Apple knows that they can’t be the iPhone company forever; just like it couldn’t be the iPod company forever. Above Avalon outlines Apple’s strategy for the future.
1) Increase our dependency on iPhones. The best way to move beyond the iPhone is to give the iPhone an even greater role in our lives. This process has been occurring for years, but Apple needs to push even harder in positioning the iPhone as the most valuable computer in our lives.
2) Begin addressing friction points created by greater iPhone dependency. By giving the iPhone a larger role in our lives, there is a much greater likelihood that friction points will develop around small, seemingly inconsequential tasks like checking the time, reading messages, paying for items in a store, using maps to find a destination, and communicating with friends and families. It’s not that iPhones can’t do any of these tasks, but because the iPhone is positioned as our primary computer, there is room for a simpler device to handle these tasks in a much more efficient and easy way.
3) Embrace luxury and fashion themes. The iPhone is the most personal computing device for hundreds of millions of users. Therefore, one way of coming up with even more personal devices tasked with handling simpler tasks is to remove any remaining barriers between the user and technology. As soon as we talk about devices worn on the body, new themes around luxury and fashion have to be considered. This is where the technology industry is finding much difficulty as very often these themes are intangible and more of an art than a science.
4) Nurture new use cases. Despite the iPhone’s growing popularity, there are certain things that the smartphone form factor will never be optimized to handle, including health monitoring and biometric identification.
5) Give software room to breathe. Apple needs to develop a platform for third party developers that embraces new ideas and methods. Much like how the app revolution changed the smartphone’s trajectory, having developers embrace new types of devices will give the category that much more potential. It’s still too early to say if wearables will have a similar “app” moment. A convincing argument can be made that the very fundamental nature of an app will change for wearables given a vastly different user input method (no software keyboard) and smaller form factor (much less screen real estate).
As Above Avalon further points out. It’s in Apple’s best interest to make the iPhone irrelevant instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for them.