Apple is widely tipped to release a new iPhone in the early morning of September 8 Australian time but analysts and enthusiasts are concerned it might be too “safe” to generate interest and sales.
The company has traditionally launched new products in early September, and the iPhone is due for a “major” release after last year’s “minor” updates in the form of the 6s and 6s Plus.
The event isn’t expected to hold too many surprises: there have been leaks about iPhone features now for many months.
The most controversial rumour flying around over the past eight months has been over the 3.5mm headphone jack and whether or not the iPhone 7 will dispense with it.
Other rumours and leaks suggest more standard changes are coming: a better chip, dual-lens camera, bigger internal storage options up to 256GB, a new version of iOS, and new colours.
But the shape and look-and-feel of the device is expected to largely remain the same as current versions.
And that has some questioning whether there will be enough on the table for consumers to bother upgrading.
One analyst told the LA Times that the new features appeared geared towards those that used the iPhone for its photography capabilities.
“[Apple is] going to be attacking the highest end of the photography market,” Clayton Christensen Institute analyst and fellow Horace Dediu said.
“Apple more or less vanquished point-and-shoot cameras with the iPhone 5, so now we’re moving into higher performance.”
Engadget US said that there had been a “different buzz” in the lead-up to this year’s annual launch event.
“There's been talk of Cupertino playing it relatively safe with a new smartphone for the second year in a row,” the website said.
One possible reason for pushing a “minimum viable upgrade” to the iPhone might be to avoid stealing the thunder of the iPhone 8, which is expected to be launched next year “on the tenth anniversary of the iPhone”.
“The iPhone 8 is expected to ship with curved screens, vivid OLED technology, all-glass panels and an innovative glass chassis, along with significant internal changes,” Ewan Spence opined in Forbes.
“The iPhone and iPhone 7 Plus have a two-year old design, similar screen sizes, construction and no changes to the core operating system.
“The main story of the iPhone 7 is going to be what isn’t there and why Apple has performed a ‘minimum viable upgrade’ to the hardware, instead of pushing the boat out to make the best iPhone it can.”
The iPhone 7 devices are expected to be available on Friday September 16.
Rumours also suggest this week’s launch event could see a refreshed Apple Watch. There are presently mixed reports on whether or not to expect new Macbooks.
Apple will live stream the event from Thursday September 8 at 3am Sydney time.