Get a new iPhone for Christmas? Sorry – it's already old news. 2016 is the year of the iPhone 7 -- get used to it. With sales stalling for the first time in the iPhone's history, Apple needs to pull something truly impressive out of the bag to bring the love back, and now's as good a time as any to gather up the best iPhone 7 rumours swirling around the high-tech ether.
This post was originally published on February 8 at 10AM.
If the 6S was a mostly incremental upgrade, the freshly-numbered iPhone 7 should have a little more innovative bite, going by Apple's traditional "fallow year" release cycle. From Lightning Port headphones to more capacious storage, here are all the important iPhone 7 rumours we've heard so far, with a couple of duds thrown in for shits and giggles.
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.
Less Is More?
So Apple seems to think, as it once again is reportedly slimming down the handset. We’re not quite as convinced. Though we were sceptical when we first heard that Apple was considering dropping the iPhone’s headphone jack in order to make it slimmer, the rumour’s gained a lot of momentum in recent weeks. There are claims that the headphone jack will be replaced by an all-in-one Lightning connector for both charging and audio, but there’s also talk of Apple simply working on wireless earphones.
No matter what they want you to think, thinner isn’t always better. A skinnier iPhone would almost certainly feature a smaller battery, and that’s not something anybody wants. Regardless, there’s absolutely no need to go any slimmer than 7.1mm. Seriously. Who cares?
Well, maybe those annoyed with the iPhone 6S's camera bump, at least. According to MacRumors the iPhone 7 is said to feature a flush, flat rear, letting the lens sit in line with the aluminium casing. This may be a result of a dual-camera system, according to 9to5Mac, which would allow for higher quality images and maybe even an optical zoom.
If that wasn’t enough, it sounds like Tim Cook and co also want to retire the iPhone’s home button. The suggestion is that iPhone's fingerprint reader could be integrated with the screen itself, enabling users to essentially scan their prints anywhere. In terms of replacing the app switching/home screen functionality of the home key, rumour has it that Apple will create a soft key or add a new feature to 3D Touch, which is itself bound to be improved. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to scroll through content previews, rather than just peek at static thumbnails.
More Is... Also More
Slightly more promising -- and therefore slightly less believable -- gossip claims that Apple is instead working hard to improve the iPhone’s battery life. A larger 3,100mAh battery is music to our ears, and should offer significantly better stamina than the 1,715 mAh number powering the iPhone 6S. Then again, this rumour crops up ahead of every new iPhone launch, and our hopes always tend to be dashed.
There’s talk too of a new storage option, with gossipers seemingly convinced that a 256GB iPhone is in the works. Here’s where things become a little murky. Some reports suggest this storage option would only apply to the iPhone 7 Plus, but it seems unlikely that Apple would offer different capacities for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. What seems more plausible is the retirement of the 16GB model, which we'll be pleased to see the back of.
Durability, At Last
Something we can definitely get on board with is ruggedisednessment. Water- and dust-resistance have been near the top of most people’s iPhone wish lists for a couple of years now, so if Apple decides not to include so-called ‘rugged’ features on the iPhone 7, we’ll be mighty disappointed. Come on Timmy, we've wanted this for ages now. Haven't you ever accidentally spilled water on your phone? Ahhh, of course, you don't need to pay for a replacement.
A patent request describing a rubber port cover capable of forming a watertight seal around an accessory input was discovered in December, and offers a potential insight into Apple's plans. Then again, it could be yet another filing that's never acted on, ever.
One of the more far-fetched rumours we’ve come across is based on an Apple patent describing a weird system where bumpers would spring out from the edges of the screen, ensuring the glass would never make contact with the floor. Sort of like an airbag for your iPhone. Imagine that for a moment. Obviously not going to happen.
A 4K iPhone 7 Screen? Nah
Unless Apple gets really desperate, the iPhone 7 isn’t going to feature a 4K -- or even a QHD -- display. The iPhone 6S doesn’t even have a Full HD resolution, so such a move is basically out of the question. It seems more likely that the iPhone 7 will feature the same-sized 4.7-inch screen as the 6S, but with a slight jump in pixel count.
3D Touch will, of course, make an appearance too, but there’s also fresh talk that Apple plans a switch from LCD to OLED technology. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, this essentially means that the iPhone 7’s display would be significantly better for watching movies and TV shows on. Think deeper blacks and more eye-popping colour.
Since Apple overhauled its camera tech for the iPhone 6S, replacing its old 8MP snapper with a shiny new 12MP one and boosting the front-facing camera up to 5MP, last year, we don't expect a great deal of change in this area. The arrival of OIS would be great, though the iPhone 7 Plus may keep that to itself.
It is likely, however, that the iPhone 7 will be more powerful than the iPhone 6S. There have been mutterings of the inclusion of an impressive-sounding hexa-core A10 chip, though that would represent a massive step up from the dual-core processor in the iPhone 6S. RAM, however, is likely to stay at 2GB.
Fresh reports suggest Apple’s working on a new wireless charging technology, which would allow users to power up their phones without direct contact with a power mat. We're not sure the company will bring the feature forward this year, as the technology required to capture enough energy is, for now at least, rather bulky.
As ever, we'll keep dreaming our little dreams of expandable storage too.
iPhone 7: Price and Release
Brace yourself. It looks like Apple will stick with tradition and launch the iPhone 7 alongside an iPhone 7 Plus at a special event in California in September. We're also going to stick our necks on the line and guess that the phones will hit the market around two weeks after. I know, we're good.
With that launch being over half a year away, there are precious few price rumours floating around. In all likelihood, the iPhone 7 will once again come in silver, space grey, gold and rose gold variants and cost a touch more than its predecessor, which currently retails from $929 in Australia.