Replacing your mobile phone today is like replacing your computer, something you used to do every couple of years and now do every six or seven. You see the functionality is good enough. Now it’s solely about fashion.
The days of cool hardware are done. The focus is on what the hardware, which is good enough, can do. Software reigns. And not only productivity apps software, but music, art, anything that can be accessed/streamed.
This has been obvious for years. I’ve said this ad infinitum, but once the iPod, and then the iPhone, was able to handle all the forms of media that we can access (music, text, photo, and video), and was able to run apps, including demanding games, there was nothing else to do. The only real improvements in phones any more is in the cameras, and most people don’t care about that; the camera in their current phone is good enough.
The future is about software, but even more about services (i.e., software on a server). This is why Apple is investing a lot on that part of the equation. Only those who want to be cool really need the latest smartphone, be it from Apple or Samsung. But this is why the hardware companies and carriers have introduced subscription pricing for phones, along with a new device every 12 months. Because without it, people will realize that they don’t need to pay all that many to refresh their phone.