Apple is planning to release four new iPhones this year, including two high-end versions with a revamped design, according to a Bloomberg report. Those high-end models will take design cues from both the iPad Pro and iPhone 5, which Apple released all the way back in 2013 to deliver a new look.
Apple will apparently opt for a sharper design in the higher-end iPhones, including stainless steel edges and less curvature to the corners, according to the Bloomberg report. Interestingly, Apple will ditch the curved-screen design it has been using for years and go with a straight-screen design, like the one on the iPad. There's no word on whether there will be a notch in the device, but either way, it sounds like a winner.
Since Apple released the iPhone X in 2017, the company has been stubbornly sticking to what has become a tired and aging smartphone design. The iPhone 5 might be old at this point, but it was arguably one of Apple's most attractive designs. Adding a mix of sharp edges and straight glass would be a subtle yet important change for the newer phones, and it could liven up what has been a rather boring iPhone design.
Indeed, since the iPad Pro's redesign in 2018, one could argue the tablets have had a better design than the iPhones. And Apple's decision not to go with a notch in the iPad says something about where it sees its iPad fitting more broadly in computers and the iPhone in smartphones.
If nothing else, a change is the right move for Apple at this time. The company doesn't know how consumers will come out of the coronavirus crisis and whether they'll be willing to buy. In years past, iPhones with new designs tended to perform better at retail than those with old designs. By delivering at least two new versions this year, Apple could make up for possible losses in consumer demand and boost its sales by offering a design customers actually want.
It might even be a good lesson for other companies to follow. As mighty and successful as Apple is, the company still needs to figure out how to boost its numbers and raise demand. A redesigned iPhone with a better look and feel is one way to do that.
Other companies should follow Apple's lead and figure out how to make the products they sell more compelling. Absent that, finding success in a post-coronavirus world may be even more challenging.