Nearly a decade after the iPhone broke the mould for mobile phones the question being asked is whether the evolution of the smartphone has finally come to an end, as even Apple now treats older, smaller 4-inch screens as something new.

Industry experts believe innovation in smartphones is giving way to phone functions popping up as software or services in all manner of new devices from cars to fridges to watches and jewellery rather than remaining with handheld devices.

And analysts and product designers said fresh breakthroughs are running up against the practical limits of what’s possible in current smartphone hardware in terms of screen size, battery life and network capacity.

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