Past iPhone debuts have met with lines around the block and customers camped out for the opportunity to spend hundreds of dollars on the company's latest product.
At the location Inc. visited on Friday, in the Oculus in Lower Manhattan, the buzz was minimal despite a constant flow of foot traffic through the area. The line out front was a few people deep. Inside, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, calling to mind a night club that isn't at capacity, but keeps a queue out front anyway to keep up appearances.
The iPhone 8 is, essentially, a slightly different version of the iPhone 7, without any significant upgrades. The back is entirely made of glass, which allows it to power up wirelessly when placed on a charging mat. But the specifications and overall user experience remain nearly the same.
If there will be any hoopla this fall, it will probably come with the launch of the iPhone X on November 3. The phone (pronounced "iPhone 10"--Apple is skipping poor No. 9) has been stripped of the home button and fingerprint ID, with Apple instead adding face recognition technology. The X will be just about the same size as the 8 but will have no bezel, so its 5.8-inch screen extends all the way to the phone's edges. Its resolution is an impressive 458 pixels per inch (compared to the 8's 326 ppi), by far Apple's best ever.
The phone will be priced accordingly: It starts at $999. The most basic iPhone 8 comes in at $699.
This week, Apple's aura was dented by another less-than-expected event. Its stock suffered its worst-ever product launch week since the introduction of the iPhone a decade ago. At Friday's market close, the company's stock was down 5 percent since Monday--not an auspicious sign when it comes to the hype surrounding Apple's newest offerings.
When told Inc. was in store filming the launch, one customer inside said "No one cares about the iPhone 8." Time will tell whether people still care about the iPhone at all.