Proof of new iPhone 7’s appeal will be in sales figures
Firm could meet some resistance in audio changes but dual camera will be welcomed
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks during the iPhone 7 launch. Photograph: Bloomberg
Is there anything that revolutionary in the iPhone 7? The improvements in the camera will appeal to some – although Apple saved the better upgrade, the dual camera, for the more expensive iPhone 7 Plus – but Apple isn’t the first to add a dual camera to its handsets.
The Huawei P9 also sports a dual lens and that bokeh effect that has got so much attention. The decision to make the iPhone water resistant is long overdue – rival Samsung has been doing it for some years, as have other Android device makers.
Where Apple may find some resistance is in its plans for audio. While the inclusion of stereo speakers may be welcomed, the removal of the stereo headphone jack is already causing grumbles.
Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller said the move was “courageous”. It has covered its bases to some degree by including an adapter in the box that will allow you to use older style headphones, but it’s not the most attractive or Apple-like solution that we would expect.
It leaves users with the choice of the lightning connector or Bluetooth headphones. Choosing the former means you can’t use the headphones in any other devices; choosing the latter is a pricier route that many consumers won’t want to bother with. But Apple isn’t the first to make such a move, with Motorola’s Force ditching it in favour of a USB C adapter.
Equally, it won’t be the first time that Apple has removed something that the industry considered a standard. The company has ditched the optical disc drive from its laptops, pushing people towards the cloud and other storage options. That has largely been successful for Apple.
The proof of the new iPhone’s appeal, however, will be in the sales figures. The iPhone has seen its sales growth slip in recent quarters, something it will no doubt be hoping to reverse with the iPhone 7.
According to eMarketer, Apple is expected to hold onto its share of the market in the US, this year, remaining at 43.5 per cent. That compares with 52 per cent for Android, a slight rise by the end of the year. In the UK, Apple is set to reach 31.8 per cent of smartphone users by the end of the year, up slightly from 31.6 per cent in 2015.
That implies that analysts don’t expect a large bump from the iPhone 7, as customers hold off for a more drastic redesign that has been widely anticipated with the 10 year anniversary of the device in 2017.
Still, Apple’s key strength has always been in packaging it all up and marketing its devices as something “magical”, creating the demand for the products. It may yet be able to pull it off one more time.