Apple iPhone 7 rumor review: specs, features, release date, and everything we know so far


In 2016, Apple will be treating us to the iPhone 7, an exciting upcoming chapter in its smartphone book. Rumors are already shaping up a rather clear picture of what the next iOS flagship will end up being. 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! 

Check out our Apple iPhone 7 Plus & iPhone 7 Pro rumor review here.


TL;DR


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:

  • 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. We expect it to do away with the 3.5mm audio jack and feature revisited antenna lines.
  • Hardware: The device will most certainly arrive with a 16nm Apple A10 chipset, manufactured by either TSMC and Samsung or both. We expect 2GB of RAM inside the iPhone 7, with 32GB of native storage in the base model. 
  • Display: Display size and resolution are likely to remain the same - 4.7 inches, 750 x 1334. 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).
  • 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.

Contents:



Design


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 just 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 is largely expected to look mostly similar to the iPhone 6 and 6s, with certain minor design revisions on board. Even one of the leaksters with a very good track record, Ming-Chi Kuo, claimed the iPhone 7 won't have "many attractive selling points". 

Latest leaks claim that a number of small design tweaks will be making the rounds. First of all, the indentation of the volume rocker could be getting nixed for a more flush side button appearance.

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.

Waterproof body

What's more, it is also suggested that Cupertino might finally jump on the waterproofness train and make the iPhone 7 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

Indeed, one of the biggest changes in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be the lack of an audio jack. Apple did away with these, which could be viewed as either a major improvement or a totally unnecessary redesign. Anyway, it seems that Apple will most likely supply Lightning-enabled EarPods or Bluetooth-enabled AirPods right out of the box. These will fit right into the charging port and will allow you to listen to your favorite tunes while you—yes, you got that right—are not charging your phone. 

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.


Blue color option

There's some hearsay that Cupertinians will be putting the kibosh on the Space Gray color option for the iPhone 7 line and replace it with a dark blue one. We have no leaked images to corroborate these claims, but we do have some slick renders (once again made by Martin Hajek) that show us the upcoming iPhones in some rather captivating blue shades — check them out. The Gold, Rose Gold, and Silver color variants are going nowhere, though.

Dark Black and Piano Black color options

Word on the street is that the iPhone 7 will arrive in at least one new color option. First, information surfaced that Apple could be exploring the option of releasing a dark blue iPhone, which could be a real beaut', and recently we've heard rumors of both a Dark Black a la iPhone 5 color, as well as a Piano Black version that has drawn comparisons Apple's Mac Pro. Now, a concept designer has put faces to names with a series of high quality renders. The Piano Black edition is of particular intrigue, since it will see Apple make something of a return to the days when the iPhone sported a glossy exterior. Thankfully, the plasticky polycarbonate that adorned the likes of the iPhone 3GS looks set to remain of that era, since the glossy new iPhone is almost certain to be metallic. We also heard that the Piano Black color option could remain an exclusive to iPhones with 128 and 256GB storage options.



Read more:



Hardware


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 on TSMC's 16nm or Samsung's 14nm manufacturing process. KGI's Ming Chi Quo claims the chipset will be able to reach clock rates of up to 2.4GHz - a massive increase over the iPhone 6s' 1.8GHz chip and the 2.26GHz one in the latest iPad Pro tablets. Needless to say, this will likely offer a massive increase in terms of performance.

Reportedly, it will be a beastly chipset as some alleged leaked Geekbench benchmarks are indicating. The dual-core A10 of iPhone9,3 — which seems likely to be the iPhone 7 Plus though could be the smaller model — achieves a single-core score of 3379. If true, this marks a gigantic leap over the 2526 single-core score we got with the iPhone 6s Plus, and really makes us wonder what would the smaller iPhone be capable of.


In order to further slim some bulk, Apple might also be using a "fan-out" chip packaging with the iPhone 7. This packaging technology fuses the silicon chips and the semiconductor compounds together, resulting in more powerful yet more compact chips. Yay, more room for activities... and battery! Also, the "fan-out" tech allows Apple to mix the A10 chip with a GaAs (Gallium Arsenide) semiconductor compound, which will further improve the high-frequency signal reception of the handset and successfully combat interference.


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.


Storage


As far as native storage goes, almost all leaks point out that thе iPhone 7 will arrive with 32, 128, and 256GB of on-board storage. Seems that the 64GB and fortunately the low-end 16 gig versions are getting done away with. One of the probable reasons for said increased storage options could be the rumored 4K @60fps video recording option that could be making a debut on September 7, 2016.

Display


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. Indeed, these are the very same measurements that can be found in the specs sheets of the iPhone 6 & 6s, but we are not ruling out the idea that Apple might shake things up in this regard. Without any evidence, we can only speculate though.


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. This will further make Apple more independent and centralized when it comes to the manufacturing process.

3D Touch


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.

Battery


Battery info is something we learn only after a thorough teardown after select people get the first batches of iPhones, but sometimes, we get some info beforehand.

Тhere's that leak that allegedly shows us an iPhone 7 battery, which is rated a 7.04 Whr. As a comparison, the iPhone 6s' battery is rated at 6.61 Whr, or 6.5% lower than the rumored unit of the iPhone 7. 

Sadly, without info on the battery's voltage, it's impossible to determine its capacity in milliampere-hours (mAh). This isn't revealing much about the iPhone 7 Plus and Pro battery capacity, but we still think it's important to at least acknowledge the leak.


Camera



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 for the iPhone 7 Pro. 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 a 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.

The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, is not getting such a camera and will most likely remain unchanged from what we have on the iPhone 6s Plus. This means a 12MP camera with 1.22µ pixels, dual true-tone LED flash, a 5-element lens with an aperture of f/2.2, autofocus with Focus Pixels, a hybrid IR filter, BSI, and a sapphire crystal lens cover. We suppose that most of these raw camera specs could be shared with the iPhone 7 Pro, though the package will be double.

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.

Finally, rumors claim that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be capable of recording 4K video at 60fps, which will make them the first devices to be capable of this. Needless to say, 4K video is quite storage-hungry, which gives a lot of credibility to the rumor that the devices will arrive with 32GB of base storage, but will also feature 128 and 256GB variants.


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.

This track record is not getting nixed - Apple will hold an event on September 7, 2016, and it will be centered around the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

As far as market release goes, Evan Blass is confident the phones will launch on September 16.


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 the iPhone 6s and 6 at launch. The same applies to the iPhone 7 Plus, which will most likely be priced similar to the 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 7 Plus. 

So, it appears that the iPhone 7 will cost the same as the iPhone 6s at launch in USA - $649. The same applies to the iPhone 7 Plus, which could start at $849, with the 128GB version being a $100 costlier and the 256 one topping the psychological barrier of $1000. 

As we know more, so will you.

Related phones

iPhone 7
  • Display 4.7 inches
    1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A10 Fusion
    2GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1960 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x
iPhone 7 Plus
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A10 Fusion
    3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2900 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x

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