Apple will launch its 10th anniversary iPhone this fall and when it does, it will offer an “unwitting lesson in how much the smartphone industry it pioneered has matured”, notes Reuters in a research article.
Although the Cupertino tech giant is expected to include new features such as OLED displays, wireless charging and 3D sensors in ‘iPhone 8’, its product strategy is driven less by technological innovation than by consumer upgrade cycles, and the company’s own business and marketing needs.
Rather than representing major breakthroughs, however, most of the innovations have been available in competing phones for several years. Apple’s relatively slow adoption of new features both reflects and reinforces the fact smartphone customers are holding onto their phones longer. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co, believes upwards of 40 percent of iPhones on the market are more than two years old, a historical high.
“When a market gets saturated, the growth is all about refresh,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research. “This is exactly what happened to PCs. It’s exactly what happened to tablets. It’s starting to happen to smartphones.”
While Apple recently joined support of Qi wireless charging, a source tells Reuters “there are still at least five different groups working on wireless charging technology within Apple”.
Analysts are not expecting a radical new design with the anniversary iPhone, although component suppliers and others indicate that high-resolution displays based on OLED technology, possibly with curved edges, are quite likely. Some analysts also speculate the company could remove the phone’s home button, placing it and a fingerprint sensor beneath the front display glass.
In a statement on Jan. 8 this year, the date the iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs in 2007, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come”.