If you’re due an upgrade and got your eyes set on a new iPhone, wait. The iPhone 7 release date is now just a couple of months away, and you can wait that long for a new device, right?
Although Apple is currently holding its iPhone 7 release date cards close to its chest – and will likely continue to do so right up until the brink of unveiling – insider sources have already let slip when to expect the new device.
So what date should we be adding to our diary? Well, with the iPhone 7 launch event tipped to be held the week beginning September 12, we’d expect to see the handset hit retailers’ shelves on Friday, September 23. This would be fitting with the company’s past smartphone launches too.
Over the past five years – ever since the iPhone 4S – Apple has unveiled its latest smartphone wares in early September, bringing the devices to retailers just a few weeks later. There was no mention of it at March’s iPhone SE unveiling, so there’s little reason not to expect the iPhone 7 to formally enter the realms of reality in September 2016.
Although the headline draw, it’s unlikely that the iPhone 7 will have September’s launch stage to itself, with both the Apple Watch 2 and iPad Air 3 expected to make an appearance ahead of the lucrative pre-Christmas shopping period.
iPhone 7 design: It’s time for something new
The iPhone 7’s design will inevitably be the phone’s big talking point, after all, tradition tells us it’s time for something new, and who isn’t excited about that? The iPhone 6/iPhone 6S design is now in its second year, the traditional cut-off point for past Apple efforts. With the next full step in numerical announcements should come an all-new look and feel. Well, hopefully. Leaks, however, suggest otherwise.
Just like the rounded iPhone 6 followed the boxy 5S, and the 4-inch 5 lined up after the smaller 4S, the iPhone 7 should mark a new design direction for the company that has time and again set the standard in smartphone aesthetics. Sadly, it looks like the differences will be relatively small. Leaks have shown a device markedly similar to the 6S, albeit with fewer of those ugly antenna lines. Photos of the marginally altered handset have even appeared online.
What’s also looking increasingly likely, is that the device could ape the likes of the Moto X Style and Sony Xperia Z5 in boasting a water-resistant finish. Patents have shown Apple has already mastered waterproof smartphone speakers. A new, blue colour scheme is expected to be unveiled too, possibly at the expense of the Space Grey model.
One thing we do know about the iPhone 7 design, however, is that it will be slimmer than its predecessor. Leaked Apple patents have suggested the phone could be considerably skinnier than this year’s model, with the iPhone 6S having jumped from the 6’s 6.9mm to a slightly plumped 7.1mm form factor. As such, expect the next-gen model to dip back beneath that 7mm marker. It’s even been suggested the phone will line up a full millimetre slimmer than its predecessor, while the protruding rear camera looks set to be flattened out.
iPhone 7 specs: It might be time to buy new headphones
This iPhone-themed Atkins diet could come at an audio-enabling cost. Despite the headphone market universally supporting a standard 3.5mm audio jack – you know the one – Apple patents have shown the iPhone 7 could forge its own path in audio connections. It has been suggested, and backed up by leaked blueprints, that the iPhone 7 could ditch a physical headphone port altogether, forcing people to adopt either Bluetooth-friendly or Lightning connection cans. A petition has already started to stop this happening, however. Instead, it has been claimed the phone will boastimproved internal speakers.
Evidence of the headphone jack removal was on show when Twitter tipster @OnLeaks shared a photo (below) that purportedly depicted a protective case for the handset. Yep, you guessed it – there was no space for a 3.5mm input in sight.
A slimmer handset can add features though, and here increased storage capacities are expected. With iPhone’s having capped out at 128GB in recent years, leaks have suggested a new, 256GB model will land for the deep of pocket, with the base model jumping from 16GB to a new 32GB iPhone 7. Battery life shouldn’t suffer either. Heck, it could even improve, with Apple known to be working on contactless wireless charging to make re-juicing a whole lot easier.
This isn’t where the early iPhone 7 specs leaks have stopped, either. The phone’s new power supply has already made a premature appearance. As if the Apple’s current A9 chip didn’t offer enough power, early leaks have claimed the upcoming iPhone 7 will see the iPad maker move to a new, more powerful six-core processor. As well as introducing added grunt, the new chip – presumably set to be dubbed the A10, because that’s how numbers work – the added cores should see Apple better manage this power, further helping extend the phone’s already impressive battery life. Longterm partner won’t be making the A10 though, with TSMC having been given the nod. A new wireless connection standard LiFi – which transmits data over a light-based spectrum – has also been tipped for inclusion.
Another potential change teased by Apple’s busy patent filers, is the addition of a virtual keyboard. An unlikely addition for next year’s model – this is probably one for a lot further down the roadmap, Apple is known to be working on a way of digitally projecting a keyboard onto flat surfaces, letting users type freely without a physical add-on – sounds handy, right?
With iPhone sales having recently seen their first ever quarterly drop, analysts have predicted that the iPhone 7 might not be as excited as we all hope. “To sustain growth, the iPhone needs to come up with more innovative features to revitalise the user experience, for example in form factor design, software and hardware specs,” KGI Securities analyst and repeated Apple tipster, Ming-Chi Kuo said.
He continued: “We don’t see many attractive selling points for iPhone 7 in 2H16 and are conservative on 2H16F shipments. While we revise up 2016F iPhone SE shipments from 12mn to 18mn units, this won’t offset overall iPhone shipments decline.”
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Like with the phone’s design, it’s time for Apple to up its screen efforts. Although the iPhone 6S offers one of the brightest, most vibrant and colour accurate displays on the market, its resolution is lacking by current standards.
The device’s 4.7-inch screen boasts a 1334 x 750 pixel resolution. When the likes of the LG G4 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ are now rocking 2560 x 1440 pixel, QHD panels, and the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has just landed as the world’s first phone with a 4K display, the Apple offering is starting to look slightly grainy and dated.
While it’s unlikely that Apple will jump straight to a QHD display – that sort of numerical specs race baying is not the company’s style – early speculation has suggested the iPhone 6S Plus’s 1080p, Full HD panel could be scaled down for the smaller of Apple’s two flagship phones.
A feature tipped to have been bestowed on the 6S before sadly missing the cut, we’d be hugely surprised to see the iPhone 7 not running a Full HD, 3D Touch-friendly panel.
In keeping with the phone’s design and screen updates, expect the iPhone 7 to be on the receiving end of a major camera update. Well, if you’re happy to plump for the larger handset option that is.
The iPhone 6S already features one of the best smartphone snappers in all the land, and this 12-megapixel offering looks set to be given a dual-lens spit polishing. While an improved megapixel count isn’t guaranteed, the iPhone 7 has been tipped to adopt a dual-lens construction.
What’s the benefit? Well, according to leaked Apple patents, the move would allow the next-gen iPhone to offer impressive zoom options without hampering image quality. It will also enable split-focus skills which lets users choose focus points after shots have been captured. It’s been suggested this second-lens snapper will be limited to the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus though.
The 12-megapixel sensor looks set to further tweaked too. Apple has a team of 800 engineers working on the phone snapper, with the camera to be made up of more than 200 pieces. A few further software enhancements will be thrown into the mix too. 4K video capture, a new addition on the 6S, is likely to be an increased focus in late 2016, too as the next-gen imaging tech becomes more prevalent.
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Given that the iOS 9 update has only just hit existing iPhones and iPads, Apple’s next software release is still a largely unknown entity. It’s pretty damn likely to be dubbed iOS 10 (or X) though, because, again, that’s just how numerical progression works.
While the ins-and-outs of the iPhone 7-bound software are unclear, a couple of early rumours have started to float around.
One such report has tipped further Siri progression to be atop the features hit list. According to unnamed insiders, it has been suggested that Siri will soon gain the ability to transcribe your voicemails, converting them into text form. Handy? Sure. Sinister that Siri’s listening into your voicemails? You bet.
As we’re sure you can appreciate, there’s no official word on the iPhone 7 price just yet, and there won’t be anytime soon. Again though, just like the company’s launch patterns, Apple’s past pricing structures offer a heavy hint as to what’s to come next time around.
The iPhone 6S is expensive. A lofty price tag is a staple feature of all Apple handsets, so don’t expect the iPhone 7 price to be anything but wallet-stretchingly high.
iPhone 6S prices start at £539 for the 16GB model and we can’t expect the iPhone 7 to rock up any cheaper. You might want to start saving those pennies now then.
That’s all we know for now, but stay tuned for all the latest iPhone 7 news and rumours as new details emerge.