Lifting the lid, the WSJ explained:
“Apple plans bigger design changes for 2017, the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Those changes could include an edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen and eliminating the home button by building the fingerprint sensor into the display, according to people familiar with the matter.”
These features backup a tip from respected industry commentator John Gruber last month that the so-called iPhone 8 (Apple is expected to skip the ‘7S’ branding) will have ‘an edgeless display’.
As to why we won’t be getting such a design revolution this year, the WSJ also revealed:
“At a meeting with an Apple executive last month, one of the company’s China-based engineers asked why this year’s model lacked a major design change in keeping with Apple’s usual two-year cycle. The answer, one person at the meeting recalled, was that the new technology in the pipeline will take time to implement. People familiar with the matter said some features that Apple hopes to integrate into iPhones, such as curved screens, weren’t ready for this year’s models.”
The downside to this is potential iPhone upgraders may find themselves stuck in a waiting game as the WSJ also reiterated information other industry watchers (including myself) have received in recent weeks that the iPhone 7 will be almost identical (visually) to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6 before it.
Needless to say, the danger for Apple is what happens to iPhone sales in the meantime given the iPhone 8 is more than a year away? Last week Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha predicted “muted” sales growth for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus as they will be a “modest upgrade”.
Apple has more than enough cash reserves to avoid being unduly worried about this, but it also piles the pressure on the iPhone 8 to truly be the reinvention many are claiming.
And what would help to really turn heads? The fact its chassis is also expected to be ‘all glass’…