CHART OF THE DAY: Why Apple's next iPhone needs to be a hit

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Apple might have a little dilemma on its hands.

According to Google Trends, people are more interested in the older iPhone 6 from 2014 than the iPhone 6s that was released in 2015.

Sure, the margin of interest between the iPhone 6 and 6s is pretty narrow. But aren’t the cool new devices meant to be getting more attention than older models?

It’s actually not surprising that the iPhone 6s generated less excitement than the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6s offered incremental improvements, like a 12-megapixel camera compared to the 8-megapixel shooter on the 6, as well as features like Live Photos and a 3D Touch screen, which ultimately ended up being pretty modest additions. The new camera with more megapixels didn’t really make that much of a difference, and Live Photos and the features associated with 3D Touch were essentially non-events.

Iphone 6Steve Kovach/Business InsiderIs this the iPhone 6? Or the iPhone 7? We can’t tell.

So, unsurprisingly, people aren’t interested in incremental and meaningless updates, and if Apple doesn’t make its next iPhone interesting, it may create a ripe environment for iPhone fans to start looking elsewhere like, say, Android.

Here’s a bigger look at this iPhone trend from over the past five years. Notice how the iPhone 6 generated less excitement compared to the iPhone 5, and the same with the iPhone 6s and 5s.

Apple needs to reverse this trend. Unfortunately for iPhone fans, it doesn’t look like the iPhone 7 will be very exciting, according to my colleague Steve Kovach. Rumours so far suggest the iPhone 7 will look nearly identical to the iPhone 6 generation, save for redesigned antenna lines and a new dual-camera system in the larger 5.5-inch model. 

Leaked images and schematics show the regular iPhone 7 could have some sort of camera improvement, but unless the new camera system blows the iPhone 6 or 6s cameras out of the water, few will care enough to buy the iPhone 7.

Apple fans waiting for something exciting may have to wait until 2017 when Apple is rumoured to skip the iPhone’s “S” generation and go straight with the iPhone 8 for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. But even if that’s not the final name, the 2017 iPhone will reportedly come with an all-display front surface with no borders or bezels, an all-glass build, as well as an invisible Touch ID/home button combo. It sounds like a much more drastic change than what the iPhone 7 is shaping up to be.

Yet, at the end of the day, Apple and iPhone aren’t simply going to disappear just because of a couple of modest iPhone upgrades. The iPhone 6s is still a great phone, and the iPhone 7 will surely be excellent too largely because of iOS, the iPhone’s operating system, as well as the superior collection of apps in the App Store.

Yet, as the chart above suggests, people crave more drastic changes with each new smartphone, and Apple will need to deliver if it hopes to keep rival phones at bay.


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