Not one, but three new iPhone models were launched on September 12. Already, they have been criticised for the lack of innovation, and trolled for their names – with social media users calling it the worst-naming of a phone ever. But let’s step back and take a look at Apple’s key baits this time, and if Asia consumers should bite.
1. Bigger Screen
The iPhone XS Max is Apple’s largest-ever iPhone with a 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) screen.
Now tech observers say the phone is set-up to compete with Samsung’s Note-9 range, which leans towards larger screen sizes, and has been proving popular among those who love staring at their phones.
In China especially, experts say the reason for Apple’s waning popularity in recent years lies squarely on screen size. While Samsung led the pack with generous portions of screen, Apple did not.
Research showed Samsung was right. That’s because China was spending more time on smartphones and tablets than on TV, due to the rise in digital content.
Now though, Apple seems to be fighting back – its latest models feature the ‘sharpest displays’ with highest pixel density of any Apple device.
Already, China is cheering – the launch was the hottest trending topic on Chinese social media.
2. Bigger Battery
It’s the biggest battery ever in an iPhone- that’s up to 12 hours of continuous internet browsing for the XS and up to 13 hours for the XS Max.
Now in Southeast Asia, that’s a big plus.
According to Google and investment firm Temasek, over 90% of internet users in Southeast Asia are glued to their smartphones.
They spend nearly 4 hours each day browsing the web, surpassing any other place in the world.
So, if you’re one of them, you can linger much longer.
3. Better Camera
Hailing a ‘new era of photography’, Apple’s marketing man Phil Schiller announced that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max deliver the highest quality video capture in a smartphone.
Well, the iPhone XS’s camera chip does boast improved hardware and software, allowing you to take better pictures than before.
Specifically, Apple promises fewer red-eyes, sharper photos, including capturing tiny details like threads on a cloth. There is also better autofocus and noise reduction capabilities.
But of course, users of Chinese tech giant Huawei might be sceptical. That’s especially in Asia, where Huawei has its most supportive fans who hail its P20 Pro camera as top-notch.
The camera was also ranked number 1 by the European Image and Sound Association, which described it as a ‘trendsetter in the mobile photography field’. Now that’s a rival!
Offering a dual-sim support in the XS, you can now switch easily between your ‘work’ number, and personal number. Analysts say the function was specifically pushed out to attract China, where it’s common to have more than one mobile number.
But is that really something new?
Well, if you are looking for that function, you can find one easily with the number 1 smartphone brand among emerging markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
We are referring to South-Korean tech giant Samsung, which already has a dizzying number of dual-sim supported models.
All that aside, perhaps the most savage criticism Apple has received on its models is their price.
Selling up to US$1099, this year’s three top phones are all more expensive than last year’s models, which were even more expensive than the previous models.
Perhaps a tell-tale of sign of consumer pushback can be seen in Singapore. Analysts say competitive pricing is a key reason why Singapore consumers are snapping up Chinese smartphone brands, with 1 in 5 smartphones sold belonging to a Chinese brand.
When the iPhone was first launched 11 years ago, there was no other device like it. It was hailed as a wonder-thing. But at the launch, many asked, where’s the wonder? The innovation? Is Apple now becoming a luxury product?
Perhaps these are the real questions fans today are asking.
So, would you be getting one? Tell us in comments below.