Since 2007 we’ve been hearing the same rumor over and over again anytime some newfangled flagship hit the market: This phone would surely be the iPhone’s killer. This would be the “new” iPhone, the new apple of your eye. Nobody would even remember the iPhone after this new phone comes out. We’ve seen and heard it all, right? Yet here we are, 7 years later, and the iPhone is still a device in fairly popular standing. Nobody ever really managed to "kill it off", and as it stands today, I’m not sure that it can ever really happen.
I read an article earlier about the new BlackBerry Passport. The CEO of BlackBerry basically came out to say that the Passport wasn’t intended to be an “iPhone killer”. When I read the term, I raised an eyebrow. Not only was it shocking to think that BlackBerry would actually be trying to take on the iPhone as they’re two completely different types of devices with two completely different purposes, but having the “best” device isn’t about just being better than the iPhone anymore. The industry isn’t the Apple-favored monopoly that it once was. While the iPhone is still an extremely popular device, it’s not unquestionably the best. In a sense, “iPhone killer” is an outdated term and an unrealistic goal. Offing the iPhone is no longer all it would take. Now you have a whole army to defeat.
With that being said, I don’t think any device will ever outright off the iPhone completely. The iPhone is a strange anomoly in the sense that it’s able to change just the right amount of elements to stay relevant, and keep enough the same to keep people comfortable. Take the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for example; the most extreme, noticeable changes comes from the design of the phone, which is now much larger than previous generations of the iPhone. As for the software, iOS 8 is still recognizeable as being “iOS”. Even if you were to compare it to the first version of iOS, the layout and functionality has pretty much been kept the same. The app store is still flourishing and the specs on the phone are top notch, but that’s how every new generation of iPhone is. It’s kind of self sufficient at this point. The phone doesn’t have to be the innovative superstar it used to be in order to make headlines anymore. It just does because it’s the iPhone and it’s especially relevant because the iPhone is now faster and better, like it always is (and it’s now also bigger, which is a bonus).
Ever heard of the term “too big to fail”? I think the iPhone might be just that. It’s not that the iPhone is necessarily the “best” anymore; it’s more like the device has such a following that it’s able to thrive without having to do much. The iPhone basically has everything - a reliable operating system, a thriving app store, and a piece of fruit as their mascot. Even if you hate the iPhone, even if you think they’re “boring”, the phones still work well... so long as you don’t sit on them, of course. Apple got lucky in 2007 and made the right product at the right time, and also came up with a good formula in order to keep its many initial customers happy for many years.
With that being said, and going back to the original question of wondering whether any device could actually “kill” the iPhone at this point, I’d have to say that no, realistically that’s not how it’s going to go down. If the iPhone does go down, I think it will be a very slow death - nothing as quick and easy as just one super smartphone. I think the idea of a single “iPhone killer” is an idea that’s better left somewhere back in 2009, when it was still feasible.