While it’s still too early to have any sort of guarantees regarding the next iPhone, and recently leaked “evidence” of the handheld’s appearance is largely sketchy and circumstantial, it sure seems like the traditional tick-tock release cycle will be perturbed this year by another incremental upgrade.

Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the iPhone 7 is widely believed to closely resemble the 6s, which in turn aped the design of the 2014-dispatched iPhone 6. A series of minor tweaks, including the removal of the standard headphone jack and addition of a so-called Smart Connector, are nonetheless in the pipeline, and it’s also possible iFans will finally get a robust, water-resistant chassis.

Between that and a bunch of hardware revisions and improvements, Apple hopes to hit it big at the global box-office even before going the all-glass and OLED display routes, trusting in the iPhone 7 so much that component suppliers have reportedly been asked to produce 72 to 78 million units to start with.

To start with, mind you, meaning Cupertino could reasonably see the 7 and 7 Plus reach a combined 100 mil copies sold by this time next year. Of course, just because the tech giant is so bullish about the device’s prospects, it doesn’t mean its new targets will be achieved, but one might interpret the mass-manufacturing heights suggest bigger upgrades than previously rumored. Maybe a radical redesign after all.

Either way, things are looking up for Apple, as well as key assembly partners Foxconn and Pegatron, seeing as how analysts formerly predicted only around 65 million units ordered through the end of the year.

Source: Barron’s Blog

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