Ten years ago, the late Steve Jobs entered stage left at the San Francisco Moscone Center in his signature black turtleneck, faded blue jeans and white New Balance sneakers. He revealed to attendees at the Macworld Keynote a product that would revolutionize the world—the Apple iPhone. It was slated to have the capabilities of “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.” His confident demeanor was reciprocated with thunderous applause, as the audience’s anticipation for this groundbreaking product was confirmed. Jobs directed healthy criticism toward competing smartphones such as BlackBerry, Motorola, Nokia and Palm, claiming they were difficult to use and possessed limited capacity for comprehensive updates. Moreover, the iPhone would not be hampered by a plastic keyboard, but would showcase a touch screen instead, the hallmark of its sleek design. Following this announcement, the iPhone craze was born. The long lines, the expensive prices, the perpetual design leaks and the international acclaim all show how much this product has impacted the digital age. On Sep. 12, the next generation of the iPhone is set to be revealed to consumers. This year, Apple is not only focusing on minor software changes or slight adjustments to how the product looks. If the rumors are correct, major advancements are on the way, and fan anticipation is at an all-time high.For starters, the signature home button looks to be headed to retirement. Because the company wants to maximize its front touch screen space, this is a sacrifice that must be made. It could be relocated to the backside of the phone, or potentially be replaced with facial recognition software.
Knotty cords might also become obsolete, as there is speculation that wireless charging might be used. Obviously, this would be a beneficial revision, but what this will mean for headphones is unclear. The previous iPhone generation allowed them only to be plugged into the charging port, which was met with some backlash. These are just some of the many improvements and changes that Apple is supposed to deliver on. Yet, a product is absolutely nothing without its consumers. Apple has consistently been an immensely profitable company. However, it hit a rough patch in 2016 as its annual sales and profits fell for the first time in 15 years. In the months leading up to the iPhone 7 launch last September, Apple saw three consecutive quarters of decreased sales, which were linked primarily to shrinking iPhone sales. That being said, year-end sales still finished well over $200 billion, and the release of the iPhone 7 brought the company out of its temporary downswing. Overall sales have continued to go up through 2017, but it is in their best interest to be prepared for a similar situation.
Another prospective obstacle the company might have to hurdle over is the price. The next iPhone is entertaining the possibility of a quadruple digit selling point at $1,000, which would make it the most expensive iPhone ever at initial release. There has been some debate over the pricing strategy, but new iPhones have always sold successfully. If history repeats itself, a few hundred dollars will not stand in the way of Apple shattering their own expectations.
For all the iPhone fanatics who are ready to get their folding chairs, thermoses of coffee and sleeping bags ready to wait on one of the aforementioned lines, the party might be slightly delayed this time around. The most anticipated launch of the year might have to wait until 2018, so time is on your side if you are sitting on the fence about this investment. Apple is refusing to stay on cruise control for this installment of its smartphone empire.
An overhaul of its conventional and recognizable design is a risky strategy, but one that will most likely take the company straight to the bank.