As has been the case every year since 2008, Apple is about to launch a new iPhone. Now, by new, what Imean is another iPhone that’s different than last year’s model, with more new inside, and perhaps less new outside. If you’ve been reading the headlines then you know this year’s model, iPhone 7, is more of a tick, tock, tock version, than a complete redesign because the massive upgrade in iPhone technology will take place next year. It’s always next year. Except when it’s not.
We hear the same thing about new Mac models, new iPad models, and now even Watch models. The latest news has a product refresh occurring this year for Mac, iPad, and Watch. For the former, I can say, ‘About time.’ The Mac line is in need of a refresh, but it’s not like Intel has been churning out speedy new chips every month. For the latter, I can say, ‘About time.’ Watch was announced a couple of years ago, launched early last year, and though watchOS 3.x will arrive with a massive performance boost, technology doesn’t sit still, and Watch has more potential to tap (GPS, Wi-Fi 4G LTE, sensors, sensors, sensors), so a refresh a mere 18 months after arrival is so unlike Apple.
One of my favorite technology writers, who I’m sure also works as the database and IT professional heading up Trump’s presidential ground game, thinks new iPads are coming. But the really new, and ‘revolutionary’ iPads won’t come until next year. No. Wait. That’s 2018.
That conjecture is based upon even more conjecture from other Apple technology watchers and crystal ball analysts. What could be so revolutionary about an iPad change that it won’t show up for a couple of years? The flexible AMOLED display. Flexible? Sure. Why not? Because. Isn’t a flexible display on your Top 10 List of Reasons to Wait for a new iPad? What I would expect to see is a quad HD display in a year or two because you can never have too many pixels on a screen, regardless of how long the battery doesn’t last.
Every year Apple’s critics, fanboy gangs, and unemployed tech writers state the obvious. This year’s new “insert expected Apple product here” will be an incremental advancement, but next year is the revolutionary redesign. Yes, that’s what they say, unless they’re already busy saying that Apple doesn’t innovate anymore, and Apple has let hardware competitors get ahead of “insert current Apple product here.”
The truth of the matter is this. Apple innovates two ways.
First, is revolutionary innovation with products or upgrades that change the direction of a product industry. And, second, iterative incremental innovations which improve a product each year. The former examples are Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and Watch, each of which changed the course of their respective technology segments. Examples of the latter include more incremental improvements, including SSD storage, Retina displays, TouchID, 3D Touch and ForceTouch, fashion colors, and the like, which collectively make for a revolutionary change over time.
Look at what every smartphone looks like today. An iPhone. Look at what every smartphone can do today? That sea change in capability took place because of Apple’s steady incremental innovations, and willingness to create a revolution every now and then.
Still, critics lament Apple’s inability to launch a revolutionary new product or feature on a quarterly basis. They’ve been doing it for years. They did it last year. They’re doing it again this year. Ignore them.