It’s the most successful Apple product ever made. What’s next?
Upgrades to the iPhone follow a tick-tock model: the ticks are the radical redesigns, such as the iPhone 4, 5 and 6, and the tocks are the S-models: the 4s, 5s and 6s. 2016 is a tick year, so expectations are high. Apple’s patent portfolio is full of all kinds of goodies – haptic displays, solar charging, flexible screens and so on – but the iPhone 7’s tech will be less sensational: a thinner case with an edge-to-edge OLED and tougher glass is a safe bet, and we should see the higher density display of the Plus make its way into the 4.7-inch iPhone. Wireless charging is possible – it’s in the Apple Watch, after all – as is USB-C, but we suspect Apple will stick with its Lightning port.
One interesting prediction comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who predicts not just the obvious step up to an A10 processor but the release of a small iPhone, too. The four-inch phone won’t repeat the mistakes of the iPhone 5C, which was visibly cheaper than its siblings; it’ll be an aluminium iPhone with an A9 processor. If Apple sticks with its current naming scheme, as we expect, that means an iPhone 7 mini alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
It’s possible that Apple might differentiate the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus not just in terms of their cameras and battery life (both of which are superior in the Plus), but in performance too: taking the Plus from 2GB of RAM to 3GB would make it even more attractive. It would be nice if Apple also admitted that 16GB of storage is no longer enough for anybody.
Will 2016 finally be the year when the iPhone gets fast wireless charging and an OLED display?