It’s that time of the year again – the time when Apple readies its latest iPhone model for launch, and tech enthusiasts go into overdrive while trying to guess (and second guess!) all the new features and attractions that the new flagship smartphone will have. We are less than 3 weeks away from the start of pre-ordering for iPhone 7, and here is a roundup of all things of note about the eagerly anticipated new Apple smartphone:
- Mark the dates – Traditionally, September has been the month when new iPhone models are launched (at least, from the days of iPhone 5). This year, there is not going to be any exception. Professional Apple software and iOS app developers have confirmed that iPhone 7 will be launched on the 16th of September, with pre-orders being taken from September 9. The official announcement should come a couple of days before that, on the 5th, 6th or 7th of September.
- Dual camera lens for the phablet – Huawei P9 had it, LG G5 had it, and Apple looks like it will finally implement dual camera lens in its upcoming flagships. It should be noted that the feature is more likely to be present on iPhone 7 Plus – the phablet – and not on the iPhone 7. The dual camera will allow users to merge two separate shots, and create crisper, better visual effects. Digital zooming, something that the iPhones do not do as well as some Android devices, will receive a boost as well.
- iPhone 7 will look a lot like iPhone 6 – And that is precisely why there are rumours that this year’s handset might be called ‘iPhone 6SE’, and not ‘iPhone 7’. 2016 was originally supposed to be a ‘tock’ year in the ‘tick-tock’ Apple release cycle (the ‘tick’ years being the ones when the ‘S’ variants are launched). However, reports suggest that, Apple is ditching its 2-year redesign cycle in favour of a 3-year cycle. The move makes sense, since the percentage of iPhone users who upgrade their handset every year is very low. Yes, the iPhone 7/iPhone 6SE will have certain interesting changes in its form-factor, but don’t expect something radically different from iPhone 6.
- Goodbye, Home button? – Those who make mobile apps and software on a professional level seem almost sure about this. In the latest range of Macbooks, the trackpad responds to pressure (i.e., haptic feedback). The older, movable trackpads have given way – and the laptop-using experience has become smoother due to this. Apple Inc. seems all set to do the same with the upcoming iPhone 7 model. The good old ‘Home’ button will be replaced by a touch-capacitative button which will work on haptic feedback. Presumably, the new Home button will do more than just unlock the iPhone.
- iPhone 7 might be water-resistant – This is no more than an outside chance, but Apple is certainly working on making waterproof smartphone models. With many Android phones being water-resistant from as early as 2012, it is high time that the Cupertino tech giant adopted this technology as well. If the iPhone 7 is indeed water-resistant, it will add to the longevity factor of the device. And that’s a prime concern for end-users, after all!
- iPhone 7 to start from 32GB – This one is pretty much certain. iPhone app developers and general smartphone enthusiasts have reported that the base model of iPhone 7 will have 32GB storage space. This, obviously, means that the line of 16GB iPhones will be discontinued. With Apple phones not having SD card support, this tweak also makes a lot of sense. People will now be able to take more photos and share them all in their devices, without having to worry about running out of storage.
Note: There is a possibility that iPhone 7 will also have a 256GB variant. If Apple indeed releases it, the model will be priced at a significantly higher level than the models with lower built-in storage.
- Three versions instead of Two? – There was the iPhone 6 & the iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus. This year, Apple might just spring a surprise by launching a premium-range iPhone 7 Pro model (in addition to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus). It will be designed on the lines of the iPad Pro, and should be compatible with the already much-talked-about Smart Connector. Certain leaks of the touted iPhone 7 Pro have already been shared by sources like uSwitch.
- iPhone 7 in at least one more colour – Earlier this month, a Facebook post from China Unicorn – a major carrier partner of Apple Inc. – showcased an all-new ‘deep blue’ coloured smartphone. Since then, rumours have now shifted towards the probability of iPhone 7 being available in ‘Space Black’ – the colour that has already been used in Apple Watch. There have not been much movement on the colour front since the arrival of the ‘Rose Gold’ iPhone, and the news about the new colours have fueled the excitements around iPhone 7 further.
- iOS 10 to arrive with iPhone 7 – Okay, this one is stating the obvious. iOS 10 beta 6 has already been seeded to iPhone app development experts, and the fifth public beta of the platform has also been released. The final stable release of iOS 10 will be on iPhone 7. There is a fairly large number of interesting new features and improvements in iOS 10
Note: Apple will be desperately hoping to avoid a rehash of the iOS 8 fiasco. That update, which debuted on iPhone 6, had many glitches – and became stable only after the 8.4 update.
10. The headphone jack is likely to be gone – This has been a constant buzz on various leading online Apple sources and mobile app development forums. Probably in a bid to make iPhone 7 slimmer than its predecessors, Apple will do away with the conventional 3.5 mm headphone jack (the one with all of us are so familiar with). In its place, there will be a Bluetooth-based solution and/or a Lightning Port for users. Users will be able to plug-in their EarPods to the Lightning Connector, for listening to music. What’s more, there will be an option for charging iPhone 7 while playing music. The news of the headphone jack being ditched has not been universally kindly received, and there has even been a petition to keep it – but it seems that Apple will be launching new audio solutions in the new flagship.
11. Processor and RAM – The iPhone 6S has the 2GB Samsung LPDDR4 RAM. Tim Cook and his team are looking to take things up to the next level this year, by giving iPhone 7 a 3GB RAM. This will be the biggest RAM space in the history of iPhones, and the soon-to-be-released handset will also have the breakthrough A10 chip (by TSMC or Samsung), along with the M10 co-processor. The bigger RAM and the faster-than-ever A10 chip should make iPhone 7 a really powerful device.
12. Better battery performance – Neither Apple nor Google have quite cracked the smartphone battery puzzle till now, but both are trying their level best. The improved battery of iPhone 7 is the latest endeavour in this regard. According to a recent report, the upcoming Apple flagship phone will ship with a 3100 mAh battery – nearly 13% more powerful than the battery present in iPhone 6S Plus. The battery capacity of iPhone 7 should be in the region of 7.05 Wh (Watt-hours), which is also about 6.5% more than that of iPhone 6S.
13. Wireless charging – The chances of iPhone 7 having an wireless charging option cannot be ruled out. The company’s arch-rival, Google, has already introduced this feature in the Galaxy S7 phones. A fairly large number of new prototypes – each with a novel feature (USB-C connector, screen fingerprint scanner, multi Force Touch, wireless charging), and it is difficult to say which (or how many) of these prototypes will actually be implemented.
Note: The Lightning Connector, if present in iPhone 7, should serve as a suitable tool for wireless charging.
14. A bezel-less display screen – The screen resolution of iPhone 6 is 1334×750 – a fairly weak figure when compared with the 4K displays that many high-end Android phones have. It can be reasonably expected that Apple will address this, by going back to glass-on-glass display – which will enhance the resolution level. The display will have no bezel, according to a report from DigiTimes. The remodeled screen of iPhone 7 will go well with its new, haptic feedback-powered ‘Home’ tab.
15. The pocket pinch – Apple generally prices its new flagship iPhones in the same range as the preceding ‘S’-variant, while decreasing the price of the latter somewhat. This convention will be followed this year too. The price tag of iPhone 7 will be roughly similar ( ~$649 for the lowest storage model) to what the iPhone 6S costs now. Of course, the ‘lowest storage model’ here refers to the 32GB device, since there will be no 16GB iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 is reported to be marginally slimmer than the iPhone 6S (0.28’ vs 0.282’). The phone camera will also have additional sensors, taking up the overall camera functionality. This year’s new iPhone is more likely to be some sort of an incremental update, with bigger changes coming along in 2017.
After all, 2017 marks ten years of the iPhone – and Apple won’t miss the opportunity to surprise fans on the occasion.