New Smart Phones: Why is the Excitement Gone?
Only a few years ago many of us (yes, I did it once) lined up outside the front door of an Apple store waiting for an opportunity to purchase the latest Apple smart phone. Although Samsung phones were not released with the same fanfare, android enthusiasts could hardly wait to get their hands on the latest version of the Samsung Galaxy. Today the “noise” has quieted a bit, and there are hardly any lines at the Apple store. In fact, I barely remember the release date of the IPhone 7 and people are simply not talking about these devices anymore.
Why are people not talking anymore, probably because there is very little for one to get excited about today regarding the new smart Phones? Quartz – a digitally native news outlet, established 2012, for business people functioning in the new technology driven global economy provided the chart below comparing the latest version of smart phones with the best mobile technology.
The point here is that mobile technology has become so advanced, and there is so much packed into each model (low end to high end), that what you purchase hardly make a difference anymore. Thus the Apple IPhone 7 looks and feel like an Apple IPhone 6 or 6S. Steve Jobs – the innovator is long gone and now all the other manufacturers are catching up. Whereas Apple might have the best camera, the average consumer hardly notice this because most smart phones now have decent, functional camera technology that makes differentiation extremely difficult.
One of the more common complaints I have heard regarding smart phones is the storage capacity. According to Quartz, the manufactures have heard this complaint loud and clear, thus this is one area where we will see significant improvements over the next few generations of smart phones. Apple has already taken the first step to increase the storage capacity of the IPhone 7 to as much as 128GB. We might also begin to see more options to off load data to some kind of Cloud services.
It is rumored that Apple plans to release three new smart phones later this year to mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of their first smart phone in 2007. According to the Wall Street Journal (d/d 2/28/17), these will include a 7S, a 7S plus and a high end device with flexible display that include a light-emitting diode (OLED) curve screen. This screen supposed to provide brighter, more vivid colors than liquid-crystal (LCD) displays. Although this screen is being produced by Samsung, Apple will have exclusivity on this model for some time. It will be somewhat different from the OLED model now used for Samsung phones.
It is being reported also, that on the new IPhones, Apple will replace the lightening charging ports with a new USB –C port – thus standardizing the IPhone with other smart phones. According to the WSJ article, the home button will be gone – replaced by touch-sensitive areas on the phone and a “function area”. Apple will also add wireless charging capability to this high end model. Most important, it is rumored that this model will retail for $1,000.00.
Well, what does a $1,000 phone looks like and what will it do? If it is just another high end phone – good luck to Apple. However, if it is what I think it is – a lifestyle device – for the generation who does not now own a TV set or a table top radio; does not read the newspaper; prefers to watch the Super Bowl at a sports bar rather than watching it at home, and do not care for most of the technology that the 40 and 50 plus generation among us are still excited about, then it is a really good idea. I can hardly wait to see this piece of technology. Financial analysts are projecting that the release of this device will be huge in countries like China – increasing Apple stocks from present average of $140/share to a record – in the $160s.
The bottom line is this; most smart phones are really similar in design, operating system, and capabilities these days. Some of the newer models have trimmed back the number of proprietary apps and features. Others like Samsung are trying to differentiate itself with virtual reality, 360-degree photography (who cares about this?) while Google is using its virtual “Assistant”—a supercharged version of the Android’s voice assistant. Apple’s IPhone 7 tries to stand out by offering options most people will never use – like dual-camera. Samsung recently unveiled an updated version of the Galaxy S7 (called the S8 – with the new infinity screen), to try to make up for the market share they lost last year as a result of their exploding devices.