Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. As we know, over this time, the smartphone has certainly evolved. And revolutionized the way we communicate, shop, use social media, etc. Thus, an apt question to ask now: What is next for smartphones? For sure, forecasts indicate looming changes.
First, we consider what the smartphone of 2018 represents. According to PC Magazine:
It is “a combination cellphone and handheld computer that created the greatest tech revolution since the Internet. A smartphone can do everything a PC can do. And because of its mobility, much more. Although screen size is a limitation, the increasingly higher resolutions make viewing pleasurable. Also, voice recognition eliminates some of the typing.”
“A smartphone combines a cellphone with E-mail and Web, music and movie player, camera, camcorder, GPS navigation, voice recorder, alarm clock, flashlight, photo album, address book and a lot more. It is also a personal assistant that delivers information. In addition, it answers questions about almost everything. A lot more personal than a personal computer, a smartphone is generally within reach at all times.”
What Is Next for Smartphones
Below, we examine two trends regarding smartphones: unit sales and new models.
As Felix Richter reports for Statista:
“After a decade of growth, the global smartphone market came to a standstill in 2017. According to the latest estimates from market research firm IDC, 1,472 million smartphones worldwide were shipped, unchanged from the 1,473 million units shipped in 2016. The fact that shipments declined by a more significant 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, could be seen as a sign for worse things to come in 2018.”
“‘With ultra-high-end flagships all the rage in 2017, many of these new bezel-less wonders proved to be more of a luxury than a necessity among upgraders,’ IDC research manager Anthony Scarcella says about the iPhone X and other recent smartphone releases. Trying to convince consumers of paying even loftier prices for the latest and supposedly greatest devices could be the best if not the only way for Apple, Samsung and the like to maintain a level of growth going forward.”
“With worldwide smartphone sales sliding in the 4th quarter of 2017, the two leading market players — Samsung and Apple — faced unit declines. Samsung’s smartphone sales fell over 3% in Q4, while sales of Apple’s iPhones slipped 5%, according to Gartner. However, Apple said that global iPhone sales only fell 1%. The decline during the holiday quarter is especially notable because consumers typically receive new phones during the holiday season.”
The lifeblood for many smartphone makers are new models. Yet, firms take different approaches to the number of new models introduced.
Turning again to Felix Richter:
“Interestingly, Samsung and Apple follow polar opposite approaches in the smartphone market. While Apple is decidedly minimalist in how many different models it sells and focuses on the high-end segment, Samsung releases numerous new models each year. Though the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models compete with Apple for the premium segment, Samsung also has cheaper models to compete with Chinese brands in Asia and at the lower end of Western markets.”
“It is impossible to say which approach is the right one, Both Samsung and Apple are exceptionally successful in what they’re doing. However, it appears as if several smartphone makers have started trimming their phone line-up to focus on fewer models recently.”