And on the 7th day...

APPLE’s events have often been compared to religious worship. Evangelical fans watch as the company’s darkly-clad boss—first Steve Jobs, now Tim Cook—presents shiny new iSomethings in front of a screen showing colourful slides reminiscent of stained glass. Yet Apple’s latest event, on September 7th, was a less rapturous affair. The iPhone 7, the firm’s new smartphone, will come with a better camera, a faster chip and a brighter display, but will otherwise not be much of an improvement. The main novelty is that it no longer has a conventional jack for headphones, which have to plug into the charging port or be wireless (conveniently, Apple also introduced new untethered “AirPods”, which will cost $160 a pair).

This lack of sparkle will disappoint devotees, but the new iPhone neatly encapsulates the mood in the smartphone market. After almost ten heady years, dating from the release of the first iPhone in mid-2007, both growth and the pace of innovation have slowed markedly in recent months. Prices have fallen, too. Some people are starting to talk of an end to the smartphone era, much as when...Continue reading