This is a bit of a turn out for the books. Following on from his earlier statements that Apple would flip the script in 2016/2017 and make next year's iPhone 7 the firm's BIG re-design handset, prominent and reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has further cemented his comments by adding that this year's iPhone 7 model will lack "attractive selling points", according to coverage of his research notes by 9to5Mac.
As unappealing as this news is, it's worth taking seriously; we've said it before on the site many times, but it bears repeating that Ming-chi Kuo has a near immaculate track record when it comes to analysing and predicting forthcoming Apple products, he's nearly always right on the mark down to the minutest detail, so basically he's the highest authority outside of Apple on what the firm is up to.
Kuo goes on to report that he expects Apple iPhone sales inside 2016 to decline, with a best-case prediction of 205 million devices shipped worldwide - a 12% drop in year-on-year figures. His worst-case prediciton sees only 190 million devices shifting this year; an 18% drop and lower performance than 2014's 193 million shipments. In either scenario Apple would be the only firm in the global top five smartphone producers, according to his predictions, to see a year-on-year decline in 2016. Makes you wonder if Apple's fortunes are finally turning.
Still, Kuo's predictions remain the same for the big re-design, he expects that 2017's iPhone 7s (assuming it's called that, his previous reports indicated that 2017 will see a complete overhaul of the entire iPhone product) will feature an all-glass (or at least mostly glass) design with curved elements, allegedly styled after the iPhone 4 bodywork. One can only wonder if Kuo's reports shows some kind of state shift at Apple in response to its own longer-term analysis; perhaps the firm recognised the slowly declining performance, has decided to take 2016 on the chin, and has pushed its big design push, intended to revive the brand, back to the following year? It'll be interesting to find out either way.