Based on the unveiling of Apple’s new phones, I am not sure what the future holds. The iPhone 5c seems affordable, and the 5s has Touch ID, but — where’s the magic?

Apple has come up with some things that are perfectly fine but not exactly Harold, Stop The Car, Let’s Go Camp Out Outside The Store For The Next Six Weeks-level amazing. If it keeps developing at this rate, it’s going to plateau soon.

i phone over time

I like the fingerprint ID sensor, which sounds like it will have a major advantage over all the bio-ID technology I have used before, on old laptops — namely, it actually works. My prior experience with fingerprint ID is that, to log on, you must sit there for half an hour, angrily stroking the keyboard with your middle finger in a way that makes strangers think the computer has done something to anger you. The new technology sounds promising — perhaps too promising, if you believe the doomsayers who insist that biometric techniques are the Mark of the Beast foretold in the Book of Revelation. But if you are, why are you reading this?

I am not a technology critic, except in the sense that I am also a food critic, which is to say — I like it, I consume a lot of it, and sometimes I wear Google Glass while doing so. So I am worried, based on Apple’s new tendency to offer The Same Things As Before, But In More Colors and Cheaper And With Finger-Swipe ID. I understand that you shouldn’t mess with perfection, except by getting it in a different color. This is the rule on which I base all my sweater purchases. But I expected, well, more from Apple, which used to routinely hold an Annual Big Meeting At Which It Revealed That It Had Discovered How To Turn Straw Into Gold And Turn A Square Of Metal And Plastic Into A Magical Wish-Granting Genie. Loosely speaking.

I fear that at the present rate, we’ll wind up with something like:

  • iPhone 6a: Like current phone, but — no, actually just like the current phone.
  • iPhone 6b: Like current phone, but Siri is a little bit surlier.
  • iPhone 6c: Cleverly repackaged Samsung Galaxy.
  • iPhone 6s: This iPhone is different and new because it, uh, it has an S at the end! Yeah, that’s it! Also it’s — teal! Yeah! Teal!
  • iPhone 6s+: Same phone. Slightly different shade of teal.
  • iPhone 7 Alpha: Innovative phone also plays records, contains an AM-FM radio tuner, and comes with, of all things, preloaded Windows, over the obstreperous objections of everyone who purchases it that “these features actually makes it less appealing.”
  • iPhone 7 Alpha Plus: Like the Apple 7 Alpha, but with fewer features.
  • iPhone 8: Just a very slim picture of Steve Jobs that whispers, “I’m disappointed” when you press a button on its sternum.
  • iPhone 8a: This phone folds out into a Razr Scooter and also sends faxes and, if you hook it up to a 3D printer, it will knit you a sock! (The entire slideshow presentation is just Tim Cook apologizing profusely and begging you to give him another chance.)
  • IPhone 9: Same as the iPhone, but the I is capitalized.
  • iPhone 640 PPX: A Zune.
  • iPhone 10: This phone is completely invisible and you can’t feel it, but rest assured, it’s there! $800,000 starting price. No returns. Tim Cook has left the country.