Apple said to extend making major iPhone models to once every three years

“Apple will likely take three years between full-model changes of its iPhone devices, a year longer than the current cycle,” Yuichiro Kanematsu reports for Nikkei. “In a typical two-year term, fall 2016 was supposed to see a major upgrade, but the changes on the model to be launched this autumn will be minor, such as improved camera quality.”

“The move is largely due to smartphone functions having little room left for major enhancements,” Kanematsu reports. “A slowing market is another factor.”

Purported photo of iPhone 7 rear case
Purported photo of iPhone 7 rear case
“The new version slated for this autumn will look almost identical to the current iPhone 6. Functions such as the camera, water resistance and battery capacity will likely be improved, and the headphone jack will be removed,” Kanematsu reports. “Also, a high-end version of the model will give users better-quality photo capabilities via correction functions.”

“The 2017 model will likely involve major enhancements and design changes, including adoption of an organic electroluminescent display,” Kanematsu reports. “The new device will also be able to create more complex tactile vibrations on the display because of a tiny, but high-performance motor equipped inside.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This report does echo notes from well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Hopefully, if true, this also means Apple will drop the needlessly denigrating “S” nomenclature and instead simply go with iPhone, iPhone Plus, and any other iPhone models they devise (“iPhone Pro” or “iPhone Air,” for example) denoted with the year of release.

We’re dreaming of the iPhone (2016) family running iOS 10 (iOS X?) already!

Ming-Chi Kuo: 2016 Apple Watch will be internal ‘s’ upgrade, major design changes to wait until 2017 – April 11, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to revamp iPhone lineup in 2017 with iPhone 4-like design, 5.8-inch model – March 26, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple iPhone 7 Plus to offer innovative dual-camera configuration – January 28, 2016


  1. Finally.

    A mature product doesn’t need to be constantly refreshed, tweaked, or updated the way a new product does.

    Cue the wailers and ‘Apple is doomed!’ prognosticators. ‘Apple hasn’t released any ‘must-have’ products in weeks. Weeks, I say! DOOM!!’

    1. So, Chinless, you are also clueless. What drives Apple’s sales of iPhones are new models that are *different from* and *better than* the old models. Note the spike in sales of the non “s” models versus the “s” models.

      There are many quotes about Steve’s belief that it’s the beginning of the end for a great company when marketing becomes more important than products. Here’s just one:
      “I have my own theory about why the decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The product starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.”

      Your position supports the position that is the opposite of delivering great products.

      I’m not concerned that “‘Apple hasn’t released any ‘must-have’ products in weeks. Weeks, I say! DOOM!!’” I’m concerned that some products have not been updated in four years. Some significant products haven’t been updated in almost three years. Some of the major products have not been updated in two years. All have fallen behind the competition. So what does Tim’s people do? Amp up the marketing.

      I’m non a “wailer” as you put it. I’ve been a loyal Apple customer since the late 70s. I don’t have a Windows or Linux box in my house — and hopefully never will. I’ve negotiated deals with Apple for several hundred XServes at one shot.

      I am concerned that Tim Cook’s Apple is more focused on marketing than great products. You should be too.

      1. I agree with chinstrap that a mature product doesn’t need to be constantly changed. This is what damaged OS X and IOS.

        And I agree with Shadowself that new models drive sales.

        What do you want? Quality or sales?

        1. The market demands change. The need to constantly refresh in this space is one of the reasons it took Apple so long to enter. They knew they had to deliver new Phones once a year to compete.

          While iPhone is no doubt the best it becomes less exciting as its form factor becomes dated. People don’t feel like their buying something NEW.

          Apple really doesn’t get to make these decisions, public perception does. People already felt the iPhone 6 design was old when the 6S came out.

          Of course having a major phone redesign every year is impractical. I’m hoping the market turns more into the auto industry where models do spend a few years on the market, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen.

          People buy phones too frequently, and they’re not going to buy a new phone for a premium price if it looks like a phone from three years ago.

          1. The apparent high demand for the iPhone SE proves that a dated form factor can still be successful, as long as specs are near-identical to the latest and greatest.

            Unfortunately that often happens only after something new has come out and doesn’t satisfy all customers.

            There’s something to be said about tried-and-true.

    2. THere’s little point in creating new designs just because the other one has been around for a while. New designs should primarily be driven by needing to be redesigned to incorporate new features.

      Obviously the internal components will be regularly upgraded and new features added, but usually without needing to significantly change the external appearance.

      I have always favoured naming the models after the year, so in September 2016 we would see the introduction of iPhone ’17, which would come in three sizes, so that you could have an iPhone 17 SE ( or preferably iPhone 17 mini ), an iPhone 17 or an iPhone 17 plus.

  2. Agreed! When the going gets tough, the Tough gets going, right? In Apple case, what were seeing here is they’re blinded so much by competions around, thinking They’re more superior. Even if its true, you just can lay around and waiting to be f**k.

  3. Am I the only one here that thinks this is a terrible plan? And not for selfish reasons either–because personally, I’ll buy it anyway regardless. It’s bad because there is a core of iphone consumers who are always actively seeking ‘new/innovative’ designs and upgrades. Unless Apple believes that samslum, LG and others are going to tap the brakes on design–I don’t see how this works out to advantage Apple at all.

    I honestly think this informs just idea-challenged Apple has become under Cook. He can supply-chain it and sell it but CANNOT design or develop. They need a visionary back in the roost at Apple.

    1. Just look at the iPhone 5SE, what were the engineers and designers doing? Getting paid to get laid? At least they could have change the casing design,it won’t cost that much for retooling in factories, few american bucks more! They’re lying if Apple say it cost a lot. I don’t see present executive team as an A Team, all these 7 years or more of record earnings are LEFTOVERS from Steve Jobs.

      1. WE HAVE A TAG TEAM! √

        On this page we have a clear pattern:

        A) Our pet homophobe/Cook hater posts using one of his many faked nicks (I think he has at least 10 faked nicks).

        B) Our English-as-a-second-language Samsung sycophant replies in support.

        They UP *ding* each other while (A) uses his numerous faked nicks to UP *ding* himself.

        I hope these rectal pores are well paid! That’s a lot of work!

        1. Derek back away from the synthetic weed, my man. No one’s ‘phobeing on Cook. You need to understand all criticism is not from from haterade–much of it is legit. Cook’s simply not a creative or visionary leader. The skill-set he does possess is tremendous–but those strengths just don’t lend themselves to leading Apple in innovation.

          Steve put him in charge because Cook was most able to ‘maintain’ from where Apple at the time. It seems clear now that that time has moved on and Cook isn’t cutting it. I love that he didn’t waiver throughout the whole FBI/privacy ordeal and has maintained supply-chain efficiency etc but on the device/hardware front he is seriously eroding confidence in Apple and it’s consumers. It’s been awhile since Apple has hit one out of the park. And sadly I don’t believe Cook is the leader that is going to get it done..

          1. People are always misjudging Apple because we don’t see the 1000’s of internal people working on new products.

            Sooner or later the iPhone was going to become an incremental update product, like Macs and now the iPad. Occasional major redesigns but mostly internal fine tuning and spec upgrades.

            Faking major updates with new case designs that are not warranted for the sake of goosing sales is EXACTLY what Apple should NOT do.

            That is what Steve Ballmer would do.

            1. Oh I agree 100% that it should not be for the ‘sake of goosing sales’. It should be about leading the industry in innovation and design–and not sitting around waiting for the rest of the competition to catch-up or surpass. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the many creatives within Apple who are working their asses off to make Apple successful–BUT they are only allowed to do as much as the leadership challenges them to do. Apple just feels like it drifting from its mooring–i didn’t fully sense that until the whole AppleMusic/Iovine fiasco. It really felt like an empty, directionless move. Evolving the ecosystem–yes–but moving forward in hardware and software? No way.

              I’m not hating–just concerned.

          2. You killed off my interest in the second sentence: Obviously we have a loony here who is blatantly ‘phobeing’ on Cook. DUH.

            Meanwhile, Apple needs several hard, if not frequent, boots up the butt for messy technology, laziness, etc. But as I ranted last week: This exact same nonsense occurred throughout the Jobs era.

            THEREFORE: Pining after Jobs

            Cook has provided a MODERN and HUMANIZED addition to the Apple work culture. He’s a positive reinforcement style of leader. Much as I myself am a bastard when I want to get something accomplished, we know in our modern age that humans respond far better to positive reinforcement within any project.

            Are there times when the cattle prod should be brought out of the holster and applied? Of course. I also suggest putting the cattle that need such prodding on the ‘injured’ or ‘fire their ass’ list. I’d definitely agree that Mr. Cook is not naturally adept and shocking somnambulistic employees back to life and productivity. That’s where it’s useful to have a lieutenant to whom one can delegate such negative tasks. But I’m veering into the abstract…

            In our current era of self-destructive parasites attempting corporatocracy across the entirety of human society on miracle planet Earth, our only home, Apple has been one of the many victims of this insanity. Apple is NOT a corporatocrat. Apple is on the side of the CUSTOMERS, not the Behemoth Bankroll Blowhards. Therefore the BBBs hate Apple and want it to change into an abomination, just like they are.

            As such, FSCK the BBBs. We The People need a good cattle prod to figure out we’re being conned into deepening Neo-Feudalism, as I call it. And again I’m off in the abstract…

            Apple is, at this moment in time, still BRILLIANTLY SUCCESSFUL. They set the record as the single most innovative company in human history during a period of extreme innovation on their part. They are now, obviously, back to something I’d call NORMAL SPEED. The only reason we expect Apple to ‘hit one out of the park’ every year, month, day… is because they set the record. It is not realistic to expect the same team to win the World Series every freakin’ year, is it?!

            And yet, Apple is still the #1 profit making company on the planet, still, today.

            And people are WHINING about Apple. Idiotic.

            Kick Apple in the nuts when they deserve it and cut crying over spilled bits when Apple pull their usual blundering, like they always have.

            This meme is so tired. That is hopefully the last time I bother to care about it.

            1. It’s so easy to HATE from behind a mask. It’s called cowardice. It makes your arguments, sincere or deceitful, entirely untrustworthy.

              And what is it with your obsession with Cook’s ass? Doesn’t that tell you something? (0_0)

  4. Shadow,

    “I’ve been a loyal Apple customer since the late 70’s…”

    Good for you. I must say, that’s some commitment, right there. Especially considering the fact that Apple wasn’t even a company until ’77, and how dodgy things got for Apple in the mid 90’s. That’s one hell of a track record of loyalty.

    Skipping over all of the name-calling and petulant knee jerk reactionism, I’d like to adress the assertion you made about my preference to ‘marketing’ over a quality product. That’s not what I said.

    You’re premise is flawed, therefore, your argument is invalid.

    I regret that you somehow mistook my statement regarding the tech press and financial analysts (I know, it was inferred. Shame on me.) was somehow a reflection on you personally or upon your business serving the Mac community for all of these past 87 years. I regret that you seem to be so thinned skinned and fragile as to think that I would in any way seek to denigrate, besmirch, or belittle your overwhelmingly abundant contributions to the world. Why, thanks to you, we can all sleep just a little more soundly at night knowing that you are there.

    Out there. Somewhere. Doing… things.

    Mea culpa.

    1. Every three years .. Lol ……Expect to sales and stock price to drop along with it…
      In a wold where competition is growing more furious… Apple wants to take a layed back approach.. Lol. … They sure are smoking something there..
      Or Nikkei is….big time…

      Unless!… Apple have something else and huge that they hope will make up for the falling sales…

      2018 is my cutoff line with apple… has been for a while… Some sort of conviction on my behalf … Which is getting harder and harder to hold on to.
      They keep following the 2015 dissarray and bogus Ryhtem and im out…

  5. It does not make much sense to me. Apple is signing up people to the upgrade program so that they buy a new phone every year. The upgrade cycle time for me is getting smaller with every upgrade and we are finally at a point where getting a new phone every year is worth it.
    So Apple will definitely want to change the phone every year to spur sales in a maturing market.

    1. Many of these yearly upgraders will feel scammed if the next device is the iPhone 6ss. As a result, Apple will lose a significant amount of customers. Many Android phones look vastly superior to the outdated 6 series, and if Apple keeps the same 3-year, underwhelming design language then many people will go elsewhere. Apple customer’s expect quality from a top-tier device, not an expensive piece of junk with an ancient design. In China, sales have begun hitting the skids, and I would expect sales to deteriorate elsewhere, especially if some of the more aesthetically pleasing Chinese brands proliferate around the globe. Top customers want modern electronics, not berry scribblings made on cave walls.

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