Apple released the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro just less than a month ago, and predictions and rumors for the next generation have already started brewing. Since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, the buzz about what’s to come has almost become an industry in its own right.
While some predictions are surprisingly accurate, especially lately, others are just disappointing. From reputable news outlets to independent leakers, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the pie. Some people have even made predicting future iPhone functions their entire profession.
A stupid iPod
Before the first iPhone was released, people had absolutely no idea what Apple was going to do with their version of the phone. Although the final product completely changed the industry, many people thought it would just be a dimmed iPod or Blackberry as they were the most popular phones at the time.
Charlie Wolf, a Needham financial analyst, predicted that “Apple could design the phone like a slimmed-down iPod.” While he failed completely in this prediction, the fact that he also predicted that Apple would win the competition for ease of use turned out to be largely true.
A “Square” iPhone 3G
During the iPhone’s early years, fans expected the company to make design changes with every iPhone launch. This also created a lot of excitement for the official announcement. People, to some extent, went on to find even the tiniest clue of what the next model would look like.
A forum user on Macrumors found an interesting phone design in the iPhone SDK called “iPhone.icns”, and according to the design, the user predicted that the new model would have a more square design. Of course, the prediction backfired as iPhone 3G looks exactly like the original phone.
Video calling on iPhone 3G
Video calling or FaceTime for Apple users seems like such a normal part of a phone these days, but about ten years ago it was still an exciting new feature. Kevin Rose, the founder of Diggpredicted before the release of the iPhone 3G that it will have “two hardware cameras”, one on the back and one on the front.
The front camera would be used for video chat capabilities, and with the Android vs iPhone debate in the consumer market, fans expected Apple to introduce this as a competitive advantage. But video calling or FaceTime was only introduced with the iPhone 4 in the end, so this prediction also backfired.
Matte Finished iPhone 3GS
After some failed predictions with the iPhone 3G, the next release saw less outrageous rumors, and it seemed like people were learning from their mistakes. Still, some wishful thinking was warranted.
Macrumors predicted that the iPhone 3Gs would have a fairly similar design to the previous models, but could have a “matte finish.” They also hoped that the finish would be “black rubber”. Of course, Apple released matte finish iPhones much later.
The iPhone Nano
People often go deep into the software updates to find a clue as to what the next release could be as there are often some hidden details to make the current software compatible with the following common models. This is especially true if the next generation will undergo a major design change.
Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros, based on a software update, predicted a different iPhone model along with the 3GS, which will be a less powerful, more “junior” iPhone. Of course, Apple released a smaller iPhone SE, but much later.
A “Teardrop” Design for iPhone 4s
Some people expected a complete overhaul of the design with the iPhone 4s, and some even expected an iPhone 5 above the 4s. Some of the outrageous predictions pushed the hype around the launch to 11, and this was probably also one of the reasons why the launch of the 4s was a bit of a disappointment for some fans.
Outlets like CNET and Buzzfeed had predicted a “bigger screen along with curved edges that would result in a teardrop shape.” This would borrow from the original iPhone design, only slimmer. The final result, of course, was a similar design to the iPhone 4.
A smart connector on the iPhone 7
Smart connectors were introduced in the iPad Pro, a row of three visible pins on the back of the iPad for external accessories, but long before this release, some rumors from Asia also predicted a smart connector on the back of the iPhone 7 .
There’s a high possibility that Apple released some fake mockups to scare people ahead of their next release, or that they once considered plans for a magnetic connector, but one thing’s for sure, even to this day there are no smart connectors on iPhones.
A recessed camera with a flat back
A camera bump on the back of an iPhone is very common these days, but after the release of the iPhone 6, fans expected Apple to ditch the camera bump on the back.
Macrumors reported in February 2016 that the iPhone 7 would have a “flat back with a recessed camera system”. While some of the renders got fans excited about this possibility, it never came to fruition. As phones get thinner, cameras get more advanced, so it’s really tricky to fit all the technology into a thin design, especially as phone battery life increases.
A special feature area on the iPhone X
When the launch of the iPhone 8 and X came around, there were a lot of rumors and predictions about what the screen would look like. While some rumors suggested an OLED model for all screens, other rumors added other details.
Notorious leaker, Ming-Chi Kuo, via apple insider, predicted that the all-screen model will have a special “function area” on the screen, at the bottom, perhaps for buttons. This would have resulted in only 5.15″ of the screen being usable. Of course, Apple ended up using the phone’s entire screen to maximize its potential.
The iPhone will bomb
Back to the original iPhone release, much of the phone industry predicted that there was no chance for the iPhone to be successful. While some people expected the phone to flop completely, others predicted an initial surge in sales that would begin to decline once the hype was over.
John Dvorak out Market overview predicted that “Apple would have to produce at least half a dozen models” to have a chance in the phone market. He also predicted that users will not be a fan of the one phone fits all approach that Apple could take. Of course, over the years, the iPhone has become one of the best-selling devices of all time.
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