Waiting for the iPhone 7

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has two important things behind it. The first is earnings from its most recent quarter. The second is enthusiasm about its iPhone 6. The upcoming smartphone’s features, or at least most of them, have already been described by the media. There is nothing left to excite the public on the day of the launch.

The iPhone 5, in its various forms, was the star of Apple’s earnings release. Apple sold 43.7 million of them, which made up over half of the company’s $45.6 million in revenue. The figure was about five million above expectations, and it made investors forget that the sale of 16.4 million iPads was below what Wall Street expected.

Apple forecast revenue of $36 billion to $38 billion in the current quarter. That means the iPhone 6 will not be released over the course of the period, or that the release will be late enough as to have little effect on sales.

The press has variously described the iPhone 6 as having a larger screen than earlier versions, as being more expense, carrying a more powerful processor, being thinner, having curved edges and being made of aluminum. Nothing on that list makes it much of a leap forward. As a matter of fact, these features make the iPhone 6 a disappointment for those who thought Apple was about to release a smartphone that would substantially alter the industry. Consumers and investors will have to wait, probably until late 2015 when the iPhone 7 comes out, for a revolution to happen, if it happens then.

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The wish list of new features for future generations of smartphones usually includes an unexpected advance in voice recognition technology, the Apple version of which is Siri. The iPhone 7 would need to drive a car by itself, as well as run all the electronics and appliances of a home, without having to receive special programming in advance. It would have to have ten thousands of apps already installed before purchase, and all of those apps, no matter how advanced, would have to be free. It would need to float and be waterproof. And it would have to be able to change into a pair of glasses in a matter of seconds, retaining all of its smartphone features, and perhaps a few more.

The release of the iPhone 7 is far enough off that the press has not had the chance to speculate about it much. If the speculation is not spectacular, when it comes, Apple will have another disappointment on its hands.

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