iPhone 7: Why is Apple saving its big changes for next year?
Apple’s iPhone 7 is set to arrive this September, heralding the introduction of a brand new model after the iPhone 6S. The company releases ‘S’ versions of its handsets in odd numbered years, meaning that in line with the tick tock upgrade cycle fans have become accustomed to, we should expect a big introduction in just a few weeks’ time.
However, word before the iPhone 7’s launch points to the exact opposite – it’s strongly rumoured that the all-new iPhone set to be revealed this year won’t mark a huge change over the iPhone 6. It will boast the exact same size and shape, with only new camera systems said to be on the way alongside controversial omissions like the move to remove the headphone jack.
Instead, the word of respected analyst Ming Chi Kuo – now corroborated by other insiders – suggests Apple will wait until next year to release a handset with radical new features, completely changing its usual upgrade cycle by dropping the iPhone 7S and introducing the iPhone 8 as soon as next year.
What should we expect of the 2017 phone and why is Apple doing this?
Radical redesign next year
As broken down by MacRumors, the radical redesign expected by many next year suggests a 2017 iPhone with a new all-glass case design to replace the aluminium unibody style used on the iPhone 6 generation phones and set to appear on the iPhone 7. It would represent a big change in terms of how the iPhone looks and feels in the hand, and it’s a change the company should feel comfortable with, given glass construction was used on the iPhone 4 and 4S.
On top of that, the display technology Apple uses on its iPhone is set to change dramatically too. It’s tipped that next year will see the tech giant finally ditch LCD screens in favour of OLED panels, bringing the iPhone’s screen in line with many of its Android flagship rivals.
MacRumors says the display could even take up the entire face of the phone, with a Touch ID sensor, camera and speaker embedded behind the panel. It could be a true edge-to-edge smartphone.
On top of that, it should be powerful, boasting the latest chipset hardware Apple can get its hands on, and there are rumours of wireless charging capabilities as well.
Why Apple is waiting until next year, and bridging the gap with what’s expected to be only a minor upgrade this year, is open to debate. While some such as the Wall Street Journal have suggested that the technologies Apple has in mind for future iPhones just aren’t ready yet, others believe it’s a timed, deliberate move.
Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone platform after the original 2G version of the phone was unveiled and went on sale in 2007. iPhones have grown rapidly to be the company’s largest source of income, so to mark ten years of Apple smartphones with a simple S upgrade could be seen as a damp squib.
Know Your Mobile says it definitely stands to reason that Apple will do something special next year and the shake up could lead to a new naming convention. The site says that while it’s being referred to as the iPhone 8 in most circles, Apple could call it something different, like the iPhone X.
iPhone super cycle?
Business Insider suggests the Apple camp could be employing a different strategy – timing the introduction of its best goodies for when the market is ripe.
The site says that according to analysts at Cowen & Company, a “powder keg” is forming in the iPhone user base. The proportion of iPhone users who may upgrade to the iPhone 7 this year is around about 33 per cent, but in just over one year and bang in time for a new phone in September 2017, around 43 per cent of the iPhone user base could be itching for an upgrade.
The site says it makes much more sense for Apple to plant significant upgrades into the bigger wave of sales, rather than launch them this year in a cycle where fewer people are after a new phone.
iPhone 7: Sneak peek at ‘gorgeous’ new handset
A new set of highly detailed iPhone 7 renders are giving fans a look at what should be coming in September.
The images, posted online by Martin Hajek, take design rumours and leaks from the last few months and compiles them into a high-quality preview of Apple’s next flagship handset.
Hajek tweeted the renders alongside a current iPhone 6S for comparison and when placed next to each other, the lack of major changes to shape, form factor and size are plain to see.
However, you can also spot the external tweaks marking the device out as new.
For example, the much rumoured camera changes coming on the standard 4.7ins device should really stand out on the handset. The renders show a huge, gaping eye placed in the top left-hand corner of the iPhone.
The backplate also looks a lot cleaner, with less clutter thanks to the antenna bands being redesigned and repositioned. They now creep up the side of the device and feed around the top and bottom edge to give an unspoilt all-metal finish.
Around the front, Hajek has added a flush, touch-sensitive home button over the physical one used on every iPhone since the original in 2007.
Rumours of Apple overhauling the button on this year’s device haven’t been huge, but the recent word of analysts from Cowen and Company – picked up by Business Insider – has sparked new interest in the idea.
It’s thought that Apple will use its Force Touch technology to make the patch responsive, with haptic feedback providing the sensation of the button actually being pressed.
Another new aspect of Hajek’s iPhone 7 is the two new colours it is paraded in – black and dark blue. Rumours from Mac Okatara have floated the possibility of a new blue iPhone this year, as well as the return of an all-black colour scheme. Slashgear says the black one in particular looks “gorgeous”.
iPhone 7: Are these the headphones you’ll get with the phone?
The most controversial rumour heading into the launch of the iPhone 7 is that Apple is set to drop the headphone jack, instantly rendering millions of expensive headphones obsolete.
Now another leak has backed that up, offering the first glimpse of the EarPods the Cupertino company is said to be bundling in with its new Lightning-only smartphone.
The photos, from Chinese social media site Weibo, were unearthed by Dutch blog iPhone7.nl and if real, could shed light on what Apple intends to do to ease the transition from headphone jack to Lightning port.
The EarPods boast a connector with fat, wide, plastic housing, which 9to5Macspeculates could be for added durability. Alternatively, it may signal an incoming Apple accessory design shake-up.
However, 9to5Mac advises readers to view the leak with some caution. A similar set of earphones appeared on the internet a few months ago and were quickly debunked, as the purported “leak” was clearly created with Photoshop.
The site also throws in two more pieces of information. Only last week, a report from the often reliable Mac Okatara suggested Apple would include standard EarPods with the iPhone 7 alongside a Lightning-to-jack adaptor. In addition, there are rumours the company has created a set of completely wireless headphones, possibly called AirPods, for the phone’s launch in September.
AppleInsider also mentions the possibility of Apple including an adaptor and standard headphones. However, it argues that the awkward transition could be worth it as using Lightning makes for higher quality audio output.