Every now and then, it can almost begin to seem like Samsung is taking the lead in mobile innovation. It’s not altogether uncommon for the company to come out with a given feature before Apple, and in fact CNET just argued that Samsung was setting a new standard, upon the company’s unveiling of new devices. Indeed, Samsung made waves this month, taking a leap forward toward 5G networks, 8K video, better cameras, and, yes, that touchscreen flip phone you’ve been seeing all over the internet.
What we’ve come to learn by this point though is that the top mobile device providers tend to be neck-and-neck when it comes to specific features like these; one or the other may be first by a few months, but they ultimately end up in similar places. When it comes to greater innovation and change that can alter the industry though, it appears right now that Apple is still poised to be driving things forward.
Here are a few reasons why.
Talk Of More Regular Releases
First and foremost we’ll refer to our previous report about Apple changing its release schedule, such that new iPhones could come out twice a year. This change has nothing to do with new features or any sweeping technological innovation, but it’s one that would alter the industry as we know it. By this point we’ve all more or less come to accept that major providers will put out new flagship devices once a year, or in some cases once every other year. By making a change like this though, Apple will be adjusting consumer expectations across the board, and setting a new pace for smaller, phone-to-phone innovations.
The Use Of Advanced Manufacturing
One way Apple may be able to accomplish a switch to more regular releases is by furthering its use of advanced manufacturing methods. Already, the company is known to take advantage of CNC machining, which is a bit of a behind-the-scenes concept to most, but which makes a significant impact. Fictiv portrays CNC machining as involving numerous methods, including milling, turning, and various finishing options, all of which can be used to create functionally flawless, highly replicable parts in a largely automated manner. This can help a company like Apple to produce inventory for a product like the iPhone on a massive scale and in relatively short time. Additionally, CNC machining can help with the rapid prototyping and production of new internal features, shortening the time it takes for an idea to be put into practice. Based on Apple’s use of this sort of practice, and the benefits just described, we can expect that the company will also continue to drive innovation in manufacturing, whether through continued use of CNC machining, implementation of 3D printing, or similar efforts we’re not even as aware of yet.
A Full Wireless Experience
It’s been said now and then that one of the goals Steve Jobs had for Apple products before he passed away was that they could one day present an entirely wireless experience. And with rumors already circulating that Apple is looking to do away with the lightning port in iPhones, it could be that this dream is getting closer to becoming a reality. In fact it seems quite likely that we’ll soon see an iPhone becoming the first major mobile option with no jacks or inputs whatsoever, operating via Bluetooth devices and touch-based charging pads. The real innovation to look forward to, though – and the one we can reasonably expect Apple to drive forward – will be charging through the air. It may sound almost impossible right now, but if it happens it’s likely to be Apple that brings it about.
Pairing With Augmented Reality Glasses
Already, Apple is actually playing from behind when it comes to “smart” or augmented reality glasses. Many other companies have put forth these products, with varying degrees of success. That’s just the thing though – varying degrees of success have kept AR glasses from catching on to the extent some thought they might have by now, and this has left the door wide open for Apple to take its time, perfect a product, and release it as the next big accompaniment for iPhones. SlashGear recently indicated a possible 2022 release for Apple’s long-awaited smart glasses, so this development isn’t particularly imminent. But because the competition has essentially rushed the idea, we can safely expect Apple to make a major splash if and when its glasses debut. Apple will set the pace for whatever the relationship between our phones and these glasses is going to become.
To some extent all of this remains hypothetical. But as much as mobile device providers tend to jockey for position when it comes to specific features and product releases, these are legitimate reasons for Apple to be regarded, still, as the leading innovator for more significant changes.
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