Update: The iPhone 7 could be the thinnest iPhone yet, but at what cost? Theremoval 3.5mm headphone jack, that’s what.
With the iPhone 6S Apple delivered its best handset yet, but aside from sporting some fancy new 3D Touch technology it was also very similar to the iPhone 6.
That was to be expected – after all, Apple typically only overhauls its handsets once every two years, but that overhaul is due with the iPhone 7, so we’re expecting and hoping for big changes: think a whole new design, piles of power and a bunch of new features.
There’s not much to go on yet, which isn’t surprising given that the iPhone 7 probably won’t arrive until late 2016. But this is an Apple handset we’re talking about, so the first leaks and rumors are already starting to emerge – and we’ve collected them all for you below.
And if that’s not enough, we’ve also created a wish list of seven juicy features we’d really like to see in the iPhone 7.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s next all-new iPhone
- When is it out? Likely September 2016
- What will it cost? Probably the same as the iPhone 6S
iPhone 7 release date
If we were betting people we’d say the iPhone 7 will probably arrive in September 2016. Apple tends to stick to a schedule, and the last few iPhones were launched in September.
But according to a ‘reliable source’ Apple might actually bring it to market earlier. Sadly, how much earlier is unclear, but it will take a while to even finish development and manufacture of the phone, so we wouldn’t expect to see it before the summer.
iPhone 7 design
The iPhone 6S looked a lot like the iPhone 6, but it’s likely to be all-change with the iPhone 7. Exactly what form that change will take remains to be seen, but there are some rumors.
For one thing, it could be even slimmer than the 7.1mm-thick iPhone 6S; Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reckons it’ll be dropping to between 6mm and 6.5mm thick. That sounds unnecessarily slim to us, especially as it could cause the battery life to take a hit, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 is only marginally thicker at 6.8mm, so it’s possible.
The iPhone 7 could be built to last too, as according to Mac Otakara there are a number of iPhone prototypes with “ruggedized” features, which could mean a water- and dust-resistant phone is on the way.
iPhone 7 screen
The iPhone 7 could be in for a big resolution jump if a DigiTimes source is to be believed, as Apple is apparently likely to move to glass-on-glass screens, which in turn opens up the possibility of a QHD or even a 4K display.
A lot of Android phones already have QHD screens, and the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is 4K, so it’s possible that Apple will pump up the resolution of its next flagship, but given that the iPhone 6S isn’t even 1080p we’re sceptical that it’ll get anywhere near 4K.
If the iPhone 7 does get higher resolution it might get bigger too, especially as rival phones are growing in size all the time. We’re not convinced though – we’d still bet on seeing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.
A jump in resolution might not be the only way the iPhone 7 imitates Android though, as there’s also talk that it could switch from an LCD display to an OLED one, much like Samsung uses on most of its phones.
One new rumor suggests the iPhone 7S will be the first Apple phone to feature an OLED display. The rumour comes from Apple telling supply chain sources that it will be switching from LCD panels to OLED panels in the next couple of years.
Sadly it doesn’t seem like the technology will be here in time for next year’s iPhone 7 and we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 7S. That said, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has dismissed the rumor, arguing that Apple won’t likely switch to AMOLED before 2019.
The iPhone 7 screen could be hard to smash, as an Apple patent has been unearthed showing bumpers which burst out from the edges of the screen to ensure it doesn’t touch the floor when dropped. Patents often don’t turn into products, but you never know – and it would certainly be nice to see a stronger screen.
3D Touch is bound to make a return, though it’s likely to be improved in some way, perhaps by enabling you to scroll through the previews of content you ‘peek’ into, rather than just having static previews.
iPhone 7 rivals
The iPhone 7 is likely a way off yet, so it’s main rivals won’t have launched yet either. But as usual Samsung is sure to be a big competitor, with the Samsung Galaxy S7 in particular likely to give it pause.
Rumors point to a big screen, a spectacularly powerful processor and all the style and features found in the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The HTC One M10 is likely to be a worthy alternative to Apple’s handset too. Coming from HTC it’s sure to look good, but little is known about it so far.
There’s also talk of a 4.0-inch iPhone 7C in the works. We haven’t seen a C edition of the iPhone since the iPhone 5C so we expected one to launch alongside the iPhone 6S, but sadly there was no news.
The latest rumours suggest we’ll see one alongside the iPhone 7, but it’s not quite clear whether it’ll be called the iPhone 6C or iPhone 7C. Some sources have been whispering about the phone coming with a metal back, unlike the cheap feeling plastic iPhone 5C.
iPhone 7 camera and battery
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.
Given that Apple tends to stick with camera components for a long time we wouldn’t expect to see a change in megapixels for the iPhone 7, but there’s a good chance it will have performance tweaks and additional features to help set it apart. Optical image stabilisation perhaps?
There’s no news on the battery, but that was one of the greatest failings of the iPhone 6S, so we’re really hoping for some improvements here. Sadly, though, if the phone does slim down further as is being rumored there’s not much hope of a big juice pack.
iPhone 7 OS and power
The iPhone 7 could be in for a huge performance boost, with whispers on Weibothat the phone will pack a hexa-core A10 chip, up from just a dual-core processor in the iPhone 6S. We’re sceptical that Apple would go for that much of a jump, but it’s an exciting thought.
We’re not likely to see any more RAM in the iPhone 7, as Apple only just pushed the iPhone 6S up to 2GB, so it will likely stick with that for a while yet.
As for the OS, we’d expect to see the iPhone 7 land with iOS 10, since we’re up toiOS 9 on the iPhone 6S. But rumors of what we’ll see in iOS 10 are thin on the ground.
iPhone 7 other features
The iPhone 7 could have a smaller headphone jack than the iPhone 6S. We’re hesitant to call this a feature, as it’s more a likely annoyance which could be necessary in order to further slim the phone down.
There’s an Apple patent which points to a 2mm connector, down from the standard 3.5mm headphone jack found on most phones. That would certainly help Apple slim the device down, but would also mean you’d either need special headphones or an adapter.
iPhone 7 cost
There aren’t any price rumors yet but in all likelihood the iPhone 7 will cost roughly what the iPhone 6S currently retails for, specifically £539/$649/AU$1,079 upwards. Though if Apple finally ditches the 16GB model the starting price might be even higher.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE
Phones can always be improved, and we’ve had a few smart ideas for Apple’s next generation iPhone.
From a wider selection of screens and a resolution boost, to expandable storage and a speaker shift, here’s what Apple should do for the iPhone 7.
1. Three screen sizes
Don’t get us wrong, we’re thrilled Apple now has handsets which offer more real estate for your apps and games – but there’s still a pocket of fans who find 5.5 and 4.7 inches simply too big.
We’re calling on Apple to launch a third handset in the iPhone 7 range. A smaller, more budget focused option to appease those with dainty palms.
The iPhone 6C was heavily rumored to arrive alongside the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but alas it never materialized. Our focus then, switches to a potential iPhone 7C – which we’re sure will gain a lot of traction in the rumor mill over the coming months.
We see it as a 4-inch handset with similar stylings to the iPhone 5C, with up to date power under the hood, a 3D Touch display and Touch ID.
2. A resolution your movies and games deserve
You can now record 4K video on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but play them back on the handsets and you won’t get the full experience.
With the iPhone 7 it’s time Apple boosted the resolution of its handsets. We’d take a full HD resolution on the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, but if the iPhone 7 Plus turns up with anything less than a QHD screen then us and Apple will be having words.
QHD is now widespread throughout the top tier of Android devices, and we’re even seeing 4K screens sneak onto our smartphones. Don’t get left behind again Apple, please.
3. Wireless charging
Wireless charging remains one of the most frustrating technologies around, because while it’s here, it works and it feels like living in the future, it isn’t as widely supported as we’d like.
An iPhone 7 with wireless charging would be great, especially if the same charger worked for the Apple Watch too. And if it could support both wireless standards as well, like the Galaxy S6, then that would be just swell.
4. Curved displays
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge wowed us with its delightfully curving dual screens earlier this year, and it’s fair to say we’re rather smitten with this futuristic look.
No image such sultry curves on an Apple designed smartphone. We’re going weak at the knees already. Go on Apple, wrap that screen round the edges of the iPhone 7 and we’ll more than likely be in love.
5. No more 16GB models
iOS 8 adoption stalled last year, and we reckon it because people with 16GB iPhones didn’t have enough free space for the 5.7GB over-the-air update and don’t want to use iTunes because, well, iTunes.
The fear is users will experience the same issue when iOS 9 rolls out on September 16, and with no expandable storage option it’s rather limiting.
When your software updates are too big for your entry level products, your entry level products clearly don’t come with enough storage.
How about starting at 32GB for the iPhone 7? We can’t store everything in iCloud, even when it’s working properly.
6. Expandable storage
While we’re on the topic of storage – how about actually giving us some expandable option Apple? It’s something we’ve been asking for for years now, yet our request has continuously fallen on deaf ears over at Cupertino.
Expandable storage would allows us to buy the cheapest iPhone and then supplement the poxy 16GB of space with a microSD card up to 2TB in size. Oh course, than means Apple wouldn’t rake in as much cash for the 64GB and 128GB models – and thus it’s never going to happen.
7. Even better cameras
Apple gave us our first iPhone megapixel camera boost in four years with the 12MP sensor inside the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. But why stop there?
People love using their iPhones to take pictures, Apple can’t tell us that enough, so keep on innovating. 12MP is a good start, but spend some time with the 16MP snapper on the Galaxy S6 and you’ll be seriously impressed.
Of course it’s not all about the number of megapixels, and Apple continues to do great things behind the scenes to improve your snaps.
The Live Photo feature also seems like a little bit of a gimmick at the moment – and similar to the sort of things Samsung was doing on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5. If Apple can harness these new found abilities into something more productive on the iPhone 7 that would be impressive.
8. Look ID
Touch ID is great, and it’s got even better on the iPhone 6S with the second generation scanner tech making it more responsive than ever, but we want more.
The iPhone 7 has the chance to take biometrics to the next level, with iris recognition. It won’t be the first to the eye scanning tech (check out the ZTE Axon Elite), but you just know if Apple jumps on board it’ll be slickly implemented and a joy to use.
Want to unlock your new iPhone? Just give it a knowing glance. Need to purchase a new must-have application? Give the iPhone 7 your best Blue Steel and boom, it’s downloading.
Need a name for it? Look ID. You’re welcome, Jony.
9. Speaker shift
With the HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z5 and Moto X Force all rocking front facing speakers, we’re becoming increasingly frustrated with manufacturers that still insist on putting a single speaker on the base of their handsets. The sound is poor, it’s not projected in the right direction and it’s often covered by a hand when the phone is held in landscape.
For the iPhone 7, Apple needs to shift its speaker location to the front so users can enjoy the audio from their games, movies, TV shows and favorite YouTube videos.
10. An unbreakable screen
Motorola has done it with the Moto X Force, and going by the number of smashed iPhone screens we see on a daily basis this is a must for the iPhone 7.
Stick in a four year guarantee and Apple will win the hearts of many who are disgusted at the firm’s charges for replacing cracked displays.