That must have been the least inspiring launch of an iPhone ever. Since the iPhone 4 the even years have seen a change in form (always with more and/or better screen) and the odd years have typically introduced better internals (improved camera, processor, touch sensor).

Yesterday’s event seemed like an odd year event.

Form Factor?

Essentially unchanged. There seem to be minor changes to the casing but essentially the same size and resolution.

  • 4: introduced retina screen
  • 5: introduced longer screen (extra row of icons)
  • 6: introduced bigger screen (and giant plus screen)
  • 7: introduced… no change

General improvements?

  • Improved speed
  • Improved battery life
  • Improved graphics
  • Improved camera
  • Home button improvement
  • Slightly more water resistant

I hate to say it but the 6s gave us pretty much that and more – all those improvements including the fingerprint recognition on the home button became lightning fast plus we had the whole 3D Touch thing, which opened up whole new vistas of activity. The 7 is incrementally better in all those areas, but why wouldn’t it be?

Overall

I see nothing in the 7 which makes a purchase even slightly appalling above my 6s which I have right now.

I’m not even sure that it is a compelling upgrade from the 6 to be honest. Might an upgrader just be better off going to a cheaper 6s?

Demos for a mario platform game and a beat em up both of which appeared to have gameplay from a decade or more ago was uninspiring, as was a watch Pokemon app after the crest of that wave has broken.

So what is going on?

I’m no apple analyst, but I wonder whether they are holding back major changes until 2017, their 10th anniversary?

I hear that iPhone sales haven’t been stellar this year (I’ve no idea how true that is) but perhaps a speed bump issue this year would mean there are more people ready for a big step up in capability this time next year? Three years worth of customers ready for the next big change in form factor or capability in a phone? I could imagine that as a plan because if they did something special for the tenth anniversary they would want sales to be knocked out of the park.

Other hardware news

It was also disappointing to see no other exciting novel hardware news. Last year we had the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The year before that we had the Apple Watch. Are they not working on anything aspirational right now?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a whole new category, but surely something where at the end of the presentation we are saying “I can’t wait to get my hands on that!”

Have they just lost the art of the showstopper? Losing the Steve Jobs “one more thing” reveal has turned into nothing much to reveal at all? That would be a sad day in Apples history if it has arrived.

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