I freely own the fact that I like to have the latest and greatest tech device. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the first iPhone, and, for years, I owned every model Apple introduced. The iPhone X is supposed to be the new path forward.
But being hooked into the ever-so-expensive upgrade addiction came to an end with my iPhone 6S+. I still have and use that phone. I resisted the 7 and now the 8. But can, or even should, I resist the iPhone X?
This post contains both my reasons to buy it as well as my reasons not to buy it. Your input is also welcomed. But first, I think it logical to analyze what I actually really do with the phone. How do I use it most?
Actual Consistent Use Patterns (sort of most to least)
- I shoot a lot of photos and videos with the phone. However, I only occasionally edit the media I capture with the phone itself.1
- I use the phone as my navigation device of choice (even more than the navigation apps in the cars) because the map apps I use are real-time traffic informed.
- I spot check my RSS feeds or social media through my phone when I have “dead time”: waiting in the dentist’s office or a checkout line, etc.
- I listen to music from my phone in the house (through Sonos via WiFi), in the car (Bluetooth), and when I exercise and fly (through my in-ear monitors that require a mini-jack).
- I use my phone for communication in this order (from most to least): messaging, email, social media, phone calls.
- I use the phone as a remote control for systems in the house: lighting, music, and television.
- I search the web for information, typically using Siri.
- I use my phone when flying my Mavic Pro sUAS.
I’m sure I do other things with my phone from time to time, but these things come quickly to mind as the things I consistently do most often. I use the phone far more to capture and control than I do to create and edit. I feel a need for large screens for the creation and edit processes and to read for extended periods of time.
My Reasons to Buy the iPhone X
- The screen on the X is brighter. 550 cd/m2 on my 6S+ versus 625 cd/m2 on the X. But, I’m unsure what this means in real world application.
I need a very bright screen. Flying my Mavic Pro drone in the bright sunshine with the iPhone 6S+ (with brightness set to max) is crazy difficult. The bright sunshine can easily make it impossible to see the phone’s screen, especially when wearing polarized sunnies. The screen can literally look blank, all black. It’s just not nearly bright enough. So, 3rd party hood solutions abound to shield the screen from the brightness but tend to make access to the controls cumbersome.
- The camera in the iPhone X would be an improvement over the camera in my iPhone 6S+. This is actually what I most care about on the new device. However, the “Portrait Mode” on the new phone is just marketing non-sense, if you ask me.
- The idea of a smaller form factor with a larger screen is welcomed. But that’s not worth the nearly $1,500 the device will cost me.
So, for things I would actually do with the phone, I think I would find real functional improvements in only two areas: the brighter screen and the camera.
My Reasons NOT to Buy the iPhone X
- The device is insanely overpriced! INSANELY! I need the 256GB model because I will primarily use it to shoot 4k video. So, the phone itself will cost me $1,149. AppleCare+ is now $199 with per incident fees for repairs. So the device comes in at an insane $1,348 before taxes. With taxes, I’m spending nearly $1,500 for a phone. I just have to say it again, that’s INSANITY!
- My cell carrier is T-Mobile. Our family has been very pleased with the T-Mobile service offered/price point charged. T-Mobile just purchased the 500mHz bandwidth for cell and data coverage, thus vastly improving their signal strength and its availability inside buildings.
The iPhone X will not see this signal because Apple had already committed to the specs of the iPhone X before the T-Mobile sale went through. So, if I understand all of this tech-speak correctly, the iPhone X will have no better cell and data performance than my iPhone 6S+. The iPhone X, just like my iPhone 6S+ will not pick up the new bandwidth at all, not even know it’s there.
Why spend almost $1,500 for a cell phone that is no better cell and data coverage than the cell phone I have? When the iPhone Xs comes out (or whatever Apple’s ridiculous marketing team calls it), which will no doubt then have a new upgraded modem that will receive the new T-Mobile bandwidth, will I feel a need to upgrade yet again?2
- Frankly, I don’t want to learn new gestures. I don’t even know all of the ridiculous ones I can use right now with my existing devices. No Home Button?! Dear god! Swipe up halfway and stop while applying pressure to the screen and stick out your tongue but not too far and lift your right leg while tilting your head north, no, true north–it’s all so intuitive and utterly pure and lickably delicious with nothing on the screen to obscure your clean, magical UI experience or give you even a hint as to how to use the damn thing—Nothing except for this dead zone on the screen where they look at you and measure the growing depth of every wrinkle and monitor every facial nuance. Is our user in a good mood today, Siri?
- And what about that face recognition technology? I’ll probably never turn it on if I buy the thing. (Typing a few numbers isn’t the end of the world.) If Apple has said where those biometrics are stored (on their servers or in a secured chip buried deep in the device’s bowels) I’ve missed it. I don’t want any corporation to own any of my biometric data. None of them. Not Apple, not Google, not Facebook, not the CIA or the FBI for that matter. I don’t even want god to have it!
- I’m sick to death of upgrading. The ceaseless upgrading is driving me crazy. I hate it! No, I mean I REALLY hate it!! I’m becoming less and less inclined to “beta test” the latest and greatest tech devices. And I’m not just talking about the hardware upgrade cycle with the tiniest improvements and the largest price tags.
Every time I start to use a digital device that device (the cars, the TVs, the AppleTVs, the Apple Watch, the iPads, the iPhones, the Apple computers, the audio speakers, the lights…) wants to upgrade something: upgrade these apps, upgrade the operating system which then requires you to upgrade more apps, a firmware upgrade is required. Too often upgrading also means I have to set things back up to work properly again because: Oops! Sorry! Didn’t mean to blow out all of your settings and config files with the upgrade, but, well, you know…
Apple is quick to brag about the high percentage of their user base that is using their latest OS upgrades. No wonder! Apple pesters the living hell out of you until you do it. By the time I finish the upgrades I’ve often forgotten what I wanted to accomplish when I first started to use the stupid device. It’s maddening!
I would like to go a single week without anything asking me to upgrade it to the latest, the biggest, the best, the re-engineered from the ground up…
- Maybe it will look gorgeous. It probably will look gorgeous. But I don’t want a device with a glass back. Glass scratches. Glass breaks. Broken glass cuts. And, based on some reports, glass melts. I want function over form here.
- I’m still aggravated about the lack of the audio jack on the phone. When one shoots video, one frequently needs to use an external mic. The external mic must go in the charging port which means you can’t charge the phone while shooting. You can’t monitor the sound quality through your in-ear monitors or earphones. I want the audio jack and not some over-priced dongle I’ll have to hunt for every time I want to use it.
- Apple probably will soon get rid of the charging port on the device and require you spend an addition $200 on some wireless charger that will clutter your desk. No.
I have a little charging stand. It works great. It also allows me to backup and to transfer large video and music files to/from the computer significantly faster than WiFi.
What I Really Want
The truth is, as Apple and the other tech companies move further and further down the artificial intelligence path, I’m feeling more victimized than assisted. I’ve finally gotten so damned frustrated with “auto-correct” that I’ve turned it off. Seems to me the new updates blow out what the iOS has learned about your normal use patterns.
And here’s what I’ve learned: I’m far less annoyed by my typing errors than I am by the incorrect “corrections” that have come to plague auto-correct. Predictive text and auto-caps after a period are the only assistance I find reliably helpful. Everything else is a pain and wastes more of my time than it saves.
I’m beginning to think that I just want a dumbphone, not a smartphone–a phone that does nothing but place calls, that’s it. Maybe I really don’t want a phone at all. I certainly don’t want to be available 24/7 and be tracked and monitored and ceaselessly fighting advertising.
The phone isn’t a phone. It’s become a marketing conduit. Maybe I just want a land line at home and an emergency button in the car.
And I would like a controller (that I can see in bright sunlight) for my Mavic Pro and an off the charts, small, 4k video camera that fits in my pocket–no, I mean really fits in my pocket. And where is one of my old iPods for my music.
Yeah. Less is more. Simplicity is more logical. Bring back the dumb.
So, what do you think, should I upgrade to the X or skip it? If I’m honest, I’m still up in the air on the purchase, and logically, that feels ridiculous to me!