Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller made a mistake

“Shortly after Apple launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones, DxOMark Image Labs published the results of its testing of the cameras on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus,” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “The iPhone 8 Plus achieved a composite score of 94 in DxOMark Image Labs’ testing, with sub-scores of 96 for still photography and 89 for video. At the time, DxOMark Image Labs said that this was the best mobile camera that it had ever tested.”

“Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, the individual who has presented the key new features of Apple’s new iPhones at Apple’s product release keynotes for years now, tweeted out a link to DxOMark’s iPhone 8 Plus testing,” Eassa writes. “It wasn’t long before the iPhone 8 Plus was beaten in DxOMark by the Pixel 2 smartphone, which achieved a composite score of 98. The iPhone X, which was tested after the Pixel 2 was, only achieved a composite score of 97. To make matters worse for Apple’s lineup, the newly launched Galaxy S9+ achieved a composite score of 99 across DxOMark Image Labs’ testing suite.”

“By tweeting out a link to the DxOMark results of the iPhone 8 Plus, Schiller, in effect, made it clear that he and, indeed, Apple as an organization, approve of using DxOMark scores as an objective measure of smartphone camera quality and capability,” Eassa writes. “This seal of approval from Schiller will make it easier for Apple’s competitors — whose devices beat out Apple’s three flagship smartphones in DxOMark’s tests — to advertise to consumers that their smartphone cameras are better than anything that Apple has to offer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPhone cameras remain excellent, among the very best smartphone cameras in the world, but Schiller did hand the keys of legitimacy over to a third-party which was a marketing mistake. Camera quality tests often contain subjective conclusions that amount to matters of taste (warm images vs. accurate images, for example). Apple should let their cameras speak for themselves while doubling down on quality and innovation.


    1. I LOVE my iPhone X camera. The other day I pulled out my RX100 Mark 3 and took a couple of pictures just to see if it still worked. WOW I forgot just how great a camera it is. I DO love my iPhoneX camera and I ALWAYS have it with me but its true – if you want the best pictures you can make and if you have it with you – use a real camera.

  1. ” but Schiller did hand the keys of legitimacy over to a third-party which was a marketing mistake.”

    Truth be damned!

    Not saying this third party is be all end all, and I don’t know the difference between a 96 and 99, but the premise is about what’s best for Apple, not the customer.

    Yes! It’s Schiller’s job to best lie to me, and in this regard he failed. Good for me.

    1. DxO Mark has a side consulting business, so they are incentivized to score their customers higher. That’s the trick- they want you to think their results are completely unbiased, but there is a huge amount of editorial control in them.

  2. only someone who doesn’t own an iphone would rely on these scores. User’s skill contribute a big part of the image quality. For average users most high end camera are good enough for every day use.

    note: for professional photo shoot. get a pro camera.

    1. “User’s skill contribute a big part of the image quality.”

      THAT’S FOR SURE. I sure found that out the first time I laid out some bucks for a really good camera about thirty years ago!

    1. Indeed I was shocked at just how poor the Pixel 2 shots actually were. You get the same effect when you look at the 4X tvs on display the colour situation is upped to melting point which is not an effect what Apple and indeed most pros actually want though the plebs have a tendency to think more is better as usual. So I am not sure if this organisation lets the kids in to judge this test but certainly not to my taste

  3. This need to be the best at everything, is ridiculous.

    Google’s Pixel uses a crap OS running on a crap SoC. The only thing they could dump money into, was making sure the camera is at least as good. All the latest flagship phone cameras have their weaknesses and strengths. The iPhone doesn’t need to have the best camera, it just needs to remain in the top of the list as it has for many years.

    The differences between those cameras is insignificant. Having a camera that rates 1 point higher out of a hundred is NOT going to change anyone’s mind about switching to a completely different platform and ecosystem.

    And let’s not forgot that it was Apple that refused to play the megapixel game and instead steered the industry towards better image processing.

    1. Android handset makers have shown a willingness to tune its devices to achieve high benchmarks in specific tests. In some cases, that “tuning” takes the form of deceptive benchmark modes in which components are stressed beyond their typical operational parameters to produce an artificially high score. I am not saying that is the case in this instance. I am simply trying to make the point that it is possible to focus efforts on excelling in one or a few areas while sacrificing in others. Michael Jordan, for instance, was a supremely gifted basketball player who spent years refining his craft. Despite his athletic prowess, however, he did not fare as well in baseball.

      The key takeaway that I wanted to make in all of this is that Apple devices may not be top dog in each specific functional area, as much as we might wish that were the case. But Apple always seems to be very near the top across *all* areas – processor, display, camera, etc. Furthermore, Apple is the target for other companies So, if the Pixel XL or Samsung 9 have a slightly better camera, you can thank Apple for pushing them to do so in the name of competition. Apple does not need competition to strive for greatness, but most other companies seem to. And Android handset makers are desperate to find any aspect of their devices they can tout as being to superior in some way to Apple iPhone, even if it is only a point or two on a 100 point scale.

    2. This need to be the best at everything is indeed ridiculous. That is why it is annoying that MDN claims it to be true for Apple when time after time Apple is nowhere near the lead, especially on product lines that Apple refuses to update annually?

      With the iPhone, annual updates have been critical to Apple’s success. But that’s the only place where Apple cares. In many product lines, the competition has two generations of improvements before Apple responds. Nobody knows if the iPad Mini will ever be updated again.

      Any buyer not on the bleeding edge isn’t going to be focused on a 1-point differential, they will see that the old hardware Apple keeps selling is behind, tarnishing the brand. They will question why to pay the Apple premium for old hardware. They will not wait forever for Apple to tell them something better is on the way if the competition sells a better product FOR THEIR NEEDS at a better price. The ecosystem isn’t as sticky as Buffett thinks.

      The fanboy will immediately claim iOS inherent superiority as to why Apple products cost more. If only that was true. The copycats have caught up in a lot of areas. There are two aread where Apple can definitively claim leaadership: the secure enclave and prompt iOS security updates. Other than that, many users don’t care. There is a whole generation bred and conditioned to share all things with Google and Amazon, they don’t care. So it comes down to hardware. Apple doesn’t maintain a lead everywhere, its still pushes old models in their stores. iOS performance, with more bloat every generation, is not noticeably superior to Android across the board. The average iOS user with poorly thought out settings is not more secure with iOS – remember iCloud Fappening? Were those pics stored on Apple servers or Google servers? Would the user know?

      Given that it doesn’t matter if you add security with an add-in Android app or if it’s a hard-to-find option in iOS, most users are exposed on either platform. Security in large part comes down to what apps you use and how well you lock them down. Same developers make apps for both platforms. If you use all the built in Google apps for Android, are you that much worse off than if you download all the Google iOS apps and use them? Google will happily track you on your iOS Google Maps and read all your gmail from either mobile platform. I suspect hackers have already infested iCloud servers and can freely intercept the phone-home marketing stuff that all app developers employ now..

      For photography, Apple claims themselves superior to any other smartphone camera but have done a poor job establishing and sustaining in-house technology lead. Timmy would rather outsource. So Apple buys commodity components from the same supply base as every other phone maker (Sony optics in most iphones). Therefore the leapfrogging will continue. There is nothing technically better in the X camera that makes it superior to an 8 plus or the next generation Samsungs. Both are leagues behind SLR camera technology so the trite Apple marketing fluff becomes more annoying than meaningful.

      Perhaps Apple should spend less effort on emoji and more effort on IP leadership and continuous updates on other products besides just the iPhone.

    3. “This need to be the best at everything, is ridiculous.”

      I agree, but when you stop selling individual devices and start selling an ecosystem, one that artificially doesn’t play well with others, you have to start being the best at everything. Otherwise you are depriving your customers from one best thing or another.

      Granted that may not be in the company’s interests, to open up, but it is in the customer’s. Choice is good.

  4. I use the iPhone camera for quick snapshots and a Leica for real photography. Leicas do not have to fake bokeh.

    I would love to see Apple work with a camera company to make a lightweight interchangeable lens digicam. Given what Apple has been able to do with a cell phone camera, they should be able to produce something amazing.

    Leica and Panasonic partnered for the Digilux 2 back in early digicam times with a fixed zoom lens (28-90mm equivalent) that was and is still special. The cameras controls were less digicam and more like a traditional 35mm, so the controls fell to hand. The lens was fast and produces amazing images despite the 5.2 Megapixel 2004 technology sensor. Would love to see what Apple and Leica could do with a similar concept.

  5. Holy wow! Slow news day? I take about as many pictures with my iPhone as I did with my AE-1 Program back in the day, and almost the identical number of selfies. The iPhone camera provides all the quality I need, given my lack of publication in large-format presentations. Phil Schiller is human and did something largely innocuous that will go unnoticed by roughly 99% of everybody who takes pictures. Go sit in the corner, Phil. No cookies for you for the rest of the day.

    Bad Phil.

  6. I like Schiller as a loyal trouper. But even though I think he’s a pretty smart guy he’s not a real ‘marketing’ person regardless of what his title is. Steve Jobs was Apple’s real marketing genius. Schiller has a science degree, he didn’t go out and study advertising, mass communications etc when he was young so it shows his interest was elsewhere. I believe he was a great executor of Jobs plans.

    today some of the senior advertising execs like Tor Myhren (who was Chief Creative Officer of Grey Advertising) who has major advertising pedigree report directly to Tim Cook.
    “Tor Myhren is Apple’s vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.”

    Since Jobs time we still don’t have major game changing marketing programs, ads that went viral etc like Think Different, 1984 etc under Jobs. Personally I think Apple advertising is a mix bag and bit incoherent because there are so many groups doing advertising at Apple now, in house ad teams with hundreds of employees under different managers, outside ad agencies, marketing by Ahrendts who commands internet sales and retail etc.

    But the ‘Big Strategic Brain’ is missing: Apple marketing seems inconsistent, no clear direction. We’ve got a few ads like with the ‘Rock’ , then a few artsy ads etc. We’ve tons of ads on things like Apple Watch Bands (probably due to outsized power brokering from Ive ? ) but Zero for Macs (which make a ton more money). Doesn’t seem to be a coherent ‘Apple Image’ or marketing plan like under Jobs.

    I believe that Apple still needs Schiller as he probably knows Apple’s vast sales operation in so many countries way better than the new ad guys.

    1. yeah, it’s weird the Pixel gets such high marks form the Dxo people when the pictures shown on the web are horrible and most reviewers diss it.

      (Just hope Apple doesn’t tweak the great iPhone camera the wrong way : like make the colours more ‘plastic’ just to get higher Dxo scores).

      I helped somebody I knew switch to a Plus iPhone recently , now all her friends seeing this persons new photos are asking me for iPhone buying advice due to the camera.

  7. Hello people!!!! I have a Canon DSLR camera with five lens and two flash for my Canon DSLR camera. I use my Canon DSLR to take pictures over my iPhone. I use my iPhone for quick pictures for social media. social media compress the pictures that you post on. If you really want to take really really good pictures of the families and friends then just get a DSLR camera.

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