TMCnet Feature
June 29, 2020

Product of the decade: What's next for the iPhone?

2006 - we had Daniel Craig’s Bond, The X Factor and Rihanna, yet, unbelievably, we’d never heard of an app. Like all of those things, apps feel like they’ve been around forever, but the iPhone (News - Alert) would actually be released a year later and - not to overstate - totally change our lives. 007 might still use a Sony, but it’s thanks to Apple (News - Alert) that apps, snaps and maps in our pocket became the new normal, seemingly overnight.

The iPhone 12 is expected to launch in September, and the rumour mill has already been churning for months. But despite Apple’s reputation for innovation and design, it’s hard to imagine what more our phones could do. Smartphone sales in general are flattening out - which makes you wonder, is there anything left for Apple to pull out of the bag?

Since the first iPhone arrived on the scene, we’ve had additions like the App Store, sat nav, video recording, FaceTime (News - Alert), Siri and Apple Pay. But these game-changing updates were all packed into the first half of iPhone’s decade-plus reign. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still the best selling models, and most of the features added since have been incremental improvements to look and performance.

While we only have rumours to go on so far, the iPhone 12 range is tipped to be faster, with improved screens and 5G connectivity. Not the kind of features you’ll want to show off to your friends, maybe, but ones that do play into an evolving desire for our phones to simply fit seamlessly into our day. The queues around the Apple Store might not be as long in 2020, but it’s important for the tech giants to keep pace with what the people really want - not a shiny status symbol, but a tool to enhance their lives and experiences.

Even if the phones don’t change much, maybe the way we get our hands on them will. When it comes to buying a new iPhone, London-based start-up Raylo don’t think you should be buying one at all. They believe the future is in leasing your most used bit of tech. Raylo offer the chance to lease the latest iPhones for a monthly fee that’s cheaper than buying outright or paying off the full price over the course of a contract. It’s a model where value, service and sustainability are king. You don’t own the phone, but does it matter when you’ve got access to all the same experiences in your pocket?

As well as value, sustainability is a huge factor in leasing - The UN have acknowledged there’s a massive global e-waste problem and we’re all guilty of dumping an old phone or leaving it to fester in a drawer. Even when they’re recycled, the creation of new phones is putting a huge demand on limited natural resources. While there’s no getting around the fact that Apple’s next freshly-pressed iPhone will have to come off the factory line, Raylo ensure that the phone you leased goes back into circulation when your done.

As well as brand new iPhones, Raylo have also added the option of a refurbished iPhone X to their range, and pre-owned phones are another trend on the rise. With big updates between releases becoming rarer, clued-up consumers are looking to snap up previous models which still do a pretty great job. Research by CSS (News - Alert) Insight this year found that  60% of UK shoppers would now consider getting a refurbished phone.

While Tim Cook and co look ahead to the iPhone 12 and beyond, customers prioritising value and sustainability might just be looking in the rearview mirror. We can always count on Apple to innovate and, no matter what, there will be iPhone fans who want the latest release, but how they think about getting that device might be the biggest update on the horizon.

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