UPDATE 07-28-2017: As Apple continues to prepare the next generation iPhone 8, the next few weeks could be critical for the release date of the phone. Third-quarter revenue could be a major factor in Apple’s decision-making process, with analysts still divided on whether the smartphone will launch in September or October.
Regardless of this, it is generally believed that the iPhone 8 will be revealed alongside two iPhone 7S upgrades. This is extremely likely to occur at an event in September, but some market observers believe that the release date of these three handsets will be staggered.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long has lowered estimates for Apple’s September-quarter revenue, indicating that this was “owing to our view that initial shipment volumes of the premium iPhone Pro will be limited”. This very much tallies with previous reports which have suggested that Apple will struggle to source vast numbers of the OLED panels it is to introduce in this innovative generation.
Continuing on the subject, Long stated that BMO Capital Markets is “lowering its September unit and ASP assumptions slightly to reflect our view of limited volume shipments of the premium next-generation iPhone”. Clearly the release date of the smartphone will remain a subject of debate until it is finally revealed by Apple itself.
iOS 11 clue
Meanwhile, a new feature to be included in the iOS 11 operating system provides strong indication of functionality likely to appear in the iPhone 8. iOS 11 Beta 4 includes a multitude of new elements related to the user interface, but the redesign for the Touch ID prompt while on the lock screen has garnered particular attention.
Tapping on a notification will now launch the corresponding application, and this is naturally expected to migrate to the iPhone 8 when the smartphone is released. This is indicative of the more touch-orientated functionality that Apple is attempting to integrate, and could be a clue that the strongly rumored wraparound display is about to appear, while the days of the fingerprint scanner could be numbered.
It is also notable that the next generation iPhone will require users to unlock the smartphone with a large Touch ID symbol, before providing iOS access.
Another recent report has suggested that despite the major design alterations with the iPhone 8, at least some aspects of the smartphone will be conservative. A leak from close to the Apple supply chain suggests that the OLED version of the iPhone 8 will only be available in black. The idea behind this is for Apple to communicate the notion that this is a serious and professional smartphone.
Meanwhile, another leak from the increasingly prolific Chinese social media and microblogging website Weibo provides another insight into the design of the iPhone 8. The leaked photographs displayed the component that is expected to deliver wireless charging in the next generation iPhone, seemingly confirming that this hotly rumored functionality will indeed be included.
It has been continually reported in the media that Apple is considering implementing a unique new wireless charging system that will enable users to repower their devices at a hitherto unimaginable distance of 15 feet. This Weibo link brings this tantalizing proposition even more clearly into view.
One slight area of controversy regarding the new smartphone is the potential price tag of the iPhone 8. There has been some disagreement over this number, but reports have generally suggested that the recommended retail price of the Apple device will exceed $1,000.
The precise price tag of the iPhone 8 is absolutely critical, as evidence indicates that iPhone sales have declined in four of the last of five quarters. If Apple is to reinvigorate its key product range, it must deliver a smartphone that is priced appropriately.
And Analyst Nicolas Baratte of CLSA believes that the price tag of the iPhone 8 that has been mooted in the media is simply too high. Barratte notes that Apple has had little success in selling mobile products at prices above $900, and that the average selling price for the iPhone worldwide has in fact been around $700.
Considering that the recommended retail price for the smartphone anticipated in the media is $300 higher than this, Barratte believes that many iPhone 8 buyers will be discouraged by this price hike. In fact, the analyst went as far as stating that it is very unlikely that Apple will be able to sell many smartphones at that price point.
“Breaking down the high-end price range, we can see that iPhones sold close to US$900 only occurred during its launch quarter. Then ASP of the same product drops by c.US$20-US$30 in the 2 quarters, then eventually to prices close to US$800 in its fourth quarter. This means that the most motivated customers are first in the queue to buy the most expensive models. But the majority of consumers are more patient and buy the mid-price models,” Barratte commented.
The analyst therefore suggested that “the upcoming iPhone 8 OLED could possibly sell in small volumes at over US$1,000 during the launch quarter, for example a 512GB model, but large volumes (70-90m over 4 quarters) seem very highly unlikely at this price level.”
However, not all market observers share this sentiment. The aforementioned BMO analyst Tim Long believes that the iPhone 8 will be significantly successful, but that the new iteration of the series will negatively impact on the sales of other Apple phones.
“For the 2017 iPhone refresh, we expect some cannibalization by the premium model. While we expect like-for-like units to be 23 million lower, we model 43 million of unit volume from the premium model, up from the 34 million we had modeled previously. On balance, we estimate 20 million of incremental volume, the best launch since iPhone 6, although still less impactful. We believe these new numbers are more realistic given the demand setup than our more conservative prior estimates,” Long asserted.
UPDATE 07-07-2017: Apple fans are eagerly awaiting the latest news regarding the iPhone 8, with the device likely to be released in September. There has been some debate on this matter, though, with infamous analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting that the iPhone 8 release could be delayed due to logistical difficulties.
Kuo believes that the iPhone 8 will be revealed alongside two iPhone 7S devices in an event in September, but that the release of the three handsets will be staggered. This could be partly due to Apple struggling to source the OLED panels that are expected to be included in this premium smartphone.
An interesting story that emerged this week was the appearance of some fake iPhone 8 clones in China. This is something that occurs with every generation of the iPhone series, and the tenth anniversary handset from Apple is no exception to this rule.
Unfortunately, the device in question was not terribly convincing, and bears little resemblance to the final device. Indeed, the iOS operating system was not even included. However, it is still an interesting media story which indicates the appetite for Apple products in the world’s most populous nation.
Another rumor this week suggested that it could be worth holding on until 2018 before purchasing your next