Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut a new mobile phone to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand, which the press has dubbed “iPhone 8.”
It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging. Reduction of the bezel, the area around the display, allows Apple to fit a 5.8-inch screen in a form factor just slightly larger than the current 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
Apple plans to hold the event in Apple Park at the newly constructed Steve Jobs Theater, according to the Journal.
Pricing for the iPhone 8 is expected to start at US$1,000, while pricing for the new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models will be in line with current pricing, which starts at $649.
Potential Shipment Delays
If the Sept. 12 date is solid, then Apple likely will start collecting preorders for the new products by Sept. 15 and start shipping a week or two later.
That might not be the case for the iPhone 8, however.
“I don’t know if the totally redesigned phone will be shipping by the end of September. It seems a fair bet it won’t,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.
“I’m sure they’ll have the 7s ready to ship, but it’s very unclear when the redesigned phone will get out the door,” he told TechNewsWorld.
It’s not unprecedented for Apple to delay shipments of the advanced model of a product, noted Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research.
“Compared to iPhones in the past, there are a number of new components in the iPhone 8, including the first major change in display technology since the first iPhone,” he told TechNewsWorld.
That change alone could hold up shipments.
“There are fewer suppliers available for OLED displays, and Apple usually has pretty demanding specifications for its components,” Rubin said.
Although the arrival of a new iPhone always creates a buzz, the anticipation around this round of models appears to be particularly high.
“Anticipation has been high because this is the 10th anniversary iPhone and people are expecting it to have significant new features,” observed Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.
Anticipation levels for an iPhone haven’t been at this level since the release of the first Plus model of the mobile, noted Technalysis’ O’Donnell.
“When Apple jumped to a bigger screen size, that made a huge difference for a lot of people,” he said, ” but even that doesn’t compare to this at all.”
As high as anticipation levels are, it remains to be seen if the enthusiasm extends beyond the Apple faithful.
“The company is in an enviable position insofar as having a large, dedicated customer base that enthusiastically gobbles up new iPhones regardless of how good or costly they are,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
“I’m not sure whether the current hoopla will sizably increase the size of that group,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Helping to build anticipation for the next generation of iPhones, especially the iPhone 8, has been a steady flow of rumors and leaks.
“It does seem like the churn of rumors about the new iPhones started earlier and has been more continuous than previous Apple handsets,” observed Pund-IT’s King.
“The supply chain has been very talkative over the last few months,” Creative Strategies’ Bajarin told TechNewsWorld.
Apple fans should avoid getting too invested in rumors, though, warnedKevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
“There are leaks, but we don’t know if all the details are correct,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Some could be misdirection or wishful thinking. “
Apple may have more to gain — or lose — with this product refresh than with many previous ones.
“I believe the stakes are higher than ever for Apple,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
“Anticipation is high, and Apple finally has some competition in the super-premium smartphone market from the Samsung Note8,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Apple raises the bar for itself every time it releases a new iPhone, Bajarin noted,” but since this is the 10th anniversary edition, there is a bit more interest when it comes to how many new things Apple will add to this model than it’s added in past models.”
Apple may not be the only company hoping that the iPhone 8 fulfills the buildup of anticipation.
“There have been signs that smartphones as a segment are reaching a plateau,” King said. “As a result, a lot of folks, including competitors, are hoping the new iPhone will help revive the market and open new vistas.”