THE FIRST PLACE I took the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus was a sticky, late-summer wedding just outside of Austin. It turned out to be the perfect way to stress-test the new devices. The iPhones 8 have new cameras designed to hack it even on a drunken dance floor. Faster processors made downtime game-playing run smoother. They’re also easier to charge, so you’re less likely to get stuck with a dead phone at the end of the night.
Everything works great. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are virtually perfect phones. For $699 (the iPhone 8) or $799 (the Plus), you get a device that makes calls, plays games, takes pictures, shows movies, gets you everywhere, and does everything better than ever before. Apple set the standard for smartphones a decade ago, and with apologies to the Note 8 and Google Pixel, still does so today.
And yet it’s already obsolete. Only minutes after Apple announced these near-perfect models of its original vision, the company re-set the bar. The iPhone X looms large over the 8, with its tiny bezel and Face ID and amazing cameras. Want to know where smartphones are headed? Look at the iPhone X. The iPhones 8 are probably just the last, best version of what your phone looks like now. And they don’t cost $1,000. And for now, that’s great news.
In iPhone years, 2017 should’ve been an “S” year, when Apple upgrades the phone without redesigning or rethinking it. But the iPhone 8 isn’t a 7S. Besides the standard spec bumps, Apple changed a couple of bigger things, starting with the design. The iPhone 8’s a vision in glass. Aluminum (or al-yoo-min-y-yum if you’re Jony Ive) keeps the body rigid; glass on the back and front keeps it pretty. It may make the iPhone 8 more fragile—Apple says it won’t, my history with glass phones says it will—but it definitely makes it classier.