This is what commoditization feels like: genuine novelty rapidly reduced to thankless anonymity. The iPhone and its high-end competitors benefited for years as the most visible and functional instance of a profoundly and globally novel new product. To be one of pioneering brands at the beginning of a new technological era — to sell someone his first magical hand device — is to apply a temporary multiplier to everything from brand recognition to loyalty to profit. But their brands, now, are just temporary protective spells cast against the inevitable. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the release of the iPhone, the category it blew up is starting to feel familiar. By now, an American who purchased a smartphone on contract in 2009 has not just bought but discarded at least three devices, and as smartphones mature, that is the reality of their use: to improve is to disappear just a little more. Aren’t we all just emailing and Instagramming and Facebooking and Snapchatting and WhatsApping and Angry-Birdsing anyway?