Everyday Carry: iPhone X

Everyday Carry builds on a popular theme of exploring the items that travel everywhere with us. My modification is to only explore objects I've carried and used regularly for at least three months. If it doesn't have scratches and/or a patina, it doesn't make it here.

Starting Everyday Carry talking about the iPhone X feels like the beginning of an endurance race. Everyone starts in the same place and time, but we'll separate as time goes by. Same is true of the iPhone X; many seem to carry one but I'll explore more distinct objects as time goes by.

I'm less of an Apple fan boy than I was in the past, so I do buy Android phones on occasion to see if one can dislodge the current iPhone in my pocket. I use Google's core services so at some level it is ironic I use an iPhone. iTunes used to be an ecosystem bind between me and the iPhone, but that has eroded to near irrelevance due to iTunes's well documented shortcomings. The net-net is that I carry an iPhone because I think it is the best overall phone in the market, not due to ideology or a critical Apple app/service.

Shit that rocks

  1. Camera: Beautiful pictures. The best compliment I can give is that when a group comes together for a photo, they notice I have a X and grab my phone to take the shot. They then ask me to Airdrop the photos to them ;-) I've stopped carrying my DSLR except for vacations, where lens variety becomes important.
  2. Size: This is relative, as for two generations I carried the Plus iPhones. Getting almost all of the screen real estate of a Plus phone without the girth was probably alone enough for me to purchase this phone.
  3. Apple Pay: Why do I have to carry a wallet? Because not enough retailers accept Apple Pay yet. Virtual number security and an (almost) effortless process to use it makes it the way I want to pay for everything

Shit that sucks

  1. Price: The X is really just the iPhone 8, as the iPhone 8 is really just a 7s. The price makes sense when you own majority market share, mind share, and are in essence a luxury brand. But is the iPhone X a good deal? Is it by and far the best (technology, ease of use) phone on the market? I don't think so. It is very good, but it was not the revolutionary leap that 10 years ago was the iPhone. Just because you can charge a lot for something doesn't mean you should relative to long term customer loyalty. This pricing strategy will catch up with Apple.
  2. Apple Pay confirm interface: I miss TouchID for things like confirming Apple Pay. There is no easy way to double click the Power button while holding the X in the right location for the Apple Pay readers. There has to be a better confirmation technique?

Meh

  1. FaceID: When it works, it is wonderful. But it doesn't work when the phone is flat on a table and you need to unlock your phone. Or in bright outdoor light. Or in sunglasses and hats. All of these are high frequency activities, making FaceID less useful than TouchID in my opinion.

If I was on the Product Team

When will we get new form factors, new explorations of what a phone should be in a world where voice calls aren't the primary use case, paper money is an annoying exception, digital identity is the norm, and where people change phones effortlessly based on what they are doing and therefore need in a physical form factor?

Apple defines the phone industry. What Apple does, Android and its ecosystem mirrors within a year. No headphone jack. Mono slab. Touch ID. Face ID. No button. The list goes on and on. With hundreds of billions in the bank, I hope Apple invests heavily in new phone programs to be revolutionary again versus the evolutionary path they've taken starting with the iPhone 4. Steve Jobs famously preferred to cannibalize his own product sales versus letting a competitor catch up with Apple. It's time for Apple to cannibalize the iPhone. 
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