With 500 million units sold in the seven years the iPhone has been on the market, Apple has to make radical changes to sustain the momentum.

iphone 6 concept Apple may have sold its 500 millionth iPhone, but its only getting started

It’s certainly interesting to see how Apple has changed the global smartphone market dynamic is less than a decade. Back in 2007 companies like Nokia and BlackBerry were considered behemoths. Then the iPhone happened, couple that with the subsequent boom of Android, and you’ve got the existing duopoly of the two platforms.

As per reports, and official sales figures provided by the company, Apple had managed to sell more than 470 million iPhones by the end of 2013. This means that it entered into this quarter just 30 million units or so shy of its 500 millionth iPhone milestone (official results for the current quarter haven’t been revealed as yet). Though various analysts are of the view that Apple may have sold over 30 million iPhones in this quarter, no doubt aided by the launch on the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty is bullish on the figures, predicting 42 million, though analysts seem to arrive at a consensus around 38 million units. This would put the sale of Apple’s 500 millionth iPhone in March, taking the company less than seven years to achieve this milestone. The iPhone’s popularity has only grown over the past few years. Unit sales reveal that the most recent 100 million units of the iPhone took 2-6 weeks less to be sold as opposed to the previous 100 million units.

What Apple has been able to achieve in the global smartphone market is commendable, but that doesn’t mean the company can rest on its laurels. Consumer preferences and demands have also significantly changed over the last few years. The market wants larger displays, better software, and particularly in the case of the iPhone, a new design. The iPhone’s design has largely remained the same ever since the iPhone 4 came out. Apple may also have to open up its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Its rivals have also opted for the same technology but haven’t limited to providing device access and approving purchases on their content stores like Apple has. These are some of the basic changes that most people want Apple to make in the next generation iPhone.

Apple is expected to make some radical changes to the iPhone this year. Rumor has it that Apple may launch two iPhones this year as well, but with 4.7 and 5.7-inch displays. Even if the exact sizes are different, there have been countless rumors in support of iPhones with larger displays. Almost all of its mains rivals have crossed the 5-inch mark, and there’s ample evidence to substantiate the fact that most consumers like having big displays. Apple is also expected to improve the quality of its camera, improve existing features with iOS 8 and introduce an all new design for its popular smartphone.

It goes without saying that Apple can’t count on the iPhone’s past success to deliver the next 500th million iPhone sale. For that to happen it needs to get back in the game, and for the first time in many years, release a revolutionary iPhone, instead of an evolutionary one.

Source: Forbes