This August, I translated and updated an article from 2013 about how innovation is a cycle of reimagination, diversification, and reduction. The core thesis is that, as innovators, we understand and expect the reimagination/diversification cycle quite well, but we nurture a massive blindspot in the reduction phase.
What is a reduction? The iPhone.
This week's Apple event keeps proving me right. Unless you're a full-time tech journalist that will have to comment on every micrometric adjustment of the screen, processor, or whatnot, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between iPhones that are five or six generations apart.
Which doesn't mean that different Moore's laws are not at play. They are very much so.
But mostly, you'll see an ongoing refinement of a peak innovation product from now on. All significant innovation ("changing the market") has been achieved, and not even incremental innovation, but just some updates and Brownian movements wiggling the iPhone around its ginormous center of gravity.
From now, this is the maximum amount of innovation to expect from the phone:
And it's OK; this product will not be able to move beyond this peak because it doesn't have to. If it did, it would betray its excellence in some ways, trying to solve problems that do not exist.
I'm not saying, though, that the iPhone will exist forever. In a few years, new paradigms will make it not entirely obsolete but too much stuck behind. Just like the iPod ended up to be. Why have a dedicated device to manage music, a feature that became accessible as an app?
But while we wait for the death of the iPhone, you will see tech journalists fret year after year, predicting a car, AR goggles, or anything to write home about.
Meanwhile? Apple keeps on reducing innovation brilliantly.
Now, if I were you, I would keep my eyes on another product in their lineup that we keep on overlooking since 2015. A product that is still in its diversification phase and that competitors still think they will out-innovate...
Some PR is not going to age well 😓