With Apple iPhone 7 rumours already appearing prominently, the hype machine which accompanies this most significant of mobile releases is already in full swing. Apple fans are already anticipating a truly outstanding smartphone release, and enthusiasts and the more imaginative concept designers and analysts have already proposed some breathtaking features for this hugely important handset.
So there are already huge expectations brewing regarding this next-generation device. This is perhaps partly the case because the previous iPhone, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus model, Didn’t quite deliver what was hoped for and anticipated.
iPhone 6 and Sapphire Glass
Throughout the build up to the release of the iPhone 6, it was considered that Apple would radically alter the design of the device, for example, incorporating Sapphire Glass for the first time. As it occurred, no such physical feature was forthcoming, and although the iPhone 6 received blanket positive reviews, it wasn’t the radical overhauling of the iPhone concept that many people had expected.
So while the iPhone 6 wasn’t exactly a disappointment, it didn’t quite deliver everything that fans of the device wanted. This has only heightened anticipation for the iPhone 7, but are the early expectations related to the device actually realistic?
All smartphone manufacturers are facing an issue, which is that producing genuine innovation at this point in time is extremely difficult. The differences between smartphone devices are narrowing as high-spec technology becomes more affordable, while the next major breakthrough in mobile technology has yet to surface.
It is this eventuality which has led Apple to announce the release of its first smartwatch device, the Apple Watch. Clearly the corporation is hoping that this will be a profitable new niche for the consumer electronics giant, and the omens are certainly look good in many ways. Already bold predictions are being made about the profitability of this market, and the Apple Watch is sure to arrive with a huge amount of buzz attached to it.
With Apple also recently unveiling its Apple Pay system, which is clearly intended to collaborate very closely with the Apple Watch, not to mention other mobile devices, and the iPhone 6 Plus being its first ever phablet-sized device, then it is clear that the corporation recognises that it cannot merely rely on the enormous success of the iPhone indefinitely.
It is debatable whether a point will be reached at which it is not possible to upgrade mobile technology any further, at least in the form of a smartphone. But some analysts have suggested that this is precisely the case, and that the few generations down the line we will have reached the apex of what smartphones can achieve.
Whether or not this is the case, Apple has certainly retired product lines in the future. Of course, given the phenomenal commercial success of the iPhone 6 and the fact that it remains possibly the most high profile consumer electronics device in the world, this is not a remote possibility in the short to medium-term. Indeed, there is no reason to expect this to occur whatsoever, but it is worth bearing in mind that a lot of the cachet which is currently attached to the iPhone will begin to dissipate if and when Apple can no longer significantly increased its portfolio of features and functionality.
It is extremely hard to see smartwatches displacing smartphones as the leading mobile device, and even if by some bizarre twist of fate this were to occur, it certainly won’t happen for many years. For the time being, the iPhone and smartphones in general are anything but obsolete, but changes in the electronics markets can emerge very quickly.
Arguably Apple’s success in the 21st century has been built on the excellent sales racked up by the iPod. At one time this was the must-have gadget that everyone wanted to get their hands on, but recently Apple has announced that it will discontinue the iPod Classic product range completely. The reasons for this are quite simple; the iPod has been superseded by the iPhone.
There would seem to be less potential for the iPhone to be obviously superseded, not least because it is difficult to recognize a particular product niche that will overtake the capabilities of the smartphone, while also offering its convenience. However, considering that most flagship smartphones will now run the best Qualcomm processors, handle a significant amount of RAM and storage, and include excellent cameras and HD displays, then it is clear that the differences between them are not as marked as earlier in the lifecycle of the smartphone.
But despite the fact that Apple would love to deliver something truly revolutionary with the iPhone 7, this will prove to be extremely difficult. An incremental upgrade of its specifications and capabilities is more likely, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Sapphire Glass does play a part this time. Apple effectively has around a half year to put plans in place for the iPhone 7, and it will already be looking at every possible avenue that it can explore.
Practical considerations for iPhone 7
There is always a balance between what is feasible and what is practical, and it is this that to some degree dictated the way that the iPhone 6 turned out. Despite the fact that Apple is the world’s most powerful consumer electronics corporation, it can’t overstretch itself, particularly with regard to a device which remains central to its operation. So this will be at the core of its ethos when producing the iPhone 7.
Ultimately, some of the more fanciful suggestions related to the smartphone are simply not likely to see the light of day. The iPhone 7 will be an upgrade of the iPhone 6, with improved specifications in virtually every area of the phone, and some realistic upgrades to his capabilities, with a screen capable of 3-D imaging one such possibility.
There is no doubt that the iPhone 7 will be an industry-leading device, and the years of development that have gone into the iPhone series pretty much ensures an extremely slick handset. But the technical issues and the challenges that Apple are facing now with regard to delivering a device that blows people are not likely to be hurdled in a matter of months, and Apple fans should adjust their expectations for this device accordingly.