This essay looks at the developing phone market and where the future lies for the Apple iPhone. Apple has seen 13 years of financial growth, but as of April 2016, they announced their first revenue decline since 2003 (Thielman, Neate and Hern, 2016). This could suggest that the phone has reached maximum capability and upgrades are no longer required. The following looks at area where apple could develop it’s phone to enable continued capital growth.
Google has invested in R&D of a modular phone, which are now commercially viable in an increasingly environmentally conscious world. The LG G5, the first commercially available modular phone has just been released. This is paving the way for a new type of phone, a more customisable phone. Apple have always been known for not giving users the ability to customise their phones, their computers and phones are sealed to stop users from upgrading parts inside. This is proven by the fact they have a recycle system with a machine that takes apart the phone and deconstructs it part by part so that Apple can use the parts again in new phones, or sell them to external companies to be used in other products. Since Apple offers it’s customers payment plans for the iPhone itself without the data, so they can pay a monthly fee and upgrade to the next one comes out, this makes perfect sense.
iOT (Internet of Things) is an idea that everything should be connected to the web for the user to be able to control more easily. HomeKit is a prime example of where Apple could build more function within its’ iPhone. “HomeKit is a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home.”. This framework Apple has produced is the beginning of something huge, the IoT (Internet of Things) are a collection of devices that are designed and developed to connect with each other on a network. McKinsey & Company estimate that the industry will be worth between $200-$300 Billion by 2025 (McKinsey & Company, 2015). This technology paves the way for a truly connected home that is able to combine all of the data about the person who lives there to be able to create a much better and easier life for the homeowner. When all the devices in the home talk to each other they are able to create schedules for temperature, lighting, cooking, locks and so much much more in relation to any of the residents schedules. This can mean opening the curtains, switching on the radio, preparing a coffee and ensuring a warm temperature all before you’ve even woken up.
Siri, the personal assistant accessed by voice with “Hey Siri”, is already a very useful tool and can accomplish many tasks like setting an alarm, reminding you to do something when you leave home or make a call for you. While Siri is already very useful, imagine the potential when the iPhone has built in everything I have discussed in this essay. Statements like “Hey Siri, I’m going on holiday, give me directions to Leeds airport, Shut down the house and send Mike access my garage for next Tuesday”.
The current iPhone has the ability to track Parkinson’s disease progress, help diagnose autism and predict seizures when paired with an Apple watch. When the iPhone is able to track the data of it’s user, that data can also be shown to a doctor for feedback. Imagine a world where the phone extends life and even prevents death.
An important addition to this is that the phone is not only a powerful tool, but it has become a symbol of status. The phone now comes in three different sizes and four different colours with a range of accessories that come with it, ranging from wireless headphones, cases and a bluetooth watch branded as the Apple watch with prices reaching as high as £13,500 for the most expensive model. Apple markets its products within music videos, films and tv and in2014 it was the worlds biggest spender on product placement. (Yoshida, 2015)
The original telephone (from the Ancient Greek τῆλε (têle, “afar”) + φωνή (phōnḗ, “voice, sound”) was a means of voice communication over distance. Telephones were static, and in the early days public phone boxes requiring the insertion of coins were the commonplace means of speaking with someone at a distance, often connected by means of a switchboard operator.
The advent of cell phones or mobiles radically changed the face of communication. The other great communication imperative was the Internet. The combination of features of both into the iPhone (Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, stated at the debut of the iMac that the name derived from the excitement of the Internet combined with the simplicity of Macintosh, and the use of the lower case i has subsequently been taken to imply the Internet connection on other devices) has created a powerful instrument which is much more than a simple “voice to voice” machine.
The telephone has developed from a static handset in a public phone booth (some remain, particularly near known suicide sites) to the brick-sized clumsy mobile and subsequently to elegant slim machines which are themselves status symbols. Perhaps the shape will see further development: already wrist phones may be seen; with the exponential increase in micro-surgery procedures it is not impossible to imagine mobile phone circuitry to be inserted under the skin at birth and apps and further modifications added as the owner learns control. Touch sensitivity is a growing issue nowadays: what about mental control of one’s internal phone? Use of the mind alone to operate computer systems is becoming an increasingly viable possibility (Falcon et al., 2016) and a brain-computer interface is already established. Last year, the Brown researchers reported testing a prototype of a fully implanted interface, with the electronics housed inside a titanium can that can be sealed under the scalp, though the device is not yet commercialised (MIT Technology Review, 2016). At the moment, “display” is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Consider if the display were directly to the retina, the voice transmitted directly to the inner ear.
Falcon, A., Irina, A., Pataki, D., Duvall, A., Jamaluddin, A., Jamaluddin, A., Duvall, A., Jamaluddin, A., Jamaluddin, A., Khaliq, A. and Jamaluddin, A. (2016). 8 Mind-blowing Gadgets You Can Control Just With Your Brain. [online] Hongkiat.com. Available at: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/brain-controlled-gadgets/ [Accessed 16 May 2016].
McKinsey & Company. (2015). Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things. [online] Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/the-internet-of-things-the-value-of-digitizing-the-physical-world [Accessed 16 May 2016].
MIT Technology Review. (2016). A Brain-Computer Interface That Works Wirelessly. [online] Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534206/a-brain-computer-interface-that-works-wirelessly/ [Accessed 16 May 2016].
Thielman, S., Neate, R. and Hern, A. (2016). Decline in iPhone sales leads to first revenue decline in 13 years for Apple. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/26/apple-iphone-first-revenue-decline-13-years [Accessed 16 May 2016].
Yoshida, E. (2015). Apple had the most product placement in the films of 2014. [online] The Verge. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/4/8147063/apple-transformers-age-of-extinction-product-placement [Accessed 16 May 2016].