In Defense of Apple — No, Really!

iPhone 11

In case you missed it, Apple announced its new iPhone 11 line of smartphones yesterday. Here’s everything we know about the new devices and services featured in the press conference.

I have been in an abusive relationship with Apple since the mid 80s. They keep torturing me and I keep buying their products. From the Apple II to the present, I have only cheated on them with some PCs in the 90s and some Samsung phones in the smartphone era. They are the company I love to hate, so you can imagine how weird it was for me to be defending Apple on television yesterday. Me? Defending Apple? The killers of the 3.5mm headphone jack – home of the $29-$45 dongle (of which you need a half dozen for each device just to function) – our batteries die so you will have to buy new stuff, Apple? Yep. That’s the one.

That said, the new iPhone 11 Pro Max is going to change social media and citizen journalism in ways that are easy to predict. You are going to see video stepped up to a completely new level. This is super troubling at the dawn of the deepfake era, but you can’t stop progress.

If you haven’t heard of computational photography, you will. Between the A13 chip, the specialized chipsets and software built into the iPhone Pro line and the three lens system, you are going to see some insane images (both still and video) coming out of iPhone 11s. This is not an iterative step in connected cameras, it is a giant leap for production workflow and raw capability.

Everything else about yesterday’s press conference was a yawn – even the “features” of the new iPhone 11 line are just routine innovation – better screen, better battery life, better processor, better (fill in the blank). Zzzzzz.

Computational photography with a set of prime lenses (wide, telephoto and ultrawide) plus the ability to use the front facing camera simultaneously (four images to choose from) in an onboard editing (edit on the phone) system. Winner!!!

You can shoot both sides of an interview at once. You can shoot the performer and the audience at once. If you make videos, if you take stills, if you use the camera in your phone – this is going to change how you behave. And, that is how I define innovation.

Apple is going to struggle against all the less expensive Android phones internationally. They will win (as they always do) with their core audience. But… they will convert hard core content makers with this device. There’s nothing else like it for photographers and videographers… not yet.

Tip of the hat to the Arcade and Apple TV+ services. It may look like Apple is picking up nickels, I don’t think that’s the case. I think $4.99/month for each of these services is the right price – and both services are “gateway drugs” to a level of addiction that will serve Cupertino well.

P.S. Today is a day to remember as one nation: We don’t live in America, America lives in us.

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