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Waiting for the iPhone 11

Douglas A. McIntyre

Apple Inc. (AAPL) did its best to show it can reinvent the smartphone as it launched it $999 iPhone X. It also released the iPhone 8, which was little more than a solid upgrade to the iPhone 7. Reporters, consumer electronics experts and Wall Street were only moderately impressed by the iPhone X. Apple should get a surge of sales for both products. The wait for a really revolutionary smartphone, which could take a year or more, began yesterday. The iPhone 11 will start to capture the interest of Apple watchers soon.

Two things happened as Apple launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Apple's shares barely budged. And there were no proclamations, beyond those by Apple, that the iPhone X was a quantum leap forward. Apple management described the iPhone X with "Say hello to the future." If this is true, the future of smartphones is relatively dull.

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Granted, the iPhone X has a new processor, a new camera, Super Retina display, a screen that goes all the way to the corners of the device, an OLED screen and facial ID. Among the most important features is that the iPhone X is dust and waterproof. For people who worry about the durability of their expensive phones, this is particularly important.

It was hard to find any reviews of the iPhone X that described it as any more than a minor upgrade with a world-class camera.

What will Apple get from the iPhone X? Massive sales over the holidays, which should push the financial results for the final quarter of 2017 to record levels. It should also allow Apple to post good results through all of calendar 2018. iPhone X sales eventually could get Apple's market cap to $1 trillion, an event that is discussed as much as the iPhone X has been.

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What Apple did not get is a Samsung killer, or a Huawei or a Xiaomi killer. Apple will still have to fight in the trenches in places like China to pick up much-needed market share. The United States, Europe and Japan should continue to be friendly markets.

What to wait for in the iPhone 11? At the very least, a smartphone very much better than its competitors.

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