2017 is the year the iPhone gets a major upgrade. We already know about its radical redesign, but now there are further details on what could be its most significant new feature – and the additional cost it brings…
The source is none other than KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo (famously dubbed “the best Apple AAPL -0.22% analyst on the planet”). In a new report obtained by 9to5Mac, Kuo says Apple will finally introduce wireless charging across its upcoming iPhone ranges. This will double up with fast wired charging, which I exclusively revealed last month.
Furthermore Kuo reiterated that there will be three new iPhones in 2017: two incremental ‘iPhone 7S’ upgrades and an all new OLED iPhone 8 / iPhone X introduced to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone.
Apple iPhone 8 concepts based on leaks shows how wireless charging could look. Image credit: Benjamin Geskin
He claims the reason for this is the wireless charging component inside the phones which creates a lot of heat and Apple has had to add a new graphite layer to protect the 3D Touch sensor behind the screen. He adds that Apple has additional thermal challenges with the iPhone X as well because the swap to an ‘All Glass’ design reduces heat dissipation compared to aluminium.
Kuo says these measures mean end users won’t feel the increased heat, but the combination of the new graphite layer and 3D Touch module (which is 30-50% more expensive) will push the iPhone range over the $1,000 price point for the first time. This higher price point is backed up by an independent report from FastCompany yesterday which cited “a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans”.
What To Think?
I’d argue there are two sides to this news. Firstly that Apple appears to be going all out to bring the Wow Factor back to the iPhone range after sticking with essentially the same external design for three generations.
iPhone 8 concept based on recent leaks shows how the return of glass would look. Image credit: ConceptsiPhone
If the company succeeds, a $1,000 price point is unlikely to keep committed Apple fans away and it will also see US prices catch up with some of the price hikes Apple made in other countries with the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last year. Apple’s eye wateringly expensive new MacBook Pro range also shows the company isn’t scared to increase prices if it thinks the products are worth it.
The flip side is wireless charging cases already allow users who want this functionality to add it while not adding cost for those who don’t. On top of this 3D Touch, the driving reason behind the price hike, continues to divide opinion. Fans use it extensively, but others forget it even exists given the lack of any clear indication showing what is and isn’t 3D Touch enabled. Apple really needs to address this in iOS 11.
Either way the pressure for Apple to perform in 2017 has stepped up after Galaxy S8 leaks revealed Samsung is also planning a significant smartphone redesign and Google will be back with a second generation of its impressive (but woefully understocked) Pixel and Pixel XL. The stakes have never been higher and I suspect neither have the prices…