The need for Apple to move away from one new smartphone a year, one major update every two years business model for iPhone, was obvious last year already. By then Apple has almost tapped out the natural iPhone growth avenues, and its growth rate based on the old business model had nowhere else to go but down. And this is exactly what happened in 2013.
Still, the momentum built-up over the years, was enough to carry them through 2013 with no major changes. And Apple still had two huge operators to add to its distribution list – Japan’s NTT Docomo and China Mobile. Which they did this year, reducing the iPhone growth decline at least for a short while.
But things should change in 2014, and Apple spent all of 2013 preparing for that. Instead of focusing on radically new iPhone and iPad designs, they’ve spent this year building foundations for the changes to come in 2014. Completely redesigning iOS 7 to accommodate new device sizes and form factors, adding 64bit CPU support for next generation computing functions, aligning iPad branding to add 12.9” iPad Pro to 8” Mini and 10′” Air.
And preparing for the launch of new iPhones with much bigger screens.
Bloomberg reports that new iPhones in 2014 will have a major redesign, and will come equipped with 4.7” and 5.5” curved displays. Which will significantly expand Apple’s smartphone line-up and will finally allow them to catch up with the trend of ever bigger screen devices, so prominent in Android world.
For the more distant future, it seems that Apple is working on some major changes to its multi-touch interface, and plans to add the third navigation dimension to it. This should be achieved by adding pressure sensors to the touchscreens, to distinguish between light and harder touches. The mention of this technology has been popping-up in Apple patent applications for years, and is still at least few years away from commercial use.
For now, the ways Apple intends to use the pressure sensors in future iPhones, is just a speculation. But the 3D parallax effects in iOS 7 wallpapers, and Amazon’s work on faux-3D UI in its upcoming smartphone might give you some ideas.