In 2016, Apple will most certainly treat us to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the next highly-anticipated page in its smartphone book. Rumors are already shaping up a believable picture of what the next iOS flagships will be. At this point, we are not expecting an exterior redesign - reportedly, this is reserved for 2017, when the Apple iPhone 8 will reportedly get unveiled (yep, it might not be an "s" year). Yet, we are hopeful some intriguing new features will be making the cut this year!
Without further ado, let's summarize all we know so far about next year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which might also be called the iPhone 7 Pro. We are now somewhat convinced that the latter might arrive with an intriguing dual lens camera, dubbed the iPhone 7 Pro, which will reportedly amp up its photography game. How, exactly? Read on to find out!
We hereby warn you - we have an ample amount of rumors below. In a nutshell, here are the most believable and logical rumors about the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 Pro:
- Design: At this point, we suppose the iPhone 7 will not introduce a major redesign, but will be mostly similar to the iPhone 6/6s. It could be a waterproof device with Touch ID embedded into the display, no 3.5mm audio jack, and possibly a Smart Connector port.
- Hardware: The device will most certainly arrive with a 16nm Apple A10 chipset, manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung. We expect 2GB of RAM inside the iPhone 7, while the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro is said to sport 3GB of RAM for improved camera performance.
- Display: Display size and resolution are likely to remain the same. 3D Touch might score multi-touch support. IPS LCD displays are likely to stick around for another year.
- Camera: We expect the iPhone 7 to sport similar camera setups as the 6s/6s Plus (a 12MP iSight camera at the back and a 5MP FaceTime snapper up front) while the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro is rumored to arrive with a dual-lens camera.
- Release date and pricing: We are gearing for an early September 2016 announcement while the actual release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus/Pro will most likely take place in late September 2016.
As you are probably aware, Apple has been keeping a strict 2-year window between the redesigns of its smartphones for a long time now. Thus, we have the iPhone 6s vastly similar to the iPhone 6, the iPhone 5s mostly alike with the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4s indistinguishable from the iPhone 4, and so on. This is why we are expecting Jony Ive & Co to spice things up in the design department a bit, though not drastically. The antenna lines are rumored to be getting streamlined, which will be a welcome visual change.
However, the majority of rumors that have been hitting us recently suggest this won't be the case. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro are largely expected to look mostly similar to their predecessors, with only minor design changes on board.
Even one of the leakers with a very good track record, Ming-Chi Kuo, claimed the iPhone 7 won't have "many attractive selling points".
Yes, we wouldn't mind it if Apple decided to come back to the 90-degree edges of the iPhone 5/5s era - in this day and age where most manufacturers are largely employing rounded frames, it would be a breath of fresh mountain air. Still, we will have to wait a bit before we get our first glimpse of iPhone 7/7Plus' looks. As far as build materials are concerned, Apple is most likely sticking with aluminum, and judging by the iPhone 6s, that'd be a member of the series 7000 aluminum, which is one of the strongest aluminum alloys around.
There are a handful of theories about the next iPhone floating around, and though some are rather unbelievable, we ought to explore them:
Last year, Apple introduced the large iPad Pro and it arrived with a Smart Connector
, which allows you to connect the Smart Keyboard to the tablet. It's speculated that the large iPhone 7 Plus/Pro might also feature this connectivity port, but as to what accessories might be available for it, we can only speculate. Probably a case or something completely else? Another rumor
claims there won't be anything of the kind on board. Go figure.
Touch ID embedded in the display
We might also have a Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded inside the display, which falls in line with a certain patent application
that we got hold of earlier in 2015. Well, seems to be entertaining the idea, so a display with an embedded fingerprint scanning functionality is neither too sci-fi or far-fetched.
What's more, it is also suggested that Cupertino might finally jump on the waterproofness train
and make the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus watertight. This was somewhat suggested by the abundance of silicone seals and gaskets that make the current iPhone crop able to withstand a lengthy dunk in the water to some extent. Apart from physical evidence found in the 6s and 6s Plus, we also have a patent
that allegedly reveals that Apple is entertaining the idea of making its devices resistant to the water element.
The iPhone 7 might feature a technology that would seal the ports, thus blocking water or any other liquid from getting inside the phone, and consequently damaging its internals.
No 3.5mm audio jack
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are rumored to come without the universal connector and use a proprietary Lightning one in order to slim down some bulk. This will theoretically allow Apple to slim down the devices a bit, as well as make them waterproof - one less port to worry about is a massive plus, engineering-wise!
Thinnest iPhone ever?
Cupertino is reportedly aiming poised to make its next devices roughly 6mm-thick
. As a reminder, the iPhone 6 was 6.9mm thin, while the 6s clocks in at 7.1mm. One of the changes that might unlock the possibility for an even thinner iPhone 7 body is the aforementioned removal of the 3.5mm audio jack.
Apple iPhone 7 CAD drawings, fan-made renders and concepts
Apple iPhone 7 CAD drawings, fan-made renders and concepts
5. iPhone 7 CAD schematic
6. iPhone 7 Plus CAD schematic
7. iPhone 7 render, probably a fake one
9. Leaked schematic depicting the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro
Liquidmetal or a new custom aluminum alloy build
There's also a rumor claiming that the iPhone 7 could be made of Liquidmetal and not aluminum. Liquidmetal is tougher and sturdier than aluminum with the same thickness, which is a win-win scenario no matter how you look at it.
The nitty-gritty of liquid metal is that it employs metal atoms of different sizes, which form a dense mix with low free volume. This results in an ultra-strong material that has extremely high tensile strength, scratch, and corrosion resistance while remaining easily moldable. Fun fact: Liquidmetal is no stranger to Apple, as the SIM ejector that were bundled with some iPhone 3GS unit were made of liquid metal as a part of a test.
Apart from a thinner footprint, the next crop of iPhones might feature thinner bezels due to the alleged removal of in-cell touch panels. Instead, Apple is rumored to use a vastly improved version of the well-known glass-on-glass technology. The liquid metal material might also pave the way for thinner bezels.
Sapphire display might finally become reality
We were expecting the iPhone 6 to arrive with a tough sapphire display, but this did not happen.
The iPhone 6s also did not get one, but meanwhile the Apple Watch was coated with sapphire. As a result, the rumor mill is once again claiming that the iPhone 7 will arrive with sapphire on board. Here's to hoping.
Inductive wireless charging? Count us in!
Wireless charging might also make the cut in 2016 - certain hearsays claim that the iPhone 7 might feature inductive wireless charging
, similar to the one on the Apple Watch.
Why no previous iPhones arrived with wireless charging? Well, one of the reasons is that until mid-2015, inductive wireless charging could not transfer power through metal, but thanks to Qualcomm's WiPower technology, announced in late July, all metal handsets can score wireless charging. Qualcomm employed a new wireless charging standard, called Rezence
And here are the major design rumors, ranked in terms of their likability to become reality:
|Dual camera setup||likely|
|Waterproof (self-sealing ports, nano-coating)||likely|
|Thinnest iPhone ever||likely|
|Inductive wireless charging||likely|
|No 3.5mm audio jack on board||likely|
|Flexible wrap-around display||unlikely|
|USB-Type C port||unlikely|
|No home button||unlikely|
It's a no-brainer that Apple is going to grace its next handset with a speedier chipset than its predecessor (the 6s), which will most likely be called the Apple A10 SoC. Considering that the Apple A9 chip that is currently gracing the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus is a 64-bit performance champ, manufactured with TSMC's 16nm or Samsung's 14nm manufacturing process.
Well, it's too early to have any specific pieces of info for the chipset, but certain sources already claim Apple will exclusively choose TSMC as the sole supplier for the A10 SoC
. It's also rumored that it will be a 16nm FinFET one, similar to TSMC's A9 produce. Judging by Apple A9's performance, which is one of the very best SoCs on the scene right now, we have extremely high hopes for the A10, which will most certainly end in the top-tier end of the performance spectrum.
In the memory department, Cupertinians amped up the game of the 6s and the 6s Plus by throwing in some much needed operational memory inside - in 2015, we finally got iPhones with 2GB of RAM. Rumor has it that the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro might come with 3GB of RAM on board
in order to step up its photography game, but the regular iPhone 7 is not expected to sport that much operational memory. Ergo, it will most certainly sport 2 gigs of RAM. At least, this is what Ming-Chi Kuo, an industry insider with a rather good track record, has been trying to instill in us.
A flurry of rumors claims that Apple is indeed entertaining the idea of putting an AMOLED display on its future iPhones, probably after 2018
. Other rumors suggest the shift from LCD to AMOLED might take place in 2019 at the earliest
. Well, we believe that this might eventually happen, but the iPhone 7 is unlikely to come with such a display.
Reportedly, the tech giant has recently acquired a "secret" display factory in Taiwan, which will allegedly focus on developing a micro-LED display in the future
. However, it's currently focusing on helping Apple steer away from its third-party display suppliers and develop its own in-house solutions; in particular, we heard that the secret Taiwanese factory is currently working on a brighter, thinner, and more energy-efficient LCD display
As far as display sizes and resolutions are concerned, we are yet to be tipped with info about the upcoming iPhone crop. There are two options though: Apple will either increase the resolution... or not. Still, we are a bit more inclined to believe that the iPhone 7 will flaunt a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 750 by 1334 pixels and command a pixel density of 326ppi, while the larger iPhone 7 Plus will most likely arrive with a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen, which brings forth a pixel density of 401ppi, the sharpest in Cupertino's arsenal. Indeed, these are the very same measurements that can be found in the specs sheets of the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus; we are not ruling out the idea that Apple might shake things up in this regard, but due to the lack of any hearsay so far, we will take the conservative approach.
There's an interesting rumor flying around
, though. It seems that Apple was poised to develop its own set of display drivers for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus order to boost image sharpness and battery life, but fell behind schedule and had to place orders for Synaptics' display controllers. In case you don't know, Synaptics is Apple's supplier of touch and display drivers.
3D Touch is here to stay, and will most likely score new functionalities along the way. As we mentioned earlier, Apple is reportedly contemplating the idea of bringing a multi-3D Touch functionality on board the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This feature will allow users to apply pressure on several points on the display.
Hopefully, this would be used for a wider range of UI interactions, and not just for your usual shoot-'em-up game. We know nothing else about 3D Touch on the next crop of iPhones, but we suppose that we won't hear anything until the device is official, as we expect the majority of changes to be in the interface and the software functionality of the pressure-sensing feature.
While nothing can be said about the smaller iPhone, its larger version is rumored to come with a a larger, 3,100mAh battery. As a refresher, the 6s Plus came with a 2,750mAh battery, while the 6 Plus donned a larger, 2,915mAh one. But wait, wasn't Apple rumored to be making its next phones the thinnest ones ever?
Well, here's a speculation: only the iPhone 7 could be launched as such, while the iPhone 7 Plus could retain the width of its predecessor, which would certainly warrant a slightly larger battery inside. Of course, we are merely speculating here, and there's a high chance we wouldn't be able to find out if this is true until someone disassembles the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus after they get launched this fall.
So far, we've heard nothing new about the iPhone 7 camera, but similarly to the RAM, it got substantially updated with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus earlier this year. The latter scored nifty 12MP rear cameras with smaller pixel size (1.22 μm), as well as 5MP front-facing selfie-centric ones, which is quite the improvement over the 1.2MP that grace previous generations of the device.
This makes us think that Apple most likely won't bother to increase its megapixel count in 2016. However, we are certain that Cupertino will throw some nice improvements or even new functionalities in its next iPhones in order to step up their photography game. We can only imagine what these might be, and needless to say, impatient to check them out.
One of the possible new camera-specific features of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is a bit far-fetched, but not entirely implausible. Yes, we heard that Apple might employ a dual camera setup
on its upcoming iPhone 7 Plus/Pro. This multi-lens system will reportedly deliver DSLR quality and lossless optical zoom. It is allegedly developed by LinX, an imaging company that became part of the Apple family last year.
The camera modules used might be supplied by Sony and LG Innotek, though Ming-Chi Kuo bets that two Sony sensors will be used, both 12MP ones. One of these will reportedly have larger aperture than the other and will allow 2x-3x optical zoom. A patent for a "folded telephoto camera lens system" filed last year revealed an L-shaped camera consisting of a polyhedron glass piece that seemingly works the same way. We will wait and we will see.
Judging by the performance of iPhone 6s' camera, we have rather high hopes for the iPhone 7's one. Apple is traditionally strong in the field of mobile photography, so we expect 2016's iPhones to be solid cameraphones.
Release date and pricing
As we already told you, despite what the rumor mill is trying to persuade us, we expect the new batch of iPhones to arrive in September 2016, probably in the first two weeks of the month. That's the usual time window in which Apple hosts an iPhone-centric event and shows us its new gadgets. This has been Cupertino practice for the last couple of years, so we see zero reasons for Apple to break this tradition in 2016.
|Previous iPhone releases|
|Apple iPhone||Jan 9, 2007||Jan 29, 2007|
|Apple iPhone 3G||Jun 9, 2008||Jul 11, 2008|
|Apple iPhone 3GS||Jun 8, 2009||Jun 19, 2009|
|Apple iPhone 4||Jun 7, 2010||Jun 24, 2010|
|Apple iPhone 4s||Oct 4, 2011||Oct 14, 2011|
|Apple iPhone 5||Sep 12, 2012||Sep 21,2012|
|Apple iPhone 5s||Sep 10, 2013||Sep 20,2013|
|Apple iPhone 6||Sep 9, 2014||Sep 19, 2014|
|Apple iphone 6s||Sep 9, 2015||Sep 25, 2015|
That aside, it's too early to chime in on the possible retail prices of Apple's 2016 produce of phones. Still, we suppose that Cupertino will not change the established pricing by much, which means that the iPhone 7 might cost the same as an iPhone 6s or 6 at launch. Right below you will find the pricing of the previous crop of iPhones, which might turn out to be quite similar to the one of the upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Still, have in mind that this is merely a speculation on our end.
|Recent iPhone pricings|
|Model||Price upon release|
|Apple iPhone 6s 16GB||$649|
|Apple iPhone 6s 64GB||$749|
|Apple iPhone 6s 128GB||$849|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus 16GB||$749|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus 64GB||$849|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus 128GB||$949|