If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the iPhone 7, you might want to hold on to your money a little longer. Several reports suggest this fall’s expected iPhone release will only offer incremental upgrades over the iPhone 6s, with Apple holding off on an overhaul of the phone until 2017.
That would be a change from the way Apple’s done things in the past. Traditionally, the company has released a new phone every year, following up a major update with a slight improved “s” model. With the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in 2015, that would have put us on track for that full-blown upgrade this fall.
That’s increasingly looking like it’s not going to happen, if you believe the reports emerging about the iPhone 7. Start with an April research note from Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz who says that the iPhone 7 won’t be as big an upgrade as some Apple fans might hope. Moskowitz is basing his claim on supply chain checks which made him conclude the iPhone 7 won’t have “any must-have form factor changes” over the iPhone 6s.
A new report in the Wall Street Journal sings the same tune: sources cited by the Journal say the phones coming this fall will feature only “subtle changes.”
That falls in line with rumors we’ve heard so far about the anticipated flagship, which indicate that the biggest change in design will be the removal of the headphone jack. That will allegedly help Apple deliver a thinner iPhone, but it could also prove to be a turnoff to users who might object to using headphones that can plug into the new iPhone’s Lightning port instead of the models they’ve come to prefer.
Other rumored changes for this fall’s iPhone include improved durability in the form of a waterproof device, more storage on the entry-level model and dual rear cameras on at least one of the new phones. Those will certainly be welcome changes, though they’re not the stuff that inspires smartphone envy.
It could be that Apple is planning bigger changes for its 2017 iPhones, since that would mark the 10th anniversary of the phone’s debut. That’s what the Journal report contends, with features like curved screens reportedly on the drawing board.
Moskowitz also predicted big things for the 2017 iPhone in his April research note, expecting the iPhone 8 to have the more appealing features rumored for this year’s upgrade, such as a removed home button, OLED display and wireless charging.
iPhone users who’ve gotten used to Apple’s every-other-year cycle of major updates face a dilemma if Apple is really holding off until 2017 to make substantial changes to the iPhone. A lot of users upgraded to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus when those phones came out in 2014. (The larger-than-normal upgrades, in fact, are a major reason that Apple’s seeing such a noticeable drop in iPhone sales this year.) Starting in the fall, people who upgraded to the iPhone 6 will have a two-year-old phone and a decision to make — upgrade to what looks like an incremental new iPhone this year or hold out until 2017?
The iPhone 7 is expected to debut in September.