Mobile phones hey? What would we do without them? Yet, just around 20 years ago, these incredible pieces of technology were only for the rich. Now pretty much everyone has a mobile phone. In fact, figures suggest that there are more mobile phones in the world than there are people. That is truly an incredible statistic.
Which brings me onto something I love to talk about and am very passionate about – smartphones and the rate at which mobile manufacturers release them.
An Apple a year…
Let’s start off with Apple. What an incredible technological masterpiece an iPhone really is. It is nothing short of miraculous and at some point down the line, it will be recognized as one of the most significant pieces of technology ever invented by humans.
Think about it. Apple has pretty much dominated the mobile phone market since the release of the first generation iPhone back in 2007. And with the release of the iPhone 7 in September of this year, one only has to marvel at how far the smartphone has developed in a very short space of time.
That said, is it necessary for Apple to release a new phone every year bearing in mind most mobile phone contracts run for a 24 month period, especially those attached to high priced handsets like the iPhone?
Let’s take a quick look at the release dates of iPhones through the years.
- iPhone (first generation) – June 2007
- iPhone (3G) – July 2008
- iPhone (3GS) – June 2009
- iPhone (4) – June 2010
- iPhone (4s) – June 2011
- iPhone (5) – September 2012
- iPhone (5C, 5S) – September 2013
- iPhone (6, 6 Plus) – September 2015
- iPhone (7, 7 Plus) – September 2016
Now obviously, the difference between the first generation iPhone and the second model (with 3G capability) is a fairly big step up. But from around 2010 onwards, Apple started to release small upgrades of the current phone, for example, the iPhone 4 to the 4s and the 5 to the 5c and 5s. All in all, these phones offered slightly more but I still feel that instead of releasing almost the same phone, they could have waited two years and released a new model number, for example going from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5.
So why do they do it? Well, Apple and other industry analysts will argue that there is a demand for it. They will say that it allows new entrants into the Apple family, that those who now choose to come over to an Apple product, say from a Windows based phone or Android device, can do so very easily without having to wait too long to get an up-to-date product.
My personal opinion is that they do it because an Apple fanboy(girl) can’t bear to be seen without the latest product from their beloved company. So there is certainly money to be made by offering a new phone every year, even though in between major redesigns, the phones are very similar.
Will this always be the case?
That said, numbers are reflective of the fact that sales are in fact slowing down for iPhones in particular. Maybe people are cottoning onto the fact that although the iPhone is an incredible piece of technology, Apple doesn’t need to release one every year unless they are going to offer very significant changes.
A case in point – a survey run by Quartz before the launch of the iPhone 7 showed that only 10% of iPhone users who said they would upgrade to the iPhone 7. People are starting to demand significant change.
Will there ever be enough of them for Apple to listen? Well, it doesn’t matter, does it? Like most companies, Apple are driven by their bottom line and until releasing a phone every year is no longer financially viable, they will continue to do it.
I don’t agree with it, however, and you know what, there are cheaper phones out there that can pretty much do what any iPhone can!