Of Apple and Unrealistic Expectations

The tech press, and heck, some of my peers, seem to be hung up on the idea that Apple should be constantly innovating each and every year. That the iPhone needs to have some standout feature every single year. And that people who have the iPhone 5 need to upgrade to the 5s and that Apple’s not providing any reasons for people to make this leap. It’s always been the case no matter what the industry, but because this is Apple we’re talking about, these unrealistic expectations seem to be spreading like a wildfire.

So firstly, why should Apple need to introduce a new product category every year? What’s this about a supposed smartwatch? That Apple will revolutionise the TV? That Apple hasn’t released anything big since the iPad for three years and that people are getting hungry for more? Here’s my expectation: that whatever Apple’s working on will not show up until Apple thinks it’s ready to show up. Even the iPad took years in conception, with countless tablet sketches and leaks, patents, and more. Now that it’s out, it’s making us none the more efficient.

So what about when Apple’s bringing out updates to product lines? There’s some unrealistic expectations there, too. I get it; there are definitely some features they could add to the next iPhone that aren’t here right now. Companies internationally have invested in technologies like NFC, which the iPhone notably does not have. Are there any other major features that the iPhone could have that doesn’t? Would adding these make the iPhone a “breakthrough”?

The first generation itself was, no doubt, a breakthrough. Though it wasn’t until the next generation, the iPhone 3G, brought much-needed 3G radios and an A-GPS chip. Oh, and the rest of the world finally got the chance to experience iPhone. Now that the iPhone was suddenly modern, distributed and relevant (and sold like hotcakes), suddenly we’d get the iPhone 3GS. It received a better camera, and you could finally take videos! The iPhone 4 received its controversial case and antenna design, it gave us the glorious Retina display, it was faster, and it finally received a notable 5 megapixel camera with HD 720 video recording.

Now we’ve reached the 4S, 5 and 5s. The changes were mostly in the camera optics, processors, and whatnot. We haven’t been granted a new display, because the screen certainly couldn’t be any more detailed without being a waste. Maybe we could get stereo speakers and some crummy bass-boosting audio codec, but that would fly over pretty quickly. Maybe stick a poor-quality 12 MP camera module on it! Yet, we can only go so far with what we add to it.

Let’s not keep pretending that Apple has to put something magical that will wow everyone into their devices every single year. It’s unrealistic and it’s infeasible.

Incidentally, I am fully supportive of the 5s resulting in people having what amounts to 64-bit supercomputers in their pockets. Bravo.

(How can this not be considered an innovation in the tech press’s minds?)