Apple’s new set of iPhones are here: the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. They’ve been rumored about for a year now, and many publications were spreading hearsay on all of the futuristic features they would supposedly have because this is the the iPhone’s tenth anniversary. A lot of it ended up being just that: hearsay, as these new iPhones are similar to what we’ve seen in the past. Honestly, there’s little that has changed since the launch of the iPhone 6 in 2014.
Apple needs to change, and in all of its primary categories. It’s not going to be long before consumers start realizing the stagnation and seeing what Android can offer them instead. Follow along below, and we’ll show you the primary areas where Apple is dropping the ball.
It goes without saying, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are beautiful phones. The new glass back gives them a more premium look and feel in the hand than iPhones before. However, the overall design hasn’t changed, and has seen only minimal alterations since the launch of the iPhone 6. The biggest difference is that the ugly antenna lines are gone and we have the aforementioned glass back.
It’s a design that works, but it’s also design that’s getting old. You see, manufacturers on the Android side of the spectrum — Google, Samsung, LG and others — are always doing something new in design with their phones. For example, you have the Galaxy Note 8 with a near bezel-less display on the front and then a large dual-camera setup on the back with a sleek design. Or there’s the Google Pixel 2, which is taking its chances on a two-tone design. You don’t see Apple taking risks like these.
Apple’s lack of risk in this area has been strange, to be blunt. The Cupertino-based company appeals to the more mainstream crowd, but they still have little to lose when taking a risk on a new design. This is because Apple’s base has shown time and time again they’ll buy a new iPhone simply because it’s the new iPhone. Today, there’s minimal differences between the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus, yet folks are still buying it. So, why not take this opportunity to offer something fresh and new to compete better with players in the market that are catching up to Apple, such as Samung and Google?
Apple seems to be realizing this, and part of that realization is coming with the launch of the iPhone X — a phone also going for a near bezel-less design. The back is still the same (really, the overall design of it hasn’t changed since the iPhone in 2007), save for a camera that has been oriented vertically instead of the standard horizontal orientation.
The iPhone X
Not to trail off from focusing on the iPhone 8 Plus, but the iPhone X deserves a brief mention since it’s virtually the same phone. The iPhone X has potential to be an admirable change (at least as far as display technology goes). But, is the iPhone X going to really be a change that everyone wants? “A phone for the future,” as Apple calls it? We’ll know more when it launches, but from initial observations, the iPhone X will be nothing more than a money-grab. There are almost no differences between the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. The only real difference is the all-screen, taking up the entire front of the display as well as the front Face ID scanner, although, it may not work as well as Apple wants you to believe. Apple demoed it at their iPhone event, but couldn’t get it to to work on not one, but two iPhone X’s.
Will the $1000 cost for the iPhone X be worth it? A whole $200 more than the base iPhone 8 Plus mode? Frankly, it’s hard to justify for what is pretty much a clone of the iPhone 8 Plus. On top of that, from what we’ve seen so far, in real-world use, one of the main differences, the Face ID camera, wouldn’t work.
It’s worth noting that the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X all have the same processing chip: the A11 Bionic. It has special machine learning hardware built-in, called the Neural Engine. That’s not an exclusive to the iPhone X either, as it’s built right into the A11 Bionic chip, which all three iPhones have. So, when it really comes down to it, the only exclusives you’re getting in the iPhone X are an all-screen display and the special Face ID camera for recognizing your face to unlock your phone.
So, while the iPhone 8 Plus is a beautiful phone, it’s past time that Apple changes things, and the coming iPhone X is far from enough for changing things or even creating “a phone for the future.”
Performance is an area that has impressed me quite a bit, and those within the tech crowd might appreciate its powers, too. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are extremely fast with Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip. Previous phones would have noticeable lag when switching between applications or scrolling through hundreds of your photos and videos. That’s gone with the A11 Bionic chip. To PC and hardware enthusiasts, this could easily the best part of the phone.
There’s a lot that went into the A11 Bionic chip, and its alleged success is largely because of Apple’s silicon team. The company hasn’t divulged much information on the inner workings of the A11 chip, but what we do know is that Apple’s silicon customization was the key to building this powerful 64-bit, six-core chip with a whopping 4.3 billion transistors. This chip is topping the charts, even beating the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy S8 in benchmarks.
Based on the 10-nanometer process, the A11 Bionic chip is 70 percent more efficient than last years A10 Fusion chip. It’s also 25 percent faster than the Fusion as well. All of this put together, you’re going to get excellent battery life as well as great performance in games, according to Apple.
However, Apple’s chip might not be as good as they say. It’s topping the charts in simulated benchmarks against the competition — such as the Snapdragon 835 — but it’s not matching or outperforming the competition in real-world scenarios. In fact, when put in real-world tests, the A11 Bionic is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Phone Buff pitted the iPhone 8 against the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The results? The iPhone 8 fell short in almost every real-world test. You can see the video for yourself below.
Apple, who claims to be cutting edge in chip technology, dropped the ball here big time. If it can’t even perform on the same level as its competitors, can you really trust it in performance-heavy applications?
Apple has always been the leader in the market when it comes to camera technology in a smartphone. They fell behind — according to many reviewers — since the iPhone 6S. On top of that, they only added a dual-camera to the iPhone 7 Plus last year. That’s something Android phones have been doing for awhile now.
With the iPhone 8 Plus, Apple is back on top, taking the #2 spot in DxOMark’s mobile camera leaderboard, at the time of this writing. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t really consider it back on top. The iPhone 8 Plus takes great photos, but the Galaxy Note 8 takes even better, as far as quality goes. In fact, the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 both focus on offering better vibrancy to capture lifelike images.
There’s no doubt Apple has done well with its camera technology, at least in the past. They say improvements made to the iPhone 8 Plus’ image processing chip makes the camera so much better than last year’s iPhone 7 Plus. This isn’t exactly the case, though. This year, it feels like Apple made very little improvements, and instead focused on new features that they could market as “exclusive to the new iPhone.” What many of us would call a “gimmick,” really.
Portrait Lighting is one of those additions (an iPhone 8 Plus-only feature), and while it’s a neat a way to take portrait photos, I don’t believe it makes up for the lack of new internals to make the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus camera better than the competition. In fact, Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus is still missing out on technology that Google is spearheading with the Pixel 2. For example, HDR+ is just one of these technologies.
On top of this, Apple doesn’t really offer many camera features. Compare the iPhone 8 Plus camera features to the suite Samsung offers in all of its flagship Galaxy phones, particularly in the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8. For example, you have things like Hyperlapse mode, Video collage, Pro mode, different focus settings and more.
Apple has quickly lost its ability to say that the iPhone has the best camera. They’re hardly doing much to top what Samsung, Google and others are doing to improve their cameras. Much of what we have in the iPhone 8 phones today are exactly what we saw in the iPhone 7 phones, and then iPhones before. Nothing has changed here, and that’s disappointing. You can’t stay on top by simply moving old camera internals into a so-called new phone.
I would certainly recommend the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus to someone — it’s an excellent phone, as is any flagship these days. However, it’d be a lie to say that Apple is still cutting edge. They’ve gotten stagnant and initial sales are showing that. Many in my circle aren’t upgrading from the iPhone 7 because of how few differences there are, and I can’t help but think that might be a common thought among Apple’s base. Android manufacturers are truly the ones spearheading new technology these days, and that puts Apple in an unfortunate spot.
The iPhone X probably isn’t what we’re looking for either — an iPhone 8 Plus with a screen encompassing the entire front of the phone. Hardly worth another $200 (or more, depending on the storage size you need). Apple needs something more drastic to really refresh their iPhone lineup (ultimately, the way they’re handling it is hurting sales).
It’s time to change, Apple. We need something new. As it stands now, Android manufacturers are eating up market share while Apple loses it. It’s time to start innovating again instead of putting out what feels “safe.”