Apple’s New iPhones Have Nasty Surprises

New iPhones

Interested in Apple AAPL -0.98%’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus which is on sale now? Or maybe you’re saving up for the heavily redesigned iPhone X? Well, new information has revealed further nasty surprises which may change your mind about all three…

‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.

Hot on the heels of ‘ChargerGate’ are a trio of eye-opening revelations:


1. Battery Size

Last week at the launch Apple waxed lyrical about the class-leading efficiency of its new A11 Bionic chipset which is at the heart of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. A standout figure was that the A11 is 70% more efficient while idle than the A10 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

But go to Apple’s own comparison page and the company simply lists these new, more efficient iPhones as having the identical battery life to their more inefficient predecessors. Why? Because it has just been confirmed Apple used the A11 Bionic’s efficiency as an opportunity to fit both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with smaller batteries.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus battery life is literally listed as being no better than their predecessors

The big shock is the iPhone 8 Plus which is fitted with a 2,675 mAh battery – the smallest capacity ever seen in the Plus range and over 8% smaller than the battery in the iPhone 7 Plus. Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 has a 1,821 mAh battery which is over 7% smaller than the iPhone 7. The iPhone X battery capacity is currently unknown.

Wasn’t removing the headphone jack meant to result in larger batteries? The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – which both featured a headphone jack – had battery capacities of 1810 mAh and 2900 mAh respectively. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display in a chassis substantially smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, fits a headphone jack, IP68 water resistance, fast wired and fast wireless charging and has a 3000 mAh battery…


2. Brightness

While we await the battery capacity of the iPhone X (which has stamina closer to the iPhone 8than iPhone 8 Plus), Apple’s new flagship has problems of its own regarding its headline feature: the display.

The iPhone X headphone feature is its massive display, but the specs reveal a disappointment

While the world applauded Apple’s jump not only to 5.8-inches but also for the long-awaited shift to OLED what was missed is a key detail about the display itself. The brightness is far from class-leading.

Look carefully on the iPhone X’s official spec page and you will notice right at the bottom of the screen specifications is the brightness listed as “625 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)”. Not only is this nits rating no better than the LCD-based iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but it is demolished by pretty Apple’s biggest rival.

The iPhone X OLED display is no brighter than the LCD panels in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Displays of the five-month-old Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus deliver 1,000 nits while the Galaxy Note 8 almost doubles the iPhone X with 1,200 nits. And who made the iPhone X display? Samsung.

Of course, brightness is not the only measure of a display, but it is crucial for outdoor readability (HMD’s first Nokia-branded flagship the ‘Nokia 8’ manages 700 nits) so the iPhone X’s rating is something of a surprise – especially given who made it.


3. Goodbye 600MHz Extended LTE 

Apple’s official iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X specs pages also turn up a third problem. Dig through the supported frequencies and you will see all three iPhones lack support for T-Mobile’s brand new multi-billion dollar 600MHz ‘Extended LTE’ network on Band 71.

T-Mobile promotes 600MHz Extended LTE as providing superior coverage indoors and in rural areas. It also states support for LG and Samsung phones has already been agreed for the end of 2017.

Mitigating this slightly is it will take time for 600MHz Extended LTE to roll out (though it began in August) so you may not be able to get it immediately anyway. But with Apple’s iPhone price increases meaning users are likely to keep these new models for several years, this isn’t exactly the level of future proofing you’d expect for such an outlay. It’s also something Apple is likely to address with its 2018 iPhones.

If you live in a rural area with a bad signal or find yourself in a black spot in a city center, then it might be better to hold off.

Needless to say, that intent on upgrading to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X will still likely do so despite these issues. But if you do hang fire then Apple iOS 11 has just launched and it’s jammed full of great secret features to keep you entertained while you wait.

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