On the lack of innovation in phone hardware

There was a time when everyone was super excited about new phone announcements, mainly those by Apple. But lately, it’s just more of the same. Sure, CPUs and GPUs get faster and cameras get higher resolution, but it’s so incremental that most people wouldn’t even realize if they didn’t know.

This is also what Kara Swisher discussed on CNBC:

It’s not suprising, however. Technological innovation often follows a so-called S-curve. At the beginning of a life cycle of a new technology, there is incremental innovation and nobody takes it seriously. After a while, big leaps of innovations come along (the steep middle part of the S). Later, the innovation steps again decrease.

Taking the mobile phone tech as an example, the beginning of the S was a couple of years before the first iPhone, with PDAs and other early “smartphones”. Apple launched right into the the steep part of the S with the first iPhone (and undoubtedly drove innovation in this sector). And I would argue that since around 2014, we’re again at the final, almost horizontal part of the S.

Of course, the question then becomes: What is the next “mobile phone”? What is the next technology that will drive an enormous amount of economic value, improve the lives of countless people and change cultural behavior en masse?

I, for one, think that it will be virtual reality.