As Apple fans eagerly look forward to the next-gen iPhone 7, a new report coming out of Japan claims that now there is “little room left for major enhancements” in smartphones. So, Apple is planning to switch from a 2-year major upgrade cycle to a 3-year one. Nikkei says a slowing smartphone market is another factor forcing Apple to move to the 3-year major iPhone refresh cycle.
iPhone 7 to be ‘almost identical’ to the iPhone 6S
If Apple sticks to its 2-year cycle, the 2016 iPhone 7 should see a major upgrade. But a variety of leaks, rumors and analyst reports over the past few months suggest it will have a similar design to last year’s iPhone 6S. Of course, there will be a few changes such as an improved camera quality, better battery and removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is also said to get rid of the rear antenna bands.
Nikkei adds that less frequent redesigns will affect Apple’s suppliers in Japan, Taiwan and China that rely heavily on iPhones. Citing supply chain sources, the publication says the iPhone 7 will look “almost identical” to the iPhone 6S, except for minor improvements. The high-end version of the device will allow users to capture far better images. The iPhone 7 Plus is rumored to feature a dual-camera setup.
Apple doesn’t expect iPhone sales to rise this year
The Cupertino-based tech giant sold about 230 million iPhones in 2015. Suppliers told Nikkei that Apple was not expecting to sell more iPhones this year. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also told investors that this year’s iPhone will not have many attractive selling points. Nikkei’s report may negatively affect the Apple stock, which has gone up recently after Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway took $1 billion stake in the iPhone maker.
The 2017 device, likely to be called iPhone 8, is expected to carry a major redesign. The next year’s iPhone is said to feature an all-glass design and an edge-to-edge OLED display. It’s unclear at this point whether the 3-year major refresh cycle will be a one-time occasion or the tech giant will stick to that schedule. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, so Apple may be planning something special for the next year. It could be one reason why Apple would go with only minor upgrades with this year’s iPhone 7.