Dear Apple: We Don’t Need Another iPhone This Year

iPhone SE 2020 showing "Dear Apple" in a Notes file

Dear Apple,

Go ahead and skip the premium iPhone launch this year. The iPhone 11 is still in great shape.

More importantly, you already launched the iPhone SE to great success. We really like ours. It’s fast! It takes perfectly good photos. You’ve made sure it’s secure and runs the latest apps (except Fortnite, but we’ve got a Switch for that!). A more budget-friendly yet still powerful phone was a great look for those of us strapped for cash this year. Pushing a minor upgrade at premium prices has considerably worse optics.

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, side by side

What could you possibly give us that would be a thousand dollars cooler than the iPhone 11 series? Those phones were great. The iPhone 8 is still great (if you do say so yourself). You’ve been scoring a solid 6/10 repairability rating on iPhones for a few years now; not many Android phones come close. Worried about looking left-behind on 5G? Don’t be. 5G is undercooked and not worth the effort. PC Magazine’s real-world tests found that AT&T’s 5G is slower than 4G. We’re all at home with our fast Wi-Fi anyway. And do you really want to pay the steep Qualcomm tax any more than you have to?

You’ve let Samsung do the beta testing on new features before—this is the perfect opportunity to sit out “the race” and let someone else take the flak for miserable first-gen battery performance. Relax for a year, let us play with our cool new home screens, and swoop in with great tech next year. We promise we’ll be way more excited then.

You’ve got a great product lineup right now. You just launched new Watches and iPads, and you’re working feverishly on wireless tracking dongles. Sure, you missed with AirPower, but that’s fine by us—wireless charging isn’t the best for the environment anyway. Just around the corner are some exciting Mac updates with the custom silicon in which you’ve invested so much. Let’s meet up with iPhone next year, refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm.

Circular Supply Chain graphic from Apple's environmental report

Remember your bold proclamation as to why you  dropped the headphone jack? I mean it became a meme. Now would be a great time to flex some actual Courage. Your 2020 environmental report is a thing of beauty, and waxes poetic about the importance of making long-lasting products. Why not put your money where your mouth is and do the best thing for the environment: Fewer phones that last longer is the fastest way to reduce the carbon footprint of the technology in our lives. If every new iPhone SE owner uses their 2020 SE as long as my husband used his 2016 SE, we can lock down a big environmental win through 2024. (It’ll probably need a new battery or two before then, but iFixit’s got him covered.) 

I’ll remind you about that one time Phil said that old tech is sad. It’s not—it’s a triumph. We all want these phones to last. A vintage phone is a mark of pride! Your 2016 SE is still in high demand—the headphone jack may have something to do with it. Backmarket has been selling them like hotcakes at $150. You built these things the best you could, and you did a darn good job.

Don’t get us wrong, we love covering an iPhone launch. It’s great traffic, and always fun to see what you guys have packed into familiar slabs or totally new forms. But this year, I think we’d all agree it’s not needed. Take a break, you deserve it.

The planet could use a break, too.