With the release of the Apple Watch on the horizon, fans of the consumer electronics giant wondering what Apple has in store for the iPhone in 2015. Usually the iPhone schedule is pretty straightforward, but this year will be complicated by the fact that the strategy Apple has in mind has not yet been nailed down.
Apple can be a difficult corporation to understand at the best of times, as it typically plays its cards very close to its chest. Even when a behind the scenes rumor such as the Apple Watch becomes very much part of the public domain, Apple refuses to confirm this explicitly. Thus, the release of the first ever smartwatch and wearable device from Apple was one of the worst kept secrets in the history of consumer electronics. Yet Apple only confirmed its actual existence some 18 months after rumors about its existence first appeared in the media.
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Thus, garnering any inside information from Apple is extremely difficult. And this makes the iPhone product lineup for 2015 particularly intriguing, as analysts are very much in disagreement about what consumers can expect.
iPhone 7 release date
Earlier in the year, it was very much expected that Apple would release an iPhone 7 during 2015. This is the usual procedure of Apple; it reboots its smartphone every year with a new model. However, although the iPhone is usually given a new number to signify that it is a new smartphone generation, there have been occasions when the corporation has indicated that a particular release is very much an upgrade of previous iterations in the series. Hence the existence of the iPhone 5s and 5c.
And as 2015 has developed, it has been increasingly widely reported that Apple might consider a similar upgrade to the iPhone 6 during 2015, while pushing the release of the iPhone 7 back until 2016.
iPhone 6S – The 4-inch version
In accordance with these rumors, it has been speculated that Apple would release a small version of the iPhone which is in line with the vision of Steve jobs. The late CEO and founder had expressed his preference for rather small smartphone screens by modern standards, and rumors emerged that Apple would attempt to fulfil this predilection by producing a 4-inch display iPhone during 2015.
When the speculation first emerged, it was thought that Apple may release this proposed 4-inch version of the iPhone as a companion device for the Apple Watch. It was suggested at this time that the small-scale iPhone would therefore released at the same time as Apple Watch. Of course, we now know that this impression was incorrect, and that if Apple is going to release a smaller version of the iPhone in 2015 that it will be significantly later in the year.
So once the smaller iPhone failed to materialize, analysts and media generally assumed that we would see a fully-fledged iPhone 7 at some point during 2015, probably at some time in Q4. And this release was expected to be a truly revolutionary version of the iPhone featuring outstanding design specifications and the sort of unique features that were generally considered to be absent from the iPhone 6.
iPhone 7 delayed until 2016
But recently there have been further reports which suggest that Apple will in fact delay the release of the iPhone 7 until 2016, which would mean that there would need to be an iPhone 6s release at some point during 2015. It is unthinkable that Apple would not release an iPhone at some point during the calendar year, so it would have to rely on and upgraded version of the iPhone 6 if the revolutionary iPhone 7 is to be delayed until 2016. If Apple does opt fot this scheme, it is even possible that we may have to wait until October 2016 for the iPhone 7, although many media reports have suggested a significantly earlier launch date in 2016 than this.
If Apple does delay the iPhone 7 until 2016, the question still remains as to what models of the iPhone 6s will be released. The murmurings about a presumed 4-inch version of the smartphone have certainly not died down, and this would seem to make sense for Apple, as it would effectively represent a new product niche.
It is easy to forget this now, but at the beginning of 2014, Apple actually experienced some problems with its share price and sales figures. At that time, the consumer electronics giant failed to impress the city with its latest revenue and profit information, and Apple stock was seriously downgraded. This was naturally a blow for the corporation, and there was scepticism at this time that Apple would be able to create successful new product ranges and increase earnings.
These concerns seem to be a thing of the past considering that Apple has seriously increased its share price in the latter half of 2014 and early months of 2015. And additionally the corporation posted some incredibly impressive figures during the last 12 months, not least the largest single- quarter profit in recorded business history, and achieving the feat of becoming the first $700 billion market cap company.
But massive companies such as Apple are always considering every aspect of their operation, and the addition of a 4-inch iPhone to its portfolio of smartphones could make commercial signs for the corporation. And it would be a simple way for Apple to create a new product niche during 2015, in a year in which it is already manufacturing and releasing its first ever smartwatch.
Apple has always been cautious about new product releases, ensuring that it has perfected any new features before releasing devices into the public domain. Considering that the iPhone 7 is expected to be a significant departure from the existing iPhone 6, and even something of a reboot for the series, it seems probable that the iPhone 7 will be delayed until 2016. This would enable Apple to consolidate the incredible commercial success of the iPhone 6 with an iPhone 6s release and blow consumers away once more next year.