However, according to Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet, the iPhone is also a classic example of how a market leader can afford to take its time when it comes to releasing new features. He added that "the history of the iPhone is one of gradual improvements punctuated by short bursts of innovation and reinvention."
Most of the tech consumers nowadays cannot deny the fact that Apple's innovations have dramatically shaped the smartphone industry, giving the market touchscreen devices, multitouch displays, FaceTime, Siri, app stores, apps, retina displays, an expectation of regular updates, and fingerprint scanners that transformed the way everyone secure their devices.
The smartphone industry also seen some reinvention, specifically relating to the user interface, software, and display size. The march of progress has at times been glacially slow (remember how long it took for Apple to bring cut/copy/paste to the iPhone?), but it has been sustained.
But it's also impossible to deny that Apple has also peddled a lot of lame gimmicks over the years. It's taken its obsession with making products thinner and lighter to crazy extremes (to the detriment of other, more useful features such as increased battery life and durability). Plus different colors (specifically the iPhone 5c), and features such as 3D Touch and Live Photos are little more than consumer eye candy.
Apple has also played the yearly "performance improvements" card, flaunting the benefits of Moore's law about like it's something new. But "faster" is an old card, and one that stopped working for the PC industry well over a decade ago, and one that's of little interest to smartphone buyers.
While the iPhone was going through a period of robust growth, Apple could afford to keep the pace of innovation steady. It didn't need to come out with an "ultimate" iPhone; all it needed to do was stay one step ahead of the competition. And that's something that Apple has been very successful in doing (partly that's been down to the fact that the competition have been more interested in copying Apple than innovating).
But now Apple is facing a challenge that it's not previously faced with the iPhone, and that is that sales have plateaued. While this is by no means a problem that's unique to Apple, the Cupertino giant is in a unique - and particularly vulnerable - position because two-thirds of the company's revenue is generated by the iPhone.
Bottom line, this means that Apple needs to work at making the iPhone more compelling, and that means more innovation and more reinvention, because it is this that gets people queuing up to be the first to buy a new iPhone. Apple thrust smartphones into the mainstream by making people realize that they could be useful in a myriad of different and divergent ways. It achieved something with a portable gadget that hadn't happened since the wristwatch - it made the smartphone indispensable.
Ten years ago did anybody think that they could unlock their front door, turn on the lights, control their thermostat, order pizza, keep an eye on how many steps to take, plan their route to somewhere they have never been, and have a video conversation with a friend or loved one all using a handheld device?