The iPhone lineup just got really compleX

Steve Jobs said “Simple can be harder than complex,” so it looks like Apple is taking the easy route. Customers will now have to choose between 8 different iPhones with today’s addition of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. That’s a tons of specs and options to compare, and we’re not even talking about color or storage size.

Now there’s:

  • The cheap and tiny “fun size” 4-inch iPhone SE from $349
  • The “Yes, I still need a headphone jack” iPhone 6s and 6s Plus from $449
  • The “I live in the future where headphone jacks are heresy” iPhone 7 and 7 Plus from $549
  • The “I want a new but not giant” iPhone 8 from $699
  • The “I want zoom but also want to save $200” iPhone 8 Plus from $799
  • The “I want to feel superior and unlock with my face” iPhone X from $999

That’s up from 5 models before today’s announcement. Plus, there are now 5 different naming schemes: SE, _, s, Plus and X.

For some, the added choice could be nice so you can zero-in on the features you want. But for others, it will merely inspire a nagging feeling that you picked wrong.

“Dammit, I knew I needed a headphone jack,” “Why didn’t I spend a few hundred more for the best iPhone?,” “It’s beautiful, but I can’t work it with one hand,” “Wish I had that zoom lens right about now.”

These are the kind of annoying technology questions people are used to dwelling on with cameras and cars and TVs. But they’re what Apple was supposed to eliminate by just offering a few great products so people felt confident buying and owning. Instead, for some, the new lineup will conjure decision paralysis and regret. And if you’re carrier doesn’t offer the phone you want, you either have to go through the huge hassle of switching or accept your dissatisfaction.

Personally, I’d vote to scrap the 6 and 7 lines. That would clean things up so there’s just tiny, modern in both sizes or XL luxury.

Great technology disappears, leaving just the experience, and that can’t happen if there’s a little voice inside your head doubting your decision.