Half the buying public shifts its attention to the iPhone 7 already, even as Apple continues to try to catch up to unprecedented iPhone 6 demand, due to the every-other-year nature of cell carrier upgrade policies. Those shut out this year are already looking to when Apple will serve up the iPhone 7 release date, what it’s logically likely to bring, and which rumors are already in the pipeline. The early details range from a Lighting 2.0 port to integration of the Beats by Dre lineup, and the question of what Apple will do with the iPhone 6S concept along with the prospects for an iPhone 7 Plus.
Some of the answers are easier than others. Our generally reliable source tells us that Apple is ready to move on to the Lightning 2.0 port for the iPhone 7, which will allow for even greater voltage and a powerful next generation accessory market. However, there is no chance that Apple will change the size or shape of the current Lightning port, as consumers are still having a mixed reaction to the changeover from the 30-pin port which was initiated two years ago. Don’t expect to need new accessories, but do look for some cool new types of accessories to debut alongside the new iPhone.
Apple acquired Beats by Dre for three billion dollars, and so far there have been very few publicly visible consequences for either company. If Apple had bought Beats simply for the streaming music service, there would have been a major marketing push by now. So it’s safe to assume that the buyout was instead primarily about the Beats hardware as well as bringing Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine into the Apple fold. While both of those men can help Apple when it comes to negotiating with labels and artists behind the scenes, the hardware integration will be more easily visible. Look for the iPhone 7 to come with earbuds which are inspired by, if not outright branded as, existing Beats by Dre earbud products. Will Apple merely shift to bundled in-ear earbuds using Beats technology, or will they shift stylistically to the flat-ribbon cables and all? Those answers will come later.
As for the iPhone 7 release date, that becomes a bit more clear by the day. Apple has learned something with its bold iPhone 6 shakeup of what had been a conservative hardware trajectory: customers love it when Apple offers up a fresh new design instead of a familiar S model. That means Apple will likely jump straight to the iPhone 7 in 2015. But with the 6 setting sales records, there should be no temptation to leave it on the market for any less than a full year. That points to September 2015 as the launch date for the iPhone 7. And look for Apple to retire the 5S/5C entirely by introducing an iPhone 6S for the middle of its lineup while offering the iPhone 6 as the free-with contract model. Finally, we fully expect there to be an iPhone 7S Plus but perhaps not an iPhone 6S Plus, and certainly the iPhone 6 Plus will be retired in the hopes of steering big-screen buyers toward the pricier iPhone 7.