The iPhone 7 could be the thinnest iPhone yet, but at what cost? The removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, that’s what. There’s also new rumors that it may come with a bezeless design. Recent rumors also point to a screen with Touch ID baked in, wireless charging and more.
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 ten juicy features we’d really like to see in the iPhone 7.
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.
If TSMC makes the chips, as has been rumored, then some space could be saved, which might help Apple slim it down without making sacrifices in other areas.
Another rumor suggests the iPhone 7 will have an all-metal design with a bezeless display. It would be a big change for the iPhone design, but bringing in a new kind of screen technology would be a sensible move for Apple.
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.
We could also be in store for the thinnest iPhone ever, as rumors suggesting Apple will ditch the bulky 3.5mm headphone jack begin to gather pace. That would see a great dependence on Bluetooth headphones – could we also see a wireless set of buds included in the box?
iPhone 7 screen
The iPhone 7 could be in for a big resolution jumpif 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.
Then there’s the first image of the LCD backlight on the iPhone 7. It comes from trusted French blog NoWhereElse and shows the panel from the iPhone 7 up against the iPhone 6S.
All the connectors are in different locations around the phone suggesting there will be a few design changes on the next iPhone.
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.
• Check out our iPhone 6C release date, news and rumors
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 Weibo that 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 to iOS 9 on the iPhone 6S. But rumors of what we’ll see in iOS 10 are thin on the ground.
iPhone 7 other features
A whole slew of possible features are apparently in testing for the iPhone 7, with five different prototypes being used to test multi-Force Touch tech, a dual camera, wireless charging, a fingerprint scanner in the screen and a USB Type-C connector that’s compatible with headsets.
That all comes from a post on Weibo, but even if it’s true given that there are apparently five different prototypes much of this may not make it into the final phone.
In other rumors 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 head-phone 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.