As the build up to the iPhone 7 intensifies, followers of Apple are yet to find out whether the iPhone 7 will be released this year or not. There are also a wide range of debates taking place regarding what approach Apple will take to the iPhone 7, and whether it will release a whole raft of companion devices, or settle for a relatively straightforward release.
iPhone 7 to be delayed until 2016
The consensus of opinion of the analyst community in recent months have been that the iPhone 7 will be delayed until 2016. This is due to the fact that it is proposed that the iPhone 7 will be a revolutionary step forward over the previous iteration in the iPhone series. It is suggested that instead of releasing the iPhone 7 in 2016, Apple will instead of put out an upgraded version of the iPhone 6, which is most likely to be labelled as an iPhone 6c and iPhone 6s.
This particular idea has gained traction owing to the concept that a smaller smartphone was a particularly favored notion of the late founder and CEO of Apple Steve Jobs. It has been widely reported that Jobs expressed a predilection for smaller screened mobile devices, and that he felt the ideal display size for a smartphone should be 3.5-inches.
Having perhaps chased the dollar more than would be usually expected in the last couple of years, it is thought that significant insiders within Apple believe that the corporation should attempt to fulfil the vision of Jobs more in the coming years. It is understandable that Apple has had a commercial focus over the last 12 months in particular, as the city absolutely battered its share price at the beginning of 2014. The reasons for this were sub-standard sales and scepticism that Apple could deliver significant revenue growth, and also generate new product niches.
Such notions now seem completely ridiculous, as Apple has had one of the most successful years in the history of business over the last 12 months. The company established itself as the first ever corporation to achieve a $700 billion market capitalization, and also turned in the highest ever single-quarter profit during Q4. Since then Gartner has confirmed that Apple has overtaken its great rival Samsung in terms of pure mobile sales, and the first quarter results for 2015 were also outstanding for the consumer electronics giant.
But despite the excellent results of the Apple corporation, the company will still be paying strong attention to the events of 12 months ago. Although a year is a very long time in business, it is certainly a short enough period of time to remain central in the thoughts of Apple executives, and the shock which is share price received will not be forgotten likely.
The 4-inch iPhone
Thus, the notion of a smaller iPhone very much fits into this ethos. It is thought that this companion iPhone 6c device, with a mooted 4-inch display, will be very much aimed at the affordable end of the market. This is not something that Apple has traditionally been associated with, as the iPhone range is seen as being very much a premium range of smartphones.
But the results which were reported on by Gartner indicate that Apple is beginning to achieve some market penetration in this arena. The commercial and a financial success of Apple can to some degree be predicated on its significant penetration of the Chinese marketplace. Samsung has traditionally been a massive seller of mobile devices in East Asia, yet Apple is now becoming the most popular mobile device in the world’s most populous nation.
A smaller iPhone 6c could potentially contribute to this process, and it is easy to imagine this being a particularly popular device in China. This would surely appeal to Apple executives who will be looking to sustain this new marketplace in the coming years, and Chinese sales alone could help to justify the decision to produce such a smartphone.
This would lead to the question of whether Apple would release such a device during this year, or delay it until next year, and how it may choose to market all of the handsets that it releases over the next 18 months. This will be quite a conundrum for Apple, as the next 18 months will be a particularly significant period in the history of the company. With Samsung ratcheting up its production of curved screen smartphones in the next generation of the Galaxy series, Apple needs to give very serious consideration to how it sees the iPhone in this context.
The curved screen conundrum
There is no doubt that Samsung’s curved screen technology has been a boon for the corporation at a time when sales have been less than the Korean company’s hierarchy would have hoped for. Particularly in the television marketplace, curved screen technology is really becoming a dominant factor, and Samsung has established itself as the clear market leader in producing curved displays.
There is no sign, nor one might assert particular danger, of Apple being superseded in the mobile marketplace at the time of writing. But this is a market that runs very much according to fashion. This has been a primary factor in the ascent of Apple to the apex of the mobile marketplace, with the iPhone simply considered the coolest mobile phone available on the mass market. But curved screen technology could begin to change this if it catches on in the mobile sphere. Samsung clearly believes that it will, and thus will put pressure on Apple to retain the credibility and position of the iPhone in the coming years.
With this in mind, it would make sense for the iPhone 7 to be a singular release. Apple should build this device up as an absolute revolution in the mobile marketplace, and sustain its market positioning during 2015 by releasing a raft of updated iPhone devices. These could include the muted iPhone 6c, as well as an iPhone 6c and iPhone 6s plus.
The iPhone 7 really needs to stand out from the crowd to retain Apple’s exalted position.