For Apple, 2017 means “iPhone 8” or bust

Although not due for release until later this year, you’ve probably heard rumors and leaks regarding the Apple iPhone 8 for months at this point. With 2017 marking the 10th anniversary of the iPhone – a big deal to us humans, who are big fans of well-rounded numbers – expectations are high for the device that ushered in the age of smartphones, with features like wireless charging and shrunken bezels rumored to make a debut. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, those expectations are what caused a dip in expected earnings for the Cupertino company in Q2.

“We are seeing a kind of delay in purchasing behavior that we think is a consequence of the number of rumors and reports about future products,” said Cook, indicating that “iPhone 8” rumors surfacing months before the iPhone 7 had more consequences than just potentially wrong predictions. Furthermore, the idea that an iPhone 7s – the a typical half-step releases in the year between major iPhone overhauls – has been all but dismissed. However, new rumors suggest that turning a decade old may not amount to any significant changes after all and an iPhone 7s will appear as usual. On the other hand, rumors persist that it’s still possible for Apple to pull a Microsoft, skip the 7s and dive right into the iPhone 8, but even those rumors say that a delay is on the horizon, with some reports suggesting that there might not even be an iPhone release in 2017.

As always, rumors are just rumors, and rumors of an imminent Apple demise of one kind or another is nothing new. I would even say it would be weird not to have an annual doomsday prediction for the iPhone. Still, it’s something that’s almost inevitable at some point, so it’s always interesting when these sort of rumors pop up.

Depending on how things play out in reality, I could see rumors really giving Apple a real run for their money this year. They’re pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but I think the case of a somewhat insignificant iPhone 7s launch would be much worse than the alternative. Not only has the hype surrounding an “iPhone 8” reached the point of no return, but I think an iPhone 7s would prove to be too much “sameness”, even for Apple’s standards, which brings about another theory as to why the iPhone 7 may not have sold well: It was simply not a significant enough upgrade from the 6S.

Aesthetically speaking, the iPhone 7 looked much like the iPhone 6S, which was identical to the iPhone 6. Three years of nearly the same design with little more than spec bumps makes for a hard sell, especially since Apple supports its phones for about three years with software updates. The iPhone 7 was also the first iPhone to controversially have the 3.5mm headphone jack removed. All in all, not a terrific year for Apple on the innovation front, and I think reintroducing innovation as more than just a cliché buzz word is going to be the key for Apple to remain relevant at this point.

While the thought of “iPhone 8” means very little without an official product, I think the idea of having something so superior that the “7s” moniker wouldn’t give it justice is paramount for the iPhone to have a good year, whenever that year may be. If that means Apple needs to have a later release then so be it, because I feel that an earlier release of a 7s would probably not fare well. The rumors are just that strong with this release. The stakes are too high.

It also might not be a terrible idea to wait a little longer for a release if that means coming out with a better phone that has more significant upgrades. I think we’re at a crossroads of sorts when it comes to smartphone technology. We’re past the days of taking giant leaps in smartphone technology every 6 months, but before whatever next big wave of technological advancements. Perhaps it’s time we stop expecting some grand spectacle to surface every year.

It’s impossible to say what will happen, but the heat is undoubtedly on Apple to make their next flagship something worth recommending again. Unfortunately, it seems that rumors have made this task a lot harder than it would normally be. Personally I’m rooting for an iPhone 8 release, but at the risk of missing out on those sweet holiday sales in Q4, I wouldn’t be surprised for just another “S” variant.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the rumors swirling around the next iPhone? What will it take for Apple to increase iPhone sales again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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