Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming flagship smartphone continues to be the subject of intense speculation. With the countdown on to finalizing design and starting production of the new iPhone, two details in particular have seen conflicting theories: the name and the display size.
A new post from Japan’s Mac Otakara suggests AAPL will go with the iPhone Edition — instead of iPhone 8 or 10th anniversary iPhone — for its flagship model.
The website also feels it has nailed the display size, and agrees with a previous report that the new iPhone could arrive significantly later than usual.
iPhone 8 = iPhone Edition?
What to call the new iPhone is actually a big deal this year. The regular naming sequence will continue with the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. Those are the phones for everyone. But what do you call the all-new flagship AAPL is expected to release — the $1,000+ smartphone that celebrates a decade in the business (and hopefully helps to propel sales to stratospheric levels)?
The iPhone X, 10th Anniversary iPhone and iPhone 8 have been the front runners. But what would you call the 10th Anniversary iPhone next year? And iPhone 8 would mess up Apple’s naming scheme for its mainstream models.
Mac Otakara thinks AAPL will go with the iPhone Edition. The premium Apple Watch model is the Apple Watch Edition, so the precedent has already been set and it would be consistent. This would also solve the continuity problem associated with naming a new iPhone specifically around the 10th anniversary, without messing up the current iPhone naming scheme. iPhone Edition makes sense.
About the New iPhone Display
Outside of whether it would be curved or not, or OLED or not, there have been conflicting reports about the display’s size. Most analysts have been calling for a 5.8-inch display with bezels practically eliminated. That would let AAPL fit a larger display into an iPhone that’s smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
However, Mac Otakara has always maintained — and still insists — that the new iPhone will have a 5-inch display. Which seems weird, given the consumer preference for big screens. Mac Rumors connected the dots and theorizes that the information given to the Japanese website is for the usable space. The remaining display area would be where AAPL has a row of virtual buttons — a feature that has already been mentioned as replacing the Home button and mimicking the functionality of the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar.
Take a 5.8-inch display, reserve the bottom of that display for the virtual buttons, and you end up with what is effectively a 5-inch display in terms of what the owner can make use of.
The math is starting to add up.
iPhone Edition Could Be Delayed
Finally, Mac Otakara agrees with the growing number of analysts who are predicting the iPhone 8 — or iPhone Edition — is going to face a delayed release.
A few days ago, 9to5 Mac reported the iPhone 7s series would go into production in July, as expected. But there are rumors that the TouchID sensor that AAPL is integrating into the new iPhone Edition’s display is proving challenging. The added manufacturing complexity may push mass production for the new flagship model to September. That would mean severe supply constraints, including the possibility that the iPhone Edition would not begin shipping until a month after the iPhone 7s, with only early pre-orders being delivered in 2017.
If the production issues turn out to be true, the results could be problematic … but not necessarily.
On the downside, Apple would face the possibility that potential iPhone 7s buyers hold off until they can physically compare it against the iPhone Edition, delaying that wave of upgrades. Potential iPhone Edition buyers could also shrug and order the iPhone 7s instead, not wishing to wait a few months for their new smartphone. And without the 1-2 punch of the 7s and iPhone Edition together, AAPL could miss out on the spectacularly record-smashing launch sales weekend it is gunning for to celebrate that 10th anniversary.
On the upside, the annual crest of sales that accompany every new iPhone release could be extended. The iPhone 7s would get the first rush, followed by the iPhone Edition.
As always, stay tuned. At this stage, everything we “know” about the new iPhone is speculation. But with AAPL’s supply chain starting to crank up for production, the pieces are beginning to fall into place.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.