Apple’s clearly not a spent force. But its days as the unassailable king of the smartphone world certainly feel as if they’re coming to an end.
Declining iPhone sales and talk of switching to a three-year update cycle for its most lucrative product suggest that all is not well when it comes to the most defining gadget of the 21st century.
With a minor update due later this year before a major overhaul in 2017, here are five ways we think Apple can fix its iPhone woes for good.
1 Add a curved screen
Apple’s smartphone design is still first rate. But recent years have seen Samsung, HTC, LG and others all release devices that give the iPhone a run for its money when it comes to look and finish.
One way Apple can set itself apart, or at least put itself on a par with Samsung, is by introducing a curved screen device.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge has already proven a hit with consumers looking for something unique and word is from supply chain sources that Apple is considering offer its own take with 2017’s iPhone.
The sooner it follows its rivals' lead, the better.
2 Bigger battery
The disappointing battery life of smartphones is a common complaint everywhere you turn. And while Apple’s Jonathan Ive has definitively ruled out adding a bigger battery to future iPhones, it really is something which the company needs to consider.
A handset that lasts more than 24 hours would respresent a huge coup for Apple and mean it could really brag about ‘all day battery life’ without the usual caveats.
Adding a millimetre to a device's size isn’t going to impact on anyone and at least it would mean not having to invest in ugly, bulky battery cases (especially Apple’s own lumpen version).
3 Smart Connector
Smartphone accessories are already all the rage. LG’s G5 add–ons have shown that boosting the camera or speakers can be a boon at a time when smartphones can often look and feel the same.
Already a mainstay of the iPad Pro range, adding this to its new iPhones could mean physical keyboards, improved camera lenses and other extras which would help improve the company’s bottom line while making the iPhone more attractive.
4 Keep things simple
iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE. Apple’s naming strategy is a mess. It needs to get back to basics. With its MacBooks, Apple doesn’t offer a number and it could be the same for the iPhone.
How about just 'iPhone' for its 4.7–inch model, and 'iPhone Pro' for its larger 5.5–inch variant. And then leave things at that.
The latter has been mooted already, especially as it’s set to come with a dual lens camera and better internal specs than its smaller stablemate.
5 Flatten the design
It’s not just the curved screen that Apple needs to add. That protruding camera lens on the iPhone 6s is ugly and needs to go.
All indications suggest this year’s iPhone 7 will retain it, but Apple needs to be working towards offering a sharp-looking iPhone that harks back to the stunning original from 2007.