It’s time to make Apple great again!
We have arrived at an interesting chapter in the story that is Apple. Sure the company is still pulling in far more money than any of its rivals, but the period of rapid growth that we all knew was unsustainable has finally come to an end and Wall Street is flipping. Of course when Wall Street flips, the media follows closely behind. One quick glance at Apple headlines right now and you’d think the company was on the verge of bankruptcy once again.
So where do we go from here?
Since Apple saw its first-ever iPhone sales decline in the March quarter, a fun little narrative that’s making the rounds now is that Apple’s iPhone lineup is no longer “exciting.” Forget the fact that the company still sold more than 51.5 million iPhones last quarter. Forget the fact that keeping pace with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was never going to happen, since they enjoyed sky-high sales due to pent-up demand for iPhones with larger screens.
Nope, it’s because iPhones are boring. So how can Apple make them exciting again?
There has been plenty written about Apple’s upcoming iPhones over the past couple of weeks. We’ve seen some big leaks that likely show us exactly what the next-generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are going to look like, and we’ve read some rumors about the phones’ specs. Tim Cook recently teased new iPhones with innovative new features that people won’t be able to live without, but so far nothing we’ve seen in leaks has hinted at what those new features might be.
So naturally, we’ve seen plenty of tech writers more than willing to share their ideas for features that might make the iPhone 7 a must-have device.
All the commotion out there is bound to make even smart people write some peculiar things, and a recent article on Wired is one of the oddest posts I’ve seen this week on the topic. Titled “Three big upgrades that’d make the iPhone exciting again,” the article undoubtedly attracted some eyes. But I, for one, was left scratching my head.
First and foremost, Apple’s iPhones are no longer exciting, according to this post. Just don’t tell the 75 million people who rushed out to buy an iPhone this past holiday quarter, or the 51+ million people who bought an iPhone this past quarter.
Moving past that for a moment, I simply cannot wrap my head around the three suggestions put forth in this article. In order to make the iPhone “exciting again,” Apple should:
1. Give it an OLED display.
2. Give it a slightly bigger battery.
3. Give it a USB-C port.
Seriously, those are the suggestions.
OLED displays are great. Generally speaking, AMOLED smartphone screens are far brighter, clearer and more vivid than the LCD panels Apple uses. They also offer deeper blacks and better contrast. But is a slightly better display really going to excite the average user? I’m not so sure.
Battery life is a hugely important factor for people when they shop for a new smartphone… in theory. Battery life is always at the top of every list of pain points, but by now people generally know what they’re getting into when they buy an iPhone. That’s why millions upon millions of dollars are spent each quarter on portable chargers and iPhone battery cases.
I don’t think anyone would complain about an iPhone that achieved marginally better battery life by borrowing the terraced battery cell tech from Apple’s new MacBooks, as the post suggests. But would gaining what in all likelihood would be a single-digit percentage of additional battery life per charge excite the average user? Probably not.
Finally, the article says Apple should ditch its new Lightning port and switch to USB-C. That is 1,000% not going to happen. But if it did happen, would it excite the average user? Absolutely not. In fact, it would likely enrage the average user, who would then be forced to buy a bunch of new accessories since his or her old ones would no longer work with the new iPhone.
I think my biggest problem with the article isn’t even the bizarre suggestions covering features that aren’t terribly exciting at all. It’s the idea that adding three features that already exist on Android phones — AMOLED screens, better battery life, USB-C — would somehow make the iPhone exciting.
“New” is the name of the game now. The premium smartphone market is nearing saturation by all counts, so that means companies need to convince people to upgrade in order to sell phones. We need more innovation and less iteration.
Would a bunch of features that are already out there really convince you to buy a new iPhone when you otherwise wouldn’t? Sure you want a better screen and slightly longer battery life, but are those features really going to excite you?
According to Tim Cook, Apple has a number of innovative new iPhone features being developed behind closed doors. Some rumors suggest Apple is working on features that will change the game more than you can even imagine. But I sincerely doubt Mr. Cook was talking about a USB-C port when he teased “things you can’t live without” that Apple plans to introduce in future iPhones.