The end of smartphone innovation

This autumn Apple will release a new iPhone design, and the fact that it postponed a new design and kept the 6 design for three years instead of two suggests it has something that will attract attention. However, it will really still ‘just’ be another iPhone. Meanwhile, we have some indications that Apple is working on AR glasses (of which more later) and certainly was working on a car project – but neither of these is likely to see a mass-market consumer release for a year or two at the least (cars perhaps longer). So, expect a lot more ‘innovation dead at Apple!’ stories.

This is paralleled at Android, I think: the new developer release of version ‘O’
has lots of good work and solid worthy stuff, but nothing world changing. Again, the cry will go up, “innovation is dead!”

Really, though, this reflects where we are in the product cycle. New technology of any kind tends to follow an S Curve – at first improvement and innovation seems slow as the fundamental concepts are worked out, then there’s a period of very rapid change, innovation and feature expansion, and then, as the market matures and the ‘white space’ is filled in, perceptible improvement tends to slow down. You could see this in cars, or aircraft – far more obvious change in the middle decades of the 20th century than in the first decade of the 21st – and you can see it in PCs or increasingly smartphones now. The PC curve has been completely flat for years and smartphones are now starting to flatten out as well. There will still be substantial improvement in cameras, and in GPUs (driven by VR), but the war is over.

稿源:Benedict Evans (源链) | 关于 | 阅读提示

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