Every year when the new iPhone is announced I dutifully place my order. I like to keep up to date for a variety of reasons, not least because a new phone gives me an insight into developments and fuels the odd article or two. Another reason to change is that last year’s phone always fetches a good price on the secondhand market so the upgrade can be relatively painless. It’s a moot point whether it is more cost-effective to change phones every year or every two years.
This year we will face a dilemma and this could effect sales. All the rumours sites are agreed that we will see two iPhone Sixes–a 4.7in small model and a 5.5in-screened big phone—the so-called phablet. Phablets have become popular, especially so in China and the Far East, and Apple has been losing out in this segment. The bigger model cannot come soon enough and I believe it will be more popular than analysts and Apple care to admit.
With the increased likelihood that the larger iPhone will not be launched until several months after the standard iPhone 6, what will this do to Apple’s launch figures? It will be impossible to compare like with like and I suspect the initial figures will be skewed as some of the company’s most loyal customers sit on the fence while waiting to see what the promised phablet looks like.
I am sure I shall be on the fence with the rest of them. These days I don’t really think of my iPhone as a phone. I make very few calls and receive even fewer. I know this could indicate a lack of social life, but I counter by spending an inordinate amount of time texting and emailing. All things considered, a larger midi iPhone—half phone, half iPad— would suit me well.
At the moment I carry the phone as well as an iPad mini. The phone is convenient (and, of course, essential for the infrequent calls) but the iPad is the more versatile and is preferable for web browsing, productive writing and all written communications. I am now beginning to envisage a time when I could manage with just one device, something midway between phone and iPad.
I wouldn’t necessarily continue carrying this bigger device in my pocket. It could live in a bag and earphones or bluetooth could tackle the infrequent voice calls. It seems doable to me and I suspect millions will be having similar thoughts.
Apple has obviously considered all the implications, from the splitting of the iPhone market to the impact this could have on iPad (in particularly iPad mini) sales. We are entering another period of convergence, just as the iPhone itself was a convergence of many different stand-alone technological and traditional products, and I suspect the distinction between call-enabled devices and the now-familiar tablet will become blurred. The unicorn-like iWatch or iTime can only further add to the incentive for change if it ever gets unveiled.
The next six months will be very interesting and I am watching closely from my fence.