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September 12, 2017

Even Apple haters can’t afford to ignore the iPhone X launch. Here’s why

by John_A

The sun and the moon have aligned once this year already; but on September 12 in Cupertino, California, many less cosmic but equally crucial factors will come together in a spectacular, potentially monumental way that will eclipse the, um, eclipse. Apple will hold an event where it will almost certainly show off its 2017 iPhone models. That’s pretty exciting on its own. Apple events are always anticipated. But the September event isn’t just, “pretty exciting.” It’s eye-widening, pulse-quickening, trouser-dropping, forget-about-any-other-tech-event-in-2017 exciting.

This Apple event is so important, and likely so pivotal to the tech scene, even the most hardened Apple hater has to watch. Not convinced? Here’s why.

Goodbye iPhone 7S, hello iPhone 8

We’re likely not going to get an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. Instead, Apple is now expected to give us an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This is fantastic news. The S revisions are stop gaps in the evolution of the iPhone. Feature-lite phones that don’t look any different to the existing iPhone, that serve to give Apple more time to work on a proper revision for the following year. Skipping the iPhone 7S and jumping straight into the iPhone 8 potentially means there are way too many awesome changes and new features in the 2017 device — it’s too damn good to slap a boring old 7S label on it.

Gabor Balogh

Joining the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be the iPhone X, if all the rumors are accurate. There have been a lot of rumors about this device, which is supposedly built to commemorate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. Announcing a third iPhone would be a massive shake-up on its own; but we’re expecting the iPhone X to have a borderless OLED screen — a first for Apple — and potentially other features unique to the device too. It promises to be the flagship iPhone, and the most technically advanced iPhone we’ve ever seen, if rumors are correct.

Apple’s notorious for sitting back and letting the rest of the mobile industry have a stab at bringing something new to the table, and then polishing the same tech up for its own release later on. This time, it’s borderless screens that we’ve seen on the Xiaomi Mi Mix, the LG G6, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 to name just a few. Except Apple’s not waiting until 2018 to bring out its own bezel-less wonder-phone, as it may have done so in the past. Why? The pressure’s on. Phones like the HTC U11 and OnePlus 5 already look “old” next to the Galaxy S8 and the Essential PH-1. Apple doesn’t want to be in the same company.

Three new phones, a completely new look, and new tech? Yes please, Apple.

The pressure is on

Apple is reacting to increased pressure from its competitors, which has been a long time coming. Apple is usually terribly laid back, and has been almost complacent over the past few years. The devices it has planned for September 12, or so we think, indicate a fire has been reignited. Yes, it has always sold a truckload of phones; but by getting up on stage and showing off next-generation hardware that gets the blood rushing to fan’s nether regions, it’ll need to design new, massive load-carrying trucks to cope with the demand.

Announcing a third iPhone would be a massive shake-up.

The stakes are unusually high this year. Samsung has recovered in a mighty fashion from its abysmal end to 2016 with the superb Galaxy S8 and S8 plus. The Galaxy Note 8 isn’t for everyone, but it’s still a very capable device. LG has come with the G6 and excellent LG V30, and we’re still waiting for new Pixel phones from Google. That’s before we consider the camera on the HTC U11, the bargain OnePlus 5, and many more excellent smartphones. The fight for your money has never been more heated.

Apple simply has to attack. It can’t afford not to wow us. An iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, with a smattering of features and the same design, would be a terrible misstep. Even if dropping the 7S name for 2017 is just a marketing ploy, it’s the right one. Apple needs to have something really new, not a rehashed 2016 phone to lazily rake in some more profit while engineers take it easy before earning their keep in 2018. An iPhone 8 is new, and an iPhone X could be the future made available now. How’s that for grandstanding? Step aside Samsung, LG, and the rest: Watch and learn from the masters.

If Apple gets it wrong, or doesn’t quite deliver, there are plenty of amazing Android phones already available waiting to be purchased.

The right location

That’s not all the pressure Apple’s facing. This will be the first event held at the Steve Jobs Theater inside the Apple Park “spaceship” campus. A thousand lucky invited souls will cram inside to see the presentation, seated on leather chairs rumored to cost $14,000 each, while thousands more will watch a livestream of the event, likely in chairs that cost considerably less.

We know less about the auditorium’s layout and final look than we do the new iPhones. It’s as much of a new attraction as the devices that will be shown on stage. Think about this: When is the last time we were excited about the location of a tech launch event, eagerly anticipating what it will look like inside, and the design wonders — inevitably constructed from glass — it may conceal? It’s another piece of what makes this event so special, and another hyped-up promise on which Apple needs to deliver.

It’s not just about the iPhones either. There’s an almost-certain chance a new Apple Watch with watchOS4 will be announced, we could see demonstrations of Apple’s augmented reality technology through ARkit, the release of iOS 11, and more. After several years of rather ordinary, sometimes disappointing Apple events, we’re poised for what could be the best yet; honoring the memory of Steve Jobs in a theater named after him, and doing the iPhone proud on its 10th anniversary. Pressure? We’ve got no idea.

Anticipation

After all that hyperbole, are you labeling me an Apple fanboy? Fine, on the eve of this event, I’ll take it. Anyway, it’s you I’m addressing. Apple fans, and unbiased tech fans, will watch the event anyway. It’s the people who dislike Apple and scream “fanboy!” at their computer screen that will ignore it; but it’s the wrong thing to do this year.

The hype is through the roof.

Apple is all set up for a mega event. The hype is through the roof, the atmosphere, and is chasing down the Voyager 1. There is, as we explained, a lot riding on it being a success, and on Apple delivering new iPhones that live up to the anticipation. In the same way as some of the early Apple events are seen as “classics” for how they influenced product launches over the years, this one potentially could be the same. If you’re interested in tech, you’ll want to see it. Don’t buy an Apple product if you don’t want one, but don’t let that stop you witnessing what could be a special moment in tech history.

There is, if you’ll forgive my indulgence, one last thing: Apple has disappointed us in the past. We’re amped up for September 12, but Apple isn’t directly responsible for this, and still has the chance to disappoint us again. The phones may not be as good as we think, the prices may be astronomical, and only 152 iPhone X phones may be made, with a delivery date of 2019. If so, who wouldn’t want to see that nightmare unfold too? Either way, settle down for September 12’s Apple event. We think it’s unmissable.




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