WSJ: Apple’s iPhone May Become Obsolete Like Walkman, Polaroid Camera

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The Wall Street Journal published an article recently which questions whether the iPhone is soon going to become obsolete.

In a recent article titled “Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. IPhone?” the Wall Street Journal questions whether the iPhone is going to go the way of previous portable devices such as the palm pilot in becoming obsolete. The article notes that as the iPhone becomes more commonly used, demand for new models often drops even as the company introduces new features and ideas for the device.

The WSJ writes:

If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture.

Consider it was as recently as the mid-1990s when I spent an hour a day during my senior year in high school in a room full of electric typewriters learning to type. Today, I spend most of my working hours using that skill to bang away on a keyboard, but I have rarely touched an actual typewriter in 25 years.

“Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.”


Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly is aware that iPhone innovation may not be where the company’s future lies, noting that the sales of wearable Apple products such as the Apple Watch and Airpods may be the future of the company:

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook acknowledges the latest iPhone delivery trends indicate his company faces a potential inflection point. “Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach,” Mr. Cook said in a Jan. 2 letter to investors.

Apple has a legacy of invention, Mr. Cook says. That’s something the Cupertino, Calif., company is eventually going to need.

Tepid iPhone sales aren’t all that ail Apple in China. Competition from local smartphone rivals, trade-dispute fallout and a court battle could make 2019 a tough year for the company in its most important market outside the U.S. Photo composite: Crystal Tai.

In a CNBC interview Tuesday, he pointed to rapid growth in services and “wearables”—such as watches or ear buds—as reason for optimism. Someday, Apple will be known more for its contribution to health care than its sleek gadgets, Mr. Cook says.

The WSJ concludes that the iPhone’s popularity throughout the years is a great achievement, but it is now up to Tim Cook to take the company in a new direction:

By all accounts, the iPhone’s run—nearing the dozen-year mark—has been remarkable, especially when you consider the average company in the S&P 500 remains in the index for only 15 years. Mr. Cook’s legacy, however, hinges on how well he pulls off Apple’s next act.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at


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