.

  • Written by Andrew Maxwell, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern Queensland

What a week it has been in the Apple core. In recent days the tech giant has released a litany of products, including new phones, watches, tablets, and more.

The big-ticket items are clearly the new iPhone 11 range. These hint at some interesting technology directions, which will most likely spread across the mobile sector.

Of course, it’s hardly radical to create a phone that is also a camera, web browser, computer, and gaming device. That idea is as old as smart phones themselves.

But Apple’s continued progression down this road raises the question of whether this trend can be sustained indefinitely, or whether there is in fact a limit to what the market will bear in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and cost. The new iPhones are priced from A$1,199 for the basic model up to A$2,499 for a top-spec iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Cameras, computing and competition

In keeping with its rivals, Apple has clearly made the camera system the focus (pardon the pun) of its new iPhones. Aesthetically minded users might find the cluster of camera lenses jarring – more function than form – and doubly distressing if you’re unlucky enough to suffer trypophobia, the fear of irregularly clustered bumps or holes.

The back of the 11 Pro sports three cameras with different focal lengths. Despite still being only 12 megapixels each, in this era of filters and digital enhancements, pixel-count is no longer the crucial metric.

Each camera, including the front-facing one, can be used simultaneously. It’s now conceivable to film an entire feature-length movie on a phone (should you ever actually want to). This requires a significant amount of internal coordination to ensure that colour grading and exposure blend seamlessly between these cameras, which in turn brings us to the question of computing power.

The new iPhones are equipped to handle not just complex computational photography but also advanced augmented reality and fast-learning artificial intelligence.

This level of highly integrated computing is one of the clearest direction changes in the iPhone lineup. It makes perfect sense from Apple’s point of view, not just because it helps to enhance performance, but because Apple controls its entire research, development and production line anyway.

But all of this integration comes with a couple of obvious downsides for the user. One is that it’s increasingly difficult to service your own phone. The other is that for all their “multitasking” claims, it’s still only possible to do one thing at a time. One of the reasons I sound sceptical about filming feature-length movies on an iPhone is the question of what happens if you receive a phone call halfway through shooting a big scene.

What are ‘pro’ phones really for?

Despite the “Pro” moniker, and the suggestion that they can be used to produce commercial-standard creative work, even top-end iPhones are still inherently personal devices. Of course, Apple isn’t really pitching its phones as essential kit for film directors. The actual use case is somewhat more prosaic.

The top-end price tag of A$2,499 looks remarkably like laptop pricing. For professionals who do most of their work on their phone, Apple clearly thinks even this hefty price tag will represent a sensible investment for a versatile piece of kit.

Remember that mobile phones in the early 1990s were comparatively just as astounding in price, yet they sold to professionals who were busy and affluent enough to require one (or at least wanted to look as if they were).

That said, flagship phone pricing is creating a digital divide between those who insist on the latest phone and those happy to make do with an older model. As a result, the budget and mid-range phone market has become as competitive as it is varied, with fantastic handsets available for less than A$400 outright, as well as a booming secondhand market.


Read more: 3 reasons why we are addicted to smartphones


I always consider repairability when buying technology. I maintain my phone by replacing screens and batteries, which anyone can do with the right guidance. But many manufacturers work hard to thwart these home repair efforts.

Many phone components, including batteries, are now often “authenticated” with the phone’s central processing unit, so that should an unofficial repair occur the device may refuse to work as intended. Sadly, users have little control over this.

If you buy a device, you should have the right to repair it. When buying a flagship phone, remember you will almost undoubtedly one day drop it on the floor, so it pays to think about how you’ll get it fixed, and whether you’re happy to play by the manufacturer’s rules.


Read more: Sustainable shopping: if you really, truly need a new phone, buy one with replaceable parts


It is clear that modern mobile devices are trying to be the “everything” device, balancing functionality with aesthetics, and even trying to take a bite out the laptop market (with a price tag to match). Premium pricing structures have been tested and appear set to say. It seems that expensive phones bristling with high-performance cameras have become the new norm.

Andrew Maxwell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Authors: Andrew Maxwell, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern Queensland

Read more http://theconversation.com/apples-iphone-11-pro-wants-to-take-your-laptops-job-and-price-tag-123372

Is your horse normal? Now there’s an app for that

Vet: are you happy? Horse: neigh. evilgurl/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SASince ancient times, horse behaviour, and the bond between horses and humans, has been a source of intrigue and fascination. The horse-l...

Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney - avatar Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney

Small histories: a road trip reveals local museums stuck in a rut

Berry, and other tourist towns, are out of step with modern museum curation which is trying to include Aboriginal communities and their stories. ShutterstockAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander read...

Jen Saunders, Phd candidate, University of Wollongong - avatar Jen Saunders, Phd candidate, University of Wollongong

Curious Kids: how are stars made?

Stars come into existence because of a powerful force of nature called gravity. ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy SchmidtIf you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it...

Orsola De Marco, Astrophysicist , Macquarie University - avatar Orsola De Marco, Astrophysicist , Macquarie University

What is perimenopause and how does it affect women's health in midlife?

Perimenopause lasts months for some women, and years for others. from www.shutterstock.comAll women know to expect the time in life when their periods finish and they reach menopause. Many might even...

Gita Mishra, Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland - avatar Gita Mishra, Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland

Vital signs. Our compulsory super system is broken. We ought to axe it, or completely reform it

We're taking money from people, letting it fall through the cracks, and spending no less than we were on pensions. ShutterstockThe just-announced inquiry into Australia’s retirement income syste...

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW - avatar Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW

Might consciousness and free will be the aces up our sleeves when it comes to competing with robots?

Our advantage lies in incommensurables, and it'll grow in importance. Franck V. on UnsplashThe rise of artificial intelligence has led to widespread concern about the role of humans in the workplaces ...

Allan McCay, Law Lecturer, University of Sydney - avatar Allan McCay, Law Lecturer, University of Sydney

Should I stay or should I go: how 'city girls' can learn to feel at home in the country

Shutterstock/The ConversationA move to the country is often presented in popular culture as an idyllic life, a place where you can escape the pressures of the city. It’s in television shows su...

Rachael Wallis, Lecturer and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Southern Queensland - avatar Rachael Wallis, Lecturer and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Southern Queensland

Grattan on Friday: Storm clouds avoid the bush, darken over the economy

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson says she doesn't think the government has a drought policy. ShutterstockGovernment sources insist shock jock Alan Jones didn’t drive Thursday&...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Julianne Schultz appointed chair of The Conversation

Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAMA has been appointed chair of The Conversation Media Group, following the retirement of Harrison Young. Since becoming chairman in April 2017, Harrison has improved ...

Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation - avatar Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

Cats are not scared off by dingoes. We must find another way to protect native animals

New research suggests feral cats can probably outsmart dingoes. Wikimedia/AAPFeral cats are wreaking havoc on our native wildlife, eating more than a billion animals across Australia every year. But ...

Bronwyn Fancourt, Adjunct Research Fellow, University of New England - avatar Bronwyn Fancourt, Adjunct Research Fellow, University of New England

Curious Kids: does chewing gum stay inside you for years?

Swallowing a lot of gum can cause it to stick together or stick to food in your gut. www.shuttershock.com, CC BYIf you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@th...

Jerry Zhou, Lecturer, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University - avatar Jerry Zhou, Lecturer, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University

Don't believe your ears: 'enhancing' forensic audio can mislead juries in criminal trials

Audio used as evidence in criminal trials can often be unreliable.  Many criminal trials feature forensic evidence in the form of audio recordings, typically from bugging houses or cars, or intercep...

Helen Fraser, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New England - avatar Helen Fraser, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New England

The case for 'inclusion riders' in creative industries: what Australian discrimination law says about quotas

In March last year, Frances McDormand won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In her acceptance speech, she drew attention to the female nominees in the room and left them with two final words: &ldq...

Liam Elphick, Adjunct Research Fellow, Law School, University of Western Australia - avatar Liam Elphick, Adjunct Research Fellow, Law School, University of Western Australia

The Portal review: can meditation change the world?

The Portal uses individual stories of meditative transformation to suggest a bigger change is possible. SuppliedThe Portal follows six individuals who undergo a personal transformation from trauma an...

Peggy Kern, Associate professor, University of Melbourne - avatar Peggy Kern, Associate professor, University of Melbourne

Why white married women are more likely to vote for conservative parties

Women’s perceptions of 'gender linked fate' were contingent on two dimensions: their race and their marital status. ShutterstockThe polls were wrong in the last US and Australian federal electi...

Leah Ruppanner, Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-Director of The Policy Lab, University of Melbourne - avatar Leah Ruppanner, Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-Director of The Policy Lab, University of Melbourne

Thoughts and prayers: miracles, Christianity and praying for rain

In a speech in Albury last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told his audience that he was praying for rain in drought-affected areas. “I pray for that rain everywhere else around the count...

Philip C. Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, The University of Queensland - avatar Philip C. Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, The University of Queensland

Prime Minister's science prizes awarded for algebra expertise, anti-cancer research and excellence in science teaching

Cheryl Praeger was awarded the 2019 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. She has spent more than four decades inspiring a love for maths in others, and has created a vast body of academic work i...

Michael Hopkin, Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation - avatar Michael Hopkin, Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation

Curious Kids: is it OK to listen to music while studying?

Does music usually put you in a better mood? That might help you try a little bit harder and stick with challenging tasks. Shutterstock I am in year 11 and I like to listen to music when I am studyin...

Timothy Byron, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Wollongong - avatar Timothy Byron, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Wollongong

A requiem for Reformasi as Joko Widodo unravels Indonesia's democratic legacy

It’s deeply ironic that Indonesia’s third president, BJ Habibie, died on September 11 – less than a week before the national legislature passed a law that gutted the highly-regarded ...

Tim Lindsey, Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne - avatar Tim Lindsey, Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne

Sick and Tired of Your Dead End Job? Try Teaching!

Tired of the same old grind at the office? Want an opportunity to impact lives both in your community and around the world? Do you love to travel and have new experiences? Teaching English is the perfect job for you! All you need is a willingness to ...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Impact of an Aging Population in Australia

There’s an issue on the horizon that Australia needs to prepare for. The portion of elderly citizens that make up the country’s overall population is increasing, and we might not have the infrastructure in place to support this. Australians h...

News Company - avatar News Company

LifeStyle

Questions to ask yourself before buying your watch

There are more and more watches on the market. And more and more brands are trying to seduce consu...

How to Thoroughly Prepare Children for a Professional Photoshoot at a Studio

Children are only young for a moment, which is why, for a lot of parents, it's essential to take a...

What to Expect at the University of Florida Tour

The University of Florida is a dream college for most aspiring students. Not only because of its p...

7 Professions that Will Be Huge in the Next Decade

In order to embark on a career path that requires a lot of training and experience, you might ne...