Frenzy for the phone that costs 1,000 dollars

Price tag: The iPhone X could be 54% more expensive than the iPhone 7. © Marques Brownlee

Has Apple finally gone over the top? Can innovation go too far? Later today, on the 10th birthday of the original iPhone, it will launch the iPhone X, the world’s most advanced mobile.

Wireless charging, face recognition and a 3D camera. “Animojis” allowing the user to create animated emojis which mirror their facial expressions.

And a price tag of over £750: more than the average annual salary in a poor country such as Malawi.

Plans for Apple’s latest release have been shrouded in secrecy for months. Stories have emerged of blacked-out office windows and employees sworn to silence. But finally yesterday some of the details emerged.

“One of the biggest leaks in Apple’s history,” it was called. And it quickly had the internet in a meltdown of excitement.

App developer Steven Troughton-Smith published details of the iPhone 8 as well as of a premium model called iPhone X ahead of today’s launch at Apple’s headquarters. Tech blogger John Gruber described it as a “deliberate malicious attack by rogue Apple employees.”

Apple’s decision to create such an expensive product is a calculated risk. It is based on internal research showing that 21% of consumers said that they would buy the latest model, whatever the cost.

But there is also a growing belief that we are spending too much time on our phones.

“I realised my life was way better,” gushed Amanda Scherker for Huffington Post as she described living without a smartphone.

Given the BBC’s revelation in 2014 that UK adults spend more time on their smartphones than they do sleeping, it is unsurprising that a third of them have tried a digital detox.

And yet smartphones are clearly important to us. In two 2015 surveys, 46% of participants said they couldn’t live without their phone.

Too far?

“The features on this model are absurd,” some complain. Less is more. The best things in life are the simplest. Just look at Pacman, the mother of all video games. Or consider the humble book; the Kindle never stood a chance. It should have been obvious to everyone that a simple roast chicken was far better than the absurd Turducken creation. The new iPhone X is overpriced and overcomplicated. Apple has forgotten what made the original iPhone great: its simplicity.

“Hang on a second!” respond others. If you consider that your phone is now your computer, your camera, your wallet, your address book and your diary, not to mention your book, your box of games, your social life and your identity — then why would you not spend almost anything to get the best? Anyway, the price for all that crucial tech is less than many people spend in Starbucks in a year.

You Decide

  1. Have you ever felt addicted to technology?
  2. Has the impact of smartphones been generally more positive or negative?

Activities

  1. Design the smartphone of 2050. What features does it have?
  2. Do some research into the effects on young people of using too much technology and create a information leaflet to be distributed in your school.

Some People Say...

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Steve Jobs

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The new iPhones are buttonless, with Apple having got rid of the home button which has appeared on all other iPhones. Instead, the device will have an “all-screen” design which users can navigate with swipes and gestures. This is the first significant design change to the iPhone in three years.
What do we not know?
There have been rumours that some of the parts for the new models are in short supply, meaning that customers could be kept waiting for the arrival of their phone. This delay would potentially give time for rivals such as Samsung to develop similar models.

Word Watch

Digital detox
Increasing numbers of adults are taking a break from technology, in particular refraining from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, as a way to reduce stress and better engage with others around them. To detoxify is to remove toxic substances (like drugs or alcohol).
2015 surveys
In a poll by Gallup of 15,747 American smartphone users, 46% agreed with the statement: “I can’t imagine my life without my smartphone.” The same percentage in a Pew survey earlier that year also said they “couldn’t live without” their smartphone.
Turducken
Chef Paul Prudhomme came up with the Turducken in the 1970s, after stuffing a turkey with a duck, stuffed with a chicken.

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