

    Why? Because 10 years ago when he was pushing open source, there were 50 million lines of open source code which were reasonably well covered by the open source dev community.

    Today, there are 50 billion lines of code, and the vast majority aren't being covered at all by anyone.

    Sure, some specific groupings of this code are more heavily scrutinized and used than others, but overall the effect is gone. There is too much code to look at, therefore the inherent quality of open source - that is the scrutiny of many others - is gone.

    The remaining open source communities are little better than captive audiences much along the lines of the big software company dev communities, and with no few of the same ownership/control issues.

  33. herman Silver badge

    This will only work if the phone unlocks when it sees my face and self destructs when it sees a police face.

    1. davidak

      That would be unfortunate if you are a copper.

  34. Slx

    A point - it didn’t fail during the demo. It prompted for a password.

    I don’t like facial recognition but I will pull you up on a point : The technology didn’t fail during the demo. If you look at the phone display it prompted for a password because the phone has been restarted. This is exactly how iOS handles fingerprint biometrics too. You will be promoted for a password if the phone has just been booted and it won’t accept fingerprint ID until then.

    That being said the lack of fingerprint ID is pretty stupid. They could have built a sensor in on the back of the phone. I suspect they didn’t because it works have ended up looking way too close to an android device.

  35. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Facial recognition..

    Facial recognition worked (and works) just fine on my old Galaxy S5. I just felt like an utter dork staring at my phone like I was getting a passport photo taken every time I wanted to unlock it.

    The author's note about anyone wanting to unlock someone's phone can just hold it up to their face is something I hadn't even considered---but it's not just law enforcement you should be worried about. You could ostensibly hold the phone up to a sleeping or unconscious person's face and unlock it, unless it needs your eyes wide open.

  36. steviebuk Silver badge

    What does that even mean?

    What does that bollocks even mean?

    "Device disappears into the experience"

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What does that even mean?

      Watch an LG OLED TV in a dark room and you will know what that means - you literally cannot see any peripheral parts of the TV (device) such such as faint grey bars above the picture... you can see the video (experience) and that's it. Whether or not this phone achieved this aim is another question.

  37. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Tools for tasks

    If I want to make phone calls I have a little Nokia I paid £15 for. If I want web-on-the-move I get arrested by the traffic cops. Ahem. If I want web-when-not-at-home I've got a £35 tablet that I slurp free WiFi with.

  38. superBfred
    Stop

    Media doesn't get the $1000 product

    I don't understand the $1000 issue ! previous iPhones such as the 7+ 256Gb were already beyond $1000, I paid mine 1200 euros ! So please stop the $1000 schock !

    the samsung galary note 8 has similar pricing so that is pure media buzz.

    Many customers will go into an apple store to get an iPhone 8 and pay the extra money to get the X.

    That actually is a clever strategy.

    I would definitely not worry about apple iPhone selling figures : with a range starting from 419 euros to 1300 euros they can get anybody !!!

    My 2 cents

    1. Oblamo BinLyen

      Re: Media doesn't get the $1000 product

      I just picked up a 7+, I finally dropped my 4s one to many times. I also have a decent 12mp Cannon SLR. Let's just say that the camera on the 7+ blows the Cannon out of the water on image quality. I've been doing photography for a few decades and these things are scary good. So good I'm doing a 48" x 36" mural for my bedroom of the Grand Canyon (North Rim) from it. It's that bloody sharp. I can just imagine what the 8+ and X are like. I guess I'll find out when my wife gets one of them, 8+ or X, not sure which she'll settle on.

  39. Oblamo BinLyen

    Just think what would happen if Timmy were to get off of his SJW/GlowBull Climate WTF kick and concentrate on MAGA....Make Apple Great Again.

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