Apple fans and general consumer electronics customers are already wondering what Apple has in store for the iPhone 7 range in 2016. An iPhone release is the defining mobile product of any calendar year, and 2016 will be no exception, with the consumer electronics giant expected to release a revolutionary new handset.

Yet despite months of rumours on the matter having already peppered the media, we are not yet entirely sure what to expect from the corporation during the next eight months or so. Apple is certainly expected to release its most iconic product by September, and the release of a handset labelled the iPhone 7, to indicate a significant redesign of the iPhone concept, seems an absolute certainty. Apple is increasingly focusing on releasing an S branded mobile and then a more revolutionary iteration in alternate years.

iPhone 7, iPhone 7C, iPhone 7 Plus: Apple May Release 3 New Models [REPORT]

iPhone 7, iPhone 7C or iPhone 7 Plus? – New models anticipated

But the other devices that will accompany the main iPhone 7 if unit are more in the air. While an iPhone 7 Plus is widely anticipated, and an iPhone 7C something that has been perpetually murmured about in the media, both of these devices could be subjected to market forces. There is absolutely no doubt that the iPhone 7 is a mainstream device for Apple, but the existence of both the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7C are more dependent on whether Apple will benefit commercially from their existence.

It would certainly seem to make sense for Apple to produce an iPhone 7C, as the consumer electronics behemoth has already promised the city that it will develop new product lines. Although this was some time ago, back at the beginning of 2014, the necessity for Apple to undertake this policy still remains important.

The reliance of Apple on the mainstream iPhone device is still somewhat hampering for the company, and this has been reflected in the declining share price of the corporation in the last six months.

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City investors are increasingly skeptical that Apple can diversify away from its reliance on the iPhone, and at the same time the smartphone marketplace is beginning to stagnate. There is no doubt that mobile phones remain incredibly culturally significant, and Apple itself would argue that there are several geographical regions that remain growth areas for technology. Indeed, with the iPhone 6S, Apple was able to achieve significant sales growth in China, and the East Asian marketplace is an obviously fertile region for the California-based company.

New markets

In addition, as more and more countries and consumers go online with mobile technology in the Third World, Apple is expected to establish a strong customer base in this area as well. While there are obvious financial considerations in African countries in particular, many of these nations are in fact reliant on mobile technology in order to build similar infrastructure to the Western world. Between 2004 and 2007, the African mobile market grew at three times the pace of the rest of the planet, indicating that there is a significant niche for Apple to tap into here.

A corporation of the size of Apple is always reliant on being ahead of the curve, and thus the marketing research department of the Cupertino-based company will be well aware of the necessity of penetrating these markets. Furthermore, China is now incredibly important to Apple, with figures released last year indicating that the consumer electronics giant now sells more iPhone handsets in the world’s most populous nation that even in the United States.

Thus, the production of a smaller four-inch variant of the iPhone 7 would seem to make obvious commercial sense. It is expected that the iPhone 7C would be a more affordable version of the iPhone series, and that this lower price point would enable Apple to expand its market share in countries such as China, while also tapping into potential new growth markets.

And an affordable variant of the iPhone 7 concept would enable Apple to more readily compete with new budget threats to its smartphone dominance, such as Lenovo and Huawei. While the iconic nature of the iPhone in the West has ensured that Apple has replaced Coca-Cola as the most recognizable brand on the planet, there is always possibility for expansion into new areas for Apple, even in established marketplaces. More financially challenged consumers in the Western world would welcome a more affordable iPhone, and this proposed iPhone 7C could convince customers to switch from rival handsets.

Sales stagnation

There is pressure on Apple to deliver an iPhone 7 range that increases sales significantly, as the current generation iPhone 6S has perhaps been a little underwhelming in this department. Its sales have mostly flatlined in the Western world, with Apple reliant on the Chinese marketplace for any significant growth. Thus, with strong evidence that Apple is still hugely reliant on the iPhone 7 on a commercial basis, it is essential for the corporation to demonstrate that the relentless success of the brand is not drying up.

Meanwhile, strong phablet sales of both iPhone Plus devices that Apple has manufactured suggest that it is almost certain that Apple will extend its phablet range with an iPhone 7 Plus in 2016. The phablet marketplace has not been as rampantly successful as the general smartphone market in recent years, and this has cost Apple’s great rival Samsung, which has come to rely on several phablet-sized devices.

But the iPhone Plus range has certainly been a success for Apple, and it makes sense for the company to take on Samsung in one of its most important product niches. The iPhone Plus series has also been quite popular with corporate consumers, and with Apple possibly eyeing a quad HD iPhone 7 Plus in 2016, this could even be a more important product line for the company than in previous years.

As Apple considers where to place is chess pieces over the next few months, the indications are that it would make sense for the corporation to release three iPhone 7 models. This is certainly excellent news for smartphone consumers.