Another week brings more rumors of an iPhone 6 with a bigger screen; this time around the skinny from a Chinese analyst is that the next Apple superphone will arrive in two larger sizes — 4.7 and 5.7 inches, and as soon as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference typically held each June.
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If the next iPhones are indeed taller, as everyone seems to believe they will be, it will mark yet another major product release in which Apple without Steve Jobs plays catch up rather than blazing a new trail of bold, design-led innovation. I mean, that iPhone 5S fingerprint reader is neat, but not exactly world-changing.
In the past few years, we’ve seen Apple follow market trends by releasing a smaller iPad more similar to a Kindle Fire or Google Nexus 7 and diversify their smartphone offerings with the less-expensive iPhone 5C. Next up in this pattern: The release of a larger iPhone 6 to better compete with Samsung’s smartphone lineup.
But this isn’t an Apple-bashing article. Apple under Tim Cook hasn’t wowed us the way Jobs did with the introduction of big deal innovations like the iPod, original iPhone, iPad, and even Siri in the iPhone 4S, but Cook has been savvy about continuing to expand and make gobs of money even as competition grows and smartphones begin to look more and more like a commodity product with each passing quarter.
So it’s time to finally look beyond the iPhone. A few years from now we may be no more excited about a new iPhone iteration than we were about a new iPod release in 2012. The battle between iOS and Android handsets will wear on, but it will become of less consequence as we refocus on wearables or the “Internet of things,” or whatever pops up next. Sure, we’ll still carry around phones for many years to come, they just won’t seem as exciting as they have since 2007; it will be much like how we feel about laptops today.
And this is where the real opportunity lies for Tim Cook and company. A bigger iPhone 6 could be fantastic, but it’s not likely to be revolutionary as some of its predecessors were. Instead, the time is finally here to unleash “one more thing” that will change how we go about our daily lives.
It could be the smartwatch or Apple HDTV that we’ve been hearing about for years, or perhaps some other kind of wearable device. The time seems right, the early offerings — such as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear in the smartwatch department — are weak, and there’s still immense amounts of cash and talent within Apple to be thrown into making something that “just works.”
So I like the rumor that a bigger iPhone 6 could be revealed as early as June, because it frees up the company’s usual September product announcement for something even more new and exciting.