Like every year in the past, Apple at its September special event announced a new lineup of iPhones. But it did not stop at that. Also announced was a refreshed Apple Watch Series 3, a new Apple TV 4K and we also saw a couple of accessories like the AirPower charging mat and a new case for the AirPods as well.
While Apple had plenty to show to its fans at the launch event, there are a lot of hidden details when you observe a bit closely.
iPhone strategy change
While everyone from the tipsters to the leaks referred to the new iPhones as the iPhone 7s, the iPhone 7s Plus and the iPhone 8, a recent leak changed all of this. A later leak confirmed the news that the new iPhone models would be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X instead. So, what’s in a name change?
From an earlier piece, it was clear that Apple’s iPhone product release cycle has changed. This also means that there may not be any ‘S’ branded iPhones moving forward, but just redesigned iPhones with improved hardware. The old tick tock cycle is no more, which means fans and buyers will keep seeing new designs (or bigger design refreshes) every year, which is a good thing. At the same time Apple designers and engineers will have to work overtime and come up with fresher ideas every year.
While this year saw an exhaustive list with the iPhone X being the highlight, next year may not be as exciting because Apple may have exhausted its kitty of patents to make the iPhone X. Its 10th anniversary iPhone had to be special and so it is, but don’t expect such big user experience changes year after year.
While interest in Apple iPhone may have spiked up this year, it will be interesting to see how much longer the iPhone as a hero product survives in the coming years; more so, because Apple’s iPhone has been losing steam gradually over the years. While Android smartphone makers like Samsung, Sony, LG and the like have survived by delivering new products with new designs every year, it will be interesting to see how Apple’s iPhone evolves, because it really has not seen a drastic redesign (visually) since the iPhone 6.
iPhone 8 Plus is no longer the flagship?
Most of Apple’s innovations, were visible on the iPhone X model instead of the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus. Until last night’s event, the iPhone ‘Plus’ models packed in the top-notch specifications. Now, it’s the iPhone X. It still isn’t clear what’s happening here. Will the iPhone X be a onetime thing (to extend the shelf life of its hero product)? Or will Apple keep producing a special version of the iPhone X going forward? Or will the next special iPhone arrive ten years from now as the iPhone XX? There are a lot of questions to which only Apple has the answers here. Probably, Apple may announce an iPhone 9 and a 9 Plus only the coming year but right now it’s hard to tell. Let’s just enjoy ogling at that iPhone X, shall we?
Apple is finally open to change
If anything, Apple is desperate to keep it iPhone at the very top. Just like that, Apple took a way the essential Home Button and its TouchID in one go. The iPhone 7 took away the 3.5mm headphone jack. So, will the display disappear with Siri taking over completely as the iPhone turns into an AirPod? Hold on, tiger!
Apple’s is finally starting to open up like never before, it’s taking bigger steps that it should have years ago, because Apple can afford to take these having both hardware and software in its control. Android can take big jumps in hardware, but most of it gets redundant before it even reaches its full potential. The fingerprint reader is a shining example of this, where it's only purpose on an Androids smartphone is to unlock it “securely”. Soon, it’s going to be those taller displays.
Replacing a Home button with a swipe was a bold move and same goes for FaceID as The Verge rightly pointed out. Will users adapt to these changes? Or will they hold back and think of the iPhone X as not the future, but just an experiment? Sales figures will give us a better idea.
Android is in danger
With Apple starting to “open up” to bigger and bolder changes, Google’s Android is lagging far behind, not with hardware, but in terms of software. This is because the best you can get from Google is only on a Pixel device. Manufacturers like Samsung come out with new innovations but developers have yet to make good use of fingerprint readers (that are now available on entry-level smartphone like the Redmi 4). As I watched the Samsung’s Note 8 launch in India, it was easy to notice how much more Samsung could have done with its Note if it had complete control over its software like it does with hardware. But will developers create anything for a new OS? Limited and fewer changes over the years means that very little is changing with the Android user experience. Google is preparing something special though, there’s Fuchsia. “But will it blend?”
AR is Apple’s future
After showing off AR Kit at its WWDC, Apple once again demoed AR using the iPhone 8 on stage. This time it was a game, being played on a blank table. Every tech company is gunning for AR but Apple with its massive developer support can mould and bend the technology in a way that only Apple can. Google has taken a shot at AR as well, so it remains to be seen who reaches the top first. This because the key to augmented reality is to get the experience into the user’s hands in a practical way like services, instead of just gaming.
With a large and responsive developer base, things could take off, giving Apple the chance to leapfrog this technology bring it to the masses in a polished manner. With Google, there's always problems of hardware fragmentation that get in the way. As for Google's VR efforts over the past couple of years with Daydream and Google VR we have yet to see some practical applications of the same.
Updated Date: Sep 13, 2017 17:31 PM