Autumn 2017 will see the release of the next iPhone..10 years on from the very first one. I take a look at how much has changed over the decade, and speculate what Apple has in store for us.
Turning back the clock 10 years, the late Steve Jobs and Apple announced a device and a culture that would change the future of mobile communications. A device that not only could make calls, but also enable an individual to surf the web, take photos and listen to music. That device was the 1st generation iPhone. At a time when RIM with their blackberry was ruling the roost and the ever reliable Nokia churning out handsets, Apple took the bold move of creating a device that took the traditional keypad and replaced it with a single home button with the rest of the phone covered by the screen. It was not only looks that made it revolutionary, it was the idea that using the phone would be via individual Applications, each that would serve an individual purpose and provide Apple with a second stream of income through the creation of an app store.
iPhone…Secrets to its success!!
Apple had it in their mind that they would focus on particular features and it was that direct attention to those outlined features that still remain true to this day in the IPhone’s success.
The keypad has gone, the screen was front and centre of the iPhone. Apple made this the main source of interaction and input for the device, along with giving the phone its foundation on which to build upon as the years rolled on. The phone was responsive to touch and users were able to glide through the applications. Once the basics were set Apple moved on to pushing the quality of the screen emphasising the word “Retina”. As the years passed the phone crammed more pixels into its display and it got to a point where to the naked eye it was impossible to tell of any pixelation. It continues to have great screens 10 years on but competitors have pushed the boundaries further introducing 2k and even 4k screens to mobile devices. Saying that, if it wasn’t for Apple and its obsession with Retina displays we would not have got the displays we see on the market now.
The iPhone invited us to become photographers and selfie addicts. Responsiveness, detail and ease of use were the core principles Apple applied to their cameras both front and back. All you had to do was point using the screen as the viewfinder and shoot, the rest of the work was done behind the scenes by the phone. At the start, Apple boasted about the camera’s megapixel count giving users the chance to combine the quality display and camera to take solid detailed pictures. As competition increased from many companies, the focus turned to the software that worked behind the camera, Apple made sure that taking pictures was easy and didn’t complicate matters even if the hardware became more complex. Ability to view filters as you shoot, taking beautiful panoramas, increasing shutter speed and reducing lag all contributed to the IPhone’s camera still being rated as one of the best cameras on a smartphone and long may this tradition continue.
The release of the iPhone was a two-pronged attack by Apple to build market share in the mobile phone sector and also have a second source of income via its ecosystem. It was all well and good selling the device at premium prices but it was the creation of the App Store that really kept the money coming into the Cupertino giant after a sale. Developers creating applications from games to entertainment and dating to social media. For each download or sale made via the App store, Apple took a cut keeping the money rolling in. This ecosystem was monitored tightly ensuring applications were of good quality and ran on the iPhone efficiently. To this day Apple continues to make the biggest margin on hardware sales and pulls in more profit compared to the android equivalent Play store via the App store.
Google has always had information at its so-called fingertips with its machine learning and knowledge graph but getting access to this has not always been straightforward. Apple saw this as an opportunity and partnered with Microsoft Bing as its information source to bring Siri to the iPhone 4s. A simple yet effective way to bring information to users via the long-press of the home button. Siri complemented the information with its personality and context awareness. Using conversational answers, location, calendars and time to bring the user what they need when they need it. Siri was continuously developed and baked into the iPhone and has now become a core feature of the device, from getting simple answers to general questions to booking dinner reservations swiftly. Recently Siri has lacked evolution and the likes of Google with Google assistant and Amazon with Alexa have taken the virtual assistant to a level that has superseded that of Siri. Siri still capable needs to be developed further to bring users what they are missing out via the iPhone.
Power & Operating System
Having all the above-mentioned features and components running simply, was down to the power distributed by the hardware combined with the simple and lightweight operating system upon which it sits on. iOS is smooth, simple and speedy. Anyone can pick up and familiarize themselves with the iPhone within minutes. That was a key draw for users how clear and straightforward the phone was to use. No bloatware, timely updates and bug fixes. iOS year on year improved and changed according to the users’ needs. Supporting this was the continuous improvement of hardware whether it be the upgrades to the SOC or the built-in RAM to accommodate the growing features that the phone packed.
The iPhone was a trendsetter and revolutionary in its market when first announced in 2007. Apple year on year refined evolved and improved the device staying at the forefront of the mobile world even as competitors upped the stakes. The company never lost focus on what the iPhone meant and what users wanted, building on that foundation has led it to become the behemoth it is now.
iPhone 8….What’s in store at age 10!
iPhone 8 rumoured to named iPhone X is looking to set the bar again for everyone else. Focus remains the same as the above-mentioned criteria, the new device is expected to move to OLED display at 5.8” going head to head against the recently released Samsung Galaxy S8. Moving to power there looks to be and upgrade in the chip to a new in-house built A11 processor. An improved camera as expected to continue to compete and deliver users with quality snaps efficiently. The biggest change being anticipated is the iconic home button present from the very first iteration could be removed to be replaced by an integrated Touch ID into the display. This is a huge departure from where Apple started but without taking these leaps of faith the iPhone would not be where it is now. In addition to these rumoured updates, I believe we will see more Siri improvement to bring it line with the competitors around. A price tag of $1000 being touted for the base model the anniversary iPhone looks to be the flagship users want and competitors strive to usurp.
Tech Off Melon!