The iPhone - the most successful Apple product to date. A device that singlehandedly earned the tech giant $42.38 billion in revenues this year alone, and a product that accounted for more than half of the company’s total income in recent quarters.
Since the introduction of the first model back in 2007, more than 2.2 billion units have been sold, and that’s a conservative estimate. Apple stopped reporting iPhone sales figures at the end of last year, meaning there have been no official numbers since November 2018.
Yes, sales have slowed of late, but whichever way you look at it, the iPhone is still one serious cash cow of a smart device. So then, it’s safe to assume that the iPhone will remain at the centre of Apple’s future plans, right? Wrong, apparently.
The iPhone replacement?
If the rumors are to be believed, Apple is predicting – possibly even planning – the demise of the beloved iPhone within a decade. Its replacement? Smart glasses.
The unofficial news was broken earlier this month by digital media company, “The Information”.
According to the San Francisco-based media site, two wearable prototypes were revealed to a room full of Apple employees during a secret meeting at the company’s California headquarters in October.
Reports say that the first pair of Apple smart glasses could land in 2022, with a more sophisticated model launching the following year.
A whole new level of cannibalization
There has been no word from Apple, either on the new products or on potential plans to call time on the iPhone. But if true, then the move takes cannibalization to a whole new level.
While you ponder that thought, let me digress for a moment.
Aside from the seemingly counterintuitive move to wipe out a product that generates multi-billion dollars a year, the idea of switching smart phone for spectacles conjures a rather bemusing mental picture.
Can you imagine a world populated by millions — even billions — of Apple consumers sporting the same conspicuous eyewear?
An eyewear ‘connect’
Of course, the days are long gone when glasses were associated with “nerds” — indeed glasses are a must-have fashion accessory for some.
However, it’s still hard to picture a global army of citizens wearing spectacles, all identical in appearance except for the same subtle features that differentiate one iPhone from another today.
For many companies, such an idea would be as ludicrous as, say, deciding to phase out their most popular product.
But then again, we’re not talking about the average business.
This is Apple, the sixth-biggest public company on earth. A titan of the corporate world with a market cap, which at $961.26 billion, is larger than the GDP of many countries.
Suffice it to say they have got a lot right since Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne laid the company foundations back in 1976, so who are we to judge now?
In fact, while the latest news story raises bemused eyebrows, there is plenty to admire – Apple’s foresight and courage for a start.
If the media reports are right, then Tim Cook and his team have seen the future — and are facing up to it.
First, they have accepted that one of their core products and unrivalled revenue earner won’t necessarily be so forever.
Second, they have begun pioneering a product with the potential to take its place.
But that’s how Apple became Apple. It has never been known to toe the line of convention. It is an inventor and a trend setter – now in more ways than one. The company’s products aren’t just technological devices, they are fashion accessories too.
Both moves take guts and, even for a global giant like Apple, the decisions are not without risk.
But that’s how Apple became Apple. It has never been known to toe the line of convention.
It is an inventor and a trend setter – now in more ways than one. The company’s products aren’t just technological devices, they are fashion accessories too.
It’s impressive; not only does the brand play a major role in shaping how the world works, plays and communicates, Apple — a technology company — has the power to influence how we dress.
This raises a question for you to ponder: Do you have the guts to ditch your past in anticipation of your future?
Tommy Weir is CEO of enaible: AI-powered Leadership and author of “Leadership Dubai Style”. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.