Every year for almost a decade, the most anticipated gadget release has been Apple's iPhone. And with any iPhone release, there are also swarms of rumours, leaks, hearsay and arguments that begin to paint a convincing picture of what's coming this week. Although rumours and features are always subject to change, this is most likely the next iPhone.
iPhone 7, right? But it's not that simple. Although the iPhone commandment reads something like "thou shalt always be an S, and only an S, inbetwixt two new iPhones," things might be changing for 2016. A majority of earlier reports say that the new iPhone (all two/three variants) will be called the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro (maybe). However, a report from a German gadget blog says the device could be called the iPhone 6SE, a continuation of the moniker that debuted with the 4-inch iPhone SE in March, and the embracing of a major change to the iPhone naming scheme. Number to S to SE.
The next rumoured iPhone in 2017 will supposedly come with much bigger changes, including an OLED display and an all-glass design. It's the kind of update you'd usually expect from a "new number" iPhone. Which means it could be another year before we see the real iPhone 7.
But this September's phone is probably called the iPhone 7.
This is where Apple is probably going to get the most crap from Android fanboys. (OMG, IT'S THE SAME PHONE. WHATABUNCH OF SHEEPLE.) Right now, all leaks point to the iPhone 7 looking very similar to the iPhone 6s, which looked identical to the iPhone 6 the year before. It's a weird bubble of hypocrisy where people jab at other companies for not changing up their design year after year yet Apple always gets off scot-free.
An all-metal design, LCD display, all-glass front display is what we think is staying the same. But much like the last year's iPhone 6s, there are some tweaks if you know where to look. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that the new iPhone would be one millimetre thinner, putting it at around 6.1 compared to the 6.3mm we have now. That's not crazy thin like Motorola's new 5.2mm Moto Z, but that's thin enough to possibly force you to invest in a new case.
That's also thin enough to mean that one much beloved port may be axed: The headphone jack. This longstanding iPhone rumour dated all the way back to 2014, when Lightning-based headphones started popping up. The only difference is that this time it's most likely going to happen. Not only have leaks (for the most part) supported the idea, but The Wall Street Journal also confirmed the (missing) feature.
Japanese site Mac Otakara, who kicked off this whole audio jack rumour, reported that Apple won't be including wireless or Lightning earpods, but the standard 3.5mm Earpods with a converter. Steve Jobs probably would have vomited in his mouth a little bit, but here we are.
Image: Tinhte.vn (The dongle is or looks very close to this dongle)
Supposedly, Apple will be adding a second speaker in the now abandoned audio jack real estate. However, it will probably not be stereo sound like Apple's new iPad Pros.
Additionally, Mac Otakara reports that the iPhone's home button, while still taking up an annoying amount of space on that bottom bezel, will actually be flush with the rest of the device instead of slightly dipped like other generations. The home button also won't click. Instead, it will be Force Touch-sensitive (the same tech Apple uses in its Macbook trackpads).
Flipping around to the back side, there are supposedly two visual differences. The first is a simple redesign of the iPhone 6's antenna lines. In leaked images above, they're still there, just slightly relocated. The other difference is a slightly modified camera bump, likely due to the iPhone 7's slimmer frame.
— OnLeaks (@OnLeaks) July 5, 2016
Of course, in many of these leaks you do see one big head scratcher: A third iPhone. This is apparently the iPhone 7 Pro. It will likely be the exact same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but will feature an upgraded dual-lens camera, similar to camera units we've seen on LG's G5. The idea is that another lens will greatly increase the iPhone camera's field of view, something the iPhone could definitely use.
Image: Bastille Post (note the Smart Connector)
The other rumoured addition on the Pro model is the Smart Connector feature also featured on the iPad Pro, which lets it charge or connect to a keyboard. However, recent reports suggest that after some initial tests Apple has decided to ditch the idea since it wouldn't really do anything. Probably a good call.
However, there is some debate that the Pro even exists at all. The all-around accurate leaker @evanblass says that there are only two models, but the wealth of leaks surrounding the Pro indicates that Apple has at least thought about it. Right now, the truth is a little hazy.
The 2 (two!) 2016 iPhone models are codenamed Sonora and Dos Palos.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 19, 2016
The last bit of big news is that some Chinese blogs report that the iPhone 7 will be waterproof, which isn't too unlikely since the iPhone 6s was damn near waterproof already. If Apple is able to make a fully waterproof (IP68-rated) iPhone, it will finally catch up to Android makers like Samsung, which launched its own H20-defying smartphone with the S7 earlier this year.
Although Apple's design decisions on the iPhone 7 can be best described as divisive, it could receive a generous spec bump. Once again, Apple is reportedly going with the ARM-based A10 processor, which will be built exclusively by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). This will be the most powerful mobile processor Apple has ever made, outclassing the chipset in the already damn fast iPad Pro.
The camera is also getting some love. As previously mentioned the elusive Pro model could have a dual lens system. But according to 9to5Mac, the normal 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models will stick with 12 megapixels. However, the sensors will be bigger than those on the iPhone 6s models. This should significantly help with lowlight photography. And because of this dual lens, Apple might also be upping the RAM in its bigger phones to 3GB for photo processing while the normal iPhone 7 will stick with 2GB.
— OnLeaks (@OnLeaks) July 13, 2016
As for battery, reliable leaker @Onleaks says that the iPhone 7 could see a 14 per cent increase in battery size. Since the screen technology isn't changing much and the A10 should be more efficient than previous chips, this can only mean only good things for the iPhone's battery life. After all, more battery means more Pokemon GO.
A weird piece by The Wall Street Journal claims Apple's iPhone 7 will start with 32GB as its base model. That's good, because 16GB in 2016 is complete garbage for a phone that costs over $US650 ($855). According to a rumour posted to Weibo, the iPhone 7 will also have a max storage size of 256GB, which is an unholy amount of storage.
Most of Apple's software additions are already in the hands of a ton of iPhone users thanks to Apple's new public beta program. You can read all about iOS 10 right here, especially all the weird stuff they have added to iMessage.
But much like Live Photos and 3D Touch for the iPhone 6s, it's possible that we might see hardware-specific software (like that dual lens camera, for instance). Also, with the improved home button, Apple might have specific hardware shortcuts or Siri capabilities just for the iPhone 7.
Usually history can be a good indicator. In the US the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus start at $US650 and $US750, respectively. In Australia they start at $1079 and $1229. And while discussing the supposed max storage size of 256GB, the Weibo rumour monger suggested a price for the iPhone 7 Pro: $US900 ($1183). Clearly, the Pro is either for people who don't screw around or people that are stupid. One or the other.
As for colours, Apple might offer options: Gold, rose gold, silver, space grey and space black, according to Macotakara. This would match the options available with the Apple Watch.
According to leaker @evanblass, the iPhone will go on sale September 16, meaning pre-orders will likely begin the week before.
@evenblass recently confirmed his original leak, adding that pre-orders being on September 9. Apple's iPhone event usually falls very close to the 9th, so Apple could be planning an earlier event or speeding up iPhone pre-order and sales once the phone is announced.
Confirmed: Pre-orders start on the 9th. You can extrapolate the launch event date from there. https://t.co/gwoPzIM1dI
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 28, 2016