Apple could extend its iPhone product cycle, taking three years between full-model changes of the devices, the Nikkei Asian Review has reported.Apple currently releases its iPhones over a two-year cycle, bringing a major upgrade to the market every second year. For instance, the iPhone 5 was followed by the 5s, with the iPhone 6 followed by the 6s.
The iPhone 7, which under the current Apple cycle would incorporate a major upgrade, will launch in September this year, if Apple sticks to the timeline of its most recent iPhone launches.
The Nikkei, however, has reported that the changes on this year’s model will be minor.
The Nikkei reported that the move is largely due to there being little room left for major enhancements to smartphone functions, with a slowing market being another factor.
According to Gartner, global smartphone sales posted a 3.9 per cent rise year-on-year in the 2016 first quarter, while Apple registered its first year-on-year double-digit decline.
“In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands’ long-standing business models to increase their share,” Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director, commented upon release of the figures.
“With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands.”
The upcoming iPhone will look almost identical to the current iPhone 6, the Nikkei reported, with the camera, water resistance and battery capacity likely be improved and the headphone jack removed, while a high-end version will be equipped with better-quality photo capabilities via correction functions.
The 2017 model will likely see major changes, including an organic electroluminescent display, with it also to be able to create more complex tactile vibrations on the display due to a high-performance motor, the Nikkei reported.