Apple plans to announce the next generation iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models on September 10. To prepare for this announcement, I’ve been shopping online for a new case to protect my investment as soon as pre-order eligibility is announced following the conference. However, I just realized today, as I was shopping for a new case, this would be a mistake at this time.
I currently have an iPhone 4, which debuted in 2010 and this model is getting pretty long in the tooth: home button is very unresponsive, 3G feels incredibly slower than usual (probably because I’m being throttled) as is using wifi in my own house! My wife has an iPhone 5 and her phone out performs my iPhone 4 even on my home network wifi, so something is definitely wrong with my phone and I’m ready for an upgrade.
One of the nice benefits of Apple not redesigning their iPhones every single year, but every other year unlike their competitors that design new shapes/sizes every year, is this year the iPhone 5s should carry the same form factor as the iPhone 5. So, I thought it would be pretty safe to shop for a case in advance, right? That way when my phone arrives, I’m ready to use it in the real world without having to be extra careful while I wait for that special case to arrive in the mail for a couple days or weeks.
To the basic consumer, shopping for a new phone is pretty simple: If you have an iPhone and you’re eligible for an upgrade when your contract expires then you simply renew your contract with a new phone. No big deal. Apple announces new models every year about a week after their back-to-school program ends. The school program offers students a $50 to $100 gift card when you buy an iPhone/iPad or Mac. This year their school program ends Sept 6 with the iPhone 5S conference on Sept 10 meanwhile last year the back to school program ended Sept 21 with iPhone 5 conference held on October 4. Do you see the trend?
So, the year is 2013 and mobile industry is getting bigger and bigger every single year. It’s gradual and you probably think it’s barely noticeable since we take our daily use of our phones for granted, but should you look back year over year or at least stop and watch how people wait, walk, eat at restaurants or socialize you’ll see we are constantly connected to our devices.
A study was published this year that says 49% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone. By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68%. Meanwhile, another study tells us 84% of mobile phone users keep their device within 10 feet of them at all times. The same study reports there are over 4 billion people worldwide using mobile phones while only 1.1 billion people use computers! The planet has 6.9 billion people alive, from babies to great grandparents. What does this tell us? Mobile is not just the future, it is right now!
This is the year I think we’re going to see a major new trend when it comes to protecting our devices and what I think will have the mobile phone accessories market left scrambling to solve as they try to protect their estimated $34 billion in revenue in 2011 from dwindling by reengineering their next generation of rubber and plastic cases.
Rumors have shown Apple plans to announce their next generation iPhone/iPad models with a biometric fingerprint scanner to compete in a new biometrics market and to set itself apart from competitors in general, because of these 3 reasons:
- Apple purchased a biometrics tech company Authentec for $327 million last year,
- Apple filed a patent that reveals the technology for implementing a fingerprint scanner onto an iPhone.
- Finally and most importantly within the code of their new iOS 7 that will be released with Apple’s new iPhone models this fall, it has scenarios supporting fingerprint scanning.
So, what does this all mean? Case manufactures will need to support this new technology as soon as the new iPhone 5s is released, because as soon as Apple makes this a standard then all the competitors will follow this trend. I do understand other manufactures have tried to implement fingerprint scanning into their phones, such as the Motorola Atrix 4G (VIDEO), but note the company that built this technology is Authentec, which is the same folks Apple bought last year.
Now that I’ve come to my senses and understand it’s premature to order a case at this time, because I was looking at this water-proof case with a removal battery. The cases I tend to usually order have the home button covered to fully protect it from the elements. Unfortunately it is the home button where the expected fingerprint scanner is rumored to be located on the new iPhone 5S. So, it’s going to be interesting to see how the new cases will evolve over the years as a result of this new technology.