How Apple is messing with people’s heads

There used to be rules about these things.

The fanpeople not only needed to be sure, but they needed to be cocksure, as they impatiently explained that Apple does things a certain way and that’s because it’s a cult of borderline lunatics.

I mean, of the proud and the discerning.

Yet as rumors are suddenly labeled exclusive and allegedly certain, we must reassess what on earth has happened in Cupertino and will be displayed on September 12.

9to5Mac insists that the two rumored OLED phones, with 5.8 and 6.5 inch screens, will both be called iPhone XS.

Which shouldn’t be confusing at all.

Is yours a little XS-ive? Or very XS-sive?

Oh, you know Apple will come along and spoil the entertainment by claiming these are the iPhone 10S.

Tennis? That a funny name for a phone. Wonder if they’ll have it at Cricket.

Then, other rumors declare, there’ll be a cheaper phone with a 6.1 inch LCD screen.

This, I assume will be called, well, what? The iPhone XP? You know, just to attract more Windows users. Or to slyly suggest it’s XPendable because the screen’s not so good.

Here’s the problem with all this. It’s the excitement. Or should that be X-itement?

Dearest Apple, this is an S year. Have you forgotten what that means?

It’s supposed to be as fascinating as the Snail-Mating Olympics. It’s supposed to be as moving as watching Mitch McConnell clothes-shop.

It’s supposed to provide all those who missed out on last year’s exciting phone with a consolation prize, something they can pass off as the real thing, with a couple of new, largely irrelevant gizmos attached.

It’s supposed to be the same size as the last one, not three different sizes.

S phones are for people who drive people carriers, but want to pretend their life isn’t over.

They’re for those who only buy purses at Burberry.

Yet now you come along and make them alluring.

It’s just not done. What, um, would Steve Jobs say? Or shout?

It all started last year, of course. Not one phone, but three. Not one new iPhone number, but two.

It’s as if you’ve had enough of conventional Apple and want to be this weird new model.

You know what’s behind all this? Confidence. A renewed, dare I say arrogant, belief in what you’re doing, as your competition seems to be wandering in the bushes in search of inspiration.

There was a time, not so long ago, when your Head of Reality Distortion Phil Schiller was raving that Samsung was stealing Apple’s coolness.

Now, you think you can just release three phones a year, give two of them the same name and even make an S year more interesting than a new-number year.


And to think Schiller once gruffed, humorously of course, that you should never pluralize Apple product names.

As if this wasn’t enough, a survey comes out — from Loup Ventures, a VC firm that doesn’t exactly bathe in antipathy toward Apple — that suggests 48 percent of iPhone owners intend to upgrade their phones this year.

Meanwhile, Warren Buffett sniffs in a peaceable midwesternly manner that the iPhone is “enormously underpriced.”

Will your One More Thing this time around be, ta-da, that you’re making a car after all?

Or will the deeply committed have to be satisfied with a new, bigger-screen Apple Watch, with a face that looks as simple as your average Top Chef recipe?

This new Apple way, smiting at S-year convention, is bordering on the entertaining.

It’s surely messing with some people’s minds.

Well, S-ing with them.

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