Japanese website Nikkei is continuing the 2016 doom and gloom sentiment surrounding iPhone sales, reporting that an unnamed source has confirmed that sales figures and shipment numbers for Apple's smartphone lineup will see the first year-over-year decline since the iPhone debuted in 2007. The website cites "lukewarm demand for a new model" and a lack of innovation as the major reasons behind the predicted sales decline.
Specifically, iPhone shipments in 2016 are estimated to total between 210 and 220 million units, which would be a drop off of as much as 8.6 percent from 2015. The "people familiar with the matter" within Hon Hai Precision Industries noted that one of the company's executives described a lower iPhone demand for the remainder of this year, lasting "until at least early next year."
"Hon Hai Precision Industry Chairman Terry Gou has told his staff that the demand for iPhones will remain feeble until at least early next year," a source said. Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, declined to comment.
Gou told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in China in late May that the company's overall orders were falling this year, although Foxconn did receive a sudden rush of orders in April and May. Foxconn makes about 70% of iPhones sold globally.
Whether that means the supplier would begin working on the expected mega-cycle "iPhone 8," or another mid-cycle upgrade similar to the iPhone SE, early in 2017 is unclear. Nikkei's sources opine that Apple's attempt to shake up an upgrade cycle with no notable new hardware features by introducing new colors -- seemingly referring to the recently rumored Deep Blue -- proves "that the company now has no way of breaking out of the current doldrums."
Still, the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus could come with a few notable new hardware revisions, namely a dual-lens camera that would allow for 2-3x optical zoom capabilities, clearer and brighter images, and the ability for users to refocus an image after taking a picture. Otherwise, the handsets are expected to remain largely in line with the iPhone 6s design, besides the potential removal of the headphone jack and redesigned set of antennae bands.