The iPhone 7 is generating more excitement than earlier versions of the smartphone, as discovered in a recent study by UBS Evidence Lab.
The purpose of the study was to measure consumer interest, and expected demand, for Apple's upcoming iPhone. UBS Evidence Lab surveyed 6,336 smartphone owners across the US, UK, Germany and mainland China, according to an Apple Insider report.
Results indicate great interest and expected demand for the iPhone 7 despite the fact that little is known about it. Respondents in the US and China demonstrated greater interest in this year's iPhone 7 than they did for last year's iPhone 6s.
However, their excitement for the iPhone 7 did not exceed interest in the iPhone 6, which was released in 2014. The iPhone 6 introduced a much larger footprint than previous Apple smartphones, which led to high consumer demand.
Consumers in Europe aren't quite as excited about the new iPhone as those in Apple's leading markets. European buyers are demonstrating less interest in the iPhone 7 than they did for last year's iPhone 6.
The study found nearly 50% of consumers surveyed across geographical regions are planning to wait to buy a new iPhone until a new model is released. If Apple adheres to its traditional release schedule, the iPhone 7 will be unveiled in September 2016.
Taking the study's data into consideration, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich anticipates Apple will see 5% to 10% iPhone growth during the 2017 fiscal year. In particular, he foresees an increase in sales among iPhone owners who have not yet upgraded to a larger form factor.
What's coming in the iPhone 7 that will persuade them to upgrade? The Apple rumor mill has been churning with whispers of the specs and new features we'll see when the smartphone is unveiled.
Some sources claim the iPhone 7 will have a curved screen and 5.8-inch AMOLED display, with glass on both sides and metal edges. The curved design would make this smartphone look smaller than the current 5.5-inch iPhone, according to a research note by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Other rumors claim the iPhone 7 will include an Intel silicon chip instead of the Qualcomm LTE modem chip. In addition, the smartphone will reportedly have a new camera, which will include a photo sensor and compact folded telephoto lens system.
Apple may also integrate its Smart Connector technology into the new iPhone. The iPad Pro was the first device to use this type of connector, which can transfer data and power so accessories don't need their own batteries.
Apple is under pressure to impress with the iPhone 7. The iPhone SE, which was unveiled during a March device launch, is powerful for a small device but is largely geared towards new buyers and people who prefer smaller form factors.
Cupertino will need to prove its ability to innovate if it's going to drive sales as expected. In its most recent earnings call, Apple reported its first quarterly decline in 13 years and first drop in iPhone sales since the device launched.
The poor financial report was not a surprise to Apple watchers. Prior to the earnings report, Kuo anticipated a decline in iPhone sales due to greater market competition, the need for a design revamp, and the need for more time to commercialize new user experience technologies.
Apple has an opportunity to turn things around with the iPhone 7. Will it? There are only a few more months until we find out.