We know that $#!T happens, right, and it does so with alarming frequency. That means we must also remember that things change. There’s a growing assumption that Apple has peaked because the iPhone hit a plateau. This isn’t the first time, but Chicken Little’s raison d’être is to stoke the flames and stir up dust (I buy metaphors by the box using Amazon Prime).
What will Apple be like after the iPhone? After that time in the future when the iPhone or its successor product is no longer called an iPhone?
We don’t know.
Change is an interesting phenomenon among humanity. Apple started life in a garage with limited resources, but change happens, and one by one the company produced a seemingly endless array of computer models based upon the Apple I, but then leapfrogged to the Mac, then diverted to the iPod because people needed a better way to listen to and manage their music.
Apple changed and it was all good.
Cellphones began to get smarter and it became obvious that music– then stored on iPods– would end up on smartphones because who wants to carry around multiple devices? Change begat the iPhone which pushed the iPad and a new version of the tablet into the mainstream of humanity.
From one perspective the Mac hasn’t changed much since 1984. It’s still point and click, but that’s about all that remains of the originals. Today’s Macs are supercomputers by comparison. A new MacBook, an iPhone, and a decent microphone can produce broadcast quality videos with ease.
What people worry about today is Apple after the iPhone. Let’s assume the company has achieved peak iPhone with a plateau that will continue for years to come. Is that so bad? Apple made more than $18-billion in profit last quarter. That’s not a bad plateau, folks.
But the future beckons and, as always, the future changes what and how we did what we did in the past so it’s safe to assume there will be some kind of technology that will replace the iPhone, if not in physical form, certainly in name.
What will replace the iPhone?
That’s the direction I see for soon-to-arrive technology for the masses. Just as the Mac and PC took on specific tasks and capabilities offloaded from larger computers, notebooks made the Mac mobile (not much difference between an entry-level PowerBook circa 1992 and a new MacBook today other than improved components), and both iPhone and iPad took on functionality that was once Mac and PC only.
Watch follows that trend by taking on some of the notifications, alarms, alerts and communication capability once reserved only for the iPhone, but now ever more convenient. But it’s also another piece of technology that must work and place nice with others, and yet stand on its own merit.
It’s arguable that word processors and spreadsheets were the killer apps for early PCs. And it’s just as arguable that email and browsers were the killer apps for early internet users. Today’s computers do so much more than devices of the past, and I lump Mac, PC, smartphone, and tablet into that group because of their ubiquity in human society.
That’s why I’m willing to declare, short of implantable computers deftly placed somewhere in our heads or chest cavity, that the age of killer apps and iPhones has passed. The future will be a mashup of devices and capabilities; some of the latter spread across all devices, but some reserved for specific devices. The secret will be to make all those devices work well together, including Apple Car, Apple Hoverboard, and the future Apple brain implant which makes our daily lives like a day at Disneyland. Enjoyable and highly curated.
That’s what Apple does. It curates the technology in a way to make it more human and more useable by the masses.