Even before I bought my first iPhone – imported from an eBay seller in Hawaii of all places, then jailbroken and unlocked – the memory of Steve Jobs revealing the original back in 2007 is seared into my memory with the same permanent marker used to document my first driving lesson.
I distinctly remember the TV adverts for the iPhone 3GS (back in 2009, yikes), and how a year later the iPhone 4’s Retina display felt like a revolution in screen technology.
Then the iPhone 5 arrived with breakneck 4G download speeds, the iPhone 4S introduced us all to Siri, and the iPhone 6 was the first with two screen sizes, with the 5.5-inch Plus model seeming enormous at the time. The iPhone 7 Plus was the first to have two rear cameras, and of course the iPhone X with its edge-to-edge display and FaceID felt (and looked) truly groundbreaking.
After this, my memory is patchy. I remember the gorgeous Pacific Blue of my iPhone 12 Pro, which was later stolen, taken straight from my hand by a passing cyclist (slash scumbag).
I downgraded to a regular 12 after that and haven’t really thought about iPhones since. Perhaps seeing a grand's worth of smartphone lifted from my hand also relieved me of a passion for the iPhone that had endured since I nervously jailbroke the original as a 17-year-old.
That said, I now wonder if the spark had already faded. I hadn’t upgraded from my iPhone X until the 12 Pro arrived three years later, instead enduring with an X that had clearly lived a tough and loveless life. The rear was smashed to pieces, occasionally scratching my fingertips, and eventually the front was equally ruined, so damaged that the touchscreen would occasionally register phantom touches. Instagram profile deep-dives had become a risky business.
What to expect from the iPhone 14
So what of the *checks notes* iPhone 14? I can say with confidence yet without checking any rumour sites that it’ll be quicker than ever, with better cameras front and rear, improved battery life and a new range of ‘magical’ colour options.
There will probably be three models, although I gather interest in the Mini isn’t what Apple had once hoped. It’ll run the iOS 16 software we all saw at WWDC, and the median price will be about £1,000. Or will it be the iPhone 14S? Does Apple still do that?
Nonetheless, I’ll be waiting until at least the iPhone 15. Not because I’m one of those consumers who is forever chasing The Next Big Thing, but because I’m perfectly happy with the Current Thing in my pocket.
A folding iPhone would certainly pique my interest, so too would one with some other kind of revolutionary new form-factor. I couldn’t care for Apple's VR and AR plans, so the iPhone needs to earn my respect (and therefore cash) all on its own account, not attempt to win me over with pricey additional hardware.
I suspect I’m not alone in my disinterest of new iPhones. The smartphone category matured extremely quickly in the iPhone’s first decade and is now at a point where the demands of an annual launch cycle result in marginal gains.
What about an iPhone 14S instead?
We – consumers as well as manufacturers like Apple – are stuck on a never-ending conveyor belt where meaningful upgrades are expected every year, when in reality these phones are capable of lasting half a decade without serious decay. Just buy a case and screen protector on day one, for goodness’ sake.
If the iPhone 14 is set to leave me cold, then what about the 15? I’ve come to realise that, what I want most, is for Apple to reintroduce the tick-tock launch schedule where the new iPhone alternated from being an S model and carrying a new number.
That way, the big updates can come with a new number every two years, followed in-between by a lesser S upgrade, where performance gains are key. The year-old model then gets a price cut and a couple of new colours to keep demand high.
Ultimately then, what I want from the iPhone 15 of 2023 is it to, well, be the iPhone 14. Sometimes stepping back and slowing things down is the best approach.