Breaking the trend: why Apple is likely to release both an 'iPhone 7s' and 'iPhone 8' this...

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in iPhone edited April 2017
The rumor mill is working overtime this year, suggesting that Apple is looking at debuting three new iPhone models, including an "iPhone 8" loaded with new technology, and a new design. AppleInsider examines why, in the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, that this seems likely.




If you've missed the last few months of AppleInsider's reports from the supply chain, the "iPhone 8" is expected to debut alongside the "iPhone 7s" family in the fall. Where the "iPhone 7s" is likely to be an iterative improvement over the iPhone 7, the "iPhone 8" is said to be loaded with piles of Apple's new technologies.

The "iPhone 8" is predicted to sport an edge-to-edge OLED panel with a 5.1-inch user space -- the rest dedicated to virtual buttons. Slimming or removing the bezels would allow Apple to cram a larger battery into a form factor similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Also expected is a new 3D facial scanner .

With a complete redesign said to be forthcoming in the device implementing a curved glass back with wireless charging, some reports have pegged the starting price of the "iPhone 8" at more than $1,000.

While Apple may use the 10th iPhone anniversary as a launching point for the rumored "iPhone 8," it doesn't really need to.

Quick iteration

While there is somebody inside Apple working on the next iPhone after the 2017 devices, rumors about those devices don't typically begin until after the year's releases.

The first rumors about the "iPhone 7s" family, and the "iPhone 8" began in November 2016. The first inklings of the iPhone 7 began in November 2015. And so on.

In April of 2016, the first rough sketches and case mockups of the iPhone 7 started appearing, with periodic deflections along the way -- but the design ultimately settled very closely to the early leaks.

Apple has taken some measures to prevent as profound leaks in 2017 as we've seen in the past, but corporate secrets are only slightly less prone to leaks than the most fleeting of all -- military ones.

The "iPhone 7s" isn't expected to radically change the external design of the iPhone 7. We are starting to see engineering sample diagrams from something purporting to be the iPhone 8 -- but like in 2016 the earliest efforts are close, and will refine with time.

Apple has been uncharacteristically verbose about future plans

No, they haven't announced the "iPhone 8," but they have been very obviously pointing to a big selling point of the device.

But for the first time, Apple is talking about future technologies of great interest to the company, declaring a focus on specific user segments, and in some cases hammering the point home on multiple occasions. Technology for the "iPhone 8" is no exception.


iPhone 8 concept by Gabor Balogh


In an interview in February, Apple CEO Tim Cook heralded augmented reality as a "big idea," right up there next to the smartphone itself.

"The smartphone is for everyone, we don't have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it's for everyone. I think AR is that big, it's huge," Cook said. "I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining."

Cook made similar comments with equal enthusiasm in past interviews, suggesting Apple is looking to market an AR or mixed reality system in the future.

Technologies surrounding perfected implementation of AR are expensive. Why not include them in a phone that may or may not cost in excess of $1000?

Everything adds up to the "iPhone 8" sooner rather than later...

Nothing Tim Cook and assorted industry analysts are talking about as ready technologies need to wait on a beefier device. The vaunted Galaxy S8 phone isn't as speedy as the iPhone 7 family is -- and a fall update will only widen that gap.

When you control the hardware and the software, that sets the table for something like the "iPhone 8," perched at the high-end of a very successful product line. As it stands, the "iPhone 8" appears able to continue Apple's command of the vast majority of the cell phone industry's profits.

...but we have to stop short of being 100 percent certain.

Nobody outside of Apple itself knows for sure what's planned for the fall. Over the years, though, when the rumor mill starts smoking in the spring, there's invariably some sort of fire in the fall -- but it doesn't always go the direction that the smoke suggests it will.

Secrets are hard to keep when you need 50 million things containing that secret in a quarter.Secrets are hard to keep when you need 50 million things containing that secret in a quarter.

Things don't always turn out as expected. The teardrop phone from a few years ago never materialized. On the other hand, the dual-camera in the iPhone 7 Plus and the A10 Fusion processor turned out better than expected.

We've said it before -- Apple doesn't necessarily innovate, but it does perfect. Some technologies rumored to be in the "iPhone 8," like color-precise OLED screens and the supporting hardware suitable for a refined augmented reality implementation are really only coming into their own now, after years of availability in one form or another.

The iPod could have been built earlier -- but Apple waited for perfection. The same can be said for the original Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Apple has the market clout to release a super-high end phone, the engineering talent to make a device that can command the price, and the ability to finely craft a public message to sell it.
luckydog23
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 281member
    Wow. 
    I had been saying all along that there would only be one iteration this year because of the lack of leaks this far in the cycle. And then after supposed confirmation that they are indeed having trouble with the new technology that is needed to produce it, I think it's crazy now to believe anything but a 7s to be released this year.

    And honesty, that's what we should all hope for. For Apple to work diligently getting the product with all its new technology to market, as best as can be, but not rush prematurely. 
    It would be great if Apple released a further refined 7, (the best mobile phone on the market as a whole -software and all) than a rushed product for any reason, much less for something silly as to "celebrate" an anniversary.
    We saw what happened last year when a certain company rushed a product to market for foolish reasons.
    edited April 2017 mike54bb-15StevenSterkcornchip
  • Reply 2 of 66
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,877member
    Look, there absolutely positively has to be a real cool iPhone this year. Because otherwise tim cook's product pipeline will have rusted away entirely through oxidation due to nothing moving through it. Maybe some fibre is needed.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 3 of 66
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,104member
    If AR comes to the iPhone 8 this fall, it will mean that Apple feels they perfected it. It won't just be exciting; it will be a game changer. 
    watto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 4 of 66
    mike54mike54 Posts: 417member
    I wouldn't mind at all a 7S but not with the same Al back with antenna lines, a durable plastic one I would like. I have no interest for no bezels and curved edge to edge screen. I even prefer the colour reproduction of LCD screens. Just put in 4gb ram, next processor, etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 66
    19831983 Posts: 1,224member
    The S8 multi-core performance is actually very slightly better than the iPhone 7, even though the difference is tiny, so you could say they're on equal footing there. Its single core performance where the iPhone 7 is still the king by quite a considerable margin.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 66

    Things don't always turn out as expected. The teardrop phone from a few years ago never materialized. ...
    The Teardrop Phone (iPhone Cover Makers went Broke because they where 100% sure) i believe was it was Steve's last Revenge. A Red Herring that was played out to compleation to get those Suppliers that think that a DNA is a Suggestion and not a Mandate. I don't know what it cost Apple to keep up the farce by paying for Parts they didn't need. That bring us to the saying that applies to all Apple rumors "Those that know don't Talk" & "Those that Talk don't Know" So why are they talking, they have alternate motives, there suppliers are there customers and they want to create market value in the form of Volatility on the stock market. Even small tremors are enough for those who manipulate. (Analyst) when do we get are share :smiley: 
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 7 of 66
    The thing I don't understand about this is, who would buy the 7S if the 8 is also available (or is going to be shortly after)? I get there a budget  conscious people, but wouldn't they just opt for a iphone 6S or 6 on a deep discount or even an iPhone SE?
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 66
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,348member
    1983 said:
    The S8 multi-core performance is actually very slightly better than the iPhone 7, even though the difference is tiny, so you could say they're on equal footing there. Its single core performance where the iPhone 7 is still the king by quite a considerable margin.
    Not sure where you got your information, but it looks like last year's iPhone 7 trounces the recently released S8 - https://www.google.com/amp/bgr.com/2017/04/10/galaxy-s8-vs-iphone-7-plus-speed-test-youtube/amp/
    StrangeDaysqwwerafreediverxbb-15watto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Ehrm. So why is Apple likely to release a 10th anniversary iPhone again? Nothing new in this article to emphasize the actual title. Just saying...
    StrangeDaysfreediverx
  • Reply 10 of 66
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,151member

    We've said it before -- Apple doesn't necessarily innovate, but it does perfect. 
    Then it's unfortunate because you don't seem to understand what "innovate" means. It doesn't mean inventing new product categories every few years. It does mean devising new techniques to improve things (tho these improvements are often inventions). Most engineering innovation is oblivious to end users. 




    edited April 2017 jkichlineshikotsumyakuRayz2016pscooter63freediverxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 66
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,151member
    supadav03 said:
    The thing I don't understand about this is, who would buy the 7S if the 8 is also available (or is going to be shortly after)? I get there a budget  conscious people, but wouldn't they just opt for a iphone 6S or 6 on a deep discount or even an iPhone SE?
    This. The article didn't really explain why, other than "reasons". From a marketing and sales perspective why release an iphone 7s and 8? "Because technologies" isn't a reason. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 66
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,151member
    jkichline said:
    1983 said:
    The S8 multi-core performance is actually very slightly better than the iPhone 7, even though the difference is tiny, so you could say they're on equal footing there. Its single core performance where the iPhone 7 is still the king by quite a considerable margin.
    Not sure where you got your information, but it looks like last year's iPhone 7 trounces the recently released S8 - https://www.google.com/amp/bgr.com/2017/04/10/galaxy-s8-vs-iphone-7-plus-speed-test-youtube/amp/
    Those speed test vids are great. Strange that they haven't been picked up by AI or MR yet. 
    pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 66
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,503member
    It can be tricky for people to choose iphone 7S vs 8. Tech differentiation(larger screen to body ratio, AR, etc) vs price delta might only be around $200. My guess is, people will go straight to iphone 8.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 66
    I kind of like the emergence of a triple debut/update strategy. 

    Coming this year:
    8, 7s, 7 or 8, 7s and 6se
    Next year:
    9, 8s, 7s or 7se
    Year after,
    10, 9s, 8s or 8se

    The above assumes a major design tick every year which would break precedent but the strict 2-year tic-toc major design change precedent has already been mostly broken with semi-static major design updates in the 6/6s to 7 design relationship. It seems like we have a mini cycle running inside a major cycle, like this:
    Cycle 1: Tick (tic1,toc1,tic2), i.e. 6(6,6s,7,7s)
    Year 1: Tick-tic1, i.e. 6,5s,5se
    Year 2: Tick-toc1, i.e. 6s,6,5se
    Year 3: Tick-tic2, i.e. 7,6s,6,5se 
    Year 4: Tock (tic1,toc1,tic2), i.e. 8(8,8s,9,9s)
    Year 4: Tock-tic1, i.e. 8,7s,7,6se
    Year 5: Tock-toc1, i.e. 8s,8,7,6se
    Year 6: Tock-tic2, i.e. 9,8s,8,7se

    I'm trying to imagine a design/manufacturing strategy that makes use of an amortized previous generation manufacturing line like the iPhone SE does. 

    In the current case, by slowing down major design iteration from every other year, to every 3 or 4 years for the flagship phone, just doing reprogramming of cutting tools for antenna bands and trying not to scramble internal components too much, Apple could save on its own and supplier ED&T and line and tooling costs. It could also have two teams developing phones, the larger better resourced team-A developing the all new models and the iteration team-B developing the "step" models. 

    Im not saying this is how it is, I'm just trying to imagine how Apple might go about producing an affordable entry level phone on a semi retired production line as the do with the 5 SE (which I see as a Step Extension) on the iPhone 5 line. 

    I don't have time to refine and correct the model against where the SE fits in or if an SE1, SE2, etc might replace one of the older models in the chain, so let it serve as a discussion point. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 66
    wood1208 said:
    It can be tricky for people to choose iphone 7S vs 8. Tech differentiation(larger screen to body ratio, AR, etc) vs price delta might only be around $200. My guess is, people will go straight to iphone 8.
    For some people there are factors other than price or tech that can influence buying decisions... For example my daughter just upgraded her iPhone 6S  to a iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED  -- with ~6 months left on her Apple iPhone Upgrade program.

    pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 66
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,348member
    supadav03 said:
    The thing I don't understand about this is, who would buy the 7S if the 8 is also available (or is going to be shortly after)? I get there a budget  conscious people, but wouldn't they just opt for a iphone 6S or 6 on a deep discount or even an iPhone SE?
    This. The article didn't really explain why, other than "reasons". From a marketing and sales perspective why release an iphone 7s and 8? "Because technologies" isn't a reason. 
    I'm not going to speak for the author, but I wager that it could be there are multiple market forces at play:

    1) People and investors want Apple to repeat its success with the "wow factor" of the original iPhone. While they are able to do a lot of "wow" with the speed gains and quality of camera/screen, the iPhone has become commonplace. It no longer "wows" us.

    2) Apple wants to compete against lower cost offerings. They have "shown their hand" with the latest iPad. I expect them to reduce prices on products to increase market share and they will
    likely do this with a three tier pricing strategy.

    3) New changes to an existing product line is risky. Apple doesn't mind having the "courage" to do this with smaller revenue streams (MacBook Pro), but iPhone is their current cash cow. I suspect that they tested the market resistance by removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 to gauge what would happen. They need to maintain or reduce pricing for their main product line.

    4) New technologies will be in limited supply and expensive. By releasing an iPhone 8, they create a new flagship with an "awe" factor and not risk over saturated demand or cost prohibitive pricing. It will be out of range for many people, but provide something to aspire towards which has significant marketing potential. It would restablish Apple as the "king" so to speak.
    watto_cobraradarthekat
  • Reply 17 of 66
    1983 said:
    The S8 multi-core performance is actually very slightly better than the iPhone 7, even though the difference is tiny, so you could say they're on equal footing there. Its single core performance where the iPhone 7 is still the king by quite a considerable margin.

    The real problem for Android is there aren't any Apps that can fully utilize all 8 cores (outside of synthetic benchmarks). So they are wasted.
    watto_cobraradarthekat
  • Reply 18 of 66
    jkichline said:
    1983 said:
    The S8 multi-core performance is actually very slightly better than the iPhone 7, even though the difference is tiny, so you could say they're on equal footing there. Its single core performance where the iPhone 7 is still the king by quite a considerable margin.
    Not sure where you got your information, but it looks like last year's iPhone 7 trounces the recently released S8 - https://www.google.com/amp/bgr.com/2017/04/10/galaxy-s8-vs-iphone-7-plus-speed-test-youtube/amp/
    Those speed test vids are great. Strange that they haven't been picked up by AI or MR yet. 


    Lots of sites have posted these, but the haters always have the same comments: "So the iPhone is slightly faster opening Apps" or "The S8 has to push more pixels".

    Then you point out the portions of the videos where the iPhone 7 trounces the S8 when doing something that requires processor power (like rendering a 4K video). The iPhone 7 is almost twice as fast as an S8, no doubt due to the fact the single core performance is so much higher. And since it's done off-screen, the resolution has nothing to do with performance.
    watto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 66
    entropys said:
    Look, there absolutely positively has to be a real cool iPhone this year. Because otherwise tim cook's product pipeline will have rusted away entirely through oxidation due to nothing moving through it. Maybe some fibre is needed.
    Perhaps..... Thinking slightly out of the box here...

    What if Apple is really having issues with the new phones. How could Apple deflect the angst and inevitable market downgrades?
    One way is to get back to the Mac. Hence the sudden 'U' turn on the MacPro and Mini.

    No proof but just an idea.

  • Reply 20 of 66
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    They're going to release both because the iPhone 8 will be more expensive and they'll use it as an upsell device. That's why they created the iPad Pro vs. putting all that technology into the iPad Air and raising the price $100 (or more). The iPhone 8 will be the phone everyone wants, the 7S will be the right price point and Schiller's job will be to convince people to spend more money and get an 8. Apple has no problem making product lines complex in the service of upselling.
    freediverxbrucemc
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