At the beginning of the summer, all eyes were on the release of Apple’s three new iPhones: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and the iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone ten”). While we’re still waiting for the November release of the ten-year anniversary phone—which drops in November—we do know that the response to the newly-released iPhone 8 has been somewhat underwhelming.
As Apple continues to pursue what some are calling an ethos of “form over function”, numerous complaints are arising about the counterintuitive design properties of the iPhone 8, including people wondering why anyone would buy it over the iPhone X. There were widespread reports that the usual hype and long lines that tend to appear to greet a new Apple launch were decidedly muted when the iPhone 8 launched in September. Let’s take a look at why that might be…
Seeing Through The Hype
The first thing in question about the iPhone 8 is the glass backing. The reason for using glass over metal is to allow for wireless charging, and we’ve seen other smartphones – like the Samsung Galaxy S8 – which also share this design feature. However, many are concerned that adding these glass backs will increase the likelihood for repairs—ones that might even be more costly than the already ubiquitous screen repairs that everyone resents.
The Guardian broke down the cost: “A third-party repair of the glass panel is either going to be very difficult or very expensive, even compared to the screen. Apple’s own AppleCare+ for the iPhone 8, which costs $129, covers up to two damage repairs for two years. For the screen an excess of $25 is due, but repairs to the glass on the back of are only covered under the “other damage” part of the plan. According to AppleInsider, this costs $79 each time, making the back panel more than three times as expensive as the screen.” While adding a protective cover might help, if it’s too thick or protective it might prevent wireless charging (which would defeat the purpose of the glass back to begin with).
Missing the Thrill
Another issue that people seem to be raising is simply that the new model is boring—at a time when other competitors are pushing the envelope more and more. As TechRadar put it: “The ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ argument can be tossed around here, and Apple certainly hasn’t had any trouble shifting large quantities of its smartphone in recent years; but in a year when Samsung and LG dramatically slashed the bezels to give us striking, futuristic designs, the iPhone 8 falls flat. It’s not like Apple has missed this trend – the bezeless iPhone X is testament to the fact that it hasn’t – but it means the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus look ever-more dated against the competition, which now includes a rival in their own camp.”
Overall, it seems like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may just not be enough of an upgrade to entice customers to drop hundreds of dollars when they can wait for the iPhone X, which is meant to be a huge departure from the existing design. Upgrades are all about hype, and if there’s nothing to new to get excited about, why part with the cash?
As The Guardian summed it up: “While the iPhone 8 is extremely similar in design to previous generations of the device that has remained consistent since 2014’s iPhone 6, the iPhone X features Apple’s most radical design change since its flagship smartphone’s inception in 2007. The iPhone X drops the iPhone’s home button for the first time, as well as the fingerprint scanner, has facial recognition and an eye-catching all-screen front.”