This week on our Vergecast interview series, The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel brings in John Gruber of Daring Fireball to discuss the annual iPhone review week.
John also just reviewed the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, so the two compare notes on their reviews, talk through their approach for reviewing tech products in 2019, and take a look at the “state of iPhone reviews.” Below is a lightly edited excerpt of the conversation.
Nilay Patel: I think we’re at the point with these phones where to review these fine differences, you’re kind of forced to go back to a very early kind of tech writing that feels very nerdy. Like when Walt [Mossberg] worked here, he was like “You write for enthusiasts and you’ve got to get more mainstream.” You got to do the thing Walt did, which is bringing technology the big audience because it’s important. And I feel like right now with things like “How bright is the screen?”, “How good is a camera?”, you have to do some enthusiast stuff again.
John Gruber: I agree with that at some level, and I hate to repeat myself, but I feel like I have to now year after year, and emphasize I’m going to do a lot of comparisons to the year-old iPhone with this iPhone. But I know for a fact: Normal people do not even think about upgrading a year-old phone. [It] never even enters their mind because it still feels like whatever they spent for the year-old iPhone — $700 to up to $1,400 — it still feels like a fresh wound to them.