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The debate: Is the iPhone still as influential as it was 10 years ago at its launch? NO

Chris Jenkins, features editor, Mobile OBVIOUSLY Apple’s iPhone is a significant product in the smartphone market, but let’s not forget it wasn’t the first smartphone, and there’s no reason it should continue to be dominant. With worldwide iOS sales running at only 12.5% for Q3 of 2016, Android devices are in the ascendant. Apple’s real breakthrough was not in technology; at the time of its launch the iPhone was arguably not technically as good as products from Nokia and Motorola. But the third-party software they ran, such as Symbian or Windows Mobile, was not user-friendly enough for the consumer market. Apple took existing technology from phones and PDAs, and repackaged it in a more user-friendly form. And of course, Apple’s real innovation was to disrupt the

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buying process. Rather than sell to the mobile networks, imposing price restrictions on manufacturing, Apple would sell direct – that was the real iPhone breakthrough. The balance of power tipped from the networks to the manufacturers, who were now able to identify consumer groups and design handsets aimed specifically at them. But the world has changed, and iPhone’s technical innovations have been matched by Android devices. Attitudes to Apple have changed too. For every Apple advocate you’ll find another complaining about its expensive hardware, high prices of accessories and repairs, and planned obsolescence. If things continue this way, the much-anticipated iPhone 8 may be the last ‘best-seller’ Apple ever has.

YES

Jack Courtez, news editor, Mobile ‘APPLE didn’t invent, the smartphone/tablet/ smartwatch’ so goes the saying as well worn as Steve Job’s turtleneck. ‘What it did do’ the mantra continues, ‘is make it a success.’ The same can be said of its more recent changes such as the ditching of the headphone jack (the Moto Z did it first) and its UK upgrade programme (Samsung’s launched six months earlier). Despite not being the innovator, it is definitely the influencer, and when others catch on (Jabra predicts that up to 75% of handsets sold in 2017 will have no headphone jack), it will be Apple they are compared to. Apple has a fearsome reputation for negotiating incredible terms with its partners– such as demanding that retailers buy a large number of 5C devices when

they ordered its 5S handsets, or that official resellers only sell certain brands. The reason Apple can do this is the same reason that no other manufacturer plans a device launch anywhere near midSeptember – unrivalled consumer loyalty, interest and engagement. Until this wavers, the iPhone will be the device that manufacturers measure their own products by, the launch stock retailers lobby for, and the one related industries keep a watchful eye on. The iPhone is actually more influential than it was 10 years ago when it launched, sitting on a stronger bargaining position and with its rigid autarkistic software and OTT eco-system perhaps better favoured to the emerging opportunities in the automotive and connected home space.

Big releases Our round-up of the key releases this month ASUS ZENFONE AR

LG HUB ROBOT

BLACKBERRY TCL MERCURY

GARMIN FENIX 5

The first phone to support both Google DayDream Virtual Reality and Google Tango augmented reality

This cute voiceactivated personal assistant will compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home for the smart home control market

Designed by Blackberry, made by TCL, this Android phone retains the familiar physical keyboard

It’s so advanced, Garmin skipped the Fenix 4 to develop this sensor-packed smartwatch

January 2017

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Mobile January 2017