An attendee looks at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event in Cupertino, California. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
An attendee looks at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event in Cupertino, California. Picture: Getty Images/AFP

Apple plays it safe with new iPhone

THERE'S an old proverb in tech: if your new product is a lot like the old product, release it in a different colour.

The newest iPhone, as such, will come in Forest Green.

Apple unveiled three new smartphones overnight, as predicted, and each was a little better than the model it replaced.

But while this iPhone trio adds new hardware - most importantly, a new camera in each model - it does not represent a smartphone revolution.

The new iPhones are missing many of the newest mobile tech developments, from in-screen fingerprint scanners to 5G connections, and they're more expensive.


Apple Unveils New Product Updates At Its Cupertino Headquarters
Apple Unveils New Product Updates At Its Cupertino Headquarters


At best, they represent a big upgrade for Apple users who baulked at an iPhone X purchase in 2017.

In reality, they are a step towards an impressive iPhone revamp in 2020. And, at worst, Apple is phoning it in here.

But, as is typical with the world's second richest tech company, today wasn't just about smartphones.

The company also detailed two new subscription services and new wearable tech that could make its platform "sticky" enough to keep sceptics on board until that big iPhone revamp.

And none of this criticism means that Apple's new iPhones are bad, of course.

Every new iPhone on its roster got an extra wide-angle camera, which will please a lot of Apple users who've been throwing side-eye at Samsung and Huawei handsets for months.

The new iPhones also got a speed and battery boost from new chips, better audio, new names, and on some there's something called a slofie (a slow-motion selfie feature that literally no one asked for).

But, as Kantar global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo puts it, "Apple did just about enough from a product innovation perspective to stay competitive over the next year; no more, no less."

The new models are also missing 5G technology, even though it's now available in a host of Australian cities and inside many rival handsets.

Then there's the issue of price. Apple's iPhone 11 Max is poised to become Australia's most expensive smartphone at $2499.

That will make it $500 more expensive than its Samsung Galaxy Note 10 competitor, roughly the same price as a decent laptop, and worth as much as the market value of my beloved Mazda 2.

The Australian exchange rate hasn't helped in this regard, of course, but it's still a lot of cash to pay for a phone with a last-gen internet connection.

What could save the day for Apple are the other technologies announced at its big September event.

Its more advanced entry-level iPad starting at $529 has the hallmarks of a device that will crush Android competitors.

It can now use an Apple Smart Keyboard and comes with a larger, 10.2-inch screen.

The Apple Watch may not have received the sleep-tracking skills rumoured, but the always-on display arguably makes the industry's best and most capable smartwatch even better.

And then there are Apple's new services; a category that is quickly becoming a huge money-spinner for the company.

Apple TV+ is due to arrive on November 1 for $7.99 a month, undercutting the likes of Netflix and Stan and promising original content.

Apple Arcade, also $7.99, promises access to 100 new games.

These services and wearable tech are likely to save the day for Apple this year, keeping users on their platform while they wait for the next big upgrade.

Because while the iPhone's new Forest shade is beautiful, savvy Apple fans may still choose to save their 'green' this year.