September 7 is going to be the day of the iPhone 7.
Apple sent out invitations to the press for a September 7 product launch event, where it’s expected to announce the next iPhone model and possibly a new version of the Apple Watch.
To those who follow Apple’s product launch patterns, this year’s event will be different than any other iPhone unveiling. Apple typically works on a “tick-tock” cycle for iPhone releases, with the “tick” model introducing a fresh design and the “tock” adding incremental improvements the following year. This year was supposed to be a “tick” year.
But according to numerous reports, leaked photos, and industry gossip, this year’s iPhone (let’s just call it the iPhone 7 for now) is expected to look nearly identical to the iPhone 6s, but with a larger camera, redesigned antenna lines, and no headphone jack.
The iPhone is already having a down year, with sales declining for the first time in the product’s nine-year history. There’s little indication that a modest change to the iPhone 7’s design can reinvigorate sales. Meanwhile, Apple has gone on a major press blitz this month, with executives giving interviews to Fast Company, Washington Post, and Backchannel, causing some, like Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, to speculate the company is trying to jump ahead of the narrative that there’s no room for Apple to grow.
Early reports also say Apple is holding out until 2017, the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, to shake things up. Those reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg say Apple is considering a radical new all-glass design, a better screen technology called OLED, and a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display as a way to remove the home button.
As for the Apple Watch, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an excellent track record predicting new Apple products, says the new model will look very similar to the current one, but will have improvements in battery life and new sensors like a barometer and GPS. Kuo said to expect the new Apple Watch this fall, but wasn’t clear on whether it will be unveiled at the same time as the iPhone 7 or later in the year.
There’s one other major product in Apple’s pipeline: A redesigned MacBook Pro laptop. But Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that the new MacBook Pro will be announced separately from the iPhone 7. So don’t expect any news on that until at least October.
Business Insider will be covering Apple’s event live, so make sure to come back for all the news, photos, videos, and analysis.
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