Many people have predicted that the iPhone will die. Peak iPhone has been reached a number of times. We’ve heard ” stagnant revenue “, ” looming problems ” and predictions that other companies will steal Apple’s share of the market or that wearables, hearables, AR or VR or Something Else R or XR would usurp smartphones. The iPhone is still the best-selling consumer electronic product, with a business of $51 billion just in the first quarter of 2018.
The iPhone is finished. This is what we will discuss in the Status Update. It’s still alive, it’s still not dying. But maybe there’s only a little more work left to be done on it. This is true for smartphones in general; millions of people carry slabs of tempered glass around in their pockets, and these slabs have become appliances to most of them. Most users don’t care about slick new features, or a radical overhaul of the interface. We’ll see if the folding phone can inspire another round of new ideas. But I wouldn’t be holding my breath. They want it to be faster, last longer and cost less. They only replace it when the device breaks.
The legacy of the iPhone isn’t yet over. It’s far from over. It’s highly likely that next week, during Apple’s WWDC Developer Conference we’ll see the first mixed reality headset. According to reports and rumors, the headset will cost a lot and be of little use, much like the first iPhone, which was $700 and didn’t have 3G. It will offer new and exciting ways to interact, similar to what multi-touch offered on the iPhone. Apple will bet on developers to make the new technology even more powerful just as the App Store made the iPhone the all-machine.
The iPhone’s real story isn’t about smartphones. Apple’s iPhone is not about smartphones. It is the way it taught people to use their screens, to depend on one device for everything, and to communicate with others through technology. Apple’s iPhone has given it an unstoppable supply chain and an incredible cultural cachet. Apple will be able to use all of this as it moves forward with whatever comes next.
Apple did not invent our world, but it certainly played a major role. If AR, VR, and even glasses on our face are what’s next, they will only be possible because the iPhone was successful. iPhones may not be the future, but they’re still here.