An IHS Technology analyst has posted on Chinese social media that company supply chain research indicates that the iPhone 7 will feature 32 GB storage as the $199 base model, which would mean Apple would finally drop the much-loathed 16 GB SKU from its lineup with its new flagship smartphone expected in the fall. IHS has a reasonable track record of accuracy when it comes to Apple rumors, correctly predicting last year that a 4 inch iPhone would debut in 2016 based on supply chain sources … which obviously transpired into reality as the iPhone SE.
The analyst also claims that iPhone 7 will feature 2 GB of RAM, the same specification as iPhone 6s. It is unclear if the analyst is referring to the iPhone 7 as a category or the specific 4.7 inch model. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the larger 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus will be equipped with 3GB RAM to handle the processing needs demanded by the dual-camera components. The big story here though is the claim that we could finally be saying goodbye to 16 GB flagship iPhones later this year …
Although one report from one analyst is by no means conclusive proof that Apple will move to a minimum size 32 GB SKU, the existence of 16 GB phones in Apple’s top-of-the-line product range has lasted far too long and it is due for an upgrade. Apple introduced 16 GB to the iPhone lineup in 2008 on the original iPhone and it has stuck around as the base model specification since.
However, customers increasingly find that a 16 GB phone is not suitable for their needs — just a few apps, photos and videos will easily fill the device. Especially as the latest iPhones feature 4K video recording, 16 GB is a pitifully small amount which is suitable for very few consumers. 16 GB may still work for some enterprise use cases but — on the whole — it is time for a larger capacity to become the new normal.
It’s interesting that IHS suggests Apple will bump the base model to 32 GB, as the iPhone 6s is not actually offered in that size at all. The current available configurations are 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. One theory for keeping 16 GB around so long is that allows Apple to upsell a lot of customers onto the 64 GB model for an additional $100 of bottom-line revenue.
The analyst does not address the specifics of how Apple would configure the lineup other than saying 32 GB would be the base model; this could mean Apple simply replaces 16 with 32 or goes for something more drastic. With rumors of a 256 GB storage option for iPhone 7, a 32/128/256 GB product lineup is a possibility.
In general, the iPhone 7 is shaping up to be an iterative update over the iPhone 6s. Rumors suggest the device chassis will look largely the same as current iPhone design enhanced by a slightly thinner body, redesigned antenna lines and new camera components. iPhone 7 schematics indicate new camera optics are on the cards for both models. The larger iPhone 7, the 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus, will see more significant updates including a rear dual-camera system for better quality photos and videos. Apple will also be dropping the headphone jack in favor of Bluetooth wireless or Lightning port connections for audio output.
A full design revamp is currently rumored for 2017 with the ‘iPhone 8’, with KGI reporting Apple is developing a major ‘all-glass’ design for next-year’s iPhone.
Following tradition, the iPhone 7 will likely be announced in the fall, likely at a media press event around September. iOS 10 may shine some light on what to expect from Apple’s future hardware — Apple will unveil its latest software at WWDC on June 13th.