The iPhone 13 is out, and while there's no doubt that the hardware is a step up from the previous incarnation, I've paid Apple money for an iPhone that, because of bugs, does less and is less user-friendly than the one it's replacing.
Several bugs struck within the first couple of hours of ownership.
Yes, a couple of hours. This is not an in-depth review. It's a list of things I noticed during my day.
First, the feature that allows me to unlock the iPhone using my Apple Watch when I'm wearing a mask no longer works. I noticed it had stopped working and, after a bit of digging, I realized it wasn't activated.
Odd. All my other features and tweaks seemed to have carried over in the transfer.
I went through the activation process only to be told that my iPhone was "Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch."
Strange. It was all set up.
I tried hard resetting and even unpaired and repaired the connection to no avail.
Then a quick search on social media showed I'm not alone.
So, it seems an Apple product is having problems communicating with another Apple product.
This worked fine with the older iPhone, even after upgrading to iOS 15.
Didn't anyone at Apple test this?
Then there's CarPlay. That just crashes for me.
A quick search of social media suggests I'm not alone here. Plenty of other beta testers who paid Apple full price are reporting the same issue.
My old iPhone worked fine.
I've also come across a lot of odd user interface stuttering and juddering and oddities. The Camera app behaves oddly when changing between lenses, and at times the whole iOS interface becomes sluggish.
And there this odd bug where the camera's field of view judders around as the focus changes. It does it both in photo and video mode, but the photo mode uses some blurring to soften it.
Then there's Cinematic Mode.
Oh boy, this is rough. I noticed it was far from perfect during Apple's own unveiling of this product, and I read plenty of early reviews that made excuses for it not being perfect and how it's going to get better (pretty much repeating the excuses made for the original Portrait Mode, a feature that's still far from perfect many years down the line).
And this right here is the problem.
Apple gets too much of a free ride from reviewers and customers.
The company has embodied this culture of "ship now, fix later, maybe" which results in buggy products being shipped (likely due to an aggressive product refresh cycle), and features that are "not perfect" are being tolerated.
It makes little sense.
I've watched iOS releases quality slip over the years, and now I'm seeing the same thing happen with Apple's hardware.
And increasingly I see reviewers shrugging their shoulders over bugs, and customers living in hopes of fixes.