Consumers are still replacing their old iPhones with the immensely popular iPhone 6 models, but that certainly isn't satiating the smartphone rumor mills, which are already predicting a new iPhone 6S and a new iPhone 7 during 2015.
The new iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 models will come in the spring of 2015 and the fall of the year, respectively, according to a report by The Stabley Times that's based on an unnamed supply chain source. The faster rumored updates are part of a "condensed six-month release timetable going forward" that Apple is instituting "to not only keep up with the more frequent releases from Samsung but also to provide a boost to iPhone sales when the iWatch launches in the spring," the article said.
In the past, "Apple's longtime pattern of offering an S-model every other year has been in deference to the fact that most cell phone carriers have only allowed their customers to upgrade every 18 to 24 months," the article said. "But new plans like Verizon NEXT and AT&T EDGE allow more frequent smartphone upgrades than the traditional every-other-year eligibility, making that traditional timetable obsolete."
With that in mind, and with the success of the recent iPhone 6 models, Apple is "now heavily invested in the idea of making a major design change every other year," the report states.
Meanwhile, though, the source also said that "Apple is hesitant about launching the [Apple] Watch in the spring of 2015 without a new iPhone to go along with it, as it could give hesitant consumers an excuse to wait on buying both until the fall," the article continued. "As such, Apple is looking at giving the iPhone 6S a release date in the spring with the Watch," then launching the iPhone 7 successor in September 2015.
Another possible scenario "has the iPhone 6S arriving in the spring and sticking around for a full year, with the iPhone 7 being released in the spring of 2016," the report states. "There is some precedent, as Apple only kept the iPad 3 on the market for six months before launching the iPad 4."
The rumors and purported timelines could, of course, be entirely or partially wrong, but that's the intrigue of following rumors about product launches.
No matter, it continues to be an interesting and lucrative time for Apple, which continues to see big sales of its iPhone 6 smartphones that were launched in September.
The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones were a big hit during the first weekend of sales starting Sept. 19; Apple sold more than 10 million units of the devices after their debut, setting a new all-time record for first-weekend iPhone sales since the smartphones first hit the market back in June of 2007, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Preorders for the new iPhones reached huge levels, with more than 4 million devices preordered within 24 hours of the process opening on Sept. 12, just seven days before the official device launch date. That high demand quickly led the company to advise customers that many devices wouldn't be delivered until October due to short initial supplies.
The new iPhones include the iPhone 6 with its 4.7-inch Retina HD display and an even larger iPhone 6 Plus with its 5.5-inch Retina HD screen. The new devices arrived in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities. The new phones 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.
Some early iPhone 6 owners reported bending problems with the new devices when users keep them in pants pockets. The reported phone bending problem was not the first time that a potential problem has cropped up with new iPhones. In July 2010, Apple dealt with antenna issues surrounding its then new iPhone 4 that were inspired by consumer complaints of poor call quality when they held their phones. Called "Antennagate" by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the time, the problem was the location of the antenna inside the devices, which was solved with an add-on thin rubber case.