We’re approaching iPhone season and I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I’m looking forward to renewed interest in Tim Cook’s company. Like most tech brands, the interest in Apple’s products and services rises and falls throughout the year as new stuff is announced. The interest curve is, often, brutal.

Remember Vision Pro?


The iPhone 15 has a big job on its hands. Or at least, that’s what many people assume – me included. Without a hinge, fold, or crease in sight, Apple’s next flagship product update will need to do something special if it’s to remain relevant.

Won’t it?

Well, no, it won’t. You see, I’ve come to a startling realisation about the iPhone over the last few weeks and I’ve realised that it’s taken me ten years to do so.

If you’ve got big expectations about future iPhones, this might be a tough read.

The iPhone’s biggest assets

The iPhone isn’t the best smartphone on the market. Nor is it the most interesting or fun to use. It doesn’t take risks, it iterates slowly each year, and everyone including your nan knows what it is.

I like to think of the iPhone as my most reliable, well-dressed mate. It’s the guy who is always on time at the pub and whose immaculate dress sense adds just enough confidence to his demeanour without making him annoying.

He’s also the guy who heads home first due to the 6am ‘all-hands’ he’s got to head-up the next morning.

The iPhone is dependable, impressive, yet entirely unremarkable. It was remarkable quite some time ago, but since the early days of the first retina displays and significant camera improvements, Apple has simply focused its attention on everything else that surrounds the iPhone.

This has resulted in the iPhone having two significant assets that can’t be matched anywhere else.

Firstly, it’s functional. It doesn’t really get anything wrong and doesn’t try anything remotely resembling ‘whacky’. Even the Monkey Island is a safe bet.

That means your iPhone always works and does so beautifully.

Secondly, it is highly ecosystem-dependent. Which brings me to my next point.

The reason I haven’t switched to Android

I get asked all the time why I haven’t switched to Android. It’s a fair question and one that usually comes after a positive review of the latest Android flagship or mid-range wonder.

My answer is always the same: I can’t.

To be clear, I carry two phones. In one pocket, I have my iPhone. In the other, the current Android unit I’m reviewing. The latter changes as often as it has to, depending on manufacturer release cycles and the availability of review units.

Sometimes, however, I fall in love with the Android device I’m reviewing so deeply that I leave my iPhone at home. Whenever I do that, there’s only one feature I miss enough to wish I hadn’t done so – the ability to copy and paste stuff from my Mac to the iPhone.

I do this all the time. Whether it’s a URL for my latest YouTube video or a line of text I need to paste elsewhere, the ability to do so without any faff whatsoever has become a crutch. Equally, the presence of AirDrop makes transferring larger items such as images and videos to my iPhone laughably easy.

Apple is happy

Without the aforementioned ecosystem features, I feel lost and less productive. That ain’t gonna make the headlines, but it’s a stark reminder that Apple knows exactly what it’s doing.

They want to lock people in. We’ve always known this, yet we’ve begrudgingly accepted it as Apple fans. Limiting the availability of services, apps, and devices to its own walled garden is something Apple has always done and always got away with – because they’re so smart at it.

Can you imagine if Google was as successful at doing this? Oh, the headlines.

The presence of Apple TV on smart TV operating systems immediately springs to mind as one of the exceptions to this rule. But that’s safe, as far as Tim is concerned. Apple TV is a massive business in its own right – but it isn’t the iPhone.

The iPhone holds everything together, from Apple’s persona to its profits and shareholder satisfaction. This is why there’s an absence of fiddling, experimentation or following the crowd. It’s what Apple does best; stick with what you know, and just make everything the best it can be. Oh, and while you’re doing that, make it virtually impossible for people to leave.

It’s easy to assume that Apple catches the negative headlines about the iPhone’s lack of innovation in recent years and fails to sleep at night as a result.

It doesn’t. It’s happy. Ecstatic, even.

It’s just a small pocket of us who want more and our voice isn’t loud enough.

What this means for the iPhone

This year, we’re expected to see camera improvements (again), the switch from Lightning to USB-C (finally), and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bezel reduction (please try and stay awake at the back).

If you’re thinking this is simply a ‘tock’ year for the iPhone and that we’re going to receive a big ‘tick’ in 2024, I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken. Apple’s smartphone is going to continue with its iterative updates for as long as it has to.

There’ll be no folding iPhone. We’ll continue to see the camera system receive impressive updates each year. Those remaining buttons and bezels will disappear. The Monkey Island will eventually sink.

It will still look and feel like an iPhone every single year – because the truth about the iPhone is that it is designed to be dependable and ecosystem-dependent. That’s it – that’s what I’ve worked out after ten years of owning one, and I’m afraid it’s our lot for the foreseeable future.

That’s until it gets replaced by a future visionOS product, obvs.

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