iPhone X – One trick pony

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Face ID will make or break this device.

  • I have long believed that this year’s iPhone offerings will not trigger a super cycle of replacement but with a lukewarm reception for the iPhone 8 is likely to mean that it is up to the iPhone X to drive Apple’s bottom line beyond expectations.
  • When I look at the iPhone X and compare it to the Galaxy s8 / s8+ or the Note 8, it is frankly, unremarkable.
  • Furthermore, I suspect that on a side by side test, the Galaxy s8 screen may well come out on top.
  • However, the Galaxy s8/s8+ and Note 8 all fall over where every Android phone always falls over which is: software.
  • All the apps are there but they never seem to work quite as well as they do on iOS leaving the whole experience feeling disjointed despite best in class hardware.
  • In my opinion the weakest feature of this year’s Samsung line-up is the facial recognition which is very slow and unreliable on the best of days.
  • Almost anything other than a perfect situation causes it to fail and sunglasses, hats and even lollipops are a no go.
  • The end result is a trip back in time to when Nokia ruled the smartphone market where I end up using a PIN to unlock the device 90% of the time.
  • This is where the iPhone X can leave Samsung in the dust as I suspect that almost everywhere else (except perhaps the processor) it is likely to be somewhat behind.
  • However, in order to do this Face ID on the iPhone X has to be flawless which is a tall order especially as it failed to recognise one of Apple’s best-known executives first time.
  • In Apple’s defence there may have been some mitigating circumstances that caused it to fail in that instance that have nothing to do with how the technology will work day to day.
  • However, if Face ID proves to be anything less than Apple has billed, I think it will materially hurt the appeal of the device as the method of unlocking and authenticating on the iPhone 8 will instantly become far superior to the flagship.
  • This has the prospect to slow down replacement by iOS users which will materially impact Apple’s results going into fiscal Q1 (Q4 17) and Q2 (Q1 18).
  • The net result would most likely to be an unwinding of Apple’s PER multiple which has expanded nicely this year on hopes of another iPhone 6-like super cycle.
  • I think that even if Face ID works as well as hoped, I doubt it will trigger another cycle of that magnitude, especially given that the device starts at $999.
  • Consequently, I am increasingly nervous with regard to Apple’s share price as I can see only downward drivers.
  • My indifference is moving more towards the negative end as there is more value to be had elsewhere.
  • Tencent, Baidu and Microsoft leap to mind.

8 thoughts on “iPhone X – One trick pony

  1. If FaceID works as well as TouchID for most people, the X will sell well as, in many cultures, showing you have something that is readily identifiable as top of the range is a key indicator of social status. Indeed until Samsung or another android vendor is able to match this effectively, look for top end Android phone sales to fall.

    While for now the AR apps are more demos than must haves, good AR games are likely to be another driver as they will make good use of the screen and chip performance.

    Improving the stack in Android phones could have been a major reason for Google’s acquihire of HTC talent – if ARcore is seen to be way behind, it could cripple take up.

    • In demos totallt right,,.,, demos are one thing out in the wild is another,..,I reserve judgement…

      AR – totally disagree,.,this is going nowhere in consumer… pointless gimmick… enterprise is another matter entirely. Nothing really happen in consumer AR till the hardware issues are fixed

  2. I like RFM but it devalues itself by publishing nonsense about Apple.
    The “analysis” above includes woefully uninformed opinions about Apple.

    In this case the iPhone is compared to a Samsung phone without mentioning the speed of the iPhone’s A11 processor, the neural processor, AR leadership and leadership in introducing machine learning on handsets.

    Also, it’s well known that Face ID didn’t fail during Craig Federighi’s demo. It operated exactly as designed. For the detail see here:
    https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/09/14/federighi-face-id

    The last time I pointed out a gross error, in that case about the security of Apple Pay, I was accused of being a “fanboy” who’s opinions must be wrong. Instead of repeating that sort of nonsense RFM should spend some time on understanding Apple and why it’s so successful. The DF site linked above is a good place to start.

    • If you paid attention you will see I qualified that statement regarding the demo. I reserve judgement on this feature until it is out in the wild with real users in real volumes.

      Objectivity is tough to come by but I recommend you try some… tastes great once you get over the initial discomfort.

      I have a very good idea why Apple is succesful but happy for you to explain your view.

      • “Objectivity is tough to come by, but I recommend you try some.”

        at the end of every post:

        “I prefer Baidu, Tencent, Microsoft”

        Ahem. Doctor, treat thyself.

        • Definition of Objective: (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

          This does not preclude me from having an opinion but simply that the opinions that are formed are done so in a fair way and without bias…

          You need to brush up on your English.

    • It’s apparent by now that it’s not possible to contradict Richard without being accused of a fanboy who must be wrong, even when Richard has a demonstrable lack of respect for facts. A weak qualifying statement rather than a correction based on facts is not objectivity.

      It’s not well-hidden that Richard is a frustrated Android fan – frustrated because he wishes it had the fragmentation problem resolved, one that Apple doesn’t suffer. He narrow-mindedly sees the only way to resolve the problem through taking Android closed-source, something that is unlikely to happen.

      • if you wish to have a discussion, construct an argument with facts, reason and evidence. Until you do, there is no discussion to be had.

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