Ayaki Kimura '17
Assistant Opinions Editor
With the emergence of the age of the smartphone, a constant obsession to keep up-to-date with the latest model has ensued. At the heart of this craze is what can be viewed as the pioneer of cell phone trends: the iPhone. Apple, known for its sleek designs and cutting-edge technology, has created a constituency of loyal customers who are willing to splurge on the newest version of various products. The annual release of the new model of the iPhone, particularly, has a long tradition of anticipation. As soon as the release date is announced, many customers mark it on their calendars, pushing aside meetings and doctor’s appointments. Most notable about the actual in-store releases of the new iPhone is the astonishingly long lines of devoted buyers outside of the store. The loyalty of iPhone customers surely can only be matched by the loyalty of One Direction fans, with both parties stoically camping outside venues for days in advance.
However, the release of the prototype of the iPhone 7 was met with mixed reviews from various customers. Although the iPhone is thinner, there are clearly limitations to how thin a phone can be. Apple designers, subsequently, seem to have found a new way to distinguish iPhones from their predecessors: by gradually enlarging the screen with each new model. According to several studies, the amount of time people spend on their smartphones has increased sharply in recent years. Some specialists of iPhone trends, noting the correlation between an increase in the use of smartphones and an increase in eyeglasses prescriptions, speculate that phone designers have been forced to enlarge screens to accommodate the decrease in average eyesight of the smartphone-using population.
Despite all of the anticipation surrounding the iPhone 7, the release of the prototype has been a disappointment to some, due to the curious similarity between the new model and the iPad Mini. Does this resemblance signal a growing convergence between Apple products? After all, this is not the first time two Apple products have had striking similarities. Perhaps we should have seen this coming with the similarities between the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle.
Customers have expressed diverging opinions. One iPhone user, found in Starbucks with a Macbook Air propped open, typing on an iPhone 6+ and listening to music on an iPod Touch, said she was planning to purchase the iPhone 7. “I mean, yeah, I guess it looks like the iPad Mini. But, it’s a new model, so they must have done something different, right? Maybe they made the battery better,” she said.
Another current iPhone user, however, was more skeptical. “Honestly, I feel like Apple designers have gotten lazy recently. The new iPhone is basically an iPad Mini with Skype. It’s an awkward size to put in your pocket too.”
On the other hand, the glamour of some luxury goods seems to lie in their inconvenience. If it looks good, who cares about practicality? For all we know, this new model may spark a trend of iPad-esque phones.
One question lingering in the back of customers’ minds is how long new releases of iPhone models will continue. The number of iPhone models has now reached the span of the Harry Potter series. Like J.K. Rowling, will Apple designers make the seventh edition the end point? Or will the iPhone continue to evolve? Only time will tell.