Apple’s typically conservative stance made the announcement a fairly safe one, there was no equivalent to the Galaxy Fold debacle that Samsung ran into earlier this year. Safe, however, is rarely exciting.
Before the keynote, TechRepublic highlighted five things Apple can do to to make the iPhone 11 a compelling upgrade. We’ve updated this article with reactions following the keynote.
1. A way to keep from losing the Apple Pencil for iPhone
If the Galaxy Note were not successful, Samsung would not have made twelve of them (yes, really). Professionals love the stylus, and some form of Apple Pencil support is anticipated for the iPhone 11. The fact that Apple Pencil exists at all should give pause to longtime residents of the reality distortion field, as Steve Jobs had a particular dislike for the things.
“Who wants a stylus. You have to get ’em and put ’em away, and you lose ’em. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus.”
Verdict: Completely busted
Rumors of Apple Pencil for iPhone have swirled around the start of September for the past several years. Once again, users hoping for Apple to clone the Galaxy Note are left wanting, though Apple’s restraint should be lauded.
2. Nobody wants to haul around a stack of different chargers
The iPad Pro has already adopted USB-C, and adoption for the universal standard is overdue across the product line. With a USB-C enabled iPhone, travelers can cut down the number of chargers they need in their bags, as a single USB-C charger can replenish the battery of a MacBook, iPad Pro, and—hopefully—iPhone.
Likewise, the potential for wireless charging for AirPods using an iPhone eliminates the need for a Lightning cable on the go.
Verdict: Meh, it’s a start
Apple includes an 18W USB-C fast charger with the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, but the iPhone 11 is left with the classic charger. The phone itself still uses a Lightning connector, and Apple includes a USB-C to Lighting cable in the box, though the use of Lightning prevents the iPhone 11 Pro from benefiting from the USB-C features of the iPad Pro. The 2018 iPad Pro uses an 18W USB-C charger, so it should be possible to just carry one charger to charge the two, but you’ll need two cables.
There’s relatively few mentions of privacy or security in the keynote, and nothing to address the vulnerabilities.
5. Better AirPods, for listening and calls
I’m still mystified by the warm reception the AirPods enjoy—in the span of four years, Apple somehow became passable for earbuds: Gizmodo called Apple’s wired Earpods “still garbage” in 2012, though reviews of the first-generation AirPods from CNET and others were positive. Apple doesn’t have the benefit of Sony’s superior (and free) LDAC codec for wireless audio, making music playback inferior to the Sony WF-1000XM3. Adding support for a modern Bluetooth audio codec to AirPods and iOS would do a great deal in pushing it forward.
Justifying a $1,000 smartphone in addition to a notebook also likely to be in the four-figure range for corporate deployments is a higher level order of difficulty. While the potential productivity play Apple may be making with the addition of a stylus for the iPhone may be compelling to some, a reliable, well-built, low-cost iPhone would be a compelling alternative to bargain basement Android smartphones with inconsistent security updates. Something along the lines of a refreshed iPhone SE would undoubtedly receive an enthusiastic reception.
Verdict: Approaching sanity, but still a bit of sticker shock
The $699 price tag for the iPhone 11 looks reasonable, though Apple’s modus operandi is to offer the last-generation product at a discount. That remains the case here, though at ZDNet, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is suggesting that potential buyers can get the best and pay less on Android.
Was there anything in the iPhone 11 keynote for business?
The short answer: not really. There’s a lot of interesting technology in the new camera, some of which—optical image stabilization and night mode, for example—has been available on Android devices for years. There’s no conceivable business use case for Slofies, while the wide-angle camera technology is compelling, but not useful for business.
There’s some power improvements, with the iPhone 11 Pro touted as having four more hours of battery life than the iPhone XS, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max gaining an extra 5 hours compared to the iPhone XS Max.