The Apple iPhone: Innovation to Stagnation.

Innovation to Stagnation…

So, we’re deep into quarter three of 2016 and the annual reveal of the Apple iPhone 7 is rapidly approaching. I strongly believe this is make or break for many die hard Apple consumers. Primarily I would transpire that I am an Apple loyal customer. I have owned nearly every model of iPhone since the iPhone 3G, and I also possess the likes of an Apple Mac computer, Apple Watch and iPad Pro. Whilst I’m genuinely content with my entourage of Apple devices, I believe the lack of innovation with regards to the iPhone is becoming strongly apparent for the mass market.

 

Lets go back to the vastly innovative year of 2007; the initial release of the first ever Apple iPhone. It is commonly debated as to why the iPhone was so successful. Was it the already prominent name of Apple entering a expansive mobile market – or was it the genuine exertion of never before seen levels of innovation available at consumer-level? The first device boasted an impressive array of features that were generally only available via the use of a PC, or a clunky stylus orientated PDA. A truly responsive touch screen device was something that some consumers had seen on futuristic TV shows such as Star Trek, and this futuristic technology became a  accessible and functional reality with the iPhone.  The synergy between operating systems and other Apple products created an expansive need to integrate devices. iTunes is a tenacious allure for iPhone ownership, allowing the consumer to easily manage media files across devices, something I believe Apple’s competitors are distinctively lacking. The inclusion of genuinely good quality hardware in the iPhone’s headphones was also promising, as from experience the headphones included with some phones are painfully uncomfortable and compromise on sound quality. To recapitulate, there are legitimate cases for high levels of innovation exerted by Apple – displayed through the initial device. Comparatively, lets take a look at the levels of progressive innovation through the below graphic. This particularly looks at the base models excluding S and + models of the device.

Our Design Process

Personally, I believe the jump between the iPhone 3 and 4 displayed the greatest innovative improvement. Contrastingly, as time has progressed it feels like innovation decreases annually. Depending on whether you are  at one with your geek side and look into the technical specifications of devices, some of the contemporary ‘behind the screen’ improvements will go unnoticed. Certain consumers such as my self generally take an interest in certain specifications such as RAM and CPU speeds, and improvements in these somewhat can be seen as innovative progression. However, to the everyday consumer this is simply jargon that cannot be visualised. I find it difficult to explain to a non-geek (for example my Mother) what the difference is between the iPhone 5 and the 6 model. Often, it is summarised with ‘it has a bigger screen and a better camera’. Is this actually classed as innovative progression? Is there new technology in the device worth shelling out another £500 for? I don’t actually think so. Sure, the phone may boot up faster, process data quicker, take greater quality photos, but to the mass market what more does it do than the last device? I think with the iPhone 7, it needs to please the mass. Obviously, there are hardcore fans that will purchase the device regardless of the progression, arguably as long as the device is running iOS people will stick with it, and that is a completely justifiable reason.  I think that NFC payments is a welcome addition with the latest generation of iPhones, but other than that, the iPhone 5 isn’t really that far apart from the 6 (other than size).

 

What would I like to see in the iPhone 7?

There are many features that I would love to see in the iPhone 7, some of which are not innovative for the market as some features are already available on alternative devices. However, the inclusion of the below would certainly generate innovation amongst iPhones.

 

Alternate Storage.

Something that infinitely bothers me about iPhones is the simple exclusion of the option to greater expand your device’s memory. How easy is it to include a SD card slot? If you are a student like my self, it’s somewhat frustrating when you can literally just afford the 16gb model of the phone. I would love the 128gb model, what a luxury that would be, note the operative word being LUXURY, the difference in price between the 16gb and the 128gb is staggering!

 

Greater Audio Output.

Something I really like about my iPad Pro (9.7″) is the inclusion of four speakers, the quality of sound is great and really generates some noise. I’m unsure about the mass market, but for me personally, I use my phone an awful lot as a portable speaker, and I find my self constantly wishing it was louder.

 

Make it Waterproof!

Being waterproof, a feature most noticeably available on the Samsung S7, is somewhat classed as a gimmick by some. At first, I also thought this, but when you actually divulge deeper, this feature can actually be of substantial assistance. If you’re a clumsy idiot like my self, you’ll find yourself dropping your device in all sorts of wet environments: baths, toilets, swimming pools and even the dog’s bowl of water (lol). My iPhones have been battered by a substantial amount of water damage over the years, and I can’t help but feel that a waterproof phone would benefit me financially!

 

A Battery Capable of Lasting a Day.

Lets be honest, we’re on our phones for at least 30% of the day. Using apps, messaging, listening and watching various types of media. These significantly reduce the battery, and at the moment I find my self charging my phone twice a day. I’m not sure what the obstacles are of including a bigger battery (size or price implications?), but surely there is someway to get a full day’s charge without one of those ugly cases!?

 

These are just a few things that I’d like to see, arguably these aren’t even that innovative! What would you personally like to see?

 

Conclusively…

This is just a short piece on why I think the latest iPhone devices are arguably stagnating in the smartphone market. The demand is there, the brand is there, give us something to shout about, Apple! The decline/lack of innovation is disappointing for those who genuinely love using Apple products.

 

 

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