Apple’s new phone is a side show, get ready for the next quantum leap

Apple changed the world in 2007, ever since then it has evolved, but has not done anything revolutionary. That could be set to change.

Article updated: 11 September 2019 11:00am Author: Michael Baxter

Back in 2007, when Apple revealed the iPhone, a lineup of critics emerged. In front of the queue was the then Microsoft CEO Steve Bullmer who was incredulous. “It doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard,” he said through barely contained laughter.

The Apple duo of Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive did something incredibly bold, they ignored feedback from customers which said no one wanted a touch screen phone. Both men could see the benefit of a larger screen, part of which became a keyboard when required.

The product has had this incredibly profound impact. I believe that in a funny kind of way it has changed us, maybe it had even changed the wiring in our brain — if we ever merge with the machine, something that Elon Musk says we must do or the machine will make us redundant, then the iPhone may count as the first step in that direction.

But master strokes like the iPhone don’t come along very often. Although Apple has had its fair share of innovative products since, the iPad and Apple Watch for example, and the iPhone itself has evolved nicely, the company hasn’t done anything radical.

As I write, the latest iPhone is out, and it’s very nice and all, with three cameras, faster processor, while the watch has a superior battery but, excuse me while I take a nap, it’s about as exciting as a roller coaster ride without any rollers.

Indeed, the latest iPhone seems quite tame compared to what I understand is a quite beautiful foldable phone from Samsung. And while the Samsung phones seem to be getting more expensive with every release, Apple phones seem to be going down in price.

Sure, Apple also has its $4.99 a month TV service, which I understand has some impressive releases. Annual recurring revenue is becoming its focus, but it’s all so predictable, so... “I can do this too.”

When is Apple going to change the world again? Will it ever?

Thirty odd years ago, Sir Clive Sinclair thought he had changed the world with a computer called the quantum leap, it turned out to be a quantum disaster.

Can Apple come up with a quantum leap of its own, a genuine one though?

I think the reason why we haven’t seen anything as radical as an iPhone since 2007, is because technology wasn’t ready. The iPhone was only possible thanks to a number of factors outside of Apple’s control — wireless internet access finally getting close to decent speeds, Moore’s Law throwing up sufficient processing power and the homogenisation of components.

The question is, are we ready for the next big leap?

The next big leap, in my view, will be augmented reality. Why will this be such a big deal? Because it will be like an always on communication device, AI assistant, and AI advisor that will enable us to interact with other people anywhere in the world via holograms, as if we are standing next to them.

In my view, for supporting communication, augmented reality will be as big a deal as the internet was. It will be possible to meet up with old friends, or loved ones, even though they may be thousands of miles away. Augmented reality will do away with the need for physical keyboards altogether — instead they will appear as holograms, as big as you like.

The company that can crack augmented reality with a device that sits in front of our eyes, maybe goggles, maybe glasses, maybe contact lenses, will, in my view, have created the next ‘iPhone’. Augmented reality scores over virtual reality, because the latter involves a headset that shuts you off from reality. Augmented reality enhances reality, rather than replaces it.

And I read that Apple’s plans are advanced

The rumoured name of the Apple augmented reality product is Garta and according to The Verge, apparent images of the product suggests it “is a stereoscopic AR headset... which would adjust the way an augmented reality app would look to match lenses in front of your eyes.”

Will augmented reality become as significant as I predict? Perhaps. Will augmented reality help Apple achieve a $2 trillion market cap? We have no way of knowing. But I think it is possible that the answer to both those questions is yes.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Share Centre, its officers and employees

Michael Baxter portrait photo
Michael Baxter

Economics Commentator

Michael is an economics, investment and technology writer, known for his entertaining style. He has previously been a full-time investor, founder of a technology company which was floated on the NASDAQ, and a director of a PR company specialising in IT.

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