Apple has officially announced ... the official launch event for the next iPhone. Since everyone already knows it will be the iPhone 8, the big news is that it is the first-ever event to be held at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. That means, for the first time, the location of the event might actually trump the device Apple is going to start selling.
So what's so important about the next iPhone?
Here's my theory.
It might be the last iPhone you'll ever need.
From all reports, it will use a screen tech called OLED, which means it will look brighter and clearer. And the screen will likely run to the edge of the enclosure. Another phone already offers that -- the Essential phone, made by Android creator Andy Rubin -- but this is a first for Apple. The new phone will likely use a faster A11 processor, and you might be able to charge it by placing the device on a pad instead of connecting a cable. (If you do connect a cable, rumors suggest that will work a lot faster as well.)
The good news for Apple fans is that this model might do everything except slice your bread in the morning, but it will come at a cost.
Rumors suggest the new phone could cost as much as $999. That's not exactly an impulse purchase price, but we do depend greatly on our phones. For many, the fastest speed, brilliant screen, wireless charging, and other iOS features could mean this is the phone that will last you for years and years to come. It might even be the last iPhone you ever buy.
One reason is that there is not as much incentive to upgrade. When phones get super fast and charge easily, we start to lose interest in upgrading. Call it the "Honda problem" --people hang onto their cars a long time. That's why iPhone sales finally started to slip last year. Every new model that arrives could be the last one a lot of people buy.
Another reason is that, as I've been predicting, it's possible we won't even need a smartphone at some point. In our homes, speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home can place phone calls now. Our cars will also use voice assistants soon. Your office, your home, your car, and everywhere in between might have voice assistants at the ready, regardless of whether you actually have a smartphone.
The technology is so advanced it can even reduce noise in the room, and you can do a lot by voice--get weather reports, turn on the lights in the living room, and order products online. Why swipe and gesture on a nice touchscreen at all?
And if we're talking about games and movies, or even web browsing, there are far better devices for that. Mostly, there are 4K screens that provide everything we would ever want in terms of media consumption and gaming. A phone is mobile, but if the screens are everywhere, it doesn't make sense to keep using one for Netflix or Pokémon.
Mainly, $999 is a lot for someone to pay who only needs to upgrade once every few years--when the phone does what we need it to do when we get mobile--and when the voice bots and high-def screens do everything else. Why charge a phone at all? Why carry one? Tech innovations, in some ways, have caught up to Apple.
The iPhone 8 might be the end of the line. We shall see.