Apple flatters, deceives, makes sure you won't leave

Commentary: The company's big iPhone X and iPhone 8 event offered more for the future than the present.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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The future. But when?


Apple's a little tired of making beautiful iPhones.

I judge this from hearing hidden messages during the company's big 10th anniversary iPhone event.

There was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller insisting that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were completely new designs when, to my just-awake eyes, they looked like the iPhone 6 with added bits of glass. 

More significant, though, was something said by CEO Tim Cook very early on and then reiterated by design head Jony Ive in his compulsory iPhone X product video

The idea, Cook said, is to create "a physical object that disappears into the experience."

Never mind the phone, feel the experience. Perhaps sooner than you think, the physical phone will completely disappear. So please don't fall in love with it anymore. It will leave you. (Actually, you're doing a very good job of ignoring how lovely it might be by shoving it in a case.)

Many will be relieved that the iPhone X -- aka the "Smartphone of the Future" -- at least looks different from previous iterations. It thinks a little differently, too.

Unlocking your phone with Face ID will be amusing, unless it doesn't work. Then, as Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, was forced to prove when it didn't work live on stage, you just put in your passcode. Same as it ever was.

So it's progress, but only of a sort.

I can imagine, too, that many will be utterly absorbed by the animojis. Merging your self and an emoji will be the equivalent of a one-night stand you'll repeat again and again, until you're in a relationship.

iPhone 8 and iPhone X unveiled: Pictures, photos from the Apple event

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I'll resist any comment on Federighi talking, well, excreta. Or, rather, impersonating talking excreta. I simply know that, just as he did himself, there will soon be many people walking down the street not only apparently talking to themselves, but making several odd animal noises too.

It's how soon, though, that might bother some.

iPhone X won't be available until Nov. 3. At the earliest. Given Apple's tendency to not have so many phones available for its launches, when do you think you'll get yours?

It's as if the whole point of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is to offer you temporary reassurance, something to play with just in case. 

As my colleague Andrew Gebhardt brilliantly observed, "Usually Apple waits a year before making their phones obsolete. The iPhone 8 lasted about 10 minutes."

Indeed, the whole presentation offered more for the future than the present. It was like a lover promising to make a commitment. They really do love you, but they're not quite ready yet. 

Let's assume you'll get your iPhone X (by sometime) in 2018. After all, there are already warnings of delays. By then, you'll also have bought the Apple Watch 3-series, which is now a much-improved teeny little phone. And hopefully, your AirPods will have already arrived too. 

Yet here is Apple teasing you that you'll be able to charge them all on a little white mat called AirPower. When will it be available? "Next year," said Apple's Eddy Cue. No more precise than that.

So, because you want to be a person of the future, with the gadgets of the future that match your forward-thinking persona, you'll be teased along until everything appears. By that time, the next tease will have begun. 

Why, AirPods were launched 9 months ago and people are getting excited that there's now a mere 1 to 2-week wait period.

Just wait till Apple's HomePod smart speaker -- said to be available in December -- is suddenly, or even often, in short supply.

Apple events are primarily marketing exercises. Here, there were a lot of promises -- certainly enough to ensure the vast majority of Apple users won't stray.

But when will Apple fanpersons be completely happy? 

Might I venture that the answer is never? And that, of course, is the whole point.