Saturday, 29 April 2017 04:41

Apple's Hidden Strategy Revealed In New iPhone 7S Details


If Apple is forced to delay the launch of the next-generation of the ever-popular iPhone, what is it going to do in September? While it could skip the traditional get-together, or announce the presumptively titled iPhone 8 and hope that ‘coming soon’ will be enough to keep eager buyers at bay for a few months, I think that it has a second option. One that is being developed in full view of the geekerati while we focus on the high-end game-changing tenth-anniversary smartphone.

The iPhone 7S is going to beAppleAAPL -0.14%’s safety net.

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks at a table during a visit of the shopfitting company Dula that delivers tables for Apple stores worldwide (Photo: Bernd Thissen/AFP/Getty Images)

Although information is muddled because of the confusion over the name of the next-generation iPhone, the indications are that the new top end iPhone (be it ‘iPhone 8’, ‘iPhone Pro', or the pure and simple 'iPhone') will not begin production until Q4 of 2017, meaning that it’s not going to be available until probably mid-November, and perhaps into December.


From the point of view of the new handset, I’ve previously argued here on Forbes that Apple should consider pushing the release back to March. Not only would this give time for the new hardware to be thoroughly evaluated and tested, it also allows Apple to go head-to-head with its chief rival Samsung and disrupt the traditional launch of the new Galaxy S model in March.

Be it a six-week delay or a six month delay, either strategy requires a bulwark to hold the line against a wave of highly specced Android handsets and the hordes of geekerati looking for a new Apple smartphone. Tim Cook and his team need a handset that will continue to portray Apple as a master of commercializing new technology that also leaves enough space for the iPhone 8 hardware and specifications to be portrayed as cutting-edge.

Step forward the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence
Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

Launched alongside the iPhone 8, it’s hard to see how the iPhone 7S family would stand out. With the curved screen, OLED display, and smart connector, many of the easy wins that will make the iPhone 8 stand out will illustrate how much technology is missing from the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. With some sources suggesting the OLED display may show up on the 7S handsets Apple will have a tough time positioning the handsets for retail success.

What if the plan is not to match up the 7S, 7S Plus, and the 8? What if the plan is to hold back the iPhone 8 because of production issues until a later date and put all the focus on the iPhone 7S family? That would explain the suggestions of OLED displays going into the same handset design that was debuted in 2016 on the iPhone 6. It would mean that the speed and efficiency improvements to be found in the new A11 system on chip can be the focus of the event. Updates to software such as the camera and increased integration with iCloud could be promoted.

The 7S and 7S Plus would still be seen as iterative handsets by the experts and those who follow the news online will be aware of the mutterings of a ‘better’ iPhone, but most consumers are comfortable with the idea that there is always going to be a better phone in the future. The 7S family can be the phone that Apple uses to define 2017, that the phone that delivers Cupertino the sales it needs in the fourth calendar quarter, and the phone can be the one that tops the annual sales charts.


At some point the iPhone 8 will arrive. Until that delayed day, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will save Apple from making an embarrassing admission about its production schedules.

This article was  published on forbes.com by Ewan Spence


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