Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom

Kevin Roose, New York Times:

She’s a relatively tech-savvy retiree and a longtime Apple fan who has used many of the company’s products over the years. I learned to type on an Apple IIGS at her office, and she was an early adopter of the original turquoise iMac. These days, she uses her iPhone to check Facebook and Instagram, talk with her friends and relatives, and play solitaire and Words With Friends.

Her phone isn’t the latest model — it’s a three-year-old iPhone 6S — and it’s missing some of the latest features. She can’t take portrait mode photos using a dual-lens camera, a feature introduced in the iPhone 7 Plus, and she can’t unlock her phone using Face ID, which was introduced in the iPhone X in 2017. Her phone’s battery life could be better, and the device sometimes runs out of storage space.

But she’s happy with it, and doesn’t feel the need to upgrade.

The case I’m getting here is that this “hold the phone a long time” is something new, something unplanned, something that is happening to Apple.

I see it as strategic planning, long term thinking on Apple’s part. Part of Apple’s iOS evolution was to create an operating system that would support a deeper run of older devices, even improve the experience from previous iOS versions.

To me, what this article shows is that Apple has been successful in this goal. And that means, as the smartphone market has matured and grown more saturated, Apple could ease from a dependence on iPhone sales to pay the bills, to a future where other devices, as well as a growing services ecosystem, could shoulder more and more of that load.