I have been hearing a lot of talk about how many people would be disappointed if the iPhone design rumors are true. They say that Apple has stopped innovating, that they will be doomed to fall behind all the other amazing new Android phones. It makes me think about Apple, how they see their future with the iPhone, and while I do not claim to be any sort of expert on Apple, I thought I might share what I think about their ultimate gameplan.
Now, before I start my rant of sorts, I would recommend reading this post. Its quite an interesting read, in my opinion. Anyway, all of what I might say could be completely wrong come September, but just hear me out and I will try to stick to the topic of the actual design of the iPhone. Apple seems to be the type of company not afraid to innovate, but just as they can innovate, I think they are even more the type of company who is not afraid to refine. In this day and age, refining is the all more scarier prospect. Its much easier to come up with some gimmick, call it innovation, and repeat that year after year. What's hard is coming up with a gimmick that lasts, creating something that has the lasting effect, that wont get tired, that can be subjected to refinement, to improve upon it, until that gimmick is the best it can be. That was the original iPhone. A touchscreen was the gimmick, and like many gimmick. That was the innovation in the design. Refinement of that design would come later.
Apple refinement of that design would come later, with the 3G, the 3GS, and finally the 4. I think the 4 was the ultimate refinement. This was the design Apple wanted all along, but could not accomplish before hand. I think the basic design of the iPhone 4 will stick with this design for quite some time. Take a look at the current Macbook Pro (not retina). Its basic design has not changed for years (I think 4). Clearly Apple loves that design, and so does everyone else. No one has complained that the Macbook Pro looks the same. I think they have now found the lasting design for the Macbook Air too, and the iPad, and the iPod touch. Besides making them thinner, lighter, more durable, etc, I think those products are not going to change for a while, because there is no need for it. Apple is all about simplicity, and those designs are as simple as they can be. Until there come a need for a design change to support some new feature, those form factors will stay the same.
And that leaves the iPhone. I think Apple has found that ultimate design with the iPhone 4. Again, making it thinner, lighter, more durable, or bigger (meaning taller) are the only changes you should come to expect from Apple. I think that with the iPhone 5, if it haves a two tone back, that will eventually change back to a single tone. I think they may continue switching the headphone jack around. I dont think they will be adding more colors to the lineup. I do think they will continue improve the internals (camera, processor, ram, storage, connectivity, etc), but as for the form factor they dont want to mess it up. So all the people yelling for a new design wont get one. They wont get the teardrop design. They will be stuck with this iPhone design for a while.
One thing I do see happening is the iPhone eventually going the design route of the iPod Touch. That is the only design change I can see Apple doing, because I think, like the current iPhone and iPads design, it is long lasting. Right now it is not quite possible (so we think). but later when antennas and metal can be friends, that design will come. But what do you think? Do you think Apple will be like Samsung and come out with a new phone design every year or so? Or do you think they will go with their computer line paths and just stick to that ultimate design of simplicity.