How Apple ruined the iPhone.

I fell off my tweet stream during Tuesday’s #AppleEvent because I was confused. Do I think that the iPhone 12 is a step forward? Yes, I do. Especially the iPhone 12 Mini. That device stirred my soul in a way that few phones have in the past. But not all is good in iPhoneland.

Why fork the Pro?

Look, I’m not naive and I know that Apple needs a pure profit win after the aggressive pricing for 5G hardware. But hear me out. The new iPhones have always received the same main camera improvement. Yes iPhones 6 and 6S differentiated the Plus model with optical image stabilisation, but the camera sensor was the same. I expected a bigger image sensor because that’s where Apple was starting to cede ground to the charge of the Android brigade and greater light gathering through a wider aperture isn’t going to cut it this time.

They announced a bigger image sensor and some fancy new sensor stabilisation, but only on the now slightly bigger iPhone 12 Pro Max. People with small hands and tighter purses need not apply.

This is a devastating move for the future of the iPhone because it draws a clear line in the sand and only those who are deemed worthy by their superior genetics and/or income may cross. Dead forever is the idea that buying the cheapest of the new iPhones would allow you to sniff the same air as the Hollywood celebs. And as crazy as you think the notion of being on par with Beyonce with regards to smartphone camera quality, it was one of the few remaining inclusive corners of the luxury electronics world.

Here comes the spike

It was hilarious to see Verizon on stage talking up the advantages of 5G and how happy they are to be partnering with Apple. If you cast your mind back to the original iPhone launch you’ll remember that Verizon didn’t carry one until much later, instead opting to go all in on the Motorola Droid and put Android on the map with relentless anti-iPhone marketing.

What we knew as the Motorola Milestone in our market was the antithesis of the tiny touchscreen that Steve Jobs unveiled to the world. The Droid had a slide out qwerty keyboard and Google everything. Droid never commanded the same attention as the iPhone and Verizon was certain not to miss the next revolution.

Yep, I just called 5G a revolution and I need at least four showers to get that stench of hypocrisy out of my beard. Sure 3G and LTE were nice reasons to get the new iPhone, but the prices were extremely high. With Tim Cook’s announcement that iPhone 12 would not get the expected price increase over iPhone 11 to accommodate the cost of the new connectivity generation, iPhone just entered the fray in the premium mid-range with two separate size options.

All the holdouts who were clinging to their SEs and other home button models in protest of the increasing phone footprint can now get all the new iPhone features in a palm-friendly package.

And because iPhone users are about half of the US domestic market, that’s a whole lot of potential 5G customers to consider so it’s best to have a widespread network and the promise of the fastest speeds for their phones for them to land on when they fall for the marketing.

An iPhone upgrade super cycle is a wet dream come true for network operators. It’s the most affluent section of the market and the most active on the network, and now they’ll all be upgrading in a crescendo of capitalism. Cook even went as far in his adoration of the rapid data speeds to describe the customer preference for 5G connections over connecting to public Wi-Fi as a security feature.

Let me rephrase that: he said that because iPhone 12 customers will prefer using fast 5G connectivity instead of connecting to free public Wi-Fi, there’ll be fewer hacking opportunities. Let that sink in.

Now that you know what the play is, you shouldn’t be surprised when Vodacom gets its 5G act together just in time for our local launch.

I’m going to need an entire blogpost to unpack MagSafe and the portless future it represents…

The specs don’t matter

It’s a new crop of iPhones and I won’t bore you with the details that you can find in any of the numerous promotional videos. You’re gonna watch the YouTube videos and find out if you care, and if you were going to buy a new iPhone you can be certain that these are the best ever.

Don’t have quite enough for the new shiny? Our local reseller istore.co.za has a habit of keeping the old stock around for a while so there are plenty of quality options all the way from R9 000 for the iPhone SE 2020 – don’t tell me you forgot that Apple released a new iPhone this year that costs less than R10K? – and all the way up to the probably R35 000 for the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max.

That’s a pure speculation price, by the way. It’s not as if I’m influential enough to have some insight into the iStore pricing strategy…

If I didn’t have school fees to pay or if I win the Lotto, I’d probably be first in line on local launch day to snag an iPhone 12 Mini in blue. I’m also done with wasting my energy on arguments with people who were looking for an excuse to say they don’t like iPhones. There are tons of options to choose from across the price spectrum, if you’re complaining about the price then maybe it wasn’t made for you. And that’s okay.

Follow me, it will be alright