iPhone 11 would be irrelevant without the Apple logo

iPhone 11 would be irrelevant without the Apple logo
(Image credit: Apple)

Once upon a time, 'new iPhone day' used to raise the bar. Every year the bar went up, the phones got better and public went wilder. Over the last few years, though, Apple seems to have actively lowered the bar – which is epitomized by the lukewarm launch of the iPhone 11. 

Stripped of all context, the three new iPhones are perfectly capable smartphones. However, outside the Apple bubble and compared to what the other major manufacturers are doing, there's no getting around the fact that they are completely average. 

The addition of a third camera to the iPhone 11 isn't so much a step in the right direction as a deliberate half-step. Apple knows full well that its competitors produce products with four cameras or more, products with time-of-flight sensors and products with resolutions of 64MP and beyond, all of which are revolutionizing not just smartphones, but changing the face of the photographic industry. 

Because it's terrible and you should be ashamed, Apple.

Because it's terrible and you should be ashamed, Apple.  (Image credit: Apple)

And yet, its latest releases are little more than a tacit, token gesture to progress. Not only is Apple content to no longer lead the way, it has now become the contrarian underachiever that kicks the ground and shuffles in the other direction nonchalantly.

Where is the firepower of the 64MP Redmi Note 8 Pro? Where is the 10x optical telescopy of the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom? Where is the 5G capability of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G? Where is anything more than a rote press conference, the bare minimum updates, and the smug self assurance that the logo is more important than the product?

Where is the trailblazing, gun-toting, take-no-prisoners Apple? The Apple that transformed photography, the internet and social media all at the same time with the original iPhone? Yes, the world has changed and that kind of paradigm shift is no longer possible. However, there is such a profound lack of ambition displayed in the iPhone 11 that it genuinely feels like the company can't be bothered any more. 

Even the comparatively humble Motorola One Zoom features 4 cameras, a 48MP sensor and 10x zoom

Even the comparatively humble Motorola One Zoom features 4 cameras, a 48MP sensor and 10x zoom (Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

Seriously. It's not enough that the iPhone 11 feels like yesterday's technology; even the big exclusive lead title for the new subscription-based Apple Arcade is Frogger. FROGGER. The company is literally going backwards. And aside from playing camera catch-up with the rest of the industry, its biggest innovation is the bloody "slofie". 

It feels curmudgeonly to criticize the new iPhones when they are, as mentioned, Perfectly Acceptable Phones™. But there's just no escaping that Apple has plummeted to a lowly fourth place for smartphone market share – and if it keeps this same lack of ambition, there's nowhere to go but down.

So, would the iPhone 11 be irrelevant without the Apple logo? Honestly, we're not even sure it's relevant with it. 

Read more: 

Meet the iPhone 11 – camera-focused, functional, but far too familiar
The best camera phone in 2019: ultimate smartphone cameras compared
Smartphone news, camera phone leaks and mobile rumors

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.