For close to ten years, Apple’s iPhone has been one of the torchbearers of the smartphone industry – keeping its consumers at the leading edge of technology, and compelling it’s competition to constantly innovate in order to stay relevant.
Announcements of new iPhone models churn the market with immeasurable excitement – however, over the last four years, the design ethos of the iPhone has seen marginal changes. Thus, while there’s a lot of excitement before the unveil, a lot of it deflates rapidly after Apple’s keynote event.
The only positive of the disappointment is (and I am being extremely brave calling it that), that the world begins holding it’s breath for the next September, and demand becomes pent up all over again.
It’s no different this year. There’s a lot of anticipation, and while the last three years’ disappointment is causing people to be very circumspect with their hopes and desires, however this year, there’s a new ingredient in the mix that is fanning some additional hope.
2017 will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and people are hoping that the American tech giant has been building something truly remarkable and different, in their high-tech cave at Cupertino – in that milestone’s, and Jobs’ honour.
Trade pundits, while cautious, are predicting that Apple will most likely appease the market with substantial design changes on their upcoming iPhone 8 model (we’re assuming that is what it would be called on release, although a simple ‘iPhone’ moniker could well be used instead) as an attempt to woo old consumers and attract new ones.
Well, if there’s a bunch of people even more excitable than customers, it is Trade Pundits. As is always the case at this time of the year, they’ve been watching Apple, it’s supply chain, patent approvals and market acquisitions with an eagle’s eye.
Thanks to their optimism and focus on these telltale signs, a lot of rumours that have been doing the rounds, majority of which have come from credible sources.
More than ten prototypes are said to be under testing, to arrive at a decision for the final design. However, the implication of so many prototypes being considered is that it leaves us outsiders with a whole milieu of possibilities – most of which are wishful thinking on our part.
That said, basis whatever information is available as conjecture, we are listing the most prolific speculations being derived from the river of rumours. Bear in mind though, that none of these have been officially confirmed in any way yet.
- Although the size of the phone itself might not change, but the screen is set to be bigger. Some rumors are even suggesting that the phone would feature a 5.8 inch display with 5.15 inches of usable area, while the rest of the area would be dedicated to virtual buttons that would replace the ‘Home’ button.
So there is a possibility that you might have to say your goodbyes to the home button you’ve been using on every one of your iPhones.
- Many sources are suggesting that Apple aims to minimize the top and bottom bezels, by using more glass (and perhaps a different aspect ratio) that would incorporate the Touch ID and camera features, directly embedded onto the screen.
The front camera is also expected to be embedded on the display. This is a radical design change, since the last four models; the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPhone SE have had similar body designs.
- Apple is also said to be working on a phone that is slimmer, and consumes less power. It is rumoured to be using a flexible plastic OLED screen instead of the usual LCD, which not only will cater to the ‘thinning’ of the body width but also provide a display with better contrast ratios and deeper colors.
- For the body, rumors are suggesting that, much like the iPhone 4, a re-adoption of a glass body is on the agenda. Catcher Technology, a supplier of Apple, said that at least one iPhone model will use an all-glass body, and the glass will sandwich an aluminum or a stainless steel frame. The next iPhone is also expected to have an improved IP68 water resistance rating – better than even that featured on the recent iPhone 7.
- As far as the camera is concerned, the front camera is set have 3D sensing capabilities which will be an industry-first.
- Other features like wireless charging, iris-, facial- and gesture-recognition are also expected to be a part of the new design. Though most of these have been rumoured on earlier models too, but have never really come to pass.
Given the fact, that the last three iPhone models have looked nearly identical, consumer sentiment yields a “bored” expression. Thus, the pundits’ assumption that the iPhone’s tenth anniversary would be the perfect environment and time for a major design revamp, holds some water.
In what the Trade Pundits are claiming as another departure from standard practice, they’re saying Apple is going to be releasing three versions of the iPhone this year. The OLED-enabled iPhone 8 could be positioning of the as their top-line ‘premium’ model, towering over two regular-style LCD-equipped models.
Me? I’m holding my verdict at this stage, because I’m reading elsewhere that Apple’s facing some supply-chain issues with some parts, that may actually delay the release of their relaunch vehicle by a few months.
While I’m reading those stories in several channels, I am also reminded of two truths – Apple makes things happen – so if supply chain is holding up release dates, Apple will ensure that roadblocks would be cleared in time for the September launch as it leads up beautifully into the Christmas rush (which is usually Apple’s goldmine i.e. harvesting period). I believe they make more money during Christmas than they do any other time of the year – China and India notwithstanding.
The second truth is that Tim Cook was the person who set up Apple’s supply chain – digging up gold where no one believed any existed, identifying and contracting partners that no one even knew existed. So effective was Cook as a negotiator and so strong are Apple’s contracts, that if there’s any human way to meet timelines, Apple will get there.
So, I still have reason to believe that September will be a fair-weather month. Hang in there folks!
Also published on Medium.