A response to the worst iPhone X comment I've seen…
The hype machine is in full swing. People tend to forget that, every year when Apple release new iPhone hardware, among the positive hype there’s always a lot of negative, and we usually end up with an iPhone-gate;
BendGate; AntennaGate; MapsGate…
This year I suspect is a little different. Rather than a hardware or software scandal, the main negative talking point is going to be our first ‘price-gate’. The iPhone X launched at a $999 price point, and that’s a more expensive than any previous iPhone.
I follow technology and I’m a shameless Apple fan, so I've been following the reviews from journalists and pundits, because they’re the only ones who’ve actually seen and touched the new devices, and as expected, Jeremy Vine announced he would discuss the iPhone on his topical Radio 2 show today, so I tuned in.
Sure enough, as he introduced the segment it was clear that the discussion was going to centre on the price of the devices, a point echoed multiple times as he interviewed the BBC’s Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.
I listened bemusedly as the price was thrashed around, with loyal fans defending the technology and doubters insisting that the same technology is available from competitors at a cheaper price, a point I don’t argue.
Afterwards, I looked at Rory Cellan-Jones’ twitter to see what his followers were saying, and found what I think is probably the poorest assessment of the launch so far; that the iPhone X is elitist, and Steve Jobs will be “turning in his grave” because the iPhone was supposed to be "technology for all".
Let’s be clear. I agree that a starting price of $999 for a smartphone is expensive, and there’s no denying it’s the most expensive iPhone ever, but does that make it elitist?
Here are the facts.
The iPhone X is not the only iPhone that Apple now sells. There are more iPhone’s for sale on the Apple website than there have ever been;
The starting price for ‘the iPhone’ on Apple’s store is £349. That gets you an iPhone SE, the cheapest iPhone there has ever been. The model was refreshed in March 2017 to include new storage options, and it includes the same processor, camera and other internal components as the iPhone 6S, available for an extra £100.
The iPhone 7, now just one year old, is available for £549. For the extra £100 over the iPhone 6S, you’re getting a quicker processor, a more refined look and vast camera improvements over its predecessor.
Then, there’s the iPhone 8. And this device deserves much more coverage than it’s (understandably) not getting from the press, because the iPhone 8 has exactly the same processor and internal components as the iPhone X.
That includes an A11 processor with with neural networks, wireless charging and an upgraded camera (single not dual, so no portrait mode). It has the same specifications as the iPhone X, it will receive the same updates as the iPhone X and works as a phone, camera, sat-nav, payment device, music player, movie player and games console.
Sure, the iPhone 8 doesn’t have edge-to-edge OLED or dual camera’s, but it costs £649, the same as the iPhone 7 did one year ago.
The iPhone 8 is the “current iPhone”. It’s £300 cheaper than the the iPhone X because the former is iterative and the latter is cutting edge device. But it does the same key things at the same speed.
If you feel the iPhone X is elitist ask yourself this, when buying a car, would you expect every single feature from the highest spec model to be available at the same price on the mid-range or basic offering? I suspect not. Is that VW, or BMW, or Ford being elitist?
Expectations for smartphones should be similar. We don’t NEED an OLED screen or FaceID, but if we want it, and we’re happy to pay a premium for it, why shouldn’t we be able to buy it?
After all, iPhone technology is meant to be “available for all”. And starting at £349 for a device that does all of the same things as the iPhone X, it really is.