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Why Apple Could Baffle iPhone Predictions

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Pressure to overhaul iPhone

Although the 2017 annual iPhone upgrade event is still several months away, rumors have intensified about what Apple (AAPL) is likely to create, improve, or remove in its newest iPhone. Supply chain leaks have hinted at a broad range of changes in the 2017 iPhone, including that Apple is developing an iPhone device with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen covering the entire front surface, according to Apple Insider. Other rumors have hinted that Apple is creating an iPhone device capable of charging wirelessly.

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With Apple struggling with weak iPhone sales in recent quarters, analysts believe the company is plotting an overhaul of its smartphone line to come up with a compelling product that will encourage existing iPhone owners to upgrade their handsets and trigger defection from Android rivals. For fiscal 4Q16 (ended September 2016), Apple reported that iPhone sales dropped to 45.5 million from 48.1 million one year previously.

Apple undecided on 2017 iPhone designs

But Apple could still confound analyst predictions about the design of the next iPhone. A report cited by Fortune said that Apple executives have yet to decide on the iPhone designs for in 2017, adding that the decision won’t be made until the end of March. So it appears that Apple is testing a portfolio of iPhone prototypes and that the actual products could be significantly different from what leaks have suggested.

Aside from upgrading the display in the next iPhone to OLED from LCD, other leaks have hinted that Apple could make a major departure from the norm and launch three different iPhone models at once this year, with one being a midsized model featuring a five-inch display.

But it remains unclear how launching three iPhone models would boost Apple’s competitive advantage against Samsung (SSNLF), Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon.com (AMZN), Sony (SNE), and Chinese rivals Xiaomi and Huawei.

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