Will Apple murder the iPhone?

Analysts Horace Dediu and Gene Munster debate the future of the smartphone and its creator during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.

Long for this world?

Apple's primary concern right now should be coming up with a new device or innovation to kill the iPhone.

That's the opinion of analyst Horace Dediu, who spoke along with Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster on a panel on the future of Apple, at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.

"We're in uncharted territory," Dediu told the room, referring to Apple's remarkable pattern of growth over the past decade or more. "(Apple) has been able to constantly create new categories and self-cannibalize."

Dediu was talking about the way the introduction of the iPhone has slowly made the iPod obsolete, and how many -- including Munster -- believe Apple could be in the process of eventually phasing out its Mac line in favor of the iPad and perhaps something else that's yet to come.

Munster told me after the panel that he believes Apple completely killing the iPhone won't happen in the next 10 years, but Dediu thinks we may already be seeing the beginnings of Apple's plans for the future.

Dediu thinks a new input method could kill the iPhone, and that Siri could represent testing the waters for not just a new input method but also something much broader.

"A new input method begets a whole new platform model," Dediu said.

Translation: So far, iOS devices have been all about touch input, but Apple may feel like it's pushed touch technology about as far as it can and may have started looking toward other frontiers, like voice input.

Munster noted that in his analysis, Siri received a grade of "D," but Dediu believes Apple will continue to improve the voice assistant and the technologies that underlie it.

But Munster told me he agrees that iOS has become "stale" and Apple will have to continue to "evolve" it to maintain its astounding trajectory.

What do you think? Will the iPhone continue to evolve with new features to keep fans interested? Or must it be murdered by its creators in the name of progress?

 

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