The End of the “Plus”

Every year, as summer comes to an end, the hype for the next iPhone becomes palpable. Rumors and speculation swirl, and leaks begin to reveal what Apple might be doing at their early fall event.

This year is like every other in some regards, but is also very different in many ways. A summer of leaks and speculation has most people predicting an iPhone with slimmer bezels, a repositioned home button1, and a $1000+ price tag2. What is harder to predict is the other device that will make an appearance in 2017.

In the history of the iPhone, every other year, we get an “S” model phone, which subtly iterates on the previous years device. The iPhone 4S was essentially the iPhone 4, with an improved camera and the addition of Siri. The 5S was the iPhone 5 with added TouchID. The 6S was the 6 with a first generation Taptic motor and the introduction of 3D Touch.

In 2016, with the iPhone 7, for the first time in Apple’s history, the new phone was almost akin to an SS device. Instead of being a new design AND new features, it further iterated on the 6 and 6S design, with only a few notable new features and a familiar size and shape.

Most rumors to date suggest that in addition to the fancy new iPhone (I’m calling it iPhone Pro), there will be an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. Others suggest that they will skip the 7S moniker and jump to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Either way, the general assumption is that there will be a total of 3 iPhone models this year.

I think that’s wrong.

In 2014, 2015, and 2016, it was easy (or easier) to decide which new device you wanted to purchase. If you wanted a smaller, more hand and pocket friendly device, you picked the 6, 6S, or 7. If you wanted the cooler camera features (OIS, Depth Effect, 2X zoom), or wanted a giant screen and more battery, you picked the Plus model.

In 2017, if the iPhone Pro is roughly the same physical size as the iPhone 7, but packs all the camera features and a bigger screen than the Plus, why would anyone buy the 2017 Plus. As it is, differentiating 2 devices is a challenge, aside from screen size, trying to extend that to 3 seems impossibly complex for consumers AND Apple’s marketing team.

This year, I firmly believe Apple will FINALLY fix the naming of their iPhone lineup (much like the rest of their product lines), and will stick with just 2 devices. iPhone and iPhone Pro. No more generation numbers, no more S years, just an iPhone with good specs, and an iPhone with great specs. Selling a good phone to people doesn’t seem to be a challenge for Apple, and selling a great phone seems to come naturally as well. Selling a phone that is good, but not significantly better, but also isn’t great seems much less practical.

Between getting a Plus or Pro, who would pick the Plus? I know I wouldn’t. And I think Apple knows that, too.

Interface: 57. How Much is Somebody Worth?

http://interface.fm/57

On the face of it, $10/month seems like a great deal for unlimited movie theater tickets. That is, until you realize that there is a hidden cost to seeing every new Marvel or DC movie to hit the cinema – incessant advertisements in your email promoting every new action figure, poster, video game, kids toy, or special Spiderman themed food item at Walmart. In reality, you are subsidizing your movie habits with personal information that advertisers are buying at a premium, just to get their marketing in front of your eyes.

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Interface: 56. Etsy for Things in Development (S2E02)

http://interface.fm/56

Ian pledged $50 to get a glorified selfie stick, but only half of it has been shipped. Chase spent $100 on a video game that may or may not actually be made one day. A combination of physical and phycological factors lead to successful campaigns on crowdfunding platforms, but sometimes even the most convincing sales pitches turn out to be much less impressive – so what makes people willing to hand over their money?

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Interface: 55. A Thumb Drive Full of Cat GIFs (S2E01)

http://interface.fm/55

Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for months! That’s the song that introduced me to hip-hop, and I listened to my mp3 of it over and over before the bitrate degraded too much for WinAmp to play it anymore. It was my copy, but every time I put it on a new hard drive it got a little fuzzier. I don’t know why I’m explaining this; you know how DRM works. Eventually I farmed out enough spare CPU cycles that I could afford another copy, but by that time (of course) I was just buying the rights to the song anyway.

Destroy before sharing (or is it just improving?)
The rarest digital video game
DRM sucks!
S H I T P I C S
Spotify has a lot of users
Hang out with your buddies in VR

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