iPhone buyers tend to fall into three rather broad categories. There's the person who buys a new phone yearly, no matter what. These buyers are low-hanging fruit to Apple, and the company doesn't have to work too hard to sell them a new phone.
Then there are those who buy a new iPhone when their current one breaks.
These folks will buy an iPhone when they need one.
Then there are those who hover in the middle. They don't buy every year, but something triggers a purchase. And finally, there are the Android switchers. They get to a point in their journey where it's time to jump ship.
These are the buyers that Apple needs to work on.
This year's upcoming iPhone 13 looks to represent a small, rather incremental upgrade. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, alongside a faster chip and a smaller notch, the area that will get the biggest upgrade will be the camera.
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According to the report, the new iPhones will be able to record video using the Portrait mode feature currently only available for photographs, along with being able to make use of the ProRes format and have access to new filters to change the look and feel of the video.
ProRes would be of benefit to professionals using the iPhone to capture video, but like its photo counterpart, ProRAW, it's one of those things that is of little to no benefit to 99% of users who record stuff to share on social media where any sense of color fidelity is lost due to the compression used.
The filters might be of more use, especially if they are more intelligent and will, according to the report, work by "precisely applying changes to objects and people across the photos using artificial intelligence, rather than applying a single filter across the entire picture."
Sounds exciting, but again, it's a very small, incremental improvement.
While I'm sure that Apple will make it all seem exciting during the launch event, if this report is anything to go by, it's clear that innovation has given way to slow, progressive changes. It's inevitable, but given the way that users become locked into the iPhone ecosystem, I don't think it matters. Apple has a very established upgrade cycle, and as long as it comes out with a new phone every year, and one that looks a bit different (or at least recycles a look from a few years ago) every few years, the masses (and Wall Street) will be happy.
Would this be enough to convince you to buy a new iPhone?