Over more than a decade of writing about technology, reviewing a new iPhone has long been one of my simplest assignments.
Year after year, the formula was this: I tested the most important new features of Apple’s latest smartphone and assessed whether they were useful. Assuming the newest iPhone worked well, I generally recommended upgrading if you had owned your existing smartphone for two years.
MacDailyNews Take: In other, fewer words: Chen was doing his job as a personal technology reviewer.
But with this review of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max — which Apple unveiled last week and will become available Friday — I’m encouraging a different approach.
MacDailyNews Take: I.e., no longer doing his job.
And, by the way, Brian is it really you who’s doing the encouraging or were you actually “encouraged” by your editors to take a “different approach?”
That’s because we are now living in the golden age of smartphones, when the gadgets’ improvements each year are far from seismic. Devices that debuted three years ago remain zippy and more than capable. Those with the iPhone 7 from 2016, for example, still have a very good phone with a stellar camera and fast speeds.
MacDailyNews Take: Exactly how much bat shit did Chen ingest before pecking out that delusion? The iPhone 7 features an A10 Fusion chip, three generations behind the iPhone 11 Pro’s A13 Bionic. The benchmarks highlight Chen’s lie:
• iPhone 7: 744
• iPhone 11 Pro: 5472
• iPhone 7: 1324
• iPhone 11 Pro: 12769
As for the cameras: on the front, the iPhone 7 sports a less-than-stellar 7MP camera with 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps. The iPhone 11 Pro offers an actually stellar 12MP camera with 4k video recording up to 60 fps. On the back, the iPhone 7 offers a single 12MP Wide camera with a Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture whereas the iPhone 11 Pro offers Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras with apertures of Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture, Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4, and Telephoto: ƒ/2.0 aperture.
In short, versus the current state-of-the-art, those with the iPhone 7 from 2016 do not have a stellar camera nor do they have fast speeds.
These are simply facts. Of course, this is The New York Times we’re talking about here, so facts that do not fit their narrative are optional, as usual.
So now is the moment to ask: Do we really need to upgrade our iPhones every two years?
MacDailyNews Take: Only if you’d like to have a much better iPhone than what you bought two years ago. Forget about the iPhone 7, the difference between even 2017’s iPhone X and the new iPhone 11 Pro are stark.
Based on my tests of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, the answer is no… You should definitely upgrade if your current device is at least five years old. The iPhone 11 models are all a significant step up from those introduced in 2014. But for everyone else with smartphones from 2015 or later, there is no rush to buy. Instead, there is more mileage and value to be had out of the excellent smartphone you already own.
MacDailyNews Take: That’s right iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus users, there’s nothing to see here in the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to The New York Times‘ personal technology reviewer.
Put down the pipe, Brian.
Photos taken with the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro looked crisp and clear, and their colors were accurate. But after I finished these tests, I looked back at my archived photos taken with an iPhone X.
Those pictures, especially the ones shot with portrait mode, still looked impressive. Some of the low-light ones looked crummy in comparison with the ones taken by the iPhone 11s, but I wouldn’t recommend that you buy a new phone just to get better night photos. You could always just use flash.
MacDailyNews Take: “You could always just use flash?” WTF? Popping a flash bulb is no match for Night mode. It’s awful vs. fantastic.
Here’s a better idea: You could always just cancel your subscription to The New York Times.
Apply your savings to a new iPhone.
All the iPhone 11 models have a new ultra-wide-angle lens in their cameras, which provides a wider field of view than traditional phone cameras. This makes them handy for shooting landscapes or large group gatherings. The iPhone X lacks the ultra-wide-angle lens, but its dual-lens camera is capable of shooting portrait-mode photos, which puts the picture’s main subject in sharp focus while softly blurring the background.
MacDailyNews Take: Which of these things has absofsckinglutley nothing to do with the other?
This is what passes as a tech review in a so-called “paper of record?”
This racehorse has four legs. These come in handy in a horse race. This dolphin lacks legs, but its powerful tail makes it capable of high-quality swimming. Hey, good luck on your Kentucky Derby entry, Flipper!
So, hang onto your iPhone 6S, because it’s basically the same as an iPhone Pro 11. Hey, man, don’t bogart the magic mushrooms! I need even more!
Each year, the most common question I get from friends and colleagues is whether they should buy a new iPhone.
MacDailyNews Take: They must be looking for a quick laugh. It’s like asking Steve Ballmer how to run a company.
Read any iPhone 11 Pro review other than Chen’s. He obviously has no earthly idea what he’s talking about.
See also this gem from Brian X. Chen:
• NYT claims Apple has tough job trying to sell Apple Watch to ‘an uninterested public’ or something – February 28, 2015
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]