For the past several cycles, it has taken two years for Apple to make a numerated iteration in its iPhone series. Those years that we dub “S” years have usually been saved for major shifts in internals and software. But it’s the design that catches the eye and with rumors of an all-glass iPhone coming out of Infinite Loop in the future, the company may need more time to make it happen properly.
That, and Apple is starting to realize that it has simply run the smartphone to the ground.
Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that it will “likely take three years between full-model changes of its iPhone devices”. It does not attribute any source to this claim nor does it provide a clear interpretation.
The publication also names the next iPhone set for release this fall to be a “minor change,” and in terms of design and feature set, it doesn’t look like revolutionary revision from the iPhone 6s or even the iPhone 6. It won’t compare to the 2017 iPhone which is said to have an OLED display and an evolved Taptic engine inside that may provide different sensations on contact.
And while the company may be biding its time for bigger swells in market excitement, this bet will have more meaningful impacts on how component makers in Asia take influence in developing their products. Chipmaker Broadcom, for example, is said to have 14 percent of its business lodged with Apple while metal case producer Catcher Technology has a third. If these suppliers have to suffer through two relative “flunks” in iPhone demand for a third-year payoff, they’re going to have to cope one way or another.
Bottom line, you’ll still see a new iPhone or two every year. It is possible that Apple thinks that you might not want one for a while. Cupertino aims to impress after all.