Video: The Apple iPhone: 2007, meet 2017
We don't even know what it (or they) will be called. If Apple follows its traditional tick-tock upgrade cycle, we're about to enter the tock phase, where Apple substantially improves the current phone and plasters an "s" on the name.
Most analysts expect an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. But because the iPhone is 10 years old this year, we also have some expectations for a big feature reveal in a new, possibly limited-edition iPhone.
This is the iPhone 8, a sort of super-iPhone, one which people think might be as expensive as a not-cheap laptop. It's the so-called tenth-anniversary iPhone.
There is some speculation that not only will this device be insanely expensive, it will also be tremendously difficult for Apple to produce. That leads the rumor mills to surmise that while it will probably be announced at the iPhone event in September or early October, it might not ship for months after that. Some claim that when it does ship, it will do so in small quantities.
In other words, if you want to get your hands on one, it's going to be quite the challenge.
The way Apple has handled this sort of demand allocation in the past is allow to people to order the phone just as soon as its announced. Those who place their orders earlier have a chance to get a phone sooner. Those who wait often have to come back again and again -- until Apple again accepts orders.
Personally, I think all of this is ridiculous. It's a phone. But I'm not a stand-in-a-line sort of guy. If there's a restaurant with a line, I'm not going to stand in it. I'm also not going to get crazy about a future version of an iPhone when my current one works just fine.
I don't like the idea of a bevel-less display. I really don't want a hidden home button. I think the idea of facial recognition to unlock is a nightmare that will both reduce security and increase frustration. If I shave my beard, does that mean I can no longer unlock my phone? Don't worry, I'm not shaving my beard. But you get the point.
On the other hand, some people do need to get the phone as soon as possible. Developers form one category. There are some favored developers that will be seeded devices by Apple. But Apple has millions of developers and not all of them are important enough to get special treatment from Cupertino. Many of them will want a phone as early as possible to customize their software and possibly try out new features.
Then there are the journalists. While there is a never-ending stream of news, reviews and write-ups of newly released Apple products are often hugely popular. Those tech journalists who have ever said a critical word about Apple are never getting review units from the company. Instead, they have to buy their own devices -- just to tell you about them. If they have to wait months for a unit on allocation to arrive, they're going to be scooped by anyone who managed to get a unit earlier.
These two groups are the ones for whom legitimately ordering a new Apple phone, sight unseen, makes sense. Then there are the folks who always want the latest and greatest Apple device so bad that they'll spend almost anything and buy almost anything.
It was with this in mind that Alex Lindsay of MacBreak Weekly speculated that some number of loyal Apple customers will jump to the front of the line and pay a premium price, even if they have no idea what is in the new device.
He suggested that Apple should open up pre-ordering way before the device is announced, so those people who knew they're going to buy the device -- no matter what features are eventually announced or how expensive it will be -- can get on the list early.
So, what do you think? Would you prepay for the next, top-of-the-line Apple iPhone, even if you don't know how much it will cost or what it can do? Let us know in the TalkBacks below.
I'll give you my answer. I use my headphone jack. I know my headphone jack. My headphone jack is a friend of mine. And the iPhone 8 will have no headphone jack.
P.S. One final cautionary note for pre-order fanboys and enthusiasts: Apple introduced a special 20th Anniversary Macintosh for the Mac's 20th anniversary in 1997. It was weird, insanely expensive, and unsuccessful. If that's any indication, an Apple anniversary-issue iPhone may not be the best thing for you to spend your cash on. Just saying.
P.P.S. MacBreak Weekly rocks. Definitely check it out.
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