This month, as it has becomes customary for Apple, a show of strength will come out of Cupertino celebrating everything that is Apple. New products will be introduced and the magic of Apple design will be celebrated. Of course this is not news, the Apple show and tell has happened for many years now and for the most part is both predictable and celebratory. What makes this year different is that the rumors involve two items that if true signal a departure from the past from Apple.
The first is the introduction of a large screen iPhone, if true going contrary to Tim Cook’s statements that Apple would not follow its competitors in building phones with large screens. If Apple does indeed build a larger screen iPhone it will be the first time the company has given in to consumer and competitor pressure. Samsung has made it hard for Apple with the Galaxy line of products. The large screen Galaxy series phones have been very popular and have stolen many iPhone users from Apple, Cupertino must be feeling the pressure.
The second item is even more surprising: the rumored introduction of cheaper, plastic iPhones. Such iPhones if introduced would signal that Apple is either going after a totally different demographic (the budget conscious consumer) or trying to stop the erosion of its iPhone sales by making the iPhone more palatable to a greater audience. Tim Cook will have a very hard time introducing a plastic iPhone in the lineup if the iconic design driven products that have defined the company. It may even signal a power struggle for John Ivy that without any doubt is against such a cheaper iPhone.
Apple must do something however. Samsung is closing the gap and some even state that Samsung has taken the leadership when it comes to smart phones. The products that Samsung has demonstrated for the future (such as foldable displays) are amazing and clearly challenge Apple when it comes to innovation. It will take a great innovation announcement from Apple on September 10 to slow down the Samsung advantage and at the moment it is hard to imagine what that innovation may be.
One should not count Apple as defeated however, the company has come from a position of runner up to lead the industry many times before. A larger screen iPhone or a plastic iPhone however is not what Apple needs. Apple must introduce iPhone 6 with significant technological advantages over iPhone 5 in order to leap ahead of Samsung. An iPhone 5s would be a defeat for Cupertino. Apple needs a leap and not an incremental improvement here in order to demonstrate dominance in the smartphone field.