Apple’s innovative use of the touchscreen was one the main reasons why Apple took the mobile world by storm and became the tech goliath we all know and love. But with Apple apparently preparing a new iPhone just four months after the release of the last – has Apple and many other tech giants lost their ability to really innovate in the mobile space, and are they just going through the motions?
The Apple Effect
According to several tipsters the latest iPhone 5S will come in a selection of colours and will offer two different screen versions when it lands in July – hardly a bone-shattering improvement over the last version.
With Apple’s, and many others, constant need to refresh their products every year, it seems that the ever smaller release cycles aren’t allowing the companies to really innovate.
Apple’s doubling down with two handsets each year has been very successful for them - but is this having an detrimental effect on Apple and in turn the consumer? It seems consumers are caught in a never-ending cycle of new products, never really knowing whether they should buy or wait another six months for the next version.
Is This Lack of Innovation Spreading To The Rest of The Tech World?
Is this lack of innovation spreading across the industry? Well, on the face it – yes. Sony’s last smartphone was the Xperia T and it went on sale last summer. But this week it already been replaced with the slightly bigger, faster and better looking Xperia Z. Whilst the spec sheet for the Xperia Z does indeed look mighty – a 5-inch 1080p HD display would likely impress anyone – it’s hard not to wonder how Xperia T owners will feel when their handset becomes seemingly obsolete so soon.
The real question lies in whether manufacturers give consumers enough reason to cast a phone aside and dive head-first into a brand’s new flagship handset, especially given the short time between releases.
Huawei Blames The Lack Of Innovation Due To The Death of Steve Jobs
During the Consumer Electronics Show, Huawei consumer CEO Richard Yu blamed the supposed “lack of innovation” in the technology market due to the death of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
“Steve Jobs is gone. Now there is a lack of innovation,” he said. Jobs was seen by many as one of the few worthy of being a visionary, with the late Apple co-founder helping the firm become the most valuable company on the planet via the launches of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Yu also criticized South Korean technology giant Samsung, stating that it doesn’t utilize high-end materials: “their plastic is cheap”.
“In the past people understood that the best products came from Apple or Samsung. We want to change this so that people understand that the best products come from Huawei. That’s my target.”
Is Apple’s Hyper Growth Beginning To Stall?
Today, Apple is forecast to report the first fall in profits since its financial turnaround a decade ago, as its period of “hyper growth” comes to an end.
Wall Street analysts believe demand for the iPhone 5 has been lower than expected, and are forecasting on average that net income will have slipped 2% to $12.8bn (£8.1bn) during the last quarter compared with the same period last year.
Apple, which reveals its first quarter results, which includes the Christmas period on Wednesday, has a track record of beating forecasts and could prove analysts wrong. It has not seen profits fall since its last loss making spell in 2003, before the company’s success with music players set it on a massive growth trajectory.
The iPad mini could also be taking a bite out of profits. It is selling well but brings in less profit a unit than the larger version of Apple’s tablet device and may be suppressing demand for the original iPad.
As long as tech companies continue to innovate they will be able to transcend any cultural or consumer change – but if they rest on their laurels, simply going through the motions, it’s conceivable that Apple could go the same way as Nokia. Sure, it’s highly unlikely, and that’s probably what the top brass at Nokia thought during the late 90s – but it could happen. The only way to survive is by innovating, and not just making things smaller, and thinner.