iPhone innovation is still in the pipeline, Tim Cook says


Tim Cook
Tim Cook denies the smartphone market has become dull. He promises plenty of iPhone innovation going forward.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

iPhone hasn’t become a boring, mature product. Not according to Apple’s CEO, anyway. Tim Cook promises plenty of future iPhone innovation, though he admits progress is faster in some years than others.

iPhone innovation, “not just change for change’s sake”

Cook was speaking with Nikki Asian Review when he was asked whether the smartphone market had matured to the point where innovation is no longer possible.

“I know of no one who would call a 12-year-old mature,” he responded, obliquely referring to the original iOS device that launched in 2007.

Still, he confessed that not every new model is jam-packed with innovation. “Sometimes these steps are humongous, sometimes these steps are smaller. But the key is to always make things better, not just change for change’s sake,” said Cook.

And he’s clearly optimistic about the future of the iPhone, and Apple’s other products too. “The ethos and the DNA of the company have never been stronger on the innovation front. The product line has never been stronger.”

What’s innovative in the 2020 iPhone

Of course, the CEO of Apple didn’t bust out any top-secret plans for the 2020 iPhone in a random interview. Nevertheless, some of the details of next year’s iOS handsets are starting to leak out.

Most obviously, everyone expects 5G NR to be a highlight of Apple’s 2020 models. A huge deal with Qualcomm settled that.

While this will be the first iOS handset with this much faster replacement for 4G LTE, there will be plenty of rival 5G models out first. Is that iPhone innovation?

Much more surprisingly, unconfirmed reports indicate that some of the 2020 iPhone models will have a Time-of-Flight 3D scanner built in. This should make augmented reality a much better experience — and is undoubtedly innovative.

And there are reports Apple met with parts suppliers for an under-screen fingerprint scanner. This apparently would replace Face ID, and bring back Touch ID. But Samsung and others did it first.

Just remember, not all innovation is obvious at a glance. The A14 processor in the 2020 iPhone is expected to be made with a cutting-edge 5nm process, increasing speed and battery life. Other circuits might make use of new ultra-small capacitors.