With the Apple Watch only days away from release, one designer has imagined what an amalgamation of the smartwatch and the iPhone might look like. This could be considered a very natural concept, as the Apple Watch is intended to be a companion device for the iPhone. While Apple will likely wish to keep the Apple Watch and iPhone design separate, and indeed the fact that they have been branded differently would strongly indicate this, there is the possibility in the future that Apple will release even more editions of the Apple Watch.
This prospect has been underlined by the fact that Apple has already released numerous models of the initial Apple Watch release. Whereas with previous mobile devices, Apple has always placed an emphasis on quality as opposed to quantity, the Apple Watch has embodied an entirely different marketing strategy. By placing an emphasis on consumer choice, it is clear that Apple recognises that physical appearance is as important in a timepiece as actual functionality.
iPhone 7 / Apple Watch concept
But the concept iPhone 7 which has emerged in the last 24 hours is still an interesting departure from the smartwatch that will go on sale in any few days’ time. Produced by designer Antonio De Rosa, this iPhone 7 concept imagines a smartphone from Apple that incorporates several physical features associated with the imminent Apple Watch.
Thus, we see the dial from the Apple Watch appearing in this iPhone 7 concept, with the Touch ID and Home button relocated to the front of the dial. The space usually set aside for the Home button is replaced by a smaller bezel, and De Rosa has also imagined a ‘Sense Button’ which will interpret gestures and movement in order to enable personalised control of the device.
Of course, this device is very much a figment of the designer’s imagination. There is no immediate prospect of the amalgamation of the Apple Watch and iPhone 7, and indeed the future of both devices is not even fully established yet. We will definitely be seeing a sequel to the Apple Watch at some point, and the iPhone 7 is an absolute inevitability. But the timetable for both is pretty sketchy this point in time, let alone will there be a physical collaboration between the two mobile devices in the immediate future.
iPhone 7 delayed until 2016
It looks increasingly likely that the iPhone 7 will be delayed until 2016, with Apple instead seemingly planning to release an upgraded version of iPhone 6 later this year. There are numerous reasons and motivations for this, but perhaps the most obvious is that the iPhone 6 has been a massive commercial success for Apple, and there is simply no financial imperative for it to take any risks with the next generation iPhone.
So it is possible that we could see a physical collaboration between the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch at some point in the future, and it would make sense for Apple to release the sequel to the smartwatch in 2016. This would enable the second generation of the Apple Watch to be a companion device for iPhone 7, much as the existing iPhone is compatible with the first wave of the smartwatch.
However, while it is highly unlikely that Apple will follow the lead of this particular concept, we could conceivably see it appear anyway. De Rosa is notable for having put several of his concepts into practice, and it is by no means impossible that he will at some point construct this iPhone-Apple Watch hybrid. It would certainly be interesting to see this unusual physical design actually appear on the market, even if it is on a pretty small scale.
De Rosa has also suggested some possible specifications for such a device. The designer believes that Apple might arm the iPhone 7 with an ultra HD 2,560 x 1,440-pixel display, which would put the next generation iPhone in line with previous releases from Samsung and LG.
iPhone 7 spec upgrade
There will certainly be pressure on Apple to match the specifications of other major smartphones in the display department when the the iPhone 7 is released, as the previous iPhone 6 did not even have a full HD screen. In an era in which 4K resolution technology is on the cards for mobile devices in the near future, this would seem to be less than acceptable, so De Rosa is probably right to suggest that the iPhone 7 will significantly upgrade the display quality of the series.
The Apple Watch will be released in a climate in which Apple can seemingly do no wrong. After setting two all-time records during 2014, the company was also recently considered by the analysis organisation Gartner to be outselling its major rivals Samsung in pure unit terms. This is a major achievement for Apple, which has always to some extent relied on the profitability of its devices as much as sheer volume.
When coupled with the fact that Apple recorded the highest ever single-quarter profit in business history during the fourth quarter of 2014, and the fact that the corporation also became the first ever $700 billion market capped company during the same twelve month period, the city has high expectations of the Apple Watch.
Although the smartwatch niche has yet to really catch fire, this is expected to change with the release of the first Apple smartwatch, and analysts have already suggested that the Apple Watch will shift 10 times as many units as any previous smartwatch release.
Apple Watch to be massive success
Apple has been more cautious about the prospects of the Apple Watch, but if it does manage to sell the predicted 20 million Apple Watches then this will be not only a valuable new niche for Apple, but it will also be a real shot in the arm for the concept of the smartwatch as a whole. The success of the genre could be very much dependent on the Apple Watch living up to expectations.
So although the concept as an amalgamated iPhone 7 and Apple Watch is an unlikely one, sales of the new smartwatch in the coming days will be of critical importance.