iPhone 4: As Far As The iPhone Can Go?


When iPhone 4 was announced I’ll admit it, I was giddy. Apple’s newest creation looks to be almost as revolutionary as the first iPhone they released. Jammed packed into arguably the sleekest, most stylish handset on the market, are a ton of features.

Some of the highlights that really stand out?

Orientation Lock
Video Calling
Only 9.3MM thin
Glass Front and Back
960×640 Screen
Better Battery
5 MP Camera with LED Flash
HD Video
A4 Chip
Portrait Lock

iPhone 4 looks to have almost every feature I could ask for in a mobile device. And to top that off the hardware itself looks incredible as well.

But as any good student of marketing knows you have to “innovate” or you “die.” And while I’m thrilled with the new iPhone I can’t help but also think about the future. So here’s my question? Does iPhone 4 mark the last major change to the iPhone platform for the foreseeable future? If Apple stays true to form and release a new iPhone every year what could they possibly add to next year’s iPhone that they haven’t already done?

Sure a Verizon version of the phone is possible, but that’s not technically something new is it?

The Apple critics always seems to rally around WWDC with the same credo. “Apple really better come out with something new and innovative this year, that XYZ phone is going to give it some stiff competition” (this year the talk is focusing on what the HTC EVO 4G has that the iPhone doesn’t.) And most agree this year Apple has lived up to expectations but what happens next.

In some respects I’m a little nostalgic over the fact that this could be the last big change in the iPhone for quite some time. Technology is of course moving fast and Apple has kept pace. It’s fair to assume iPhone 4 was in the works for some time, perhaps 1-2 years. If that’s the case it’s also fair to assume that Apple is currently working on iPhone 5 right now, even before 4 hits the market. Knowing what’s coming in iPhone 4 and knowing what Apple has left out next year’s WWDC keynote might not be nearly as exciting.

What I’m talking about here isn’t exactly new. The same thing happened with previously versions of the iPhone. The move from the first generation device to the iPhone 3G was a big one. But the next year, the move to the 3GS was not. Many felt the 3Gs was a let down in some respects. They were looking for APple to hit one out of the park, like they look for every year, and the 3Gs was move was more of a triple than a four-base knock. I think that’s most likely what’ll happen next year. If Apple does release another iPhone next year it’ll have subtle changes, faster processor, more memory etc and be something akin to the iPhone 4Gs.

Before all the haters jump in and slam me for being critical of something that’s not even been released yet let me stop you. I’m not being critical at all. I can’t wait for iPhone 4. It looks to be every bit of the innovative device I’ve grown to expect from Apple. I will however take note upon receiving it that it’ll mostly likely be living with me, everyday for at least the next 2 years.

Until then I’ll be waiting for that multi-touch back.

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5 replies

  1. I would say that between the 3G and the first gen was the least difference. It has the same processor and memory, all it added was the 3G data capability and the GPS. Both very solid improvements and probably noteworthy mostly because many people had been clamoring for them, especially 3G. I know I held out on the first model because of that. I was actually a little disappointed that there weren’t more advancements, but I was ready to jump into iPhone and so I bought. Plus, the introduction of the App store was something else I had waited for.

    I actually think the 3G to 3GS was a bigger update. Faster processor, more memory, a better camera, and the video recording capability. I was bummed to have missing the speed boost, but I didn’t want the expense of upgrading every year, so I passed on that one.

    I don’t think any of the iPhones are astounding updates if you are comparing them to the previous year’s model, but if you have the model before that, they become more attractive. I do think it’s true that we tend to want Apple to astonish us with every product release, and when they don’t we feel like we missed something. But I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation. I do wonder what they will be able to add next year!

  2. I know you’re Apple fans at GD and that’s obviously fine. I try not to rain too much on the parade but this post is absurd.
    You open by telling us this is a “Revolutionary” device and then you bring as your first proof “Multitasking”. Seriously? With a straight face can you honestly repeat that statement: “This device is REVOLUTIONARY because it can multitask”? Well I sure hope that revolutionary feature catches on and other device manufacturers start to emulate it. That would be such a great thing to get on my desktop or my Windows Mobile device or my Android phone or Blackberry.
    Apple devices seem to live in a bubble where they’re only judged against themselves. So something can be “revolutionary” if Apple haven’t done it and you can simply ignore all other manufacturers in the space.
    By this measure, when Apple one day add storage expansion options to the iPhone (like a microSD card slot) it will be “revolutionary”. Ridiculous.
    Something to remember before parroting Apple’s press releases: just because they use a word to describe their own product it doesn’t mean it’s the correct word. This ought to be internalized by bloggers who rush to inform us that the iPad is “magical”.

  3. melvynadam: Trust me on this one: not everyone at GD is an Apple fan. We have Linux people and Android people and Apple people and Windows people and what-have-you. There are several who like Apple products, sure, but a wide range is covered.

  4. I know. I love Apple products but don’t own any. I played for an hour this morning (during my commute) with a friend’s iPhone 3GS. The devices are great and really slick. The practices of the company are abhorrent to me and I can’t stand the cult-worshiping of The Great Steve but there’s no disputing the slick polished devices.

    My issue is with terminology. I’m a writer and therefore the abuse of language is something to which I am particularly sensitive. iPads aren’t “magical” (unless you are a peasant in 13th century England). Multitasking in 2010 isn’t revolutionary. And while we’re dismissing Apple marketing silliness, Apple’s devices don’t “just work”.


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