iPhone X?

iphone8-and-iphoneX-sidebysideiPhone X? a reader asks…

I’m struggling with the decision on my iPhone upgrade – should I get the 8 or the X? What do you think? I have an iPhone 6s and am not interested in the plus size phones. I usually upgrade every 2 years so it’s about time.

I think you should do a small bit of navel-gazing. Are you an “early adopter”? Do you like having the latest and greatest tech? Are you willing to live with some teething pains as new technology’s bugs get worked out? Does dropping a grand on a smartphone not bother you?  Let’s expand on those questions by describing the traits of someone who would be very much at home with the new iPhone X:

Early Adopter: When any new consumer technology is released, the early adopter is the first one to get it, even if it costs (a lot) more than mainstream products. Early adopters are usually engaged with the manufacturer, like ‘beta testers’ and willing to give feedback to (in this case) Apple about what they like and don’t like. And, more importantly, they are willing to give feedback about what works and what doesn’t, or what seems wrong, less efficient, or more work. Even if not willing to give feedback, they are ok with a device that will take some time and a few iOS updates before the biggest bugs are worked out. Also ok with the fact that many app developers may take awhile to get their apps updated to efficiently use the new screen – both in aspect ratio and to account for the notch.

Image from http://www.wehatemalware.com/

Financially comfortable: The iPhone X is the most expensive smartphone on the planet (at this point). It costs more than many full-size laptop computers. You can mitigate this somewhat by opting for financing the cost either with Apple or your carrier, but it’s still going to be a much larger chunk of expense than before. You might be thinking that your smartphone is used so much over the course of your day (and life) that having arguably more capability is worth it, and you might be running a cost-benefit analysis in your head about the actual value you’ll receive from this new technology. You certainly aren’t going to sweat the cost from an affordability aspect.

If neither of the above statements apply to you, then by all means, stick with the tried and true and get your iPhone 8. You could even save a bit more and get the iPhone 7, but in my opinion the extra money is worth it, if just for the much faster internals. Your iPhone 8 will still be usable 24 months from now when you’re thinking of your next upgrade. If the above statements don’t faze you, then by all means, get the iPhone X – just be prepared for two things: First, it may take you a number of weeks to actually get it in your hands and second, everybody who sees you with it is going to be asking you about it. I experienced the latter when I got my first iPhone 10 years ago, people in coffee shops who normally kept to themselves would strike up a conversation about it.


iphoneX-image-from-appledotcomI think Apple has really reached into the future with the iPhone X, and am sure than in a year, all smartphones are going to be much more like it than different. Not to say that other smartphone manufacturers (Samsung, Google) haven’t pushed forward with their latest products, but Apple remains at the forefront of overall design. Right now, wireless charging is a fringe technology, but within a year or two, it will become mainstream, in no small part to the iPhone 8 & X. Wireless headphones will also become ubiquitous. It may take a little longer for the augmented reality aspects of the iPhone X become more widely adopted, but that’s also going to become mainstream a lot quicker than most folks expect.

All this is just my opinion, so let me add a few more: First, most folks who complain about the notch are going to be folks who either 1) don’t have an iPhone X, or 2) only got to try out the iPhone X for a few hours/days. I don’t think it’ll take more than a few days for it to be nothing to concern any iPhone X owner. Second, the different way of unlocking and using the iPhone (FaceID, swiping gestures) is going to be a huge hindrance/annoyance for the same two types of folks, but iPhone X owners will quickly get used to the new ways of working with their smartphones. Not only will the new methods be ok with them, but they’ll find it’ll also be faster and easier for them to do what they want to do with their smartphone. Apple has always been very careful about implementing new technology with better ergonomics than the technology that it replaces.

And finally, these are my opinions expressed to someone who is only considering an iPhone upgrade. I don’t consider myself an Apple fanboi, although I do like and use their products. I’m comfortable with lots of different brands of consumer technology and use lots of different brands/types. After all, I have to be able to help folks with their consumer technology, no matter what they use! And while I do think that Apple is looking to the future with the iPhone X, that doesn’t mean that Google and Samsung (and others) aren’t doing likewise. I know that many other manufacturers actually brought out parts of this future before the iPhone X, so Apple is really playing catch-up in some ways. But Apple has a unique way of bringing all the parts together in a truly forward-reaching way that moves the entire genre forward. Certainly this is so in the USA which has a large proportion of iPhone users. Folks in other countries might look at the iPhone more of a small, also-ran competitor to bigger Android-powered smartphone manufacturers.

Happy folks with Android-powered devices will most likely not be swayed into switching to iPhone, especially since the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are top-notch smartphones. Folks who aren’t so happy with their current Android-powered smartphones may be tempted, but again the two traits explored above are going to be just as relevant for them as for iPhone owners. By the same token, folks who currently have an iPhone and aren’t happy might be tempted by the latest offerings in the Android world. I welcome follow-on questions from others, I try to answer questions based on the question that was asked, not based on my personal preferences.

If you’re interested in another Android vs. Apple comparison, check out Android Authority’s article.

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