I came across an old post regarding the iPhone that I thought was pretty interesting.
So here’s how I see Apple applying its iPod strategy to the iPhone. At some point the iPhone will expand to two form factors:
- A high-end iPhone with the same basic size and price as previous iPhones, but with significant new features. Obvious potential new features would be things like more storage space, more RAM, a faster CPU, an improved (and eventually video-capable) camera, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and superior battery technology.
- A new, lower-priced, smaller, and more adorable iPhone, with more or less the same technical specs as the original iPhone. Given that those specs include the 320 × 480 display, I wouldn’t expect something tiny, but remember that the original iPod Mini was “just” 35 percent smaller by volume than the then-current full-sized iPod. Shrink the iPhone’s forehead and chin and make it thinner — maybe a lot thinner — is what I’m thinking. Existing iPhone apps would run just fine on the new device, as it’d have similar, if not identical, CPU performance and RAM to previous full-sized iPhones. Such an iPhone sounds much like the “iPhone Lite” that BusinessWeek reported its source saw.
This is something John Gruber posted in May of 2009 with regard to rumors of a Verizon iPhone. Why it caught my eye is because of the thinking that the iPhone would go the way of the iPod. Except, it wasn’t until 4 years after this post that we were introduced to two iPhone models in one year: the 5s and 5c.
Apple originally introduced just one iPod model. But after a couple of years, it started to get different companions. Now, we look back at the history of the iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod touch, and the iPod mini. As the device market matured, Apple was able to create a couple of different devices that, while still being ahead of the competition, offered a larger selection for users to choose from.
I think that’s the direction Apple might be going with the 2 lines. You have one line, the higher-spec, top-of-the-line model. The other, the new c-line, will be more colorful or, as John Gruber said, “more adorable”. Does that mean the c-line is not the best?
Would we say that the iPad mini is less of a device than its larger iPad cousin? Of course not. With the latest updates to the iPad mini and the new iPad Air, both devices are virtually identical except for the screen size. I think the iPhone is just about at a similar level, especially given that the power of the 5c is still mind-blowing compared to phones from just a year or two ago. But it’s still be a great phone, and for some, having a colorful, fun option is more important than having the latest and the greatest.
For years, the iPod was dominant as a music player. While still a popular (and in a way, still the dominant) MP3 player, smartphones have come up and taken a bit of steam out of the iPod’s sails. But when it comes to the iPhone, I think Apple will undoubtedly diversify it’s offerings. It will never be the same way Nokia or Samsung offer a plethora of devices. But Apple has never had to do that, either. And when it comes to the iPhone, like the iPad, having two or three offerings still gives people options when it comes to a new phone.