iPhone 7 sparks mobile evolution by embracing IoT technology
Apple knows how to put on a show and stir up buzz when announcing a new product, and the iPhone 7 was no exception. The latest edition of the company’s flagship mobile device offers upgrades across a number of features, including an enhanced retina display and a better smartphone camera.
Those are all nice, but one small change is creating significant waves throughout the tech world, with some hailing it as the start of an impending mobile evolution. The iPhone 7 is the first Apple smartphone that doesn’t feature a 3.5 mm jack, which has previously been used to plug in headphones and a number of other devices such as credit card readers and other hardware extensions made by Apple or outside creators.
Critics of the move have accused Apple of forcing unnecessary change on consumers and of taking another step toward monopolizing the types of hardware extensions consumers can use with an Apple device. Regardless of those motives, Apple’s decision to get rid of a staple device feature falls in line with the strategy that built the company in the first place: It’s betting that it knows what consumers want better than the consumers themselves think they want.
And what they want, in Apple’s estimation, is mobile evolution. The iPhone 7 is the launchpad for that movement.
Pushing toward the IoT
The rise of smart technology is percolating across the landscape of everyday life. Everything from kitchen appliances to garage doors can now be equipped with mobile technology. In-home personal assistants are built upon the same technology, bringing everyone closer to building a true Internet of Things (IoT).
There are already millions of web-connected devices on the market. As JETLaw pointed out, some experts anticipate up to 50 billion devices will be in use by 2020. Interest in this smart technology is growing, and Apple is anticipating that this interest will fuel greater adoption in the near future.
In an ideal world, this technology will have incredible implications for the daily lives of everyday consumers. Technological synergy will reach unprecedented heights, with different pieces of technology working together to make life easier and more efficient. It promises to be a boon for the customer experience, supporting a variety of workflow operations like integrated inventory management, real-time analytics and more engaging branded experiences fueled by immersive marketing technology.
By getting rid of its headphone jack, Apple is forcing consumers, developers and product makers to embrace IoT technology. That could be the spark of a powerful mobile evolution, but only if the necessary infrastructure is already in place.
All eyes on security
The cord that connects your headphones to your smartphone does not pose a security risk. Yet in a wireless world in which your headphones are IoT-enabled and your audio transmission takes place wirelessly, you now have another potential entry point for a security attack. To support the mainstream embrace of IoT and wireless communication between devices, tech brands must find better ways to ensure the highest degree of security possible.
Because this hardware is so central to its business, Apple will need to be one of the leaders in maintaining this security. The customer experience can only go as far as any brand’s ability to protect against virtual attacks. If that security is compromised — or even if consumers are merely worried about a breach — the promise of the IoT will go unfulfilled.
By hitching its own innovations to the impending growth of the IoT, Apple has made itself an active member of the movement to upgrade security in an increasingly mobile world.