What we’ve been calling iPhone 8 and iPhone X will actually be called “iPhone Edition”, says a new report from Mac Otakara. What’s more, it appears that iPhone Edition will only ship well after the new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.
The truth is, Apple seems to need more time to test the device before it’s ready for its major debut later this year. While that’s understandable from a product release perspective, it’s not going to go down well with Apple fans, for whom iPhone Edition is already a highly anticipated smartphone.
A lot of new technologies – new to Apple devices, that is – will be coming on iPhone Edition, including the wall to wall OLED display, the virtual Home button, facial recognition, dual camera, 3D camera capability and so on. That definitely means more testing, unless Apple wants to risk launching a disaster.
Technically speaking, iPhone Edition prototypes have yet to make it to the Design Validation Test, or DVT, phase. Right now, only a few of the current prototypes are in the EVT phase, which is the Engineering Validation Test. To put it simply, prototypes need to go from EVT to DVT before they can be deemed ready for mass production.
Though the report claims that Apple is still considering ceramic as a potential material for iPhone Edition, we saw quite some time ago why that might not be possible. Just replacing the machining tools for large-scale production would require a lead time of 3 to 4 years.
However, it’s still possible that Apple wants a super-premium version of iPhone Edition made using a ceramic body, which should be possible in limited numbers, similar to what the company did with the ceramic version of Apple Watch series 2.
So far, Apple has only signed off on a few features, such as display size, dual camera and wireless charging. As we argued earlier, there are no plans to abandon the Lightning connector in favor of a USB-C port.
Our earlier report on mass production for iPhone Edition only starting in September also appears to be validated. The new fingerprint sensing technology likely won’t be ready before then, which means iPhone Edition may not ship out until late October or even November.
But Apple isn’t going to let the opportunity pass. The sheer momentum of interest for iPhone Edition could help sell more of other models, including iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.
In addition, it appears that Apple is now doing a revival of iPhone 6 specifically for the Indian market, presumably in an attempt to beef up their 2017 sales numbers. We’ll be commenting on that in a separate article.
As for iPhone Edition, which is what we’ll be calling it until we hear different, things look very delicately balanced. There’s tremendous pressure to release the phone on time on the one side, and on the other there’s the need to make sure that everything is perfectly aligned to what the company wants in what could be its most important Apple product since the original iPhone launched in 2007.
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