Reports from Japan say that Apple is moving away from making big design changes to the iPhone every two years, instead releasing a major redesign every three years.
Apple has released an interim ‘S’ model every other year since the iPhone 3GS, in between full numbered models with brand new exteriors. However, if the report from Nikkei is true we could see Apple abandon this “tick-tock” cycle in favor of a “tick-tick-tock” cycle in which the form factor is only changed up once every three years.
The report states that the iPhone 7 (or 6S2? 6SX?) will “look almost identical” to current models of iPhone from 2014 and 2015., with a suite of improvements to existing components, such as camera quality and battery life, expected in lieu of major new features.
Apparently this change is down to two key factors: the fact that smartphones arguably have “little room left for major enhancements,” and the fact that the iPhone market has slowed after many consecutive years of growth.
On the one hand, it’s understandable that Apple would want to put their effort into refining a good product into an even better one. On the other hand, using the exact same design for three years in a row is not especially exciting for customers, and it may play into the prediction that Apple will sell less units in 2016 than last year. That said, 230 million handsets sold in 2015 is hardly a figure to be scoffed at.