The age of the 'good enough' smartphone
After watching Apple’s latest World Wide Developer Conference it’s clear that the days of huge hardware announcements are all but gone.
Only a few years ago smartphones were ambitious but flawed.
The battle for new hardware features, like a better camera or longer battery life, directly correlated with how cool you were.
With my iPhone 5s, which is now four generations old, I’m about as lame as it gets.
And this battle for cool has lead phone manufacturers like Apple to develop handsets which have it all.
So, as a keen live-viewer of the World Wide Developer Conference since the first iPhone was announced, I’ve become increasingly deflated by the lack of major updates in the past few years.
It seems there’s nothing new to add!
Apple fans were once treated to the announcement of an all-new device like the iPad, or huge new features like internet access on a handheld device.
But in more recent WWDC’s, Apple has instead removed features, like the headphone jack, instead.
These days smartphones have a great battery life, the latest games and of course they have access to every piece of information ever published by humanity with a quick voice search.
They are a wafer thing sheet of uninterrupted glass offering seemingly unending possibilities.
At last night’s WWDC, instead of announcing something new I’d need to fork out for, the company announced an inbuilt time-tracking app which will allow you to restrict your own time in certain apps.
It also announced the ability to turn on a ‘do not disturb’ feature when a user goes to bed, so there’s no more unexpected blue light filling your bedroom at 2am.
Are phones ‘good enough’? I think so, and clearly so does Apple, as it rolls out the new features to even my ancient iPhone 5s.
Smartphones have become powerful enough to be considered a ‘computer’ - whatever that means these days - but we’re limited to a pair of thumbs to operate the thing.
You could argue that there’s more to do with smartphones, but as long as all you need from a phone is to text people, browse the internet, listen to music, take photos, call people, video-call people, play games, socialise, jump in to augmented reality and virtual reality, listen to podcasts, create podcasts, schedule meetings, reject meetings, find a partner, order a taxi and answer emails, then I think you’re all set.
The new arms race then is not about new features.
The company that wins this race will be the one that can give us the opportunity to continue living our lives with the least distraction.
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