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So what if the iPhone 7 is an iPhone 6s clone?

Published Jun 2nd, 2016 4:12PM EDT
iPhone 7 iPhone 6s

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Much has been written these past few months about the upcoming iPhone 7, a device that is shaping up to be an iPhone 6s lookalike rather than a radical redesign. But there’s really nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s perfectly fine that Apple decided to “copy” the iPhone 6s. After all, everyone else is doing it.

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Aside from tech bloggers and analysts who call Apple products boring when the company doesn’t come up with spectacular redesigns, most buyers won’t mind the fact that the iPhone 7 will be the “S” version of the iPhone 6s when it comes to design.

Think about it: everyone else has created iPhone clones that look very much like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. The list includes top Android device makers like Samsung and HTC, but also many top Chinese handset makers, with the OnePlus 3 being the last such clone. Customers expect to see these form factors in stores.

In a way, we’re closing in on peak iPhone design. There are only so many ways to design a rectangle with a touchscreen that’s “an iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator.” And everyone is waiting for Apple to keep reinventing that design.

Samsung is trying to come up with unique smartphones, but even the curved Galaxy S edge models take plenty of design cues from Apple.

What’s so bad about keeping the overall iPhone 6 design and applying a few tweaks here and there? Reports say that those tweaks include the rear antennas, the cameras and the headphone jack. Everything else is expected to stay the same, for the most part.

Not too long ago, I discovered that I was wrong to believe that redesigned iPhones were the ones to buy every two years as opposed to S models. But S is definitely the way to go. A major redesign can come with several issues that might affect early adopters. On the iPhone 6, we had problems with bending, camera issues and faulty 128GB memory modules, to name just a few of the early problems with the device. Comparatively, the iPhone 6s did not have any significant issues at launch.

With the iPhone 7, Apple can further refine the design of the iPhone 6s while improving the hardware and software in the process.

Let’s also not forget that Apple recently acknowledged that its iPhone is too expensive. We don’t envision any massive price changes coming along in the near future, but one way to reduce manufacturing costs and help margins (and potentially reduce the price of the iPhone) is to continue using the same iPhone production lines for one more year rather than setting new ones up every other year.

Finally, I’ll point out that we’re perfectly fine with other products that don’t receive massive redesigns. A laptop is a laptop. Apple’s MacBook lines do not get fresh new designs every year. The same goes for other products we regularly use. TVs, microwaves, and so on. Even different car generations of the same make and model look similar for the better part of a decade. Ultimately, an iPhone 7 that looks like the iPhone 6s will not lead to a worse iPhone experience.

So, to paraphrase Seinfeld, what’s the deal with our need to see a new iPhone design every two years?

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.