iPhone 7 release date: Cupertino eyes early release in 2015 with iOS 9

The iPhone 7 release date has become a matter of great concern for those who are already looking forward to the next big thing, and for those who missed the upgrade window on the current iPhone 6 and want to know how long they have to wait. For its part, Apple has yet to offer any public guidance on the matter. But Cupertino’s launch patterns and its recent moves allow for educated guesses as to when the i7 is coming, along with the accompanying iOS 9 software. Here are the odds for three different potential release dates.

iPhone 7 release date in Sept 2015: 40% There are two different paths Cupertino can take to get this point. One is to launch the iPhone 6S this spring alongside the Watch, in the hopes of giving both products a boost. The iPhone 7 would then follow in the fall. The other is to stick with the iPhone 6 for a full year and then launch the iPhone 7 at $199 and the 6S at $99 simultaneously. This would successfully push the outdated 5S and 5C out of the lineup entirely. The motivation for doing this comes from the fact that consumers haven’t generally warmed to “S” models, meaning Apple is better off introducing the iPhone 7 just a year after the 6, not two years after. And there’s the fact that more people are now upgrade-eligible every year thanks to trade-in programs, instead of every other year.

iPhone 7 release date in 2016: 60%: There are three different possibilities here, but because they’re both so far away, we’ll lump them in together. If Apple launches the 6S in the spring of this year, then it may follow with the iPhone 7 in the fall, or it may then decide to keep the 6S around for a year and launch the iPhone 7 in the spring of 2016. If Apple holds onto the iPhone 6 for a year and then introduces the 6S, then the iPhone 7 release date could come as late as September 2016. In order words, if this year comes and goes without an iPhone 7, all bets are off.

Hassan Whiteside triple double: can Miami Heat contend without LeBron?

Hassan Whiteside led the Miami Heat to victory over the Bulls with a triple double off the bench which included twelve blocks, notable because almost no one notches a trip-dub with blocks or does it without being a starter. But with the Heat looks for answers all season as to how to move on after the departure of LeBron James, the question now must be asked: with the rise of Whiteside and the return of other players, can Miami contend in the East this season after all?

The Miami Heat’s ugly 20-24 record doesn’t paint a pretty picture. But the rise of Hassan Whiteside isn’t the only thing going right for the defending Eastern Conference champions of late. Nearly all of its core players missed time in the first half of the season due to injury or illness, masking the fact that with LeBron gone, other veterans like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are having their best seasons in years. Throw in the fact that Luol Deng is finally finding his place in the Heat ecosystem, and Chris Andersen is back from injury, and it starts to look like a team which can be dangerous if it makes the postseason.

In fact, the lack of a dynamic big man like Hassan Whiteside was the one thing which kept the LeBron-era Miami Heat from climbing to even greater heights, as the team tried to work around not having a true center in a hit-and-miss fashion. But with Whiteside’s game evolving quickly enough that he’ll be a full time starter by season’s end, one has to look at a Wade-Bosh-Deng-Whiteside-Chalmers starting lineup as one which is rich in postseason experience and championship caliber.

In contrast, LeBron’s Cavaliers are looking more like a one-man band with a bunch of ancillary parts that don’t fit right as the season goes on. Throw in the Hawks lack of playoff experience and the fact that Hassan Whiteside just finished destroying the Bulls, and one has to at least ask the question of whether the Miami Heat just might be dangerous enough in the playoffs to get back to the NBA Finals. And that’s a question that no one was even considering when the season began.

iPhone 6S release date early 2015 with iOS 8.2, Apple Watch

Think the iPhone 6S release date isn’t coming until the fall? Think again. Apple now has every motivation to launch the iPhone 6S sooner – much sooner – alongside the Apple Watch and the new iOS 8.2 system software. Up to now, each new model has been released roughly a year apart. But forces are conspiring to compel Apple to seriously consider launching the 6S in half that time.

Due to the unproven nature of the smartwatch market, Apple is facing pressure to get the Apple Watch off to a strong sales start, creating momentum in the press and turning the product’s popularity into a self fulfilling prophecy. But the Watch is only compatible with the iPhone 5 and higher, meaning anyone with an older model (Apple just stopped selling the 4S four months ago) can’t buy the Watch without also upgrading their phone. Those who weren’t upgrade-eligible at the time of the iPhone 6 launch, but have since become eligible, will be tempted to wait until the iPhone 6S release date comes in the fall before buying it, meaning they’ll put their Apple Watch purchase off until then as well.

Apple’s best move for getting more people to buy the Apple Watch now is to move the iPhone 6S launch up to coincide with that of the Apple Watch launch. That means the 6S will launch without the benefit of an overhauled system software such as iOS 9, but will instead run the iOS 8.2 update being prepped by Apple now for the Watch launch. This will make the iPhone 6S more of a stopgap product, but the changeover will only be meant to entice would-be Watch buyers to upgrade anyway.

This would then set Apple on a course of rolling out whole number new versions of the iPhone each year, with the less compelling S-versions arriving in the six months between. There is no guarantee that Apple will follow through with this strategy, but it may mean that the iPhone 6S release date could come as soon as this spring when the Apple Watch goes on sale.