I have a special pleasure watching the release of some high-end phones, especially those of Apple. Why? Because I find it fascinating how big words, such as “spectacular”, “incredible”, “revolutionary”, are strewn with naturalness to the public.
Not long ago, Tim Cook said that iPhone 7 will convince everyone to upgrade and all users will wonder how they managed to live without that smartphone until now. Although I would have preferred to hear those words uttered by the velvety vocal cords of the marketing master (ok, fine, and design) Jony Ive, and not from a quivering voice with a devoid of naturalness, of the man from whom the same level of genius as Steve Jobs is expected.
Why did Cook say these things? Out of desperation. Apple’s shares went seriously down the hill after the company has announced its first decline in terms of iPhone sales and the first decline in quarterly revenue from the past 13 years.
This drop is normal and the obstacle is not necessarily Apple’s competitors, but the fact that smartphones launched in the recent years are still operating without any problems, even by the current standards. In short, the old Apple products are so good that you won’t feel the need to discard them in favor of new ones, slightly improved, which does not bring any added value to your everyday life.
By the way, I watched with fascination the video in which Cook is interviewed by an iPhone user regarding the strategy the company and the scene in which he promises innovations “which you cannot live without but don’t know it yet” was repeated three times. The moment where he realizes the importance of the promise, and perhaps the impossibility of fulfillment, was a delicious one (so I made a GIF of him). I am cruel, but I also imagined a moment of panic among the Apple engineers who exclaimed in hate: “that processor is faster, but it can’t cook for you!”.
Leaving the jokes aside, this sequence provoked me a different kind of exercise of imagination. I’m trying to think what would the future iPhone 7 will be able to provide, so I can say that I wouldn’t be able to live without it. I placed myself in the skin of a technical iPhone 6S owner (I own the iPhone SE which is kinda the same) and I tried to think about what else I could possibly need. The answer came quickly: nothing. The phone is very fast, shoots perfect photos, provides the security I need, can be used for payments and looks better than its predecessor. Although it is not written on the box, iPhone 6S resists to splashes of rain and I’m not going to take with me into the pool, but the concept of a waterproof device would not tempt me so much to do an upgrade. If I was an iPhone 6S owner, at least three years before today I WOULDN’T NEED to do an upgrade. Maybe I would like to move on to a new iPhone, but surely I wouldn’t need to.
Disappointed with the outcome of my imagination, I said to change the role a bit. So I put myself in the skin of a desperate engineer who assumes the role of helping Cook to provide a gadget which you cannot live without. The result is an iPhone whose functionalities and components are far exceeding any other smartphone that is currently available on the market but, I believe, this will be beyond the current possibilities and Apple.
There won’t be an iPhone 7 without you cannot live without
I said let’s start with the iPhone 7 rumors, to see if I could find something without we wouldn’t be able to live without. Apparently iPhone 7 will be thinner than the 6S, but that’s something I don’t care about. It is not going to have a Jack plug, but that would only complicate things and make life more difficult for me. A new design would be absolutely necessary. However, a dual camera system could be interesting if Apple wouldn’t use it just to take pictures.
More specifically, if one of the two cameras at the back of the iPhone 7 would be made specifically to analyze vital signs in real time (similar to Samsung Galaxy S5 but with a greater precision), then that would be a function, without which I could say that I can’t live without. Lately, Apple spent tons of money on applications that monitor the health and physical activity and is constantly bragging about the abilities of the Apple Watch, so it wouldn’t hurt to include a hardware component on the next iPhone that can run that software.
The implementation of a Pulse-Oximeter would allow users to easily find out the level of oxygen in the blood, which is useful both in physical activities and in identifying serious health problems (for example, low levels of oxygen in the blood can be caused by a pulmonary embolism, pneumonia or anemia).
Cook will be harassed once the users find out they are not pleased with the functionalities found on the iPhone 7 and the titles of the first reviews are guaranteed to be: “It’s good, but I can live without it.”
A spectrometer could be implemented in the same camera, and here the usefulness would be much higher. A spectrometer is an instrument able to measure and identify the particles out of the air just by analyzing how light waves reflect or refract. What could you do with such a device on a phone? You could quickly find out how polluted a zone is, the technology existing since 2013, and Apple could reduce it enough to put it on a smartphone. There is also a similar technology that can count the calories of any dish and since the world is overly obsessed with what they eat, that would be a gold mine for Apple.
In the selfie camera, that always “looks” at you, Apple could integrate a sensor that performs retinal scans. Not necessarily for security, but also for medical purposes. Many diseases have consequences on the eyes, effects that might be detected rapidly by the front camera on the iPhone 7. Chicken pox, syphilis, malaria, AIDS or leukemia are just a few of the diseases that can be found through an eye control and alerting users of the existence of some disturbing symptoms could save lives.
And, if it would be hard for Apple to stick all these features in iPhone 7, the rumored Smart Connector which would make his appearance on the next phone Apple may solve some of these problems. Currently, Smart Connector port is used on the iPad in order to facilitate the connection with a special keyboard. It’s magnetic and quick, capable of providing electricity, and his presence on the iPhone 7 could allow the phone to be used with the external sensors capabilities described above.
But Apple won’t bring these features on your phone and it’s partly our fault. These features without which you couldn’t live, literally, won’t make their appearance on smartphones, because that would mean paying extra for them and people are not willing to do that. But what they would pay extra for is water-resistance, wireless charging or a camera that sees in the dark. Because these are the functions that they were told, by other companies, that they can’t live without…
Tim Cook was cast in the declarations in an attempt to save the company he runs, and the consequences will be painful if Apple will fail to deliver those promises. And when the promises are so vague, everyone will imagine something different and a lot of people will be disappointed.
I have a special pleasure watching the release of some high-end phones, especially those of Apple. Why? Because I find it fascinating how big words, such as “spectacular”, “incredible”, “revolutionary”, are strewn with naturalness to the public. This time, however, the lie was taken a bit too far. The public pretends to not be a lie and hurls the money toward the same metallic housings, fast processors, and bright displays from the precedent years. They are throwing their money toward empty words, but that won’t keep indefinitely.