There won't be another iPhone-class product, not for Apple, not for anyone, not for a long time

There won't be another iPhone-class product, not for Apple, not for anyone, not for a long time

Apple needs another iPhone-class product or they're doomed. We heard it right after the iPhone was released. We heard it right after the iPad was released. We're hearing it now. From shoddy journalists to market mad-people it's the single most consistent, most bullshit Apple narrative of the last half-decade. What makes it so daft, so egregiously wrong-headed, is that there isn't a business as big as the iPhone, not for Apple, not for anyone, and there won't be again. Not for years more to come.

We've all seen the reports. The iPhone by itself is more profitable than many of Apple's competitors are in total. iPhone is as profitable as companies with oligopoly control over fossil fuel resources. It's a singular phenomenon.

The iPad doesn't make as much money as the iPhone. And, no iWatch, iTelevision, iEspresso maker, or any other consumer electronics product is going to either.

Yet article after article, analyst after analyst insists Apple simply must release their "next big thing" and now or, doomed. 60 days to release an iWatch or doomed. Has to sell 65 million units a year or doomed. Haunted. Doomed.

It's something we touched on briefly during the Macworld|iWorld 2014 keynote panel and Jason Snell and I spoke about at length beforehand. It's an onslaught of the ignorant, the attention-stealing, the misaligned, and the manipulative. It's unending and it's damaging.

It sets us up with expectations that can never be met. It sets us up to think veritable miracles of engineering are boring. And it forces Apple to waste time coping with countering insane misperceptions rather than solving the real problems of real people.

The truth is Apple makes two kinds of products. They make the flagship products that support their business, like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod. And they make the supporting products that increase the value of their flagship products, like the Apple TV.

The Apple TV is a great product and could, if rumors of a hardware update and Game Store prove true, become a really great one. But it won't be a hundred million unit selling, multi-billion dollar profit making one any time soon. Same with the iWatch, if Apple ships a smartwatch or band this year. An iWatch or iBand could be a fantastic product that really makes owning an iPhone far better for a certain group of people than anything else in the market. But imagine how many Apple would have to sell, and at how high a markup, to even come close to generating iPhone-level profits. (Or save yourself the mental work and check out Ben Bajarin's research on Techpinions.)

It took from 1984 to 2007 for Apple to go from the personal computer to the very personal computer. You could argue iPod in 2001 was Apple's first blockbuster mobile product, but it was extremely limited. You could argue the iPad was their most recent, but it's really an extension of the iPhone's multitouch revolution.

I covered this from a different angle back in January in a piece called "Today Apple revolutionizes—" What exactly?:

That's the challenge facing not only Apple, but every major technology company. The personalization of computing has no obvious, immediate, giant, next leaps to make. [...] What's easier to see is an array of smaller products and services making a sizable, if more widely dispersed impact. Just like evolution, taken year after year, can equal or surpass any singular revolution, an array of smaller products and services that improve the overall value of ecosystem and experience can be just as important.

That, I think, remains the key take-away here. There won't be another iPhone, not even if Steve Jobs were still running Apple, not for many years to come. But there will be many, many things that, taken together, make the iPhone much more valuable. There won't be anything as big as the iPhone but there will be things that, taken together, make the iPhone bigger.

"What's next" is a long way off. Maybe not 1984 to 2007 long, but long enough that dumb articles about it should get the furious ignoring they so richly deserve. Absent any sense or reason, all they do is drain attention away from the's "what's more". And there'll be a lot of that. We've spent years building up the smartphone and tablet platform, and now we'll spend years building things on top of that platform.

And that's so much more interesting than empty, silly, doomsaying cries for another iPhone.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There won't be another iPhone-class product, not for Apple, not for anyone, not for a long time

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Good article. Not sure if I agree with all the details. I am pretty sure if iPhone had gotten a bit bigger (physically) and a bit cheaper (cost wise) and a bit more open (OS wise) a little bit sooner then Android would be no where to be seen and Apple would be in an unassailable position. My guess is the multitude of competitors will continue to decrease Apples share and that you are right that the iphone business will not be replicated.

(Also Steve looks really bad in that pic.)

If it had gone to Verizon sooner, it might have staved off Droid and Samsung. Going bigger now will be like going from AT&T to Verizon then, increasing addressable market.

That's all tangential to the main point, though. :)

Rene...I have to be honest with you, I expect better from you. Who is claiming that Apple is doomed? Show us credible links to articles where respectable journalists are using the word "doomed."

Most people are not proclaiming Apple, a company with record billions of dollars in profits to be "doomed" because they haven't released another blockbuster.

What they are saying is that the landscape has changed, and the competition has become MORE fierce. Hell, even Apple admits that (see the leaks from the Samsung trial). In the face of this criticism, Apple needs to push harder than before. A larger phone and a smaller tablet won't cut it these days.

So please provide the "doomed" links. Because if you can't, then your hyperbole is just as bad as theirs is.

Please be trolling. Please, please be trolling.

Otherwise I'll lose even more faith in the internet.

And no, I'll never link to that stuff. But I do mention it in the post. Apple has 60 days to release an iWatch. Apple has to sell 65 million iWatches (that was today).

Please. Please be trolling.

Honestly Rene. Trolling? I never pegged you as one of "those guys." And by that I mean the type who simply declares that someone is trolling because they are making a contrary opinion to your own.

I hear both sides of this ludicrous argument, and the truth is in the middle. Apple IS NOT DOOMED, nor are these alleged few fringe journalists credible. But Apple is also NOT in the most innovative stage in its history. Bigger iPhones and smaller iPads are just not that exciting anymore.

So like I said...the truth is in the middle. Sooner or later Apple DOES have to do something interesting. It doesn't have to be iPhone interesting...but they have to do something! The last 3-4 years have been one big yawn.

Actually it does...there is too much bravado on both sides of this debate!

Your side claims that any criticism of Apple's pace of innovation is tantamount to writing Apple's obituary.
The other side claims that Apple needs to come up with something soon, because they stopped innovating.

The truth is somewhere in the middle! Believe it or not, but it is possible to claim that the pace of innovation at Apple has in fact slowed down...yet NOT claim that they are DOOMED DOOMED (as you put it).

People on the internet LOVE to make reductive arguments. Whether it is casting someone off as a "troll," or claiming that all critics of Apple's are proclaiming that Apple is DOOMED...it's really all the same. The truth is in the middle!

You've not been impressed with what Apple has done in the last 3-4 years? Really? While they have had their problems (mostly software botches, which were happening just about as often under Jobs), Apple is as solid as ever, as far as I can tell. While you're maybe not preaching 'the sky is falling' I think Rene's article still fits you well.

BTW, about a year and a half ago, I was in all kinds of debates in the financial section of The Globe and Mail about just such doom over Apple. I had people (who were claiming to be financial experts) wanting to bet me that AAPL would be less than $250 a year from then. I took them up on it, but as you can guess, a year later, they disappeared. And, the articles to which these comments were made weren't all that much better.

But, I'm not new to this. I still remember telling people to invest in Apple back in the early to mid-90's when about everyone seemed certain they were doomed. It was silly then, and it's REALLY silly now. What this amounts to is hysteria and pipe-dreams within the 'investment' community, filtering through the media, along with a culture that has become so impatient, they have lost all sense of reality.

I somewhat agree with your posts, but point to any Android OEM that is doing anything different. In fact, point to one (or more if you can find them) that is even doing anything close to Apple when it comes to innovation. Like you said simply making larger phones and smaller tablets (or in Samsung's case making phones and tablets at ever 1/10 inch increments is in fact the opposite of innovation).

I think that Rene is right all people see is that Apple hasn't done anything in the past few years. I argue the opposite. For example, look at the A Series processors especially the A6 and now A7. No one is making processors like this and it is completely obvious that Android OEMs and the rest of the market are a good 2-3 years behind. Hell, Apple is trouncing processors that are double the speed and have 2-3 times the RAM power to help them out. The innovation going into these chips are amazing. They've made a PC class chip that is fueling four inch devices. Some more examples I have to point out. Android OEMs innovate when they made their phones larger they simply couldn't pull off the feat of powering these power hungry displays so they simply took the other route and made bigger phones to house much bigger batteries. To their luck people wanted bigger phones. This doesn't mean Apple is behind it just means they haven't played that card yet and Apple customers will benefit because of these decisions. If Apple's phones with 1/3 the size batteries can last just as long as these giant phablet sized phones then how much battery life will we be looking at if Apple does have more room for larger batteries? I would argue 2-3 times and that means we could really see a phone that lasts 2-3 days on a charge. Now that is exciting and dare I say innovation. Just because we don't always see the innovation they are working on right now the fruits of their labors will pay off sometime. This is Apple's real genius. Like Rene has said they skate to where the puck will be rather than just getting there and making decisions per device.

These are just two of the instances Apple has in their back pocket. I argue that smartphones hit the market and innovation was so fierce that it had to plane out. The problem is we all still expect something revolutionary every time a new phone is released. Look at the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. Are they pushing the boundaries of what we all know and love in the smartphone market? No, of course not. They are simple next generation devices just like Apple is accused of always doing. Apple's strength is in their industrial design and overall design and attention to detail that seems to stretch the entire facet of their devices. If you need to look for innovation then your not trying hard enough. Look at what the small 4" iPhone 5s is able to do especially when looking at the competition and Apple still has cards to play whereas Android OEMs very much do not. The market is still waiting for Apple to make a move and then defensively pushing phones to market. If Samsung is such a contender and Apple should be scared of the competition then why is Samsung playing the defensive at every Apple release. For example, the Galaxy S phones are released almost to the day of six months after the iPhone. They do that on purpose so they can simply catch the market that could be bored of the iPhone and still have enough time to sell a lot of phones. Does that really look like Samsung is a huge threat to Apple? Even they know they can't compete head to head with Apple. This evidence is in everything Samsung does. They don't release sales numbers, they play the market share game (which we all know is garbage as 90% of all their precious world wide market share is phones that often don't even have the internet as they are sold as off contract phones that are thrown away after less than a year of use), and worse of all they copy every thing Apple does. You can't be the Apple killer if you wait and then react after Apple sets the market.

I would be more than willing to back up your arguments, but they aren't true and that is what Rene is trying to convey in this article. Everyone has something to say about Apple and thinks the competition is so fierce, but I argue that the entire smartphone market is stalling out. All thats left is to make their phones better and that my friend, plays right into Apple's strengths and is a huge weakness to most Android OEMs including even Google.

Am pretty sure the note 3 comes out around the same time as the iPhone. Also about Android phones only going bigger to add bigger battery is a bs argument. Again take the note 3, yes it's bigger, has bigger battery but it trounces the iPhone battery. Now if your logic that Android phones are only bigger because Android oems don't know how to make a efficient phone them the note 3 should last less than an iPhone 5s as sure it has bigger battery but at the same time it's pushing 3 times more pixel, having to light up a much bigger, running a more "heavy" os so it should last less right. Everyone keeps using Android phones are only bigger to match iPhone battery but the note series says otherwise. You make some good points but you highlight as apple are the greatest and everyone else is nothing. My guess is apple coming out with a larger iPhone has nothing to do with the competition right.

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I'm not saying that they continue to make giant phones because they can't fit batteries, but we also don't have a high end 4" android phone to back up your argument either. With that said android OEMs were left with the same market restrictions as Apple and instead of innovating they simply made their devices bigger. Luckily that worked our for them and now they make them bigger as people want them bigger

Yes, the Note 3 does have better battery life than the 5s, but not by much. I have multiple friends and family with the Note 3 and it only last appx 20-30% longer repute having a battery nearly 3x as large. Let's face it Apple has built iOS to nit be power hungry and on top of that built and designed their own excellent (and market leading) processors built specifically for the devices it runs in. What I was saying is this attention to detail instead of cutting corners years ago like android OEMs did will be a huge benefit to apple and their consumers. Just wait and see. If we do indeed get a 5.5" iPhone 6 with a battery near 3x the size of the iPhone 5s we will see a phone that likely lasts 3-5 days.p whereas the note 3 can barely push 2 days if used conservatively. You can argue parts of my point, but the way the market is now it plays into apples strengths and apple has prepared themselves we'll and still have larger displays and HD displays in their back pocket. What does android have?

I agree with what you've said, except that there could be a problem. Apple is, unfortunately, a public company. This means that perception can matter more than reality, if Apple isn't able to control the perception the way Jobs seemed able to do. So, if the mass of 'investors' don't see it the way you do, and instead the way the silly articles Rene mentions portray... the stock price will dip. This will hurt Apple to some extent.

Also, unfortunately, the average shopper doesn't generally know enough to actually see the things you're mentioning as a reason to buy. They often look at specs, so a bit bigger screen (currently seen as a positive thing... though one wonders what happens when they hit 7"... not sure if I can do a roll-eyes smily), or more battery mAh, or more RAM, or more storage, etc. Never mind if all that battery, RAM, and storage is needed just to accommodate an inefficient design and OS.

Yea, the market share game is especially annoying, but unfortunately, it gets played by both sides. It didn't matter, for decades, that the Mac only had 10-20% usage, it was the better choice. And, it doesn't matter if Samsung claims 90% or whatever, because we all know if you look at web stats, Apple still has the majority of ACTUAL IN USE devices. But, even if they didn't, that would be irrelevant which is better.

Of course the truth is in the middle. Apple isn't doomed. Doomed means kaput. Out of business. That isn't happening. But then again, they're not likely to release a product like the iphone that led to growth and insane profits from 2007-current. That involved a magic money machine in the form of carrier subsidies.

As for innovation? TouchID just works. That's in a tock year and was pretty amazing to release in such scale. iOS was a constraint to larger screens in the past. Apple moved to a suitable aspect ratio with the iphone 5. And is poised now to be able to release bigger screened phones. That couldn't happen all at once. The iphone 5 was needed. This is a major advantage that android had that is about to be knocked down.

Hardware and design is Apple's strength. My only real concern with Apple is wanting to see more from Apple's position as software and hardware maker. Things like icloud should be much better given Apple's control. I'm also not a fan of them releasing everything in the holidays. The marketing is all over the place with no focus.

Good article, but as much as I criticize Apple myself, I wouldn't say that Apple is incapable of something great again. They've hit the nail several times with the Mac, the iPod and the iPhone. I don't see any reason why they couldn't hit it again.

I'm not saying they aren't. Apple's track record shows they've done it over and over again. I'm simply saying there's no obvious product they could make right now that would be as big as the iPhone.

These things take time. We didn't get an iPod in 1987. We didn't get an iPhone in 1991. We didn't get an iPad in 2002.

What else could Apple make now that would sell in the hundreds of millions of units a year at 30-40% margin?

When rumors of an Apple phone started swirling in 2006 I'm sure plenty of people said, "What can they do in a phone that other manufacturers won't be able to do?"

Then when we saw it, others in the industry *cough* Ballmer *cough* said, “$500, fully subsidized, with a plan! That is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers, because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.”

Anybody can build anything these days. But not everyone sees the world like Apple. Not everyone can dream big enough. Not everyone can execute well enough. That's what lets Apple disrupt markets.

Ha. That's what Detroit said. I can think of ten things that a great design and engineering rebel could sink its teeth into.

Logistics limits an upstart to the car market. Look at what Tesla has been able to accomplish. They are a profitable, niche car market. They are a major mind-share sensation, but a minor player in market and profit share. They have spent 10 years already building the infrastructure they need to produce their cars and they are bumping up at limitations on battery manufacturing. In order for Apple to become big in the automotive industry, they would have to buy their way in, which they have the money to do, but it would probably provide little return on the investment.

Tesla's a great example. It will disrupt Detroit; Detroit's asleep. Again. Ultimately the ROI will be enormous. It's punctuated equilibrium. Apple is at home with it; it spent 30 years to create the computer for the rest of us.

If it were obvious, everyone would have already done it. Apple's great products have been the ones that weren't obvious.

I still think they're way over valued for the products and services they provide. They're still a byproduct of Steve Jobs and hopefully in a few more years, once the stock has dropped a couple hundred points to where it should be, people will calm down, move onto the next fad company and Apple can get back to doing it's thing. They are a niche company and that's where they excel.

I agree with the context of the article and still cannot understand why these 'Shoddy' journalists get by planting info like they do about Apple? What is to come of it for them?

It's click bait...that's all the shoddy journalists want so they can serve ads to you. And negative headlines about such a highly valued company gets the eyeballs.

Sooner or later everyone or everything falls from the top, ask Blackberry they didn't want to CHANGE and look at them now. CHANGE is a must to stay on top. Nuff said.

Yeah, i was iPhone owner last year and now i own a lumia 920 and i LOVE it, but if Apple announce a bigger with new design iPhone MAYBE i'll switch back to iPhone, but if not i'm gonna buy the new Nokia lumia 930.

Sadly Lumia is most successful in the lowest profit segment of the market. Apple has 0% share of under $400 phones. They have 85% share of premium phones. That's where all the profitability is.

Has Amazon ever released specific earnings numbers? Amazon is also almost negligible outside the US.

Google's probably the most successful at monetizing despite hardware margins but a lot of that comes off iOS eyeballs. Look at where Samsung makes their money.

Also Amazon selling hardware at low to zero margin is simply a gateway into the Amazon ecosystem, in turn subsidizing their hardware and then lots more. Very smart on Amazon's part...they got me anyway with just an iPhone/iPad/Kindle :)

Kindle Fire in Canada costs 50% more and has no Amazon music or movies. Their strategy is highly region dependent, which is less than stellar given growth outside the US.

Yes, their model is very region specific due to content deals but where it works, like the US, it works well. I think that was BilboTeabagins's point. Of course Nokia doesn't have that ecosystem draw on low margin hardware like Amazon does so it's a moot point :)

"Amazon has shown how profitable selling hardware for a loss can be."

Ha. Did the writer read what he wrote? Is Amazon making it up on volume? And exactly where did the writer get facts? Amazon doesn't post them anywhere. What is visible is Amazon's wally street love is waning.

You didn't argue success; you said profitable. So let's shift the discussion to what you feel more comfortable with.

Amazon is successful. Absolutely. "Wall Street has essentially granted Bezos the right to operate an extremely forward-looking charitable venture on the theory that at some future point it will acquire monopoly pricing power and start screwing us all." Search: Amazon Is a Great Company Because It Has the Most Generous Shareholders in the World.

But back to my point. Wall Street lets Amazon off the hook on profitability. No one suggests Amazon is profitable in the same way Apple is, e.g. In fact, relative to Apple, Amazon is highly unprofitable.

Show me numbers that says Amazon isn't profitable. Since the company continues to expand into new market, successfully, and is still able to pay it's employees livable wages, I'm going to call it profitable. Especially since their shareholders have never made a peep about revolting and demanding change. If you are unable to stick to a point, or use reason from your surroundings, please go bloviate somewhere else because I never said Amazon was more successful than any other company.

I so much agree with Rene here. The analysts and writers keep talking about Apple.. what happened to their beloved Samsung? They too keep pumping up their internal specs and try to make a delightful user experience. But when it comes to Apple or when WWDC is around the corner, suddenly.. things change.. expectations are on cloud # 9. Agree, people are supposed to expect higher from Apple than any other company but those expectations should be under a certain limit.
Obviously, they cannot expect Apple to make a iPad/iPhone which will "cook" (pun intended) for you!

Enjoyed the article, I still think that the next big thing will come through software. We have these blank canvases with our phones and tablets. Apple should really focus on giving us the best tools to create with these devices. We've had a great start they need to keep pushing forward.

Software made a ton of money for Microsoft for decades but Apple bundling it with hardware and Google with services has taken the value out of it for now. Software is currently most valuable as an incentive to buy iPhones or use Google.

Exactly, it's a incentive to buy iPhones or Android phones. Now that all the square rectangles are basically the same, the next race until we change form factors again will be in software. And it will be a balance between easy to use software and functional software. May the best balance of the two win.

I have a secret hope that Apple will expand its professional apps into 3D modeling and other useful digital tools. Lowering the price and barrier to learning the skills.

I dont think it'll be software either. It'll be in the service offerings. Its what makes the idea of Apple buying Square intriguing. What CAN'T you buy on Amazon? Like iTunes with music, if Apple can figure out how to get small a percentage of financial transactions, that's a boat-load of money by not selling anything.

i imagine the new iphone will come out in september Fall time :)
Per Sprint Rep
Remember Sprint and apple have a so many year agreement
we know its coming !!!!!!!
So does dan hesse

OK, but aren't Apple as guilty as everyone else of putting fuel on this fire? Two of Apple's adverts from recent years have been:

"It's the most amazing iPhone yet" and "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone"

Can you blame people for asking for this if Apple themselves are hyping folks up at each product launch and then not releasing the next big thing since the iPhone....?

Yes and people take note of what Apple say.

But they're adding a burden to their own back in using advertising guff in this way. The iPhone 5 advert (the second one I quoted) really hyped people up, but judging by what I read on forums including here at the time, a lot of people vented their feelings when the iP5 turned out not to be the game changer Apple had led folks to believe it would be.

They're talking about the next version of the same product.

The closest we've had to the problem you're talking about is Tim Cook appeasing Wall Street by saying Apple's getting into new product categories in 2014. I understand why he said it even as I rage against the circumstances that led him to that choice.

I'd rather they continue to pull threads and have areas of interest until real new products are really ready.

Whilst they're talking about the same product, surely they're leading people to expect a product that's as revolutionary as the first iPhone was?

The fact it's in the same (mobile phone) category probably makes little difference.

I agree with the article, even though I think Apple could be held to account for bringing the calls for relentless innovation ion themsleves.

Largely, I believe we have become conditioned to expect revolutionary product releases year on year. However, I don't think we've had anything equivalent to the iPhone since it was launched and I don't think we'll see something again until there is a significant jump in technology that paves the way for the next breakthrough.

Have to agree with you, Rene, nice piece. And all I can say about the "iWatch" watch is (yawn)--hate things on my lower arms and never wore a watch.

By the way, iMore/Mobile Nations recently stated they were going to improve their news reporting and its timeliness, but you don't have a story on the "Heartbleed" internet scandal that broke late last night. 'Sup wit dat?!

You'd think this would be obvious because it's been mentioned a zillion times. Smartphones are unique and very profitable with carrier subsidization. The next "iphone" would have to something that consumers already pay for or could get subsidized into mainstream pricing. The product would have to totally change the user experience for what they're already paying for.

So you (Rene) can use swear words whenever you feel like it in your article, but when I use it in the comments they get deleted or my user name gets banned. You guys are a bunch of hypocrites.

They're not doomed but they have shrinking world wide market share year over year. Yes they have 41% market share in the "U.S." but Androids global market share is 81% in the first quarter of 2014. Apple is 16% and shrinking, Windows Phone 3.7% and growing. The future growth is not in high priced phones but low end in developing markets. The U.S. market is nothing compared to these markets. China Mobile has 500 million subcribers, that's 1 1/2 time the total population of the entire U.S. China & India mobile market have 1.7 BILLION subsribers combined, of which 80% can't afford any Apple product. The rest of the world does not subsidise phones, they are bought at full price. Which phone would most in the U.S. buy if you had to pay $650 - $900 for Apple or $300 - $550 for Android or Windows Phones up front for your phone. The only reason Iphones are successful in the U.S. is because of carrier subsidies which reduce the cost to $100 - $200. The catch is you have to sign a 2 year contract.

That's by design. Apple is a premium product company. If they wanted marketshare, they'd have a different model altogether and basically be a different company.

I think not, otherwise they wouldn't be sold in Walmart. They didn't rink android was worth a damn & would never catch on. If they don't change the iPhone will go the way of the desktop Macs & be a niche product. The thing is they be been down this road already with Macs vs PC's. If they want the same market share they have in the U.S. For the rest of the world they need something different otherwise they will always have 15% global marketshare

The are in Walmart for the purpose of reaching customers in places which they can't reach.

just because Walmart sells cheap stuffs doesn't mean the iPhone is cheap.

I don't believe Walmart is paying less than the telcos for the iPhone.

Whoa, I feel a bit of tension there. They are in Walmart to try and mass sell a product that is is expensive by buying it subsidized or on straight talk. I didn't say they were cheap. They are over priced but so are most cell phones'. Which is fine because part of the price is paying for the name, another is paying for a status symbol for some. The problem they have is there are phones with just good quality from other manufacturers running android or Windows Phone with the same or better features that cost less.

But growth without profitability is a chimera. Apple has made the right choice to concentrate - as it has in almost all of its product lines - on the high end. It may have only a small double digit market share, but it has a commanding share of profit. At the end of the day, that's what matters.

A surprising number of people buy iPhones at full retail mid contract. Some sell the old one to make up some of the cost but a lot don't.

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You see similar things happen in the entertainment industry. Michael Jackson's album Thriller or similar achievements in books or movies were labeled as lacking or not as good, instead of being celebrated for what they accomplished. It's like the critics reputation depends on denouncing following achievements as failures rather than appreciating them in their own right.

Your comments about not appreciating the technology advances since the original iPhone is so true. Compare the iPhone 5s to the original iPhone. Look at what has been accomplished! But no Apple is doomed because Wall Street said so. Apples lost its mojo according to the pundits. They are no longer considered "cool" by the young generation. Samsung is the new king, they proclaim. Yet according to a recent Gene Munster survey 61% of the teenagers have an iPhone in 2014. That's an increase of 5% since 2012. Not a huge shift and likely within some margin of error but it's not in the direction that Samsung claims.

Will Apple have new categories? Yes they will. Will they all be successful? Past Apple history says no, but most will be. Will any the impact of the iPhone? Odds are not likely given the success of the iPhone but that doesn't mean they can't make an impact on society. Yet until that time when Apple does something that surpasses the iPhone or iPad, we can be sure that someone somewhere will be writing Apple's epitaph.

I agree with the article and as you stated about the shoddy journalists have been doing this to Apple for years and I am still trying to figure what they get out of it?

It seems all the Apple-centric blogs have this fixation with the "Apple is doomed" thing. Analysts say bad things all the time about everybody, that's how they shake stock prices a bit, and talking about it just gives them validation. It seems the cloud from the quasi-bankruptcy will never lift, no matter how successful Apple is.

That being said, I think no company today has a visionary at the helm, and Apple lost its visionary a few years ago, so yes, I do agree we will not see another iPhone class product for while, not because such product is not out there waiting to be built, but because currently all major companies, Apple included, are in the hands of bureocrats, not visionaries. Plus, everybody is trying soo hard to invent the next big thing that it could be staring them at the face and they would not see it.

Rene, I completely agree with you. The most popular form of mobile computer is the mobile phone. When people need to go places and don't want to carry much they'll still take their phone 99% of the time. And since Apple continues to make one of the best quality and easier to use mobile phones in the market, they will continue to succeed. That's my two cents.

Sadly, the pressure to iterate on products on almost an annual basis is coming from the financial community where quarterly results are the only thing that matters. Forget long term plans, what'd your stock/inventory/sales/margins, etc., etc, do THIS QUARTER?!? Oh, and growth is not good enough; it has to be double digit growth all the time or we'll punish your stock price. And finally, unrealistic expectations from a generation of "must have newest, brightest, shiniest new thing at all times" users. </end rant>

Excellent article. If you draw a parallel with rock history, for me, the first Macintosh was Please Please Me, iPhone was Sgt. Pepper. And even if later there was a "Dark Side of The Moon", the revolution was Sgt. Pepper, no other before, no other later. After that, there was evolution, but not another revolution.

"...an array of smaller products and services that improve the overall value of ecosystem and experience can be just as important."

You nailed it, Rene. For the next few years, Apple can and will add to their hardware and software ecosystem. Any "iWatch" or wearable will add value to iPhone by extending its ecosystem. Any Apple TV hardware and software will add value to the iTunes and iCloud ecosystem.

The net result? Massive value for users. The Samsungs of the world can bang out copycat hardware. But they can't copy infrastructure overnight. Samsung Hub isn't exactly setting the world on fire.

Agreed.

there will be nothing mind-blowing from anyone for a long time. or maybe even never....
Wearables and VR...... that stuff ain't amazing either. people don't wanna wear some Virtua Boy crap on their head for hours.
I'm just hoping for a thin, edge to edge with no bezel, long battery life smartphones... and that's probably the best we can expect in the next 5 years. they can't even do edge to edge yet.

Convergent, mobile computer and communication devices were always going to happen. The trend had been visible forever and many, many companies and individuals contributed advancements in untold fields of endeavor; it was only left to see which company got there either first or best.

Generally, the computing and communication revolution is a breakthrough as epochal as the agricultural or industrial revolutions. Those do not come about very often in history, kind of by definition.

Specifically, the mobile device is the breakthrough (mainly for the consumption and comm that gives the entire system so much leverage), Apple is the company that executed most effectively (by certain measures).

Economic theory, as well as history, shows that over time competitors will arrive in the market to try to poach the outsize profits Apple is making now, and the only way current profit margins can be maintained (outside of government interference) is to continue to innovate and provide new value in terms of integration, innovation, and content. New products are initially expensive and paid for by well-to-do early adopters, and slowly decrease in price, are democratized, and become commoditized, thus driving profits out of the industry.

Companies like Microsoft remain profitable because they move into new fields (forget the Xbox, they make about a third of their profits from enterprise services). Oil companies profits are actually pretty slim by comparison (on a percentage basis). Their 'profits' arise from new discoveries (innovation), are actually a form of interest (the economic surplus firms obtain in equilibrium conditions, basically from deploying capital financed by real savings), or are the result again of government interference.

Short answer: There aren't going to be new iPhones because such opportunities simply do not exist for anybody right now.

Addendum: Government interference is bad, either to prevent or penalize short term profits (Standard Oil, GM, IBM, Microsoft, Apple), or to try to preserve them (the big three car companies and their grossly-overpaid union members). It is also, as we see, entirely schizophrenic and inconsistent.

The next iPhone is going to be software: the successor to Siri, Googe Now, and Cortana. Whoever nails this will be riding high well into the next decade. To see where this may eventually be going, check out Donald Kingsbury's great SF novel "Psychohistorical Crisis", where everyone wears a "fam" or familiar, a brain augmentation device that acts as calculator, memory, reference library, a truly personal computer.

Can't wait to read all of the iEspresso maker articles online tonight. There goes my Starbucks Gold card...

Sent from the iMore App

Can't wait to read all of the iEspresso maker articles online tonight. There goes my Starbucks Gold card...

Sent from the iMore App

There's unquestionable truth about those words but I think that people by saying 'doomed' really mean 'insignificant and boring' like Apple of the 90's. The iPhone or iPad class product isn't seriously expected but a little 'excitement' is needed, alternative is the return to the old times of silent PC hardware releases when not many were bothered to even notice an upgrade.

Yes, we know ... there are so many of you tech journalists that get these predictions right. The one advice I would offer is stop making predictions. If you are really really good at predictions, play the lottery. This is one opinion and could have been said prior to the iPod, prior to the iPhone, prior to the iPad ... need I say more?

Apple has build their image of an innovator/trailblazer/revolutionist and constantly fights with others in courts to keep the right to that title. The fact is that all the new stuff is introduced elsewhere recently and they're in need of reenergising that image. Claiming that you are incredible isn't as simple as proving it but as they say "you're as good as your last performance/fight", just show those incredible ideas to the world once in a while to remind everyone that you're thinking about the future.

Yep agree, it's annoying every year hear the same old story about how phone x or tablet x is only iterative. You can't expect a landscape changing device every couple of years. Sure you can have a landscape changing idea etc but you have to wait for the technology, price of new tech etc to come down etc so you can offer at consumer level. Example take the tablet, Ms had an idea of a tablet ages ago, but the tech was just far behind, too pricey, mobile cpu and gpu were not battery friendly etc. Apple waited till the right time while the tech matured and eventually released a tablet(though they started with a smaller scale version known as the iPhone). You bet all these oems have got plenty of mind bending new devices that may have foldable screen, graphene tech etc but until Such tech is stable, mass producable, cheap and profitable don't expect the next big thing anytime soon.

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The next big leap is better battery life. Much better battery life. Imagine what you could do with your i-devices, if you didn't have to wory about battery life all day long.

The elephant in the room is TV. It's an area so horribly broken as to make it an incredibly obvious target for reform. Mobile phones used to be a train wreck too, but somehow, Apple were able to strong arm all those vested interests into letting them in.

That said, even the mighty Amazon have been unable to do anything interesting with TV, so it may just be one of those markets which repels change no matter who tries.

This market has so much red tape though. Much of the reason is that this isn't an area where content providers are seeing revenues go down the tank. Music needed saving. Books needed a boost. TV has many vested players that won't let Apple just waltz in.

Even with TV apps, you need broadband which incidentally is provided mostly by cable companies. Apple has to treat them like carriers if they want in. The race for hdmi input 2 (Fire TV, Apple TV, etc) will always be hobby like for Apple. I think people though are confused. They're not looking to make things cheaper for you. They want not only what you're already paying for cable but even more. Innovation in the tv room, even if Apple works things out with the players, is going to cost you more just as cellphone bills went up drastically.

It was inevitable that we would get to this point....that's the nature of change and (r)evolution. Who will have the next evolutionary product in this space....no one knows.

It depends on the engineers, the people that Think Different, and most importantly, what the consumers need. But we dont know that yet. We've taken mobile phones to a critical mass kind of point.

Perhaps we are at a point where the phone/device itself can't really grow any more but the change will be in how we interact with these device (i.e., Glass, Watches, etc....).

All I know, is I am happy to be along for the ride.

Why is that as iPhone becomes less irrelevant people point to the dollars signs? Is it really about the profit and prestige? Last time I checked some people point out to android's fragmentation as a severe weakness but in reality it has been one of android's strong points. One need look no further than windowsas eevidence. It's ability for compatibility and adaption to market conditions has made it a successful product. Linux is niche in consumer market but it powers a lot of the enterprise. iOS and OSX fill some niche markets that windows nor linux handle very well. Android has been pushing hardware hard, linux is quietly getting more and more and support amd apple keeps leaning leaning on marketing and prestige to stay relevant. Yeah, I think apple needs something disruptive or a product that fills something more than niche needs or keep bleeding market share. Champagne gold and 4.7" screens be damned.

I rather have Apple take their time and release a kicka$$ product or updated product, rather than Samsung releases their junk every 3 days. Analysts are a joke and they should be punished when they are wrong!

Brilliant article. Apple was the most profitable company in the world last year and growing. Their margins too, for a hardware maker, are excellent compared to the Dell's, HP's, and most other hardware makers. Samsung is fading at both the high end and the low end, thanks to regional phone makers like in China. People forget too that iPhones are distributed in limited parts of the world thus far barely touching China, India, and Indonesia, the 5th largest population in the world (where Blackberry will fade next, leaving the door open to Apple and Samsung.)