Rumour: 2017 Revamped iPhone

Over the past weekend, one of the more highly credible sources for Apple rumours (although not perfect) is Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities who has put out a rumour saying that there is going to be a major revamp with the iPhone in 2017.

With this new revamped iPhone coming in 2017, Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that it will have a revamped iPhone design that is along the lines of the iPhone 4/4s Design, with an AMOLED Display and the Plus model will have a 5.8inch screen.

What does this all mean?

I am now going to highlight a few areas of interests that may be of importance in regards to this rumour, if it is indeed true.

Note: This is still only a rumour, so please take this all with a heavy pinch of salt but iPhone

Changing of Naming Scheme:

Every even numbered year (e.g. 2010, 2012 and 2014) we got an updated design to the iPhone.

This year being 2016, we are expected to get a major redesigned iPhone with an iPhone 7 coming out later this year but it is starting to sound more like this year’s iPhone will be an iPhone 6SS.

That is the S models have the same design as the previous model (e.g. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s) but they will largely carry the same design over to a third year for their new models.

This then will bring up the question as to what the model will be called, because it sounds like they could go with:

  • iPhone 7 (wouldn’t make sense if it has the same design as the iPhone 6s).
  • iPhone 6SS (seems ugly for a name)
  • iPhone 6SE (evolution of the iPhone 6s).

But what I feel will make the most sense is for Apple to do for the iPhone line-up like what they are doing with the iPad lineup and having an iPad Pro 9.7inch and an iPad Pro 12.9inch.

My thoughts are that Apple will likely want to transition to a naming scheme that does not rely on numbers and you pick the model based on the screen size.

Think of it like the current MacBook lineup, having the:

  • MacBook (12inch)
  • MacBook Air (11.6inch)
  • MacBook Air (13.3inch)
  • MacBook Pro (13.3inch)
  • MacBook Pro (15.4inch)

These products all have the same MacBook name at the start of them and users pick from the range of computer they want then the size.

My thought is that Apple could be transitioning to a model that is more like:

  • iPhone (4.0inch)
  • iPhone (4.7inch)
  • iPhone (5.8inch)

This would clean-up the lineup in terms of what they offer and Apple can go down the route of offering only the latest iPhones at any-point in time and no older models for a cheap price.

Looking at the current lineup at time of writing you have:

  • iPhone SE (new 4.0inch with A9 Chip)
  • iPhone 6 (2014 4.7inch with A8 Chip)
  • iPhone 6 Plus (2014 5.5inch with A8 Chip)
  • iPhone 6s (2015 4.7inch with A9 Chip)
  • iPhone 6s Plus (2015 5.5inch with A9 Chip)

As it stands, no one online (from what I’ve read in blogs/articles etc.) is recommending the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, because it has the older processor and the cheaper iPhone SE has the more up to date processor which will get better long-term software support, being newer.

TLDR: I believe it makes most sense for Apple to go to a naming format with it being just called iPhone and you buy it based on the sized screen you want, but majority (if not all) of the other specs in the phone are the same, including processor, camera, storage options etc.

Old and New Design:

iphone4
iPhone 4 from 2010 with all glass front and back design.

Kuo did say the phone will feature a “completely new form factor design” with more narrow bezels and a “more comfortably grip”.

Kuo believe Apple will decide between glass, plastic, and ceramic casing for the 2017 iPhone, but will likely settle on glass for the design like the iPhone 4, because as Kuo quoted “as plastic doesn’t offer thin and light form factor designs, and it would be not easy to precisely control the tolerance of ceramic.”

TLDR: The 2017 iPhone could be looking more like an iPhone 4/4s when it comes to all glass design and possibly flat edges.

AMOLED Display vs. IPS:

AMOLED Displays is one of the biggest differentiators (besides software) between iPhones and majority of Android smartphones, especially including their main rival being Samsung.

AMOLED Displays provide higher colour saturation than IPS displays of which the later is to try and aim for a more natural/accurate looking display.

AMOLED Display’s biggest advantage is when certain pixels need to be a black colour, the pixel just turns off which saves significant battery life and the display is one of the biggest power suckers in a phone.

It seems like Apple will only want to adopt an AMOLED Display if they can some-how maintain the same level of colour accuracy like iPhones with the IPS Screen but the advantages of the AMOLED Display, just like why Apple put an OLED Display on the Apple Watch.

TLDR: Apple could very likely adopt an AMOLED Display to a) help save battery life and b) if it finds a way to get best colour accuracy like they have with their IPS Panels which would likely be achieved via software.

Less Screen Bezels:

Kuo also said the phone will have a “completely new form factor design” with more narrow bezels and a “more comfortably grip.”

S7&S7Edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge which have far less bezels compared to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

If I am noticing a trend in comments sections on web-articles, its that people are not happy with the large bezels on the iPhone, particularly on the top and bottom of the front-side of the phone if it is held in portrait mode, as it feels like a) wasted space and b) larger device to put in your pocket.

TLDR: Apple needs to get the screen bezels smaller on their future models because of a) wasted space and b) smaller device to make it more pocketable for all screen sized models.

Sapphire Glass on Front and Back:

Apple has also been working with Sapphire Glass recently and even used it on components in their devices including the Touch ID sensor and lens for the rear camera since the iPhone 5s.

This Sapphire Glass is apparently a lot stronger than most other materials out there (2nd to Diamond) which will hopefully make the device more shatterproof if accidentally dropped on the ground etc.

TLDR: Sapphire Glass could be one of the main reasons for them to bring back the all glass design like the iPhone 4 with the 2017 iPhone.

iOS 10/11:

It sounds like with the major update the iPhone hardware coming in 2017 and not 2016, the version of iOS coming out in 2016, being iOS 10, may get more of a focus in terms of significance of difference between the entire package of what the iPhone 6s/Plus offers and what the 2016 iPhones will do.

This may also mean that iOS 11 will have a heavy focus on being optimised and ready to work with the latest iPhones if there is a lot of change with them, including the AMOLED Display.

TLDR: iOS 10 may get more of an update this year to make up for the lack of significant updates to the iPhone’s hardware, beyond the usual better camera and processor etc.

Check out my iOS 10 Wishlist here.

10th Anniversary of iPhone:

In 2017, the iPhone will turn 10, as the original iPhone 2G was announced in January 2007 and launched in June 2007.

Apple could be planning a more major upgrade than with previous iPhones to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone and the impact that it has had on the world with the smartphone revolution etc.

TLDR: Apple could save major changes for the 2017 iPhone to help celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

New Screen Size = New Screen Resolutions:

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With new screen sizes, there will also be new screen resolutions.

If there is a 5.8inch, and you put the same 1920×1080 display from the iPhone Plus models with a 5.5inch screen on the 5.8inch screen, it would make everything stretched and out of proportion, despite it still being a Retina Display.

What we will likely see, is another new screen resolution for each new screen size introduced with the 2017 iPhones, because it will then make more sense in terms of how developers create their apps.

Developers create apps using a storyboard design and put in constraints for how close and separated each element on the screen is and these scale appropriately onto any screen sized device.

The introduction of a new iPhone screen should not have any impact on developers if they have already developed for the iPhone 6/s/Plus screen sizes but developers will need to do significant work if they do a massive jump up from 1920×1080 to 2560×1440 and is not something more in-between to maintain the same number of pixels per inch as there are on the current iPhone.

TLDR: The new screen sizes will also likely come with new screen resolutions that are slightly higher in vertical and horizontal pixels than current ones, but maintain the same number of pixels per inch.

New Range of iPhones at all screen sizes:

Apple could like I mentioned earlier in this blog post, go down the route of having the same iPhone come out every year in 3 different screen sizes and all have the majority (if not all) the same hardware specs inside them.

The current iPhone lineup is the following:

  • iPhone SE (new 4.0inch with A9 Chip)
  • iPhone 6 (2014 4.7inch with A8 Chip)
  • iPhone 6 Plus (2014 5.5inch with A8 Chip)
  • iPhone 6s (2015 4.7inch with A9 Chip)
  • iPhone 6s Plus (2015 5.5inch with A9 Chip)

My thought is that Apple could be transitioning to a model that is more like:

  • iPhone (4.0inch)
  • iPhone (4.7inch)
  • iPhone (5.8inch)

By doing this, Apple can then always sell the most up to date hardware in their online and retail stores (ignoring refurbished and old stock of previous models) and it removes yet another form of confusion with customers as they will then only need to decide which model to get purely based on screen size preference and maybe a unique feature or two in the larger models.

TLDR: Simplifying the line-up to all be called iPhone and differentiated mainly based on screen size, makes most sense when it comes to cleaning up product range available and making it easier for people to decide what to get.

Long-Range Wireless Charging Technology:

Kuo also went to the effort to say that the 2017 iPhone will include wireless charging, but was not more specific then that.

There have been previous rumours that Apple is working on a form of wireless charging that works over longer distance (e.g. up to 10 metres from a charging station), compared to wireless charging docks that have to physically touch a wireless charging pad to charge, with the components only being a couple of millimetres apart.

It makes more sense for Apple to include at least some form of wireless charging, whether it is on a pad or long-distance with the 2017 iPhone if it has the glass design as it is more likely to work and not interfere with the design of the device when charging. This is similar to what Samsung did with the Samsung Galaxy S6 having wireless charging built-into the device (meaning no extra accessories needed besides charging pad) but features an all-glass design.

I also hope that when Apple pushes this out, that they help partner with major business retailers such as shopping centre stores, with equipping them with these wireless charging base stations to help charge people’s phones.

Also hoping that you phone does not vibrate or make a sound in your pocket every-time you come in range of a wireless charger as that would get incredibly annoying.

TLDR: Wireless charging of any type (hoping for long-distance wireless charging which can be up to 10 metres) to be supported in the 2017 iPhone which will work if it has a glass design like the iPhone 4/4s.

Biometric Recognitions:

Kuo also noticed that the 2017 iPhone will also feature additional biometric recognition features, which may mean a facial recognition or eye recognition feature.

This could be useful for users for many reasons including:

  • Another method for unlocking your device.
  • Be an alternative to Touch ID to unlock the phone if it is built into the screen.
  • Used for mobile payments as a form of authentication.
  • API for 3rd party developers to use.

TLDR: Facial recognition may come to the 2017 iPhone and it only makes sense to include it, if it is relevant towards the major redesign of the iPhone.

Conclusion:

Kuo’s report is really interesting if it is all true.

Note: Do take this whole report with a pinch of salt as nothing is credible until Apple says so.

There are certainly a lot of factors to consider with any major changes to the iPhone and this could be important.

And this leads me to the question for this post:

“If you were planning on upgrading to the iPhone 7 in 2016 and it nothing like what this reports says for the 2017 iPhone, will you wait?”

In my case, I would be more inclined to wait, but I would ultimately make the decision (and so should everyone else) once the new iPhone is announced in September this year to decide whether or not to wait an extra year etc.

And that is it for this post, thank you very much for reading.

Be sure to give this post a like and follow me for more posts like this in the future.

References:

Source: http://9to5mac.com/2016/03/26/apple-iphone-amoled-wireless-charging/

https://support.apple.com/library/content/dam/edam/applecare/images/en_US/iphone/iphone-iphone4-colors.jpg

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