Apple just introduced the iPhone 7 and it seems that the market already has two conflicting views about this product. Some predict it will be a big winner and others say it is yet another incremental improvement that will cause many prospective buyers to wait for the next model. The fact that most of the talk has centered around Apple's decision to eliminate the head phone jack is more indicative of a minor change than a major breakthrough for Apple's flagship product - one that accounts for two-thirds of the company's revenue.
Marketing of the introduction
During the introduction of the iPhone 7, Apple's marketing chief focused on the word "courage." What's wrong with that? The fact that Apple is calling itself courageous does not provide a clear benefit to the target audience. It is inside-out, and only gives fuel to Apple detractors that accuse the Company of arrogance and losing its focus on creating breakthrough products. At the very least, the emphasis on "courage" has invited criticism from the marketplace.
Reminders of the Apple Watch
Additionally, Apple has received criticism because they broke with tradition and did not release first weekend sales of the iPhone 7. This has only added to the speculation that the numbers are not stellar. It reminds the marketplace of Apple's decision not to break out sales of the Apple Watch, which, by most accounts, were disappointing.
Leaks about the 8
What is also a questionable marketing move is that Apple has allowed, or even enabled, sufficient leaks about its next product to be called either the iPhone 8 (or the iPhone 10 because it will come on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone). Reports have surfaced that this will be a major upgrade that includes an all-glass curved OLED screen, which will give users a larger viewing area and minimalist design. It is also rumored to have eliminated the home button and replaced it with a Touch ID scanner under the screen that will enable users to customize virtual screen buttons to their liking and wirelessly charge their phones. In fact, many are predicting that the 8 is going to be the big upgrade they hoped the 7 would be - changing Apple's major upgrade cycle from every 2 to every 3 years. Just as the iPhone 7 comes out, there is sufficient speculation about the 2017 iPhone to get buyers to wait for the eight.
Creating a shortage of the 7
To make the case that the iPhone 7 is in demand, Apple has promoted reports that the iPhone 7 has sold out and that there is a shortage. This, of course, has prompted some to speculate that the shortage is either a result of the Hanjin shipping bankruptcy (whereby the company is having difficulty unloading their boats) or a deliberate strategy to create a shortage so demand would exceed supply.
Benefits of the 7
it seems that the buyers of the iPhone are likely to fall into two camps - (1) the group that has an older phone that needs to be replaced and/or (2) those that want to take advantage of the new capabilities of the iPhone 7 including: faster processors, better cameras, brighter display, longer battery life, improved water resistance, and a new high-gloss jet black version.
Get the 7 or wait for the 8
Since many prospective buyers have heard "leaks" that the 8 will be the major upgrade with new technology that ushers in a 3-year upgrade cycle, it is likely that those that do not really need a phone this year will wait for the 8. Time will tell. Any way you slice it, the marketing of the iPhone has certainly changed since the Steve Jobs era - many believe not for the better.