iPhone 8 Could Be Even Thinner, But Apple Still Needs A New Product Category
Rumors about the iPhone 8 continue to fly fast and furiously, and unfortunately we’re stuck with this until at least next year. This time we’re hearing that Apple might try to make the speakers on the phone even smaller so that it can be even thinner than the iPhone 7. This would be in line with what the company typically does because it seems to think that thinner is better, although at some point, you have to draw the line so you don’t end up with a phone that bends too easily.
Patent suggests smaller speakers for the iPhone 8
A patent originally filed about two years ago titled “Mechanically actuated panel acoustic system” points to tech that could make the speakers on the iPhone 8 much smaller than they are, explains Techradar. The patent describes some sort of device that has an enclosure which is actually part of the “acoustic system.” The housing panel is made up of a number of sub-panels, each of which has at least one actuator attached to it.
If Apple includes this technology in the iPhone 8, it would mean that the phone could have high-def sound without micro drivers, Techradar reports. This is important because without those micro drivers, the device could be thinner. Another possibility would be to keep the phone the same size but use the extra space for something else such as a bigger battery. Of course the patent is from about two years ago and hasn’t been used yet, so it might never be used.
First a “good enough” iPhone 7, next a “good enough” iPhone 8?
When Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 7, some analysts pronounced it as “good enough.” Of course the company didn’t build its reputation on making things that are only good enough, and the stakes are much higher next year because fans, investors and analysts are expecting a lot. The bar will be extra high next year.
Interestingly, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said in a research note dated Dec. 20 that the iPhone 8 could be “good enough for now.” For an analyst with a Buy rating on Apple stock, he doesn’t seem overly thrilled with the company and hasn’t for a while. It sounds like perhaps the rumors about the iPhone 8 are enough for the markets to chew on for now, but time is running out for the company to impress again.
New category is critical for Apple stock
Milunovich notes that Apple will have to create a new product category again, as this is what “tech winners” do. He called category creation “the brass ring,” adding that Apple has been a “serial innovator. However, investors are wondering whether the company has lost the ability to innovate, although Milunovich believes it might be a few years before it will become apparent whether the company has lost it or not.
The analyst feels that consumer technology is currently in a gap period, with virtual reality or augmented reality being the next big thing, although the tech to deliver these technologies isn’t great yet. He also feels that autonomous cars and digital assistants are part of future consumer tech, although again, the capabilities aren’t there yet. Regardless, mobile tech is moving into maturity, so Apple needs the next big thing, just as it has since before the first Apple Watch—which some expected to be that next big thing—was released.
Shares of Apple stock rose by as much as 0.13% to $116.79 during regular trading hours on Tuesday.
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