After forecasts backed by historical data and mathematical models, I think a bit of speculation about the next iPhone models couldn’t hurt. It’s a common practice, starting basically the day after launch: “What will Apple do next?”. I’ll try to be reasonable and work with some previous trends:
- An obvious trend these past years was Apple launching a new iPhone design every two years, alternating with models keeping the same design with improved specs and features. We had the ‘same design, better specs’ in 2011 (iPhone 4S) and 2013 (iPhone 5S); and new designs in 2010 (iPhone 4), 2012 (iPhone 5) and 2014 (iPhone 6). It’s safe to assume that in 2015 we will see – again – the same design refreshed with higher specs.
- Another, more recent, pattern is to increase the number of models per launch: every year until 2012 we had one new device per year, but since then there were two: in 2013 the flagship iPhone 5S and the ‘cheaper’ 5C; and in 2014 two large-screen flagships, 6 and 6 Plus. I think it’s entirely possible to see three different models launched in 2015.
So, with this in mind, how will the next lineup look like?
- The flagship model will be the iPhone 6S, at the same size and design as the 2014 iPhone 6, but with improved specs: a higher capacity battery and optical image stabilization like the current 6 Plus. Maybe Apple will finally upgrade the base storage option to 64GB on this model, to keep it selling at the higher 299$ price point.
- The next model will be the 6 Plus, with the same larger screen, but with minimal improvements except for the lower, 199$ starting price. The 6 Plus will continue to receive upgrades, but on a longer, 2-year cycle.
- The third model in the offer will probably not be the iPhone 6, but its ‘color’ version, a 6C, with the same specs as last year, but the plastic casing and color options of the 5C (which will be discontinued).
- The forth will still be the 4-inch iPhone 5S to satisfy demand for smaller phones, now selling for ‘free’ – maybe with a slight redesign to match the curved edges of the larger models. It’s possible that the 5S will be replaced with a color 5C with current 5S internals (instead of the 6C), but I don’t think it’s very likely: if businesses buy iPhones to distribute to employees, they will aim for the cheapest model, and the 5S design looks much more business-like than the flashy colors of the 5C.
Of course, we are still 9 months to go before a new iPhone event, so Apple has plenty of time for surprises!