This is the epilogue of the first chapter of the iPhone as we know it this year.
Some were surprised as to why I wasn’t going to wait for the iPhone X.
It was essentially three reasons.
- I’ve never owned a ‘Plus’ model before, and I’ve slightly regretted not buying one last year when I started using the Portrait Mode for customers in the previous day job.
- Compared to the iPhone X; FaceID, slight improvements to the same camera as the 8 models and Animoji do not justify waiting and spending money on the model for me. I also imagine it won’t be easy to acquire one until January 2018 at the earliest.
- I use the iPhone almost all day, alongside it being connected to my Apple Watch, and now the AirPods, something which will have its own post soon. I needed a bigger battery without purchasing a battery case or having a socket nearby.
Since driving to Lincoln to collect it on Saturday, I’ve been using the iPhone 8 Plus around Manchester and to see how these first impressions would go.
I said last year that you’re now essentially paying for a camera, and this is even more-so for the ‘Plus’ models. This year, that point is exemplified by just how good it produces the pictures. I’m using ‘Portrait Mode’ as the first, default option as soon as I launch the Camera app. By using both of the cameras at the back, it produces a ‘bokeh’ effect, which is a blurred background, similar to how high-end DSLR cameras produce the same. Alongside posting these on Instagram, here’s a few in their native resolution.
The video is also very good. 4K is much more refined since it was introduced with a ‘low key’ appearance with the 6S in 2015. It’s clearer, faster to edit the videos, and, most importantly to me, the phone doesn’t become a furnace the longer it records.
The screen is something I always thought would put me off. But this screen size is now going to be the new ‘minimum’ of iPhone screen sizes soon. The iPhone X has a 5.8” display, and I imagine its own ‘iPhone X Plus’ of an even bigger display will make its appearance eventually.
Reachability helps so much in the apps for YouTube, WhatsApp and when phoning someone in those rare moments.
But the colour and higher pixel per inch, alongside True-Tone, where it adjusts the colour and the to the room temperature, makes it viewable in direct sunlight, rain, and in the car.
I’ve had a driving licence since 2008, but this year is the only time I’ve needed to drive, and that’s required a Maps app.
Being able to look at more content in landscape mode when its in a dock holder is a welcome addition. I can have a look at what’s ahead in traffic, or, thanks to Apple’s much better Maps app now, I can see what the speed limits are and the junctions to drive off to with ease now.
Finally, even though it’s been there since the first model of the ‘Plus’ series debuted, a landscape Home Screen when in the car especially helps.
I wouldn’t call this the ‘fourth generation’ of the iPhone 6. I do still think this is the refined design that Apple will keep for any other iPhones that will be in the lower tier from next year. The Space Gray model of the 8 looks even more like a steamrolled iPhone 4 than the Jet-Black iPhone 7 did to me. It looks great, and its less fingerprint-attractive then i thought it would be.
The wireless-charging is a welcome addition to the iPhone, but I still have reservations. As I said in my piece about the Apple Event, on a hockey-puck accessory, it can be difficult to align it so it can start charging. But if you have one that has a stand integrated into it, such as Samsung’s own, that annoyance is alleviated. I’m tempted to find one like this, but first my money will be going on a fast charger. The iPad has this, and now the iPhone 8 / X models, so this will be a useful purchase to start with.
I did a bad thing towards the start of the year; I bought a battery case, the official Apple one no less, and it completely messed up its battery. I would play a podcast, some music, some YouTube, and it could be at 70% in a half hour easily. I would have to have it tethered to my work computer daily to make sure it will be charged for when I’d leave, and always plugged into the car, no matter if it was a quick trip to KFC, or a long way round trip to Gallifrey/Lincoln.
Here is where I was sold on the ‘Plus’ model completely.
I drove back from Lincoln to Manchester, around 100 miles, and using Google Maps the entire time in this 2 hour trip, the battery began at 46%, and ended at 31% as I arrived back. It also didn’t become a furnace, alongside being shown a ‘Your iPhone’s temperature is too high’ message either.
It was completely cool, and I didn’t charge it until I was in bed 3 hours later.
It’s only now I’m confident that I can bring the phone to the city centre at midday, and come back with a great amount.
As I read through this and edit it on a Monday, It’s been off its charge since 6:30AM, and at 6PM, it’s at 61%. That’s also had it connected to the Apple Watch and AirPods at all times too.
So far, I’m really impressed with the device. What it does, it does well, and for a photographer, I can’t think of any other device better when you don’t have your DSLR to use in certain situations.
But as I said at the start, I feel as though this is the last time you will see the iPhones in this form factor as a new product.
Even the names.
I can see them just being called only ‘iPhone’ with their ‘Plus’ addition in the next generation next year.
They could market the lower-tier models as an ‘iPhone Classic’ as they did with the iPod, and let it rest in the coming years.
But next year is what I’m waiting for. You’ve had ten years of iPhone, and now its time for the reboot for the next ten years.