Apple's next iPhone could be named the iPhone 7, instead of being tagged as a mid-generation iPhone 6s, due to many feature advancements that the company thinks warrant a completely different name.
The revised naming scheme for the next iPhone is being touted by Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities, who said he thinks that the feature updates are so significant that the model name change will occur, according to an April 8 story by The Week. Under Apple's existing product naming patterns, a mid-generation iPhone update using today's iPhone 6 would then be named as an iPhone 6s, as the company has done for several years.
If this renaming comes, it would produce an iPhone 6 replacement about a year before it would typically occur.
In March, Apple unveiled a new Force Touch feature, which automatically reacts to whether a user presses lightly or with more force on a device's input system, as part of its new MacBook and in the Apple Watch. Force Touch is also rumored to be included in the next iPhone model.
The inclusion of Force Touch in the next iPhone is one of the key reasons Kuo believes the phone will receive an entirely new name, according to the article. He said the feature will debut this year and then be updated in 2016.
Back in December 2014, rumors began circulating that an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 7 would be appearing this year, with the expected iPhone 6s coming this spring, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The iPhone 7 was rumored to be released this fall, based on information gathered from sources in the phone parts supply chain, The Week reported.
The Force Touch track-pad that will appear in the upcoming Apple MacBook and Apple Watch includes a "click" that's managed with software rather than through physical means. The track-pad includes a glass surface with four force sensors and a taptic engine for accurate and fast user response, according to Apple. The system also reacts to whether a user gives it a light tap or a deep press. If a user presses harder on the fast-forward button in Quicktime, for example, the video plays faster on the screen, reacting to the user's input.
In January, Apple reported its best-ever quarter, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 due to a consumer frenzy of sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, Mac computers and sales of apps and more in the company's App Store. First-quarter revenue was up 30 percent from $57.6 billion in the same quarter the previous year, while net profit in this interval rose 37 percent from $13.1 billion.
Record first-quarter sales of iPhones were led by the September 2014 release of the company's latest smartphones. Revenue for iPhones in the quarter totaled $51.2 billion, up from $32.5 billion for the same quarter the previous year, on sales of 74.5 million iPhones around the world. That was an increase of 46 percent from the 51 million iPhones Apple sold in the year-earlier quarter.
The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina HD screen. They come in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities and include an Apple-designed A8 chip with second-generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, enhanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, and the latest iOS 8 operating system.