iPhone 7 is the most anticipated smartphone of the year, and Apple fans across the world are counting down to when the smartphone and its variants will be launched. Alongside, the rumour mills just keep churning out fresh details about the smartphone. The iPhone 7 is anticipated to launch at its now traditional September event, and as we approach the date, more pieces of the iPhone puzzle are being fleshed out.
The iPhone 7 is not expected to see any major design tweaks, except for a minor few.
However, there are some significant changes that are worth a mention. We compile all the rumours and leaks that have surfaced online so far, and give you a comprehensive list of all that is expected to come with the iPhone 7 this year.
In 2013, Apple released two iPhones for the first time - the iPhone 5s and 5c. The following year saw a major design overhaul with Apple ditching its 4-inch smartphone size entirely, and releasing two smartphones in different sizes, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Last year, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were released with software upgrades.
However this year, Apple is reportedly taking it a notch further and is tipped to launch three variants namely iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone 7 Pro/ Plus/ Premium. And as we head towards the actual launch, yet another report is tipping the presence of three variants - the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 Pro.
Two variants only, in fact
While there have been plenty of rumours surrounding a 'Pro' or Premium variant of the larger iPhone 7, prolific tipster Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) claims Apple will only launch two variants of the iPhone this year - following the tradition it had set in the last two generations. This would imply there is no third Pro or Premium variant, and only the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be launched.
Name: iPhone 6SE or iPhone 7?
A very recent leak also indicated that the upcoming iPhone, to depict the minor refresh and minimal design iteration,may just be called iPhone 6SE instead of the iPhone 7. The report cites China supply chain sources who have seen the labelling and packaging of the device. The minimalistic design changes, and the fact that Apple is breaking its tick-tock cycle does give this leak a tad bit of credibility, however an alleged ad from a Chinese telecom firm was leaked recently, and it indicates that Apple is sticking with its tradition, and calling this year's iPhone - the iPhone 7.
32GB base storage variant
Apple is rumoured to finally be doing away with the 16GB base storage variant, and replacing it with a 32GB option. The company first introduced the 16GB variant in 2008, and it has remained as the base model ever since the iPhone 5 in 2012. With the rise of the app culture, alongside 4K recording capabilities, this shift to a 32GB base model makes sense in more ways than one. A July report once again reiterates the death of the 16GB variant, getting a 'confirmation' from people familiar with the matter.
256GB top storage variant
Alongside the 32GB base storage variant, Apple is reportedly also planning to bump up the storage on the top model - taking it up to 256GB. With the iPhone series legendarily eschewing support for a microSD card, this bump up should help power users get the most out of their iOS powered mobile. However, for now, it is uncertain whether the top variant would only be available on the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 7 Pro, or whether it would extend to the smaller screened iPhone 7. A new report tips that the iPhone 7 will be available in 32GB, 64GB, and 256GB variants, while the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro will be available in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants.
The antenna bands at the back are expected to disappear, giving the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus a sleek simple mono-coloured back design. Leaks suggest that the bands will be shifted to the top and bottom edges instead. A more recent rear panel leak once again points to this. A recent leaked video also confirmed the antenna redesign.
There are conflicting rumours on this one. Some reports suggest that the iPhone 7 will come with the Smart Connector first introduced with the iPad Pro for connecting the Smart Keyboard Cover and other accessories like charging docks, while other leaks have shown no presence of the Smart Connector. It remains to be seen if the Smart Connector will make its way on to the iPhone 7, even if it's just the top end variant.
3.5mm headphone jack
This has been rumoured for a while now. Apple is reportedly considering giving the 3.5mm headphone jack a miss to make the next iPhone much slimmer than its predecessors. Other reasons may include providing a better quality audio experience to users via the Lightning port. If introduced, the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack it may be the single biggest difference for consumers. Rumours of a Bluetooth or Lightning-powered set of EarPods have accompanied these leaks. Another report indicates Apple will ship a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter alongside regular 3.5mm EarPods to buyers this generation, whilst removing the 3.5mm jack. A recent leak also showed Lightning-powered EarPods in a leaked image, while another leak showed it in even more images. A more recent, separate leaked video that purportedly compares the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 6s also points to the redesigned antenna bands, apart from the larger camera lens, and lack of 3.5mm audio jack.
Bluetooth headphones, presumably with the Beats branding, are also expected to be launched as an alternative to the Lightning-powered EarPods. A leak claims that Apple has been working on a Bluetooth chip in-house for many years. This effort is said to have begun soon after the acquisition of Passif Semiconductor in 2013. Apple's chip will make the wireless headphones stay connected to the iPhone for a longer time, using less power to doing so. The Bluetooth wireless headphones are expected to survive 'all-day', just like the Apple Watch.
Dual SIM iPhone?
A recent report tips that Apple will for the first time include a dual-SIM iPhone in its lineup, though the same report also claims the 3.5mm headphone jack will remain - contradicting several other reports.
While the iPhone 7 will stick to a single camera lens, the dual camera setup is expected to be embedded in the larger iPhone 7 Plus. This will be the first time Apple dabbles in the dual camera feature, and it will be interesting to see how the dual camera setup changes the quality of the pictures produced, from better low-light performance to improved colour accuracy and faster autofocus. A recent case render also tipped the dual camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus, alongside inclusion of the Smart Connector. The latest leaks claiming to show the back panels of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus corroborate the rumours. An image leaked in July once again showed the rear panel of the iPhone 7, with a large single camera lens visible with a protective ring was seen around it. A separate iPhone 7 Plus image leak in July once again shows the dual camera setup.
Deep Blue or Space Black colour variant
Apple is reportedly also looking to introduce a Deep Blue colour variant with the iPhone 7 this year, and, dramatically, discontinue the popular Space Grey colour variant. The same publication soon said Apple will introduce a Space Black colour instead (and Weibo testified the claim with images recently), replacing Space Grey. A more recent report contradicts both claims, and instead says the iPhone 7 will be launched in the same four colour variants as the iPhone 6s.
3GB of RAM
To accommodate the dual camera setup, the iPhone 7 Plus will increase its RAM size to 3GB. There is no information whether the base iPhone 7 variant will receive the bump, but we sure hope it does. . A fresh report also claims that the 3GB RAM bump is exclusive to the larger variant only.
A few images have been leaked showing speaker grilles on both the sides of the Lightning port hinting that the iPhone 7 might come with stereo speakers.
A recent leak has tipped that the iPhone 7 will come with two sets of stereo speakers, like the iPad Pro, on the top and bottom panels of the smartphone.
Optical image stabilisation
While the iPhone 7 Plus is tipped to sport a dual camera setup, both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus variants are tipped to come with optical image stabilisation (OIS).
Slimmer than predecessor
The iPhone 7 is expected to be 1mm slimmer than its predecessor. This can happen only if Apple ditches the 3.5mm audio jack. Currently, the iPhone 6s is 7.1mm thin. The iPhone 7's metal build, height, width, and design profile will stay the same.
Force Touch home button
A recent leak tips that Apple may use its Force Touch technology on the iPhone 7's home button. The report claims that Apple is redesigning the physical home button to replace it with one that sits flush with the body, and provides haptic feedback.
Mute button removal
A report citing leaked images in July re-iterated the rumoured dual camera setup on the iPhone 7 Plus, however, the leak contained one major difference - no mute switch on either side of the handset. Apple normally places the mute switch above the volume buttons, it appears to be missing.
Apple is expected to keep the same price points as previous generations for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with of course a large premium for the top-end 256GB variant. The iPhone 7 Pro on the other hand is expected to begin from CNY 7,088 (roughly Rs. 72,900) for the 32GB model, and go up to CNY 8,888 (roughly Rs. 91,200) for the 256GB model.
Another leak tips pricing of the three rumoured variants - the 32GB variant of the iPhone 7 is said to be priced at CNY 5,288 (roughly Rs. 52,900), the 64GB variant at CNY 6,088 (roughly Rs. 60,900), and the 256GB at CNY 7,088 (roughly Rs. 70,900). The iPhone 7 Plus is expected to be priced at CNY 6,088 (roughly Rs. 60,900) for the 32GB variant, CNY 6,888 (roughly Rs. 68,900) for the 128GB variant, and CNY 7,888 (roughly Rs. 78,900) for the256GB variant. The iPhone 7 Pro is expected to be priced at CNY 7,088 (roughly Rs. 70,900) for the 32GB variant, while the 128GB variant is said to cost CNY 7,888 (roughly Rs. 78,900), and the 256GB variant is expected to come for CNY 8,882 (roughly Rs. 88,900). The iPhone 7 price in India is expected to bear a slight premium over a direct conversion.
Minor changes only
A recent report tips that Apple will be making only minor changes to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus compared to previous generations, with the major changes due only with the 2017 iPhone, such as an Oled display, and a fingerprint sensor integrated onto the display.
Needless to say, the iPhone 7 leaks will continue to pour in, and more information on the smartphone will be revealed in the coming months. However, it is recommended to take all these leaks lightly, until the official iPhone 7 launch in September - still widely held to be the launch month for this year's iPhone models.
A recent leak tips that the iPhone 7 will feature a 1960mAh battery - a significant upgrade over the iPhone 6s, which has a 1715mAh battery. The larger battery capacity may have been implemented to improve the much-lamented iPhone battery life, and also to power the faster, new Apple A10 processor.
Apple A10 SoC
Apple with each generation of the iPhone introduces a new custom-designed SoC, and this year, the Apple A10 is expected. The SoC has purportedly shown up on the Geekbench benchmark, showing a performance score that is roughly 18 percent higher than the Apple A9 processor seen on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus - like the A9, it is expected to sport a dual-core CPU, and be built with a new process that makes it smaller in scale. The A10 SoC images were also leaked online very recently.
Apple is heavily expected to launch the new iPhone in early September, and a recent report from Bloomberg points at a September 7 launch date. Evan Blass started dropping hints with a tentative 'will be launched in the week of September 12, to a specific September 16 launch date for the US market. Later on, it was reported that the pre-orders will begin on September 9, after which tech geeks started speculating of a September 5 or 6 launch event date. However, all of this is based on mere speculations and leaks, and there is no official invite from Apple so far.
More water resistant
As mentioned above, the iPhone this year will sport a Force Touch home button. A Foxconn insider-owned Weibo page claimed that this change will make the iPhone more resistant to water damage than its predecessor, but won't be IP68 certified. Smartphones that are IP68 certified can survive five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. The next iPhone is expected to be splash proof, and probably survive in the rains
A new image leaked on Weibo revealed the display credentials of the next iPhone. The 4.7-inch panel has a full-HD resolution, while the 5.5-inch panel has a 2K or Quad-HD screen. Just to put things into perspective, the current iPhone 6s sports a screen with an HD resolution of 750x1334 pixels, while iPhone 6s Plus has a full-HD resolution of 1080x1920 pixels.
An image of the next iPhone's purported motherboard was also leaked on Weibo, and there seems to be chip slot between SIM card slot and the processor, unlike previous models of the phone. This chip might be packing extra processing power or even have a different purpose altogether. The exact purpose remains a mystery till date.