Apple's iPhone 5 will be launching this fall, according to most reports. And when that happens, the company is expected to offer up everything from a fresh design to a bigger display. Better yet, the device could include 4G LTE service, near-field communication and a host of other improvements that the rumor mill says will dramatically improve the iOS ecosystem.
However, the rumor mill doesn't have a respectable track record for accuracy when it comes to speculation about Apple produce features. Although it's a near-certainty that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in the fall, talk of it appearing with eye-popping new features is likely to be wrong. In fact, there appears to be a much better chance that, save for some nice upgrades here and there, the iPhone 5 will not be a major update at all.
Wondering why? Read on to find out:
1. All signs point to nominal upgrades
Although some people would like to argue that the addition of 4G LTE service and a quad-core processor to the iPhone 5 makes it a major update, that's not really the case. Those are simply iterative upgrades that would be expected from the iPhone maker to keep up with the competition. Even a slightly larger screen, while nice, is not a surprising addition. All of the proposed features in the iPhone 5 look to be rather, well, mundane.
2. What's really major at this point?
It's hard to see what could be construed as a major update at this point. Smartphone designs are well-defined by now. And unless Apple can come up with some radical new feature no one has thought about before, it's hard to see how the iPhone 5 will be a major upgrade. It didn't used to be like that when Apple practically defined what should go into a smartphones. But now that the product sector is starting to mature, it's hard to find anything that's startlingly new.
3. Apple doesn't appear to care about major updates
Apple seems to have lost its appetite for major updates. Over the last couple of years, all of its products have come with a few nominal upgrades that didn't blow anyone's socks off. Perhaps Apple has decided that major updates are too costly and sticking with a slow and steady approach makes more sense as long as the sales and profits keep rolling in.
4. An enterprise play
When Apple was more likely to deliver major updates to its smartphone years ago, the company was really only targeting consumers. However, now the firm is going after enterprise customers, as well. Enterprise customers tend to shy away from major product upgrades that also require them to update their application and network platforms. IT decision-makers like iterative updates that logically follow their predecessors. And Apple seems to understand that.
5. Tim Cook cares more about profitability
When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he certainly cared about profitability. But perhaps more than anything, he wanted his company's products to deliver the most exciting experience out there. Tim Cook is more of a businessman and, according to reports, focuses more on the supply chain and margins than his predecessor. That alone could mean the iPhone 5 could be rather boring this year.
6. Smaller updates are working just fine
If Apple was having trouble selling products that come with incremental updates, the company would almost undoubtedly deliver something major this year. But Apple's iterative updates are working out just fine, and profits are soaring. Why change that recipe?