Will the next iPhone go to 11?

On September 10 Apple will be holding its annual bacchanal/iPhone launch which will probably result in some update mobiles and a new iMac or two. Is it enough?

There are many tech pundits who are seeing the death of Apple’s innovation and, barring a few bright spots in the realm of privacy and security, they’re just about right. The iPhone has remained the same for nearly a decade, adding incremental improvements but little in the way of massive change. The laptops and desktops are stagnant and even falling backwards in terms of quality. Computers and mobile phones are full of features. Sure, Apple still leads when it comes to making features work well, but it is far from the first in adding new technologies to what amounts to an antiquated stack.

So the new iPhone will go to 11. That’s great. But what do we get for our upgrade fee?

I’m seeing an interesting twist in terms of technology these days. The idea that you can film an entire movie on your iPhone sounds like fun but filmmakers are still going back to mirrorless cameras and “antiquated” lenses. The future of streaming media has already been decided in the 2D and Apple is far behind on that front. What happens when VR comes to the fore? There are plenty of companies that will eat Apple’s lunch on that front come 2025 and beyond. Finally, Apple doesn’t own infrastructure. That part of the world, the part that is hidden behind security and future smart highways, belongs to the Asian giants, tariffs or no.

This stage of the game reminds me of the home computer revolution. For decades IBM and other giants ruled the basements of big corporations. An army of rich and faceless men sold big iron to governments and institutions. Then, ever so quietly, the home computer revolution upended the entire thing. Those faceless men died as something bigger took their place.

And I know it is unfair to compare flashy Apple with IBM. But remember: in the late 1970s an IBM 1401 was as futuristic as any MacBook and the language of computing – machine readable fonts, barcodes, and blinking lights – was part of our culture.

The question isn’t whether or not we’ll get three cameras on our iPhone. The real question is who will build the next 20 years of tech?

It’s not Apple.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

View all posts by John Biggs →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *