iPhone madness began even before the first model was released in late June of 2007; the launch date brought lengthy lines that stretched out of the doors of some stores, and even became the subject of several physical brawls. Civilized people became screaming baboons over a small piece of technology, and the following launches of later iPhone models haven’t been too dissimilar. The announcement of an Apple (NYSE: APPL) mobile phone was clearly met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The first model sold a reported 73.5 million phones by the end of the fiscal year; with a global population of 6.6 billion people in 2007, that means that 1.1 percent of the world’s population decided to entrust their mobile phone needs to Apple. The enthusiasm that the release of today’s model, the iPhone 5s was initially met with is beginning to wane in the wake of talk concerning the still-in-development iPhone 6.
The record breaking 51 million handsets sold by Apple in the first quarter still wasn’t enough to meet expectations and sent the company’s stock plummeting in January. Yesterday Apple announced that its second quarter, which ended on March 29, marked a continued drop in sales. The waning sales could be attributed to the rumors of the iPhone 6, said to have a larger display screen, a feature that has reportedly been desired by Apple enthusiasts. Another theory behind the continued drop in sales is that a promotion introduced by RadioShack this week could have swayed customers into holding onto their cash. The electronics retailer began offering a free 16GB model iPhone 5s to anyone willing to trade in their old 4s model and sign a two year contract with Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint. The promotion, available for a limited time, began on April 18 and accounted for most of the chain’s mobile sales.
In light of Apple’s habitual refrain from a flexible price scale, the inception of a cheaper, less sophisticated 5c model of the device seemed like just another way to grease customers. The evolution of the iPhone brand has primarily seen more incremental changes as opposed to profoundly different new features. The most recent exciting change to the iOS operating system was the addition of artificially intelligent personal assistant, Siri. Siri, meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” in Norwegian, originally began as an iPhone app with plans to expand to other operating systems. After Apple purchased the project and sought to make it an integral part of their operating system, the expansion to other platforms was cancelled.
Innumerable rumors concerning the design of Apple’s new handset model have made their rounds on the world wide web, some of which imply fantastic features like built-in projectors. The more popularly accepted story is that the iPhone 6 will feature a markedly larger screen, making the phone more costly to manufacture and more vulnerable to damage.
The launch of Samsung’s newest addition to their Galaxy line with the Galaxy S5 appears to have drawn the attention of a large number of consumers. Since it’s debut on April 11, the device now accounts for nearly one percent of all active phones currently running on Google’s mobile operating system. The Galaxy S5 accounted for 23 percent of all phones sold in the US, whereas the iPhone 5s comprised 18 percent of all phones sold in the US. The difference in popularity could be more than just a superiority battle between iOS and Android since the Galaxy S5 happens to have a significantly larger display than the iPhone 5s does.
With the waning of the iPhone 5s enthusiasm as iPhone 6 rumors become more prevalent and other phones are released, consumers could be catching on to the trend set by electronics manufacturers; electronics companies seek to outmode your new phone before you’ve even opened the box. Apple’s iPhone has held the title of “first and still best” of the smartphones seemingly since it came out, but the king appears to have fallen and the future of mobile smartphones seems uncertain. While Apple is famous for making its devices impossible to self service, modular cellphones are now being marketed as the future. Phonebloks, and independant project began in 2013 with the intent of manufacturing mobile smartphones that are built almost like the Legos of our childhood. Individual components can be replaced or upgraded with ease and the phone disassembles in clearly labeled pieces. If your screen or charging port breaks, you can simply replace it with a new one rather than purchasing a brand new device. With other examples of modular smartphones being advertised on the web, the significant drop in iPhone fever could leave an opening for a coronation of a new king of the smartphones.
By Faye Barton