- Analysts are highly optimistic about the next iPhone, which is expected to be a radical reset of the entire line.
- It's the 10th anniversary of the device, so there's a huge amount riding on it.
- It may cost £1,000 in the UK and $1,000 in the US — sums many shoppers would balk at.
- These are significant challenges Apple needs to overcome.
Apple is gearing up to launch what may well be the most hotly anticipated smartphone ever.
2017 is the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the original iPhone. Smartphones and mobile apps have since transformed business and the global economy — propelling Apple to become the world's most valuable company.
But as the iPhone turns 10, the pressure is on Apple to deliver a genuinely new, innovative phone. People want to see Apple launch a significant new device after several years of merely incremental improvements to iPhone. Rumours are swirling that the California tech company plans to release a special, high-end iPhone alongside the expected "7s" refresh this year, with augmented-reality features.
The prevailing mood among analysts is positive. Some are giddily expecting a "super-cycle" — a massive, record-breaking year for sales, driven by the ever-increasing numbers of older iPhones in the wild that need upgrading and by a particularly compelling product offering this time around.
So a lot is riding on this. And a lot that could go wrong. From pricing risks to hardware costs, Apple has to get several crucial calculations just right.
A radically new design would push up Apple's costs, squeezing its margins. Apple could protect its margins by raising its prices. Some people think a new, high-end iPhone could retail for over $1,000. (Apple tends to sell its products at about the same number in dollars and pounds, which would make the price £1,000 in the UK). That may restrict sales and would make the rest of Apple's iPhones look like cheap deals by comparison.
The price of failure is steep. The Apple Watch, for instance, was supposed to open a new category of consumer wearables, but the devices have appealed to only a small niche.
No one wants the Apple Watch of phones.
Business Insider spoke with Gene Munster, a prominent Apple analyst turned venture capital investor at Loup Ventures, to discuss the risks facing Apple this autumn.
Note: The rumoured high-end iPhone is going by many possible names, including "iPhone 8," "iPhone 10," and "iPhone Edition." Munster refers to it as the iPhone 10, so we will use that name throughout.