Summary of “The Pixel’s missing headphone jack proves Apple was right”

Google Pixel sound output is so bad that removing the headphone jack would be an act of mercy.
Looking at how other mobile makers like HTC, Motorola, Xiaomi, and Google – and soon probably Huawei too, given that CEO Richard Yu told me in January that the company was planning a 2017 flagship phone without a 3.5mm jack, which is shaping up to be the upcoming Mate 10 Pro – are following suit, things are panning out exactly as Apple anticipated.
Google initially mocked Apple’s decision, poking fun at it with marketing materials that described the 2016 Pixel’s headphone jack as “Satisfyingly not new.” But companies take cheap shots at one another all the time, and that was then, this is now, and now Google thinks it has higher priorities than audio.
If we’re just talking about the near term, I’m unconvinced by Apple and Google’s arguments that the jack had to go to make room for better, more integrated design.
If Google were one of the top two smartphone makers in the world, as Apple is, I might also feel like it’s rushing in too quickly with a change it could probably make and justify better in future models.
In the wake of the Pixel 2 event, I got word from Libratone and AIAIAI, a couple of Danish consumer audio brands, both annoucing that they’ve developed “Made for Google” models of their headphones and cables.
Libratone and AIAIAI are just two of 25 partners that Google has already signed up as it seeks to emulate Apple and its famous “Made for iPhone” label.
Google’s Nexus line served as the prototypical best Android device that Google could envision.

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Summary of “With Its $999 Price Tag, Apple’s iPhone X Is a Luxury”

On September 5, 2007, Apple slashed the price of the original iPhone from $599 to $399. The aggressive strategy, meant to catapult the device from a luxury gadget to a middle-class necessity, angered early adopters to the point that Steve Jobs had to issue an apology and refund them $100 each.
The iPhone 8, the incremental upgrade to last year’s iPhone 7, will cost $50 more than its predecessor, starting at $699. And the iPhone X, the company’s new high-end device that CEO Tim Cook called “The future of the smartphone,” will start at $999. The reveal of the huge price tag on Tuesday felt like a full-circle moment at an iPhone event already focused on echoing the past.
Unlike the original iPhone, it’s not clear the X will feel like an essential product to people who never knew they needed one.
The Verge has already declared that the iPhone X’s high price tag is worth it.
The closest thing Apple might have to that world-changing lineage of products is augmented reality, a new obsession in Cupertino, but the iPhone 8, and not just the more expensive X, will support AR functionality.
More than anything else, the iPhone X seems to be offering luxury for its own sake.
Last holiday, after several quarters of falling sales, the iPhone bounced back on the strength of the iPhone 7 Plus, its most expensive model.
The average worldwide retail price of a smartphone before the iPhone launched was $200; today it’s $310, according to data gathered by Sharma.

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Summary of “Apple’s Best Product Is Its Media Strategy”

The big question on everyone’s mind, as Apple CEO Tim Cook stepped onstage to announce an array of iPhones and a new Apple Watch and a new Apple TV on Tuesday, was: Will there be a nuclear war with North Korea?
Apple doesn’t have press conferences, it has “Events.” On Tuesday, the event was in Apple’s new home, a vast new 175-acre campus that, as Cook said, “Fuses buildings with an open parkland.” It’s a stunning place, with rolling hills and – according to Apple – some 9,000 newly planted trees.
Forever looming in the distance, across the park, is Apple’s new headquarters building.
“What’s going to keep Apple Apple – is if we keep us us,” said the voice in the darkness.
The real show began when Cook called Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO who left to run Apple’s retail efforts, onstage.
Apple isn’t in the phone business or the computer business.
Apple knows precisely how many people will attend each event, and clearly thinks carefully about how the hands-on area is laid out.
Some publications – typically bigger ones, or ones with an audience Apple particularly wants to reach – will get review units.

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Summary of “The Lessons and Questions of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

To that end, the products Apple unveiled at the new Steve Jobs Theater could not have been more appropriate: a cellular watch significantly smaller than competitors with comparable battery life, a new iPhone 8 improved in virtually every dimension, and, of course, the iPhone X, with nearly every new feature dependent on that integration.
Moving beyond the notch, Apple is also demonstrating its power over users; using an iPhone X is going to be significantly different than any other previous iPhone.
Specifically, the iPhone 7 Plus was $769, $20 more than the iPhone 6S Plus at launch; the iPhone 7 pricing was identical to the iPhone 6S. Theoretically this should have curbed demand for the 7 Plus, but the opposite happened: Apple sold more 7 Pluses relative to the 7 than they did 6S Pluses relative to the 6S. To be clear, I don’t think they sold more because of the price range; rather, consumer preferences continued to move towards bigger phones and, at least for an iPhone buyer, price simply isn’t the top priority.
The iPhone 8 serves the slow and steady markets that bought the iPhone 7: previous iPhone owner upgrading and Android switchers.
Critically, the iPhone 8 also serves those folks who aspire to an iPhone.
No, they can’t afford an iPhone 8, but the iPhone 6S they can afford looks almost exactly the same, and in a few years the iPhone 8 will still be viewed as a once-flagship.
That said, I think Apple is taking a pretty significant risk with the iPhone 8 in particular: we know the company can succeed by selling the “Best” phone, but the one example we have of building a less-than-best phone was underwhelming; to that end, how many iPhone buyers will forgo the 8 to wait for the X? In some respects this is a good problem to have – customers wanting to give you more money for a more expensive phone – but the fact the iPhone X is not launching until November suggests it is well behind in production, which further suggests supply will be limited for some time to come.
My argument about WeChat’s effect on Apple is that it elevates the importance of fresh hardware designs over iOS when it comes to iPhone sales; iPhone X is as fresh as it gets.

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Summary of “Apple’s iPhone X: wait for the reviews”

With all the leaks ahead of Apple’s big event this week, we thought we knew all about the iPhone X. It’s just a $999 combo of iOS, a bezel-less OLED screen, wireless charging, and a polished glass back, right? We’re familiar with all of those things, even the eyebrow-raising price, from the world of Android, so the radically redesigned new iPhone flagship shouldn’t feel all that radical.
Apple’s presentation threw up more questions than answers, and it positioned the iPhone X as the most enigmatic phone we’ve seen in years.
Whether using an iPhone or Android device, I now make most of my everyday purchases with the help of Apple / Android Pay and a finger placed on the fingerprint reader.
Apple itself offered a glass sandwich with the celebrated iPhone 4 design, so there should be few mysteries for its engineers.
The iPhone X costs $999. You can get a great smartphone for half that price, which will provide you with more than 90 percent of the X’s functionality, even if it might not feel quite as polished or cohesive as the Apple product.
Many of today’s questions about the iPhone X are inherent in Apple’s premise of this being the phone of the future.
If you ask Apple, the company will probably tell you that the iPhone X is its no-compromise vision for what a phone should be.
The sensor-laden notch at the top of the iPhone X’s screen is an apt metaphor for the compromises Apple had to make: it spoils the perfect all-screen front just a little bit, representing the eternal struggle to balance aesthetic and technical requirements in a thoughtful way.

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Summary of “iPhone X hands-on: feels like ‘the future of the smartphone'”

We just got a quick chance to play with the iPhone X, Apple’s new flagship phone arriving later this year.
Happily, the X is also a little thicker and less slippery than the iPhone 7, which was basically suicidal in its ability to fly out of my hands.
The X evokes the original iPhone more than anything, with that stainless steel band and black front.
The phone feels small, but in a different way than, say, the S8. Apple’s calling this a “Super Retina Display” with 1125 x 2436 pixels of resolution, making it the highest-density screen on any iPhone.
The rear camera on the iPhone X hasn’t been ignored and it’s largely the same as the new dual-camera iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple’s selling Mophie and Belkin Qi charging pads in its stores, but next year it’s putting out a new charging pad called the AirPower that can charge an iPhone, AirPods, and an Apple Watch all at once, with power information sent to the iPhone display.
Apple says the iPhone X lasts two hours longer than the iPhone 7 between charges, and of course claims its A11 Bionic chip with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores is faster than ever.
The iPhone X doesn’t arrive until November, and based on what we’ve seen in our brief impressions, it’s going to be quite popular when it does.

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Summary of “iPhone X announced with edge-to-edge screen, Face ID, and no home button”

The long-awaited and extensively leaked special edition iPhone is finally upon us, and it’s called the iPhone X. This new super flagship phone from Apple features an edge-to-edge screen with a notch at the top to accommodate the front-facing camera and new Face ID sensors.
The iPhone X has glass on both the front and the back, and it has “Surgical-grade” stainless steel around the sides.
It’s the first OLED display in an iPhone, which Phil Schiller explains bluntly: it’s “The first OLED display great enough to be in an iPhone.” Like the iPhone 8, the iPhone X also has True Tone display technology.
Face ID, according to Apple, is orders of magnitude more secure than Touch ID. The company claims a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of another person being able to look at your phone and unlock it through Face ID. The new face authentication will also work with Apple Pay and all third-party apps that already supported Touch ID. Photos and video playback on this new iPhone will both wrap around the notch at the top of the device, which is liable to grow irritating over time.
The iPhone X has dual 12-megapixel rear cameras, and it’s equipped with optical image stabilization on both lenses.
The new A11 Bionic processor that was introduced with the iPhone 8 earlier in the event is, of course, present inside the iPhone X. It has two performance cores, four high-efficiency cores, and the first Apple-designed GPU. So it’s a hexa-core SoC that’s almost entirely designed in-house by Apple, plus the Cupertino company has done a ton to optimize its internal processing and imaging hardware for augmented reality application through its highly promising ARKit framework.
The iPhone X supports Qi wireless charging, the same standard supported by the new iPhone 8 models as well as the latest flagship devices from Samsung and LG. With such universal agreement among the biggest smartphone vendors, there’s finally a chance for unified wireless charging standard to take root and penetrate into more public spaces and locations.
The iPhone X is priced at $999 with 64GB of storage or $1,149 with 256GB. Preorders open on October 27th, and shipping begins November 3rd. For more on the new iPhone X, read up on our first hands-on photos and impressions directly from the Apple event.

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Summary of “Three things that will never be the same after the iPhone 8”

If you listen to Apple’s inflationary marketing spiel, every time the company launches a new iPhone, it “Changes everything.” The prosaic truth is that most iPhone releases aren’t all that revolutionary.
As we face up to the culmination of another year of hyped-up iPhone speculation, I do see three particular ways in which the iPhone 8 will indeed be the harbinger of massive and irrevocable change.
Flagship prices Same story as with displays: Apple’s pricey new iPhone won’t be an isolated exception, but rather it will be the foam at the top of a gradually building wave of change in the mobile industry.
That’s the simple reality of the phone market today, and it’s the thing Apple’s new iPhone pricing will reiterate to a wider audience.
Apple’s elevated iPhone pricing is likely to grant some much-needed respite to its Android competitors.
The Galaxy Note 8 is going to hit retail shelves at roughly the same time as Apple’s new iPhones, and its own lofty price won’t look out of place when compared against the nearest Apple alternative.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly expressed his belief that “Augmented reality will be bigger than virtual reality,” and with the instant user base that the iPhone promises to ARKit developers, it’s easy to foresee AR taking off with the launch of the iPhone 8 and iOS 11.
The original iPhone was also not the finished article in its first generation, and it took Apple a few years to perfect it, but we celebrate it now as the start of the iPhone transformation.

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Summary of “Turning off your notifications for 24 hours could change your whole perspective”

Incessant notifications accumulate into a more draining effect.
Phone notifications follow the model of “Random reinforcement”, which is known in psychology to be far more difficult to break free of than regular, expected rewards.
One study found that p.eople receive, on average, 63.5 notifications per day.
The widespread addiction to these messages is so strong that, when researchers tried to recruit 30 people for an experiment where all phone notifications would be disabled for a week, they simply couldn’t find the participants.
“We started the recruitment, many people declined participation, because they did not want to be without notifications for a whole week,” write researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica in their paper, due to be presented at a conference on computer-human interaction next month.
In the study, participants were less distracted and more productive on their day without notifications.
Two years later, the researchers checked in and found that 13 participants still had different settings; some had permanently kept notifications off for certain apps, while others continued to create their own notification black-outs by turning on the “Do not disturb” setting on a regular basis.
The key idea-that turning off notifications can be psychologically beneficial-should be familiar to many, and a refreshing reminder to those who’ve become inured to the buzzing in their pocket.

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