Written by Michael Chen
Before the iPhone, the concept of a touch-screen phone was alien. In fact, a lot of the technology that came with the first iPhone seemed like fantasy before it was put into use. The iPhone and its sequels have brought revolution after revolution to the smartphone world. Since their creation, Apple has improved and reproduced seven generations of the iPhone, the latest being the iPhone 6 and its larger counterpart, the 6 Plus.
However, Apple’s dynasty of groundbreaking new phones has come to an end. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will not have as big of an impact on consumers and the smartphone industry as previous products did. Despite all of the improvements that these new models sport—from faster internet speeds to a new version of iOS—the newest iPhone lacks major innovations to the existing product. Most of the iPhone 6’s modifications are small improvements and additions to existing features.
For example, the new iPhones have larger and higher resolution screens than those of previous models. These improvements enhance user experiences with media and apps, and the increased size will even allow for new in-app features including an iPad-style landscape mode for applications on the 6 Plus. In addition, the iPhone camera has a variety of new capabilities that enhance the phone’s media taking ability. The newest iPhone camera shoots HD video, captures slow-motion and time-lapse clips and maintains constant focus throughout footage using a new autofocus technology. However, while these improvements in the iPhone’s design and functionalities make room for more creativity from users and app developers, the improvements themselves are simply minor tweaks and additions.
With only small changes, it is unlikely that these new iPhones will create as big of a wave as previous models did. For example, the iPhone 3GS was the first iPhone to support video taking capabilities, doubling the iPhone’s camera functionalities and opening up the world of capturing motion pictures to iPhone users. It was the first iPhone to support voice recognition, a feature which is now used in many popular apps. Then, the iPhone 4S took voice recognition a step further with Siri, the virtual assistant who uses voice recognition to communicate with the user. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus simply bring a cacophony of adjustments to existing features—adjustments whose impacts will be minimal compared to the tidal changes that previous models brought.
The newest iPhones do have one wildcard. In Oct. of this year, Apple’s mobile wallet system, Apple Pay, comes into effect. Apple Pay offers an easy, secure and private way for users to store credit and debit cards in their phones and make private, secure transactions with a touch. Apple Pay, according to Apple, is already supported by many major credit cards and banks, and more than 220,000 stores have been integrated into its network. The number is growing, which makes it seem likely that Apple Pay has a chance of revolutionizing the way people pay for their expenses. Regardless, it will take time for it to fully integrate into people’s everyday routines and there is always the concern that with mobile credit storage, your private credit card information is available for hackers to steal.
Overall, seven generations of new iPhones sporting the newest innovations is draining Apple’s idea pool and as that pool gets smaller, so will the impact that their new products have on the world.