The Best (and Worst) iPhone XS, XR & Apple Watch Reporting

Apple iPhone XS

These days, it’s all about discovering the key features of Apple’s newest iPhones, like the iPhone XS — and Apple Watches. And then make a purchase decision. I’ll look at some of the best reporting out there that tries to help. And, in contrast, some of the worst.

Apple iPhone Xs
Apple’s iPhone XS.

The Very Good

iMore is a stellar website for Apple customers. Its articles are informative and balanced. Rene Ritchie is an awesome editor-in-chief. If you haven’t made a decision about a new, 2018 iPhone yet, and are trying to size them up, see:

On the other hand, as I predicted earlier in the week…

[4 Vastly Different Perspectives to Expect on the New iPhones]

… there were some awful pieces floated out.

The Questionable

Here are three dubious ones that are instructive to examine.

  1. OPINION: Apple’s new iPhones show off its best tech, and also its greed
  2. The new heart-monitoring capabilities on the Apple Watch aren’t all that impressive
  3. Apple has officially missed the boat on USB-C with this year’s iPhones

The first contains a lot of wish fulfillment and self-entitlement. And accusation of greed. Sure, it’s an editorial. But the goal should still be rationality and clarification. Apple does things for reasons that aren’t always obvious or self-explanatory. Figuring out what those might be is a tougher, nobler task.

Regarding #2, historically, I’ve had a lot of respect for Quartz. But this article goes overboard trying to stigmatize the acknowledged limitations of the Apple Watch Series 4 ECG system. To be sure, the article is literate and well researched. But I can’t help feeling that the article could have served the readers better if it had been approached, via Apple’s assistance, with what the ECG technology is designed to achieve. As opposed to a title that tries to cast doubt on Apple’s research and engineering. And that’s, in turn, my opinion.

The Verge does a better, more balanced job. More informative. “What the Apple Watch’s FDA clearance actually means.

As for #3, the author lists reasons why Apple shouldn’t go with USB-C on the iPhone. Then complains that it didn’t happen. Enough said.

The 2017 iPhone X Mystery

Here’s an interesting question. Why isn’t the 2017 iPhone X being sold in 2018 at a discount? It’s missing in this image below from the September 12 Apple event.

SVO Schiller shows 2018 iPhone lineup
2018 iPhone lineup and pricing. Image credit: Apple

Business Insider has a splendid theory. “There’s a good working theory about why Apple discontinued the iPhone X, the best phone it’s ever made, only a year after announcing it.” I like this theory. It rings true. Kudos to author Shona Ghosh for a great surmise.

Finally, as a writer, this next article intrigues me. “The world’s most prolific writer is a Chinese algorithm.” The thing to note here is that the leap from key word driven ad copy to creative writing is greater than we might suppose. For now. ::gulp::

Not much else, this week, was worth your attention compared to what Apple produced.

[Note: Particle Debris is just one page this week.]

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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ANYONE who has a “review” of the new iPhones should be considered a questionable author. NOBODY (outside of Apple) has an actual unit of their own that they’ve used for weeks and weeks. Not even those that have review units. All these sites are doing is puking up Apple’s specs and press releases because they have nothing else to go by.

Why would anyone trust a review written by someone who has done little more than spend 2 minutes in the review area after the keynote?

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: One cannot help but note that you’ve taken a gentleman’s approach to categorising the iPhone reviews as ‘the very good’ and ‘the questionable’. There have been some that have blatantly pandered to cynicism or underestimated and undervalued some of the features and capabilities of the new iPhones and the Apple Watch. Amongst these have been the BBC via its Tech Tent show, which continued the BBC’s unbroken history of dismissiveness, belittlement, charicaturisation and detraction of Apple and their products, whilst maintaining demonstrable respect, when not overt veneration to fawning obsequiousness to all things MS. In fairness, the BBC are… Read more »


A robot that writes advertising copy? Product descriptions and technical specifications, maybe. But advertising copy? Advertising is supposed to grab your attention, to stand out. How exactly does a robot, one that churns out 20,000 lines of copy per minute, generate advertising, each of which stands out compared to all the copy it produces? That is a logical impossibility. A population can’t have members that are all above average.