Waiting for the iPhone 8

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Reviews of Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) new products generally have been positive. Apparently, there is an early backlog of iPhone orders. As usual, people have lined up outside Apple stores to be among the first to own one. However, the overall reaction has been muted. A number of analysts say that for Apple to retake the global consumer electronics crown, it needs a smartphone that will push it light years ahead of the competition. That means much of the market anticipates the arrival of the iPhone 8.

The New York Times said the iPhone 7 was not perfect, but “keeps Apple’s promise.” MacWorld wrote:

The first batch of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus reviews are out after five days of hands-on time, and the early word is mostly positive. The camera in particular is a stand-out, and the two lenses on the 7 Plus produce results that easily stand up to the competition, the Samsung Galaxy S7.

As expected, dealing with the lack of a headphone jack was perplexing to some and outright irritating for others. But the impressive cameras on both iPhones, plus the improved battery life and water resistance, make them easier to use on the go.

Some reviews said the iPhone 7 was a jump ahead. However, they were not in a large majority.

A Wall Street Journal report gave an important reason the iPhone 7 is not really worth it:

If you believe, like I do, that big software improvements matter more than incremental hardware changes, then keep that wallet closed when ogling the iPhone 7. With iOS 10, your older iPhone will feel new, but your headphone jack will stay put.

While the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 did not receive universal acclaim, they were described as products beyond what could be expected from the technology available when they were released.

Analysts expect that for the iPhone 7 to be a success, Apple will need to ship 70 million of them by the end of the year. There is no strong reason to believe that cannot happen. If it does, Apple’s falling top line may rise again.

As for the reviews, one way or another, and sales goals the same, virtually no one described the iPhone 7 with the levels of praise received by the earliest versions of the smartphone.

The iPhone 8 will need to be a breakthrough device for Apple to be considered the most innovative company in the world. What goes into such device? A camera so good that people will not need a real camera? Artificial intelligence that will tell people if they will get a cold? A flexible device so thin it can be folded or twisted like plastic wrap? It will need to be one or more of these, or something so advanced as to create incredible awe.

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