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iPhone 15 should be worried the pack could be closing in – and FAST!

The latest iPhone lands in a few weeks and normally I’d be excited…so what’s wrong with me then?

iPhone 15 should be worried the pack could be closing in - and FAST!

A changed man

iPhone 15 is finally nearly here. Enough of the rumours, we are about to experience it in the real world.

I hate summer finishing and the transition to autumn – one of the only things that generally has offset that impending gloom is the September Apple event that we get. OK, so the days may be getting shorter and the sun lower in the sky but we do get a new iPhone and the latest iOS to play with. It might not be an entirely fair trade-off but it helps.

This year though I’m a different man and I need another fix to get me through the fast-approaching dark evenings.

Is there really anything to look forward to with iPhone 15 and iOS 17 or am I just being a down-beat pessimist?

The hardware

I wrote yesterday about what’s coming with this year’s iPhone and although there was a fair bit to write about none of it seemed to me like it was going to be a game-changer.

The headline act – the new 6x periscope lens will only be in the Pro’est of all the pro phones – the Pro Max. To get your hands on that exquisite new toy you’ll be expected to lay down a full $1300 on Apple’s counter – and that is a lot of corn! And that is only the entry price for the Pro Max this year – they’ve increased the price by a few hundred dollars this year and the only sweetener is that you’ll get 256GB of storage for the money.

Last year I plumped for 1TB of storage on my 14 Pro which cost me £1700 (it still hurts to type that!) and with rumours floating about that there is about to be a 2TB option could that mean we are about to see our first $2000 iPhone? Has the world gone made?

Firstly, what would you be doing on your phone if you’d need 2TB of storage, and secondly just think for a moment about that price…$2000!! I’ll leave that with you! I know that figure is only a guess but you have to admit it may not be far from the truth as we know Apple loves to charge heavily for their storage upgrades.

Moving past the camera though other changes are more housekeeping changes – the frosted glass back and Dynamic Island coming to the two entry phones, a new colour, thinner bezels and a better battery – that’s kind of it.

Meanwhile…

Where Apple had been the clear leader for the longest time with design and features in their iOS that no longer is the case. The chasing pack has been busy.

The new kids on the block – Nothing – have tried hard to shake things up a bit with a radical re-think of how a handset can look and function. The naked reverse of the phone not only reveals some of the components but also serves to help you look at the screen less.

Their innovative Glyph feature will gently alert you of messages and notifications that you have set it up to allow. The notion is that you don’t have to continually look at the screen – rather they are encouraging you to leave the phone face down on the desk instead. It takes some getting used to but it’s a neat idea and at least proves they’ve given the phone some thought.

The UI on the Nothing 2 is customisable and fresh too – it’s inviting you to play and make it yours. You can add widgets freely to suit your mood or whatever you are up to and the battery way outperforms my iPhone almost to the point you forget to charge it up!

The Glyph Composer app is another fun feature. It’ll allow you to make ringtones and light shows to your heart’s content – the only limitation being your imagination. You can save these ringtones to use as alerts for contacts or app notifications which again adds to the feeling of the phone being yours.

They haven’t got everything right though. OK, it is a third of the price of my iPhone and although performance-wise it keeps pace well, the overall quality doesn’t feel as premium as an Apple device. Their customer care is appalling and the cameras are pretty basic. But bear in mind we are comparing a trillion-dollar company with one that has just gone through another round of independent crowd fundraising!

The minnows are biting hard at the shark’s fins!

Google it

There are similar stories to be told about the Pixel Pro 7 from Google too.

The ‘sun visor’ is odd to look at first up but it allows space for a brilliant camera set-up. The 50MP main camera gives iPhone a run for its money with beautiful colour quality, good definition and good low-light performance.

Unlike the Nothing 2 the Pixel 7 Pro does feel quality. I’ve said before the screen feels almost like an infinity screen – it just goes on forever. It’s bloody lovely to hold – a little slippy I’ll admit, but it looks and feels gorgeous. There is talk that this year’s Pixel Pro 8 may be dropping the curves – I hope they re-think that though as to my mind, it’s one of the Pixel’s unique qualities.

It’s worth mentioning the price here too – for under $1000, you’ll get a 6.7-inch screen, fantastic cameras and 256GB of storage. That is a ton of phone for the money.

And they too have not been resting on their laurels. OK, it sounds as if there may be a price hike coming later this year but only between $50-$100 and not the $200 increase that is rumoured for this year’s Pro Max. But they’ve been thinking ahead and it sounds as if Google will be putting a temperature sensor on the Pixel 8 which if true, is a pretty groundbreaking feature.

In the fold

And then there is Samsung keeping Apple smart too.

I’ve hot had the pleasure of using the Galaxy S23 but everything I’ve heard about it has been good. From the UI, the processor, battery life and the 8K video set-up it all gets raved about.

Whilst I can’t talk first-hand about the S23, what I can talk to you about is the new Flip 5. This little scamp has caught me napping. When I bought it I figured it would be a fashion item – just a frivolous bit of fun, but boy was I ever wrong!

For starters, it’s a solo content creator’s dream phone. The camera specs may tell you they are only 12MP but for once numbers lie! Ok, they are not the match of those found in the iPhone but you’ll get to use them in such fun and different ways.

The fact you can set the phone down in flex mode and then use the main camera as a selfie cam is just fantastic. No more wondering if you are in frame – you can see what you are doing – the stuff of fantasy!

You can multitask on it too – while editing a video on the top half of the screen you can be kept company by playing a video on the lower part of the panel. It’s a brilliant use of the available real estate you have at hand.

Whereas the iPhone just has a reverse, the Flip makes use of its backside by giving you the Cover Screen. The Cover Screen lets you have loads of fun customising it but it also doubles up as a camera and even a media window – you can watch Netflix or YouTube videos on it without opening the phone up.

And the folded size is about as perfect as you can get. It feels almost like a plaything. It has proven to be a perfect one-handed phone – and women that have tried it out for me have said the same. It sits snuggly in the hand and perfectly in your pocket. Opened out it’s a 6.7-inch screen – so the same size as a Pro Max, but you’ve guessed it – it costs less.

I know a flip or fold phone may not be to everyone’s taste but you have to admit it’s different and just a little exciting.

And all the while…

Look, I still count myself as an Apple fanboy and an avid Apple user but my favourite tech company needs a wake-up call.

While Samsung has given us a Flip, Nothing the Glyphs and Google that awesome ‘infinity’ display, what has Apple given us? USB-C (which they were forced into anyway), a bigger battery and some new colours.

It’s not as if iOS 17 is rammed packed full of greatness this year either. When Contact Posters are the first item on their news release, I think you can expect the bar to be pretty low. So unless I’m mistaken we are getting a pretty mid-term iOS update and nothing meaningful for the iPhone itself – unless you have $1330 of course!

I don’t know if all this malaise is due to the launch of Apple Vision Pro and that even they didn’t have enough resources to go around, but everything just feels a little uninspired this year – a little bit like Groundhog Day!

Is Apple’s strap line now ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’?

At least as those longer nights draw closer I’ll have the Nothing 2 and Flex 5 to play around with and keep me happy. I just want Apple to get back in the game…

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