Can Apple find a way to "dazzle" with iPhone 8?
Amid growing competition from Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei, Apple and Samsung are desperately seeking a wow factor to overcome challenges to fend off Chinese players' threat. While Samsung is ready to start a global smartphone war with Galaxy Note 8, Apple is under pressure to showcase innovation with iPhone 8. Would Apple retain its top position amid the challenging market scenario?
Apple trying to do something really different
Market research firm NPD Group's Analyst Stephen Baker said Apple wants to do something different for iPhone's tenth anniversary, which would be challenging. Apple is likely to unveil the next iteration of iPhone in September, while Samsung is expected to launch Galaxy Note 8 on 23 August. Both the players see rivals, especially from China, which are reducing their global market share.
Expecting major design refresh on Apple: GlobalData Analyst Avi Greengart
Greengart said: "That (iPhone's design) has been a sore point, especially in China. People are looking to show off a status symbol, so it needs to look different than Huawei or Xiaomi." Apple's revenue in China has declined by 10% in the last quarter.
A shift in the global smartphone market
Smartphone sales on the global scale have reportedly declined by 0.8% in Q2 2017. However, Samsung and Apple consolidated their first and second positions with 23.3% and 12% global market shares, respectively. Despite the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Samsung is in stride and seems to have left its troubles behind. Greengart said, "Samsung is doing some amazing things with its display and design."
A louder drum beat of Android phones
Baker said "drum beat" of "Hero Android phones" is expected "to be a little louder" in 2017, challenging the iPhone 8. Several new Android players are expected to "bring excitement", including "Father of Android" Andy Rubin's Essential Phone. New Google Pixel phones are likely to be launched soon, which would have denser screens, a second speaker on the front, and a rear dual-camera.
The Essential phone
The 'new entry', Essential smartphone, was recently launched at $699. It boasts ceramic and titanium body and the ability to attach accessories on an inbuilt magnetic connector. Investors like China's Tencent Holdings and Internet giant Amazon have backed Essential.
What can we expect from Apple iPhone 8?
iPhone 8 would have high-quality edge-to-edge screen with an extra camera for 3D facial recognition, a rear glass panel, and offer wireless charging. Apple is rumored to release three new iPhones, including the high-end iPhone Pro, next month. While other smartphones may showcase Augment Reality (AR) support to "wow" users, Apple earlier made an AR kit for developers that could lead to iPhone apps.