Mossberg: Apple gambles they can take an extra year for an all-new iPhone design

“At this week’s annual Apple iPhone intro event, the hall was packed, as usual. As always, the program featured gorgeous photos and videos, impressive charts, a few demos, surprise guests, and dramatic claims of improved product performance and capability,” Walt Mossberg writes for Recode. “What it didn’t feature was a new design for the company’s most important product, the iPhone. There was, as I said, a new iPhone model — two of them in fact. But the iPhone 7 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 7 Plus, look nearly identical, and are exactly the same sizes, as their predecessors from last year and the year before.”

‘This is highly unusual, especially for a company that prides itself on being the world’s technology design leader. In its two-year release cycle, this should have been the year for an all-new-looking iPhone. But we didn’t get it,” Mossberg writes. “Instead, Apple is hoping you’ll buy a premium phone featuring the very nice, but aging, iPhone design it introduced in 2014. The next big design change isn’t set until 2017.”

“Now, there are actually lots of change inside these new iPhones, in both hardware and software. I was genuinely impressed — more than I had expected to be — by these functional improvements to an already great product, most of them unabashedly positive,” Mossberg writes. “And Apple will inevitably risk sales losses (on top of recent quarterly sales declines) by causing some current users to wait another year, and others — who get their thrills from sheer newness — to switch to Android. Less tangibly, but perhaps more importantly, it puts at risk Apple’s reputation for constantly churning out delightful, surprising new objects, an important part of the intangible mystique of one of the world’s most admired brands.”

Much more, including Walt’s thoughts on Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No one who’s even partially up on smartphones is going to mistake our new Jet Black, dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus units (which are not going in cases, that’s for sure) for iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone 6 units.

Walt overestimates the “risk” Apple is taking with the exterior case design of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

We’ll greatly prefer to use the world’s most advanced smartphone for a year than to wait for “next year’s model,” which, if you did that annually, means you’d never have a new iPhone. Buy it, use it, sell it on, and get the new one.

Gruber: Apple’s Jet Black iPhone 7 is ‘grippy; the least slippery iPhone Apple has ever made’ – September 9, 2016
With their flagship iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has changed the camera industry forever – September 9, 2016
All of Apple’s Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus models are sold out, shipments slip to November – September 9, 2016
With the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple makes dual cameras the new normal – September 8, 2016


    1. Cook and Co. are absolute morons for thinking they can release the exact same “looking phone” as two years ago and expect millions of people will buy it – so disappointed with that talent pool and capital pool – what a joke, the notion that Apple is saving their innovation for the 10th anniversary disgusts me if that is the case !!

        1. Keep drinking the Apple juice – hahahah, the company is a dog with Tim Cook in charge, you’ll notice no newly designed products, who puts out a phone three years in a row that looks absolutely identical – just iterations !!

    2. Oh boy, where’s the idiocy and anger coming from? Maybe because they can’t afford a flagship product and therefore feel the need to trash it along with its makers? Not only will they all be proven wrong by upcoming sales numbers but the facts will come out once the products land in the hands of users everywhere.

  1. “And Apple will inevitably risk sales losses (on top of recent quarterly sales declines) by causing some current users to wait another year, and others — who get their thrills from sheer newness — to switch to Android”

    This is a hilarious hypothetical. What new features are on Android phones that make them worth buying over the iPhone 7—which Mossberg admits has many internal upgrades? Perhaps Samsung’s Handwarming (err—exploding) Battery?

    More importantly, why is an external design change all that desirable? Don’t people—especially expert product reviewers—understand that sometimes a feature (including shape) can evolve to a steady state? And given limited resources, wouldn’t most people rather that a phone’s internals be updated rather than cosmetic external tweaks?

  2. Mossberg is getting old and tired. It’s a phone – which requires a basic form factor. The fact that the phone has been massively updated and IOS is being massively updated must have eluded him because it still looked like a phone. 10 years from now, phones will have the same basic form factor. It has to be portable – it has to have a screen – it can’t be round or shaped like a ninja star. Materials will change, performance will improve – Mossberg will have something stupid to say next year as well because he has to get clicks, just like all the other click-baiters.

  3. Although the company is in decline under the leadership of the hapless Tim Cook, and apparently slowly abandoning the personal computer business, I placed my order for the new phone, will pick it up next Friday at my Apple Retail Store, and enjoy the new features. It’s about the only thing I brag about all the Apple products I own – but even then, people at the table in the meeting rooms keep showing me how much more their non-iPhones are doing and how cool they are. Especially those who used to be iPhone customers and left for something else they believed to be better. Much better.

    1. I have yet to meet this former iPhone, now Android user. This mythical being is often mentioned by various people on these forums, but nobody has yet been able to identify one.

      Looking at survey numbers out there, it is not surprising why. They do in fact exist, but they are almost as rare as the unicorns.

      Four years ago, my office used to be 50-50 between iOS and Android. Today, only one person still has Android, because her husband is an Apple hater and won’t let her get an iPhone.

      As for the leadership of Cook, time will tell. In five years of leadership, Apple profits doubled, and the company climbed to No. 1 spot in the market cap. The guy is obviously clueless….

      </s> (in case some people’s sarcasm detector is off)

        1. I am always puzzled by the people, especially those who actually follow the tech industry and presumably know something about it, who switch from iOS to Android. I can understand ignorant folk wanting a specific feature, or the ability to customise, or wanting their phone is some specific colour, but I can’t understand how a tech-literate person can willingly volunteer to completely sacrifise all of their personal privacy, not to mention the safety and security of their devices, just for the sake of those features (or colour). Even if it is about the money, I would still buy my daughter a $250 used 5S then ever let her have an uncontrollable Android, where her industrious classmate would quickly show her how to download pirated apps from Russian torrent sites, catching all sorts of surreptitious malware as a consequence. And even without such malware, the fact that Google contains ALL my private information, and sells advertising based on it all, makes me feel queasy.

          I’m sure you have your reasons for moving over to Android, but I am having a hard time finding big enough ones that would make me compromise my privacy and security that much.

      1. Right here. Bought the iPhone 7/14/07 and owned the 3GS, 4S and 5S. Plus about $12,000 in other Apple and Mac gear since 2006. When Apple stuck with 16 gb for the 6S I was disgusted and refused to pay $650 for that. I started looking around, reading reviews and watching dozens of YouTube video reviews. I wanted the best possible camera with an otherwise good phone. Last November Best Buy had a good offer on the Samsung S6, so I took the plunge and got one. I considered retuning it right up to the 14th day, but stuck with it. Mostly because that 16 megapixel camera was amazing.
        It wasn’t a great experience right away. Battery life was horrendous, and when Samsung finally updated to Android 6.0, I had to wait MONTHS more for AT&T to push the update through. It did solve the battery issue and made the software a lot more pleasant to use. And with the rebate and free stuff, the phone was basically free. I got the VR headset and was blown away by that, but it’s still an early product.

        Now that I’ve done my year in Android land I’ll probably get an iPhone 7. The camera looks like it will catch up and I’ll like having the interoperability between devices again. I would never pay full price for a Samsung phone, but I have no regrets over experiencing the other side for a while. The Samsung flagships offer more features than the iPhone, some of them really useful (wireless charging), but the iPhone offers immediate updates, encrypted security, and the support of an Apple Store.

    2. Please explain those dazzling innovative Android features iPhone users are missing that Android users will actually & truthfully be missing that are on the non-explosive iPhone 7 Plus?

      No? I thought so.

      BTW incendiary advances in Shamscam phone battery design is NIOT an advantage.

      1. I thought your name was Wiki, Mac, ??? and any number of unimaginative troll names.

        Tim Cook didn’t blow away anything – the market did. No worries, they’ll be back. What don’t you understand about sold-out products and people clamoring for new iPhones? that’s a failure in your book? That makes YOU the big fail.

    3. Jay there you are, I nice black cloud over your head, is that the same one ever since the day I first saw you? Wow, it’s sure been watering you good.

      The only thing you brag about are the Apple products you own? Come on Jay, can’t you brag about the wonder list of flamboyant visionary leaders that are more than ready willing and able to take the helm of Apple and lead it beyond the future.

      We must be going to the wrong meetings. The advanced education students I’ve been meeting up with this week are amazingly well versed in the new iPhone release but I have to admit those students know about the non-iPhones explosive experience.

      Hey Jay, that’s a great shovel but it sure doesn’t look like dirt you are hauling.

      Why aren’t you at those other non-iphone support sites extolling praise there? Oh yeah cause you are just a whine whino whiner.

      Poor Jay, let me call you a WHHHHHHHHHHInbulance.

      1. Road … since the first time you trashed me about my criticism of Tim Cook, his popularity with shareholders, customers, the technology media, and even the lemmings on this MDN site has substantially declined and now fully recognizing that Apple Inc. is in need of new leadership. I didn’t include Wall Street because they decided long, long ago that he was not up to the standards of leadership that should be at the helm of the world’s largest company.

        Tim Cook has led the company’s transition into a phone company now with some watches to sell. What ever happened to the personal computer company it once was? Tweaking the phone every year is yesterday’s news. What the company needs is a strong leader who will restart the rest of the company’s business, roll out exciting new products to the world of computer users and satisfy their demand for again having available to them robust, fast, reliable, and best in the world machines. It is that segment of consumers who are left behind and that is not just a shame, it is gross negligence. The cause is Tim Cook’s satisfaction with being a gadget salesman and even that comes up short because he is no good at at.

        1. Just to put some perspective and highlight my point the first times we met and chatted here Tim Cook was new and I wasn’t sure if he’d be all right, but I was open minded.

          You point out without any substantial evidence the decline of popularity with shareholders, customers, the technology media and even the lemmings here as your mantra has been from the start, chicken little style. “The sky is falling the sky is falling”. You might as well be crying out “more people are dying more people are dying” because your half wit mind is not ready willing or able to express the fact that more people are being born. Essentially you lack balance, the coup the grace was your expression of the watch when it first came out, “klunky”. You haven’t even seen it or put it in your hand.

          I’m going to get to the brass tacks Jay, and add a fact to the issue instead of the imaginary smoke coming out of your orifices.

          Since Tim Cook has taken over the stock price has gone up, not declined. In fact I quickly grabbed a net article with a cute chart and states “Tim Cook has pulled off an equally impressive feat since becoming CEO: he’s more than doubled Apple’s stock price.”

          Now the article from January 2015 puts a relative number on the whole thing. On August 24 2011 when Tim Cook took over the stock was worth $53.00 on a split adjusted basis. Today, look up it’s worth over a hundred. You forgot to mention that and for a lot of people money is the bottom line. You should have included Wall Street, and if you pull behind your feathered curtain you’ll see that the stock is not worth $5.20. That closer to the amount would be worth if you were running the show Jay.

          You are still doing what you’ve been doing since the start, whining and crying over Tim Cook, selectively without suggesting an alternative. You’ve been called on it but your closed mind prevents you from moving forward.

          You have yet to suggest who this visionary, who this supposedly strong leader is. You haven’t even suggested what these new products should be like what they should do. Newsflash Jay, Apple’s got one of the best iPhones on the market, simply because it doesn’t explode. Everybody’s been pointing that out to you but you are to blind, too addickheaded to the dark side.

          You complain so much about the dark that you’ve forgotten what the light is like. It’s not Tim Cook’s doing, it’s yours. You’ve become a troll emerging every now and then to see what poison you can spread throughout the land. Too bad some of the light beings are being so ever vigilant.

          Whine all you want, Tim Cook is staying, at least until Jay Morrison suggests someone more capable and Jay Morrison hasn’t even come to the plate yet. In fact, his posts here are in decline, though his message remains the same. Too bad he only has one, if he had two he’d be on par with a broken clock.

    4. Give it up repetitive Anti-Cook demon troll (who’s been plaguing this site for months using a myriad of pseudonyms like the doofus coward you are).

      What do you think you’re accomplishing except a spectacular display of stupidity? No one gives a crap about your crazed ramblings.

  4. I prefer the great software and hardware any day than design, anyone has the right to switch to android with a sleek looking phone with not so good software that will most likely never be upgraded and does not carry and resale value. All things that makes Apple so great is not in Android. Customer service, whole system connectivity can not be beat.

  5. It would be really interesting to see what would happen if, for the next five years, Apple kept the exact same body for all the iPhone models, and just changed the colours, features and specs (plus the iOS, of course).

    That would be a very courageous move, as there is a small percentage of iPhone users who MUST have the latest model, not because they need it, but because they want others to see it, and if the shape is the same, they would freak out (as they did when 4S came out, looking identical to 4).

  6. What utter nonsense! I, for one am glad that Apple inc. sticks their 🖕to all the tech pundits, including Walt Mossberg.

    The iPhone 6s/plus was so far ahead of the competition in terms of “real use” and its ability to delight customers in their 10’s of millions.

    And now Apple inc. has the temerity to dare release an iPhone 7/plus that looks largely like the iPhone 6s/plus. Maybe Walt needs to understand that everyone absolutely loves the form factor as it is, but welcomes the camera, battery etc changes without having to marvel at a new bloody outer case.

    Oh, and lest I forget, a huge iOS 10 upgrade is also on the way.

    Times have obviously moved on and Walt is required by Re/Code to generate hype, even if he actually doesn’t believe it!!

    1. I’m kinda in the same boat but the iPhone 7 is tempting. I can’t imagine what the iPhone 8 will be like. Maybe a full surface display? After that how far can you advance the form factor? These devices are all about their screens and internals. Well until mid-air projected holography shows up I guess but anything like that would be making a very public show to a very privacy oriented consumer.

  7. I am one of the majority of iPhone owners that immediately installes my new iPhone into a protective case. So, for most of us, a “new design” is significantly less important than the ease and security with which the phone can be installed in a thin form fitting protective case that we can personally select to customize and individualize the “look” of our phone. For many/most of us the simple, smooth, and very attractive “pill shape” of the iPhone 6/6s/7 is ideal for us to install into the case we choose. The media is over blowing the importance of “no design change” in my opinion. The functional features are far more important to most of us.

  8. When you perfect the best shape for a cell phone, what do you do?
    Change it to some new shape that sucks?

    This was bound to happen. You get to where the shape is optimal and then work on improving all other aspects, like the internal specs.

    I do wish they would sell the 7 in the old 5s shape. More battery.

  9. Walt, Apple could rush their new form factor out the door, like Samsung, to be first, and look what happened.
    Everyone knows that the smartphone market is super saturated and invention is now evolutionary and no longer revolutionary. Everyone also knows that AAPL is slowing turning from a growth stock to a very long-sustained dividend stock. They are in great position to continue to use wisdom and not move too fast and use their existing resources. The SE is a perfect example and now also series 1 Apple Watch. Hopefully, the 6s will follow.
    Meanwhile, the competitors are scrambling and throwing stuff on the wall to see if it sticks, and now, Apple is in great position to wisely sit back and follow their attempted inventions and just do it better…meanwhile, they subtly sneak in something boring to most in the A10 processor, which could run a low end laptop and also sneak in more haptics, splash profess, and an improved Home button that everybody will holler about when it’s gone next round. God and Apple will never move as fast as we want. Cook is not my favorite, but seems to have wisdom regarding sustenance. Time will tell if his inventiveness will show up.

  10. I think that they decided to take the extra time is telling of a company that cares. If they were just throwing phones out Willy nilly every year without clear inspiration that would make them LG, Samsung, or any other company flailing about.

    It’s a good sign, and the new 7 is no slouch either. I don’t think any reviewer can with a straight face say that it is not the absolute best phone on the market today.

  11. Apple could have at least given us an edge to edge display, and while they’re at it that they could have reduced the top and bottom bezels. The screen size would have increased to 5.7” or more if they’ve done this while retaining the same overall size of the device. I still love my 6S Plus though.

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