This isn't about some Android guy using an iPhone. There's plenty of that out there on the internet, and who gives a crap what I think, right? I am, however, a professional. (A professional what? I dunno. You make up your own mind.) I've used and reviewed plenty of phones that I didn't particularly care to use. The point isn't whether I like it. The point is to see it for what it is — a computer in our pockets that does things. Or not.
And actually, the iPhone has me pretty excited these days. Not because I think it's particularly better than it was a year ago. Because it's not. For all the whiz-bang camera features and silly "Bionic" names on processors — remember when Apple didn't worry about such trivialities? — it's an iterative year for the mainline iPhone.
The iPhone 8 is a thousand-dollar salute to the past 10 years. And that's all.
I moved up from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 8 Plus. I loved the feel of the Baby 7 in my pocket and in my hand. I just hated using it. The already constrained screen was just too small. I love the larger screen size on the 8 Plus, but damn, those bezels. That thickness. (I'm also using Apple's leather case, which is a great case indeed. It just adds to the thickness.)
The dual cameras don't excite me as much as maybe they should. Zooming in is fine and all, but it's never as good as actually moving closer to the thing that you're shooting. Basic photography and all. Portrait mode is fun, but it's a novelty, not a feature. It doesn't detract from the excellent camera that Apple has in the iPhone. But it's not something you should be using on every picture of every day. (And the purist in me says that sort of thing is still cheating, using software to do what a lens should be doing.)
Why is the iPhone so slow? I'm not talking about benchmark clickbait. Theoretical scores don't matter. Animations and transitions do. Opening a folder — I'm a fan of folders with Apple's Kafka-esque Home screen — or going back to the Home screen seems to take an extra beat. Is the phone just making sure it's got enough graphics overhead? Does it want me to stop and think about what I've done? Multitasking makes me miss Android's tap-twice-to-flip-back-and-forth scheme.
Bigger is the addition of wireless charging, of course. But bigger than that is the fact that Apple will push the world to finally pick a standard — Qi — while others have played both sides of the fence. For that alone, perhaps, the iPhone 8 should be commended.
No. The iPhone design has run its course. It's done its thing. It's gone as far as it can go, and it's time for something new. In a few short weeks we'll start to see the new generation of iPhone. And actually, I think — I hope — it'll be more than that. Not just a new branch on the tree, but a new tree itself. The software shouldn't (and sadly) be remarkably different, but the hardware — no home button, no Touch ID, a proper screen-to-body ratio — is Apple doing something new. Not new in the worldly sense, but new in the worldly sense, in the sense that for Apple there is no world but Apple.
The iPhone 8 itself doesn't excite me. It's a swan song. It's the end of the iPhone as we know it, and a salute to the past 10 years, without which no phone anyone owns today would be as good as it is.
Tomorrow, next week — the next 10 years? Bring on iPhone X.
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