Although much of the attention on Apple’s smartphone portfolio is focused on the presumptively titled iPhone 8, there are two other models that need to be considered.
The iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus are going to be tricky handsets to market. They will both need to improve on the 7 and 7 Plus respectively, but they must not overshadow the iPhone 8.
Unlike the design changes expected on the iPhone 8, the 7S family is expected to retain the broad design of the current iPhones. That would see Apple entering a fourth year of the design language it debuted on the iPhone 6.
The criticism of this will be dulled as the iPhone 8 with its curved screen will be seen as the ‘new’ design but this runs the risk of having the 7S family labelled as ‘yesterday’s smartphone’.
Recent rumors have show how Apple may seek to diminish those claims and drive the technology in the iPhone 7S family forwards. With the iPhone 8 losing a number of key features, Apple will not want to improve the 7S models too much, lest they eat into potential iPhone 8 sales.
Take the idea of switching the screen from LCD to OLED. The high-end flagships from Android manufacturers rely heavily on OLED screens, so the continued use of LCD in the iPhone is an outlier.
The iPhone 8 is expected to make this jump, but recent comments from the president of Sharp Electronics suggest that Apple is considering making the same jump for the 7S and 7S Plus. That would allow Apple to talk about the new screen technology in the 7S and 7S Plus, while giving the iPhone 8 a unique selling point (at least in the iOS world) of having a curved screen.
Apple is also expected to improve the imaging technology in the 7S handsets, although physical size constraints mean a move to putting a dual-lens camera in the smaller 7S model is very unlikely so the hardware will remain the same.