It's hard to believe, but we've already been with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone (News - Alert) 6 Plus for almost a year; since September, these devices have been at the forefront of mobile hardware. What’s more, word from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the iPhone 7 may be shown soon, and released to the public not long after.
Kuo's recent research note to clients suggests that the iPhone 7—though it may be named something else, possibly even the “iPhone 6S”—will get an official launch date in August followed by its actual release date in September. This is regarded as something of a departure from the norm for Apple (News - Alert), as recent years have seen the launch date show up in September. That said, Apple release schedules haven't exactly been ironclad over the life of the iPhone line.
Reports further suggest that Foxconn will be manufacturing somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the iPhones, and will be the only firm involved in construction of the upcoming new iPad in the 12.9 inch size. The new iPhone is said to offer the same kind of Force Touch technology seen in the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, and is also set to be built from the same breed of aluminum alloy—known as the Series 7000 alloy—that the Apple Watch is built from.
Some more speculative reports around the iPhone 7 suggest that the look of the device won't be much different than that of its predecessor,and some are looking for expansions delivered to the camera as well, including the optical image stabilization systems found on the iPhone 6 Plus. There are plenty of other rumors in play, with varying levels of likelihood of actually coming to pass.
But one thing is clear: a new year brings with it a new iPhone, and there's already some reports of unusual activity afoot. Why is Apple suddenly speeding up its timeline, even if only by a little bit? Does it want to fend off Samsung (News - Alert)'s likely upcoming release? Does it feel a need to get more into back-to-school sales by showing off in August, when the kids are all home from school, and being available right as the kids are heading back in for fall sessions? While Apple has strayed from a standard timeline before—the iPhone 4S didn't release until October of 2011—there were extraneous factors involved in this deviation, including the death of Steve Jobs (News - Alert).
There are a lot of questions needing answers, and if the projected August release comes to pass, we'll likely be hearing more of those answers before long. Apple's loyal user base is surely eager to get hands on the new system, regardless of what it packs in, but can this brand loyalty keep going for another release? Only time will tell what the device actually looks like, what it packs under its chassis, and when it's available for sale—but it's likely to prove yet another big shock to the mobile device market.