Investor eyes are continually on Apple, pushing it to continually deliver more and better products, and to repeatedly shift more units than were previous sold. But does the iPhone 6s/7 (we don't know yet what it will be called) have what it takes to top last year's first weekend sales figures? And if it doesn't, will that shake investor confidence?
While it's true that officially we know nothing about the next iPhone (hence even the uncertainty over the name), the supply chain can give us some clues as to what the next iPhone is going to bring to the table. And so far, it seems somewhat lacklustre.
When we join up the dots that we have what we're seeing is a new iPhone that looks like the existing iPhone 6/6 Plus featuring a Force Touch display, a better camera, and a faster processor.
"But isn't Force Touch an exciting addition?" I hear you ask. Well, maybe. But considering that Apple's had Macs featuring Force Touch trackpads out for months, I've not really come across people burning up the wires over this new feature. In fact, for a feature that tech pundits went head over heels over, the reaction from buyers -- the people whose opinions actually matter -- has been very lukewarm.
It's certainly doesn't seem like a "killer feature."
Last year's offering of larger handsets seems to have resonated with the iPhone buying masses, with Apple selling a record-breaking 10 million handsets over the first weekend. People had clearly been holding out for a larger iPhone, and why not, because the screen is the bit you interact with the most, and making it bigger is a pretty simple concept to get across to buyers.
Force Touch, while interesting, is a pretty abstract feature at best. It's certainly not something that Apple can get across easily in a commercial.
It's a crucial time for Apple. In the two weeks since reporting a strong quarter, shares have fallen by more than 10 percent, and the company has faced sharp criticism from otherwise strong supporters over the botched Apple Music launch. Also, sales of the iPad seem to be in freefall.
Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not saying Apple is doomed. It isn't. The company is astonishing at converting product into cash. But Apple is under pressure unlike anything it's seen in years (things like Antennagate or Mapgate were just overhyped nonsense that blew over in a matter of days). And Apple is heavily reliant on the iPhone and a misstep with that product could cause the lack of confidence in Apple that we're currently seeing to snowball.
"Peak iPad" seems to have come and gone without spooking investors that much, but a whiff that we could be heading towards "Peak iPhone" could be enough to send investor confidence over the edge.
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