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iPhone 7s and 8: End of the Line for Value was with iPhone 6?

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NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Last year I upgraded to the iPhone 7 Plus, a key reason being the 2X camera. The 2X camera has proved to be a deep disappointment with its godawful image quality which is poor in sunlight and crap in darker conditions, with mutilated pixel quality reminiscent of the bargain-bin point and shoots of 5 years ago.

Last fall in Apple iPhone 7: New Features I Like, I discussed new features that I thought were worth upgrading for. Below is brief recap along with my conclusion on each.

  • Dual cameras and 2X lens: FAIL. The 2X camera has very poor quality.
  • Wide Color support: FAIL—no meaningful value that I could discern when using the phone. The DCI-P3 color space is occassionally helpful for images, but the screen makes no difference to me. See iPhone 7 Sports Retina HD Screen with DCI-P3 Color Gamut and “Wide” Color Capture.
  • More powerful speakers: DOUBLE FAIL. No useful increase in volume over my 6s Plus, plus the speakers emphasize and low-level hissing on my audio books; this the 6s Plus never did.
  • Splash and water resistance: good, but it has never mattered as my iPhone 7 Plus has not gone swimming.

There you have it: for my reasons, the iPhone 7 Plus was an abject failure and a waste of $1100. I would gladly turn it in for a refund and make the 6s Plus my primary phone again.

So now we have the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus and rumored 8 coming, with a few more technology demonstrations. OMG, I cannot wait to save $1100 by not buying one—I want new value that distinctly improves useful things versus the prior model. And maybe that is there so I’ll wait and see but fool me once and shame on Apple, fool me twice, shame on me.

Sure, an OLED screen that is full width might be nice, facial recognition is an anti-feature (for me), and so on. For the most part, these new goodies are technology demonstrations that offer no real value to me. I’m sure millions will disagree* and happily fork over $800 to $1100 (which for anyone who can afford one really means earning $1600 to $2500 to have those after-tax dollars). And maybe there will be one 'killer feature' that will add real value and thus persuade me—I’d be delighted if that occurs and would then reconsider.

Hardware aside, Apple has not earned my business by doing more important things, like decluttering iOS and letting me customize my phone; the current experience is a nightmare with land mines and anti-productive behaviors and preferences buried so deep that it would have been a case study in bad design back in the days of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines.

I’m not going to play this treadmill game of buying a $1000 phone anymore.

* The earth is a big round ball, even if all but one person thought it was flat for millennia.

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