When it comes to iPhone upgrades, they haven’t been all that flashy lately. It’s become a bit routine to tune in to Apple’s fancy keynote every year and see pretty much the same iPhone designs and a list of minor improvements.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing

Tech enthusiasts love to criticize Apple for not being super innovative each year. It’s almost become a snooze fest to hear people talk about the latest Apple devices.

But here’s the thing – these incremental updates actually show that Apple’s got a good thing going with their current lineup of devices.

I mean, I’m using an iPhone 11 Pro Max right now, and if you put it next to the newer iPhone 14, they look pretty darn similar. You can nitpick and say the camera is a bit bigger, and the sides aren’t as sleek as the iPhone 12, but they’re essentially the same deal, doing the same stuff and working just fine.

Why’s that? Well, it seems like we’ve hit a bit of a wall in terms of what mobile tech can do, at least for the next few years. On the Android side, there have been some cool innovations, but they haven’t really gone mainstream. So, for now, we’re stuck with these rectangular devices that take decent photos and have nice screens.

That doesn’t mean these small, incremental updates are not worth the hype. Sure we can hype a bit less about the iPhone 15 porting to USB-C, but it’s kinda a big deal. This is the final step in bringing USB-C to become a global standard – something we need more of in the world of tech. 

Similarly, you can always bet on the tech company to improve the iPhone’s camera annually. This year we’re treated to a new 5x Telephoto camera which is exclusively available on iPhone 15 Pro Max. This levels up the iPhone’s already powerful camera offering. 

But can it take detailed zoom pictures of the moon? That’s the question on every Android user’s lips. It’s probably because Android devices have sported telephoto lenses for years already. The conversation around Apple punting old Android features as ‘new; is a valid one, and one we’ll bank for another column. 

Back to the upgrade cycle

I believe the mobile phone industry isn’t supposed to get us hyped – even if that’s what the smartphone brands and their marketing teams want us to think. 

Upgrade cycles are getting longer, because devices are built more robustly and they all feature lengthy software support (something Nafisa preaches regularly). There’s no need to upgrade your device every year at the current standard. 

Here’s the exciting part: real innovation is happening elsewhere. Mainly in the world of software. If you want to get pumped about something, check out what’s happening with AI in everyday life and entertainment. Virtual and augmented reality tech is also making big strides and finding its way into our homes. And hey, the web, app, and game development world has been cooking up some pretty cool stuff too.

And Apple? Well, I think they’re putting more effort into improving their software and diving deep into AI and VR than trying to completely redesign something that already works pretty darn well. The iPhone, as it is right now, does its job and does it well. 

I just wish that Apple’s marketing team would tone down the keynote presentation just a smidge. There’s no doubt that the company employs a world-class marketing and events team. 

But, it’s become the biggest showcase for the smallest of announcements. My personal opinion? All of that could’ve been in an email.