It’s iPhone launch day today, which I would usually greet with some meditation on the expected features or design of the new device and how it fits into the wider competitive field. This year, however, I want to zoom out rather than in. Because no matter how much or how little the iPhone changes today, no matter how awful its new naming scheme, we can all be certain that Apple will sell tens of millions of its 2018 iteration before the year is through. It’s this apparent inevitability to Apple’s commercial success that I find fascinating.
The only danger the iPhone can run into at this stage is a sudden collapse in its perceived coolness factor among the general public – but barring anything unforeseen, I don’t see that happening any time soon. We’ll be stuck with the iPhone being the smartphone all others get compared to for a long time to come.
I have avoided iPhones. I like Apple’s iPad and the iTouch before that, but found I could get what I wanted out of cell phones for less cost with other carriers and android phones.
Why? I am a bit of a component minded person, I pay for a landline, DSL, and cell phone. I have my technologies separate from each other when and where I can so that if one goes wonky I can still use the rest.
Never bought one, never will.
But to add something constructive to the conversation, the answer is still “no”. People don’t need to buy new iPhones every year, but even if they only buy replacements every 5 years it still means there are millions of people that need to buy a new phone every year. So no, we will never stop buying smartphones – not until we start calling them by another name.
Same thing happened with desktops and laptops: every year the technology leaped and buying a new one gave us new advancements. Then they became good enough to last a couple of years, a decade or even more. But eventually they’ll need to be replaced, so the cycle restarts, albeit slower.