Comment: Apple, what happened to you?
Tech giant seems to have run out of ideas with its latest iPhone
What happened to Apple? The iPhone X should have been a game changer.
Some experts might argue it is, but for this average self-confessed Apple fan, it doesn't feel like it. Far from it, in fact.
It is as if Apple struggled for ideas.
Where is that thrilling leap into the future we experienced when Steve Jobs beckoned and basically told us: "Buttons? Where we're going, we don't need buttons."
Should we not have some Tony Stark-like device by now?
So what marvel did CEO Tim Cook have for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone? *drumroll* A semi-Samsung.
It sounds like an entry in the Urban Dictionary. It could become a euphemism for stolen thunder. After all, Apple was beaten to the punch by the much-lauded Galaxy Note 8.
On the iPhone X web page, we're told: "Our vision has always been to create an iPhone that is entirely screen."
And now? Woohoo. You semi-managed it, Apple. The screen almost goes to the very edge. Sort of. "Sort of" could be the new company slogan.
Of the new "toys" on offer, the biggest deal appears to be the Animoji feature that "sort of" lets you be an emoji.
It feels like millennial bait.
But it does come with an extra game - "Guess how many hours it takes before you're over Animojis". Well, it's a free game at least.
Portrait lighting? Is there not a wealth of free apps to do that?
Of course, I have not got my mitts on the X itself, so this is purely from the standpoint of an Apple fan (still am, just about) watching from afar.
This release comes on the back of a number of growing issues I have had with Apple products. Each one is utterly brilliant on a technical level. But they also seem to lack an understanding that humans need to use them.
The name used to say it all. Apple. Warm, organic, friendly.
The aesthetics mattered. It was designed for you.
Compare that to the cold slap of plastic delivered by the functional beige of PC and Android.
It used to be that when Apple broke from convention, it was because it had a great reason and offered the alternative.
It spawned great ideas. The kind of ideas companies dream of getting. Ideas so good, customers said: "I need that in my life. Here is my money."
But in recent years, Apple's approach feels more like: "We got rid of this thing. You still want to use the old tech, go buy the extra parts, caveman."
This approach could be seen as benevolence to third-party vendors, but to regular customers, it is a challenge. "Leave us if you dare".
Every phone we have is a marvel that just 10 years ago seemed like science fiction. To be honest, it is shocking how little we utilise what we have.
You can shoot, edit and score an entire film on an iPhone. Months of music can be contained. Years worth of pictures, too. They are our remote limbs. They contain most of our lives, and they are wonderful.
So while the technology is astounding, iPhone X having front-camera portrait mode, face-scanning and that Animoji feature, it does not have that leap forward for the user. It is a variation on the same past few iPhones.
And that price tag. We don't get the catchy US$999 the America has. Ours will be from S$1,648 . That's "from". It's S$1,888 if you want the 256GB.
Does paying that much exclude me from my phone telling me it has failed to back up to iCloud for the umpteenth time? This is not your phone being an information hub. That is your phone being a nag. And about an issue know nothing about. It may as well keep asking if I've resolved the Nordic Fisheries commission.
Apple may be ahead of the curve sometimes. But while Apple used to show off the ultimate objects of tech desire, they now leave a fair bit to be desired.
The Apple pencil is the device iPad users had been crying out for. And it works brilliantly.
But the design? Apple hasn't provided a way for it to travel with the iPad. How to charge it feels like an afterthought involving tiny and very losable pen caps, equally losable mini adaptors, or having it stick out from your iPad in a way that's just begging to be snapped off by accident.
There are too many design issues now for a company that still sets out its stall as the design that everyone follows.
Where once Apple had a family, it now has a bunch of products. Which all seems whiny. Very first-world issues.
But it's that moment you realise the band you used to love, the one you would happily follow on tour and get the T-shirt every time, has lost it.
You hope it can get its groove back.
Apple needs to regain its wow factor. Time to be more human again.