When Apple launched its otherworldly $600 iPhone in 2007, it defined a new product category: the touch-screen smartphone. In less than six years, smartphones have become so ubiquitous that shipments of them now surpass those of so-called “feature phones” (non-smartphones, or “dumb phones” if you’re cruel).
Apple had a long lead before Google’s Android system matured enough to be a real competitor, and that lead seemed to reassert itself every year when Apple released a new version of the iPhone. But lately, the iPhone has begun to feel more familiar and less innovative. Last September’s rollout of the iPhone 5 introduced the first change in screen size for the device, making the display taller, but the rest of the improvements were incremental: slightly better camera, slightly thinner, faster network speeds.
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