S-yearing analysis: Judging tomorrow’s iPhones today

Why wait to see the new iPhones when you can judge them now?


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There is no better time than just hours before an Apple event to argue about the thing we are about to see.

Writing for CNet, Shara Tibken tells us about “Apple's iPhone 11 challenge: Touting modest upgrades now as 5G comes in 2020.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Jeff.)

The next batch of iPhones may carry a new number in their names, but make no mistake -- this is another "S" year.

Like the iPhone 4S that included Siri? Like the iPhone 5S that included Touch ID? “S” years are sometimes the years to buy.

If the rumors hold true, Apple will unveil phones with essentially the same design for a third year in a row.

Now, The Macalope is an iPhone SE owner so, admittedly, he may not be hooked into the hive mind on this, but he’s never understood the need to have a physical change to a device that is basically just a screen you hold in your hand. Almost all the time you’re looking at the screen, not the back. Also, to hear the Forbes contributor network and perpetual motion sickness machine talk about it, the iPhone 11 will be visibly different because the camera bump will be so hideous that no one will want one. So, there’s that.

The devices likely will get faster processors and the latest iOS software…

Probably, yeah.

Let’s just say it’s unlikely they’ll ship with iOS 7. Right? The Macalope thinks we can say that much.

The lack of big upgrades come at a time when all of Apple's competitors have made big tweaks to their own designs, from the Samsung's Galaxy Note 10's nearly all-screen design to the OnePlus 7 Pro's pop-up camera.

We literally have no idea what all Apple will announce tomorrow—like maybe faster processors and an updated OS—but we do know it will pale in comparison to [checks notes] a pop-up camera.

Editor: “Shara, we need you to write about what Apple’s going to announce on Tuesday.”

Tibken: “But… why? Can’t people just wait 24 hours and see what they announce?”

Editor: “1,000 words. But it doesn’t have to make sense.”

Tibken: [sigh] “OK.”

"Apple is falling further behind many of its competitors when it comes to overall innovation and that's even in an era when the smartphone industry as a whole has stalled," Technalysis analyst Bob O'Donnell said.

Technalysis. Hmm. Hmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

TECHnalysis Research provides paid advising and consulting to many tech companies, including Intel, Dell, AMD, HP, Microsoft, Samsung and other companies mentioned on this website.

You don’t say.

So, what are these phones we haven’t seen yet missing?

Apple is working on a 5G phone, but it's behind its rivals…

On features you can’t use yet. The Macalope fondly remembers how the iPad was behind the Motorola Xoom which shipped with the ability to upgrade to 4G later by wiping the device and sending it in for a week to have it added. He laughed at that one so long he developed the most glorious abs.

Remember that the idea here is that Apple is falling behind on innovation because it’s not shipping a phone that looks different. The Macalope isn’t really sure how 5G is supposed to make your phone look different, but maybe there’s an antenna or something.

Apple hasn't yet shown any products with folding screens…

If the bar is simply showing those products then, yes, Apple is behind. If the bar is shipping working versions of those products, however…

It tends to perfect products before releasing them, even if that means it's behind its rivals by months or years. Still, delaying too long with foldables and 5G gives Apple's competitors the chance to define what the future of phones will look like.

That’s going super well for them so far.

It’s crazy to think that we live in a world where Samsung badly flubbed the Galaxy Fold introduction but it’s Apple that’s somehow behind and Samsung ahead.

Well, that’s not the worst thing about this reality. It’s not even in the top 50.

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