Can Apple revolutionize the smartphone market again?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: December 30, 2012

At the beginning of December, I asked you if you thought the iPhone, and iOS, was due for a revolution in 2013. That was a pretty loaded question, though. After all, I don’t think there’s a person on the planet, whether they use an iPhone or iOS or not, who would say that Apple shouldn’t significantly update their software. iOS is getting long in the tooth, there is no other way to look at it. Is the iPhone and iOS due for a revolution in 2013? Absolutely. But, that’s not the question we should be asking.

Earlier today, our very own Anna Scantlin wrote about the future. In an article titled, “Let’s talk predictions: what would you like to see in an iPhone 5S?” she does a good job of talking about a few of the changes she thinks Apple should incorporate into the next version of their popular iPhone model, and talks about a few additions to the software she’d like to see as well. All of the changes are sound, especially widgets, but as one commenter pointed out, there’s probably going to be a big gap between what the consumer wants to see, and what Apple will actually utilize.

For the most part, that’s how it usually goes. So, let’s be honest about that. And now that we’ve got it out of the way, let’s keep on truckin’ along.

So, the iPhone 5S. That’s what we’re resigning ourselves to call it, right? We have no idea what it will actually be called, and more to the point, we have no idea what the device will have in store for the smartphone market come later this year. That’s why it’s good to talk about predictions. At the same time, while we don’t know anything about what’s coming, based on the history of iPhone releases, we can make a few assumptions. Specifically, we can guess that the iPhone 5S will have a similar body as the iPhone 5 – or be exactly the same.

The improvements will come in camera, processor, maybe –maybe—RAM, and definitely in the software. (I use “definitely” as loosely as possible. There will be upgrades, but who knows if it will be what it needs to be.) And then Apple will reveal the release date for the phone, soon after the event announcing it, and people will go crazy for it. The masses will line up. It’ll be sold out, and we’ll hear about how many millions were sold in a certain span of time. After that, I’ll probably end up writing an article about how the iPhone 5S is so popular, much like I did with the 5.

I said that the iPhone 5 is a byproduct of Google’s Android platform, and more specifically the LEGION of hardware devices that are out there, and that belief hasn’t changed. I think Apple gave too much to the “masses” in the creation of the iPhone 5, and didn’t provide enough innovation in the software to make up for it. In essence, the iPhone 5, while being the “big update,” just wasn’t big enough.

It is going to be Apple’s product cycle that steals their thunder in 2013, I think. Sure, the rumors and speculation are going to kick-off here soon, and we’re all going to be wondering just how much of it is true. How many of the fantastic new features will actually be real, and not just hopeful suggestions to the Cupertino-based company.

Back in 2007, Apple revolutionized the smartphone market. Every year, or depending on the year almost every month, we kept hearing about the next “iPhone killer,” and we saw every other manufacturer out there trying to create the next smartphone to rake in the money, and consumer attention. Now, in 2013, I think we’re at that point where consumers already are looking at other manufacturers, at other phones, and finding devices that fit more with what they’re looking for. Back in 2007, while there were other options, there weren’t any as great as the iPhone. In 2013, though, that won’t be the case.

Not unless Apple does something drastic to make it happen. Apple has to think outside the box, but while making sure that they stick to the design language that has worked for them over the years. Yes, they have to change their software in a big way, but make sure that it still “just works” in the way that they’ve marketed it as such over the years.

Can it be done? I believe it can. I’ll never lose faith in the ingenuity of people, especially people who are out there creating fantastic new things. Apple has to stop resting on their laurels, and do something to revolutionize the smartphone market again. That would be truly exciting.

But hey, if Apple won’t do it, I’m sure another company, like Samsung, or Google proper, would love to take the throne as the company that revolutionized the market.

So tell me, Dear Reader. Do you think Apple has what it takes to “change everything” again? And if you do, do you think they will in 2013? Or will they play it close to their vest all over again, and just keep on doing what they’re doing? Or would you like another company to steal the limelight in revolution? Do you think another company like Samsung, or maybe even HTC, can revolutionize the smartphone market? Let me know what you think!

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