Have you seen this video of the new 4-inch iPhone SE “spotted in the wild” in China? It’s fake. But it doesn’t matter. Because that’s probably what they’re going to look like anyway.
Do you think the new iPhones are going to have a satellite dish jutting from the side? Or maybe antlers? Fifty years from now if you hand someone both a first generation iPhone and an iPhone 9, they won’t see much difference. And that’s because technological change is incremental, which is the only valuable conclusion to draw from this fake video.
We can get so bogged down in the minutiae of incremental technological change that we forget to remind ourselves that incremental technological change is how literally everything happens. Which is ironic, because people so often insist that technological change happens exponentially. The truly funny part is that all the current rumours indicate that the new smaller iPhone isn’t really pushing the technology forward very much. It’s just going to be smaller.
As the makers of the video acknowledge at the end, they have no idea if what they’re handling is a legitimate Apple product. And let me just reiterate that it’s not. But again, if the new line of iPhones look dramatically different from these Chinese knock-offs I will be completely shocked.
Apple is expected to show off the new 4-inch iPhone SE at its big March 21st event. And there will no doubt be plenty of oohs and ahhs in the crowd about what will fundamentally be just another iPhone. But it won’t have a prosthetic arm that does your laundry or something like that. It’s going to be another iPhone. Useful? Sure. But it’ll probably be pretty similar to every iPhone that came before it.
And so it goes. Forever and ever until you’re dead.