TECH

iPhone And The Mountain Of Unscalable Expectations

No point in wanting the moon from the 10th anniversary iPhone.

09/01/2017 4:36 PM IST | Updated 09/01/2017 5:20 PM IST
Kimberly White / Reuters
Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone in San Francisco, California January 9, 2007. Apple unveiled an eagerly-anticipated iPod mobile phone with a touch-screen on Tuesday, priced at $599 for 8 gigabytes of memory, pushing the company's shares up as much as 8.5 percent. Jobs said the iPhone, which also will be available in a 4-gigabyte model for $499, will ship in June in the United States. The phones will be available in Europe in the fourth quarter and in Asia in 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE

When I was reviewing the iPhone 7 Plus, many people asked me, "Is that the new iPhone?" Identification with a particular smartphone is usually the kind of behaviour restricted to geeks, except of course in the case of Apple's most popular product. And, smartphones have evolved a lot since Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone on 9 January, 2007, 10 years ago.

There has been a fair amount of writing online, on how the iPhone changed the world of tech, culture and beyond. Much has also been written about the evolution of the iPhone. But, practically every iPhone launch is followed by cries of, "Oh it is not revolutionary!" emerging from different corners. I have been guilty too.

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The time has come to understand that the revolution is over and we need to treat the iPhone as a product and not a miracle. While the iPhone will rightly be always acknowledged as a stunning achievement, over the years the competition has also evolved and is making great smartphones.

Google's Android system is very mature and is beating the iOS in many quarters. Samsung, Motorola, and Google are making smartphones which are neck to neck in competition with the iPhone. So, while you can expect an amazing smartphone from Apple, don't expect a miracle.

When Jobs announced the original iPhone he said that Apple is launching three products.

The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.

The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone.

And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device.An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone ... Are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.

Today the smartphone is many products in one -- camera, music player, communication device, wallet, address book, calendar, fitness device and so much more. Hopes from the 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone are quite high.

An amazing OLED bezel-less screen, a supersonic biometric sensor, a stunning dual camera, great Siri support -- these are some of the rumored things that might feature in the next iPhone. But bear in mind that at a conceptual level, these technologies already exist. And some of them have even been actualised in other smartphones such as the Mi Mix.

The Apple Inc. of today has been built around the iPhone. Although, the Mac and iPad are separate products, the Watch, Apple TV and even the Mac work better for you if there is an iPhone at the centre. So, Apple has to make sure that everything works. Innovations are iterative.

Don't expect that tomorrow your phone will be able to transform into a bike or become your purse or shaver. (Well, one of the iPhones actually did that, kinda.) Apple might produce a breakthrough device in the field of home assistance, virtual reality or something else. But expectations from the iPhone should now be realistic.

As I have pointed out earlier, while smartphone companies are making great phones, they need to get rid of the "iPhone Killer" tag. By the same token, we need to stop treating the iPhone as a gift from god.

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