Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is, apparently, all set to reveal the iPhone 6S today in their September Media event. In the meantime, while we all await the moment when Tim Cook takes the wraps off the new device, we conducted a poll among our readers to know what they want most in the latest iPhone. Last year, Apple listened to the popular demand and the large screened iPhone 6 Plus was unveiled. Riding on its success Apple had their all time best Q2 results, that too in a sluggish smartphone market. Will the new iPhone smash all previous records or will it fail to carry on the forward momentum? On the eve of its launch, we also look into the various predictions, expectations, and rumors on the iPhone 6S.
Is Apple Listening to its Customers?
Apple for the past few years has followed a predictable evolutionary path for its iPhone lineup. In a biennial cycle, the first phone comes with a design change while the next one bears the same model number with an S added at the end and features updated internal hardware.
With the iPhone 6S slated to be revealed tomorrow, we take a look at what smartphone users want to see in the next generation.
Longer battery life and Wireless battery charging top the list if wishlist with 56% and 54% respectively; as most users face battery woes on their smartphones. Apple will look to address battery life issues in the latest iteration with a faster A9 chip that has low powered cores for normal day to day usage and higher clocked ones for resource-intensive tasks. This should lead to a good battery life experience. However reports points to a bump in screen resolution and with screens being the battery hogs that they are, we might see the battery benefits of the newer processor being levelled out and battery life being at par with the previous generation iPhone 6.
Wireless charging does not seem to be an included feature either as the metal clad iPhones make inductive charging hard to implement.
Next up is waterproofing and although tempting, the 6S chassis leaks of the past month don’t seem to hint at that feature being implemented.
External storage doesn’t seem to be on the cards either through the base model might be bumped from 16 gigs to 32 gigs with higher priced tiers having 64 and 128 gigs of internal memory. Despite being a popular choice with 24% of the voters wanting it, Apple has moved away from removable storage for good and seems to be firmly invested in cloud storage.
Among the rest of the other expected features, we may get to see OIS in the camera as there are strong rumors suggesting that the 6S will feature a 12mp camera, a significant boost over last year’s 8mp module. As for the other features, I suppose it’s better luck next year?
Apple Event: What We Can Expect to See
I’ve been somewhat of a Debbie Downer for most of this article dismissing most of the features from the Poll as not present in the new iPhone. So, I suppose, I owe it to you guys to give some good news, so how about a list of what we expect Tim Cook to reveal on stage after few hours from now?
The iPhone 6S is expected to come in two screen sizes with the smaller one at 4.7 inches and the 6S plus with 5.5 inches of screen real estate. Here are the major spec bumps from the last generation of iPhones
- Higher resolution screens on both models. The iPhone 6S is rumored to sport a 2,000 x 1,125 resolution which will mean an increase of 50% from 326ppi to a whopping 488 ppi. The iPhone 6S Plus is also expected to get the same treatment receiving a more modest rise of 65 DPi as the resolution bumps up to 2,208 x 1,242, up from 1,920 x 1,080 in the iPhone 6 Plus.
- The quad core A9 processor will also make an appearance, a vast all round improvement from the dual core A8. Accompanied with 2 gigs of RAM, the new iPhones are to be a fair bit more powerful than their predecessors.
- An improved 12mp back camera coupled with the new image processor will lead to even better images. Also, 4k video recording comes to the iPhone with the updated camera module.
- The 6S will also feature Force Touch technology in their screens although how Apple intends to take advantage of the pressure sensitive touchscreen remains to be seen.
Apart from the iPhones, we can also expect to see a refresh of the iPad range. Tablet sales over the 3rd quarter have registered a fall of 18% over the past quarter, has prompted Apple to sit up and take notice. Apple might look to launch a Pro model of the iPad for the business and productivity-minded individuals to gain some of the ground that it has lost in the tablet market.
The Apple TV also might get a relaunch with updated specs and better software. Much information about it isn’t available at the moment but at an estimated price of 149$, if done right, Apple could have a real winner on their hands.
On the software front, nothing major seems to be in the cards with newer versions of iOS, Mac OS X and WatchOS 2 already been shown off earlier this year.
Apple Q4 Predictions: It’s all on the iPhone 6S
Apple has had a strong showing in 2015 thus far with an estimated 50.2 million devices sold in Q3 2015. If we take a glance at the numbers from the same time last year, we see a significant rise from 39.2 million iPhones which gives us a YoY growth of 28%. If we take a look at the charts for iPhone sales over the years, we see that Q4 has always been the most profitable for them. The primary reason for that is the launch of new hardware means a rush of people buying the new iPhone and the holiday season influencing the spending budget of the consumers in markets around the world.
With that being said, the Q4 sales figures look to be very promising as per research was done by Above Avalon, there are some 120-200 million users ready to upgrade to the 6S. This is fairly significant because the number of iPhone users is at an all-time high of 475 million. There is a potential customer base of 200 million users who are using iPhone 5C and below and looking to upgrade their devices.
Given that Q4 2014 topped out at 74.5 million, and the huge size of the potential buyer market, the 6S may break all previous iPhone sales records.
However, there are some worrying signs for Apple. KGI has released a report where they have predicted that sales in Q4 2015 will hover between 65-75 million smartphones. Considering that in Q4 2014 Apple managed to sell 74.5 million units, this will be the first time that Apple is looking at stagnated or even negative growth on a YoY basis over the fourth quarter.
KGI has been quoted as saying “We predict iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S could be the first S-series models to see flat or lower shipments versus their predecessors.”
They attribute this slump in growth to two major factors, the slump of the Chinese economy as well as the public indifference to Force Touch, the premier feature for the new generation of iPhones.
While it remains to be seen how Force Touch is implemented on the iPhone lineup, public opinion on the feature was lukewarm at best on its implementation on the Apple Watch.
The saturation of the Chinese market is likely to have a big impact on the global smartphone industry and is quite likely to affect sales of Apple devices as well. China is the largest market by volume for smartphone sales and the slump in their economy have reduced the number of smartphones being bought. However, long-term growth seems to be quite stable, so there is no immediate cause for panic. Apple has deep coffers, and they can afford to ride out a quarter without any positive growth in sales numbers!
Which of these two conflicting reports will come out to be true? Only time will tell!
As for now, we wait to see how big a bite of the global smartphone pie can the iPhone 6S manage.