As reports are filtering through that Apple may finally be set to ditch its original iPhone and end support for the device, many of its die-hard supporters are eagerly awaiting the next iteration of the phone as well as an updated operating system (the 5S expected later this year), while its detractors are predicting the end of the company’s reign as the supreme smartphone manufacturer.
While global sales for the fifth-generation of the iPhone have been satisfactory (but not at the levels once enjoyed by the firm), it would seem as if it has lost some of its buzz factor, with even the staunchest of fanboys admitting it could do with a refresh. Hope is building that this could indeed be the case.
Looking back to the first-gen device, it is now six years old, a long time in technological terms. It should come as no surprise really that Apple has decided to make this vintage model obsolete, as it usually adheres to its own five year rule of finally ending the repair of older devices and the provision of replacement documentation. Even the 3GS is under threat, with next year marking the stage where Apple will be considering phasing out this product too.
While the original iPhone, which didn’t even feature 3G or any apps (apart from those built into iOS), was considered to be “a new benchmark” for an integrated mobile device and MP3 player, over the years people have started to become less and less impressed by the updated models.
In fact, even back then, Steve Jobs had to be persuaded that allowing third-party developers to create apps for the iPhone would prove to be a shrewd move – as he had reservations about diluting the overall experience. But former board member Art Levinson managed to talk him round, and the rest’s now history.
However, it was innovations like the App Store that changed the landscape as far as smart phones were concerned, so with the WWDC 2013 conference not that far away, it remains to be seen whether the designers at Apple have come up with something as remarkable, that proves that the brand still has the desire and the genius to stay ahead of the field – especially with rivals like Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry ramping up the competition, with devices featuring the latest technology as well as a number of ever-impressive new features.
It has been reported that the highly-anticipated iOS 7 will be unveiled at this flagship event, with a lot expected of the new operating system, due to the recent success of Google’s Android and the Windows Phone.
A redesigned interface is on the cards, with the look and feel of iOS certainly due a revamp. Some have suggested that the company are moving in a more stylised direction with minimalism at the heart of it.
This could either distinguish iOS 7 from the TouchWiz operating system from Samsung in a good way, or lead a mass exodus away from the Apple device. An in-built fingerprint scanner for the iPhone 5S is one rumour which is widely reported to feature on the next model, which should arrive at some point this year, but will this type of update be enough?
So it would seem like even a bold giant like Apple is at a huge crossroads in terms of its future and ability to continue to bring out revolutionary products that customers are willing to pay premium prices for.
[author ]Gary Dixon is a freelance app developer working on a range of operating systems, but has a keen interest in the iPhone and what the company plans to do next. He recommends going to a mobile solutions provider like spudd.co.uk for any development work.[/author]