To those familiar with past Apple upgrade conventions, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus might as well have been called the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. They improve incrementally on two already good phones. But when we spent time with them at Apple’s Cupertino event, they felt a bit anemic compared not only to other phones in their category but to their own big brother, the iPhone X.
The phones felt the same in our hands as the 7 and 7 Plus. The main difference is in texture—the back is made of glass now—meaning that fingerprint smudges were common, just like with the iPhone 4 some years ago. In fact, the Apple rep showing the phones carried a cloth with her to wipe the smudges off between demos. She wasn’t being persnickety; it was needed.
We checked the bottom of the phone: no headphone jack, and there’s still a Lightning port. Given that the new Macs use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, it would have been nice to see Thunderbolt 3 instead, but we weren’t expecting that.