Apple tends to prefer to let its rivals do the heavy lifting when it comes to cutting-edge smartphone features.
Then at a later date and only when it's ready, it will bring a sharper, cooler version of the tech to market and wow the masses.
Think: Apple Pay and NFC contactless payments technology. Think: FaceTime video calling too.
But newly unearthed evidence suggests Apple is exploring the possibility of bringing cutting edge Li–Fi technology to the iPhone, potentially putting it well ahead of the competition.
So, what is Li–Fi? And why should you be excited? Read on and we’ll reveal all.
1 What is Li–Fi?
Li–Fi, or Light Fidelity, is a data transfer technology designed to offer rapid internet connections using light rather than the radio waves that are the basis of the Wi–Fi connections we use now.
The other major difference is that Li-Fi can potentially serve up connection speeds of a whopping 224 Gigabits per second (Gbps).
To put that into context, the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom says the current average broadband speed in the UK is 22Mbps.
That means that owners of Li-Fi-enabled gadgets can expect super fast wireless transfers of photos, videos and music.
2 How does it work?
Products that support Li–Fi are equipped with a sensor that can receive data from a special light source.
This comes in the form of a specially made LED lightbulb that flashes light so fast that the human eye can’t see it flickering.
Its creator claims a single LED can transfer more data than an existing mobile tower today.
3 Who's behind it?
Harald Haas, the chair of mobile communications at University of Edinburgh, came up with the idea.
His TED talk explains brilliantly how we could easily use light sources such as car headlamps and overhead lighting on planes to access data and the web.
4 So, how does it fit in with Apple and the iPhone 7?
Eagle–eyed developers have found a reference to Li–Fi in the code for Apple’s iOS 9.1, which was released at the end of last year.
iOS 9 runs on over 75% of all iPhones and iPads, and while these devices don’t currently have Li–Fi, there’s every chance that some prototype models in Apple’s labs do.
If it can bring the technology to market, Apple will have a major jump on the likes of Samsung and Google.
5 So, will it be featured in the iPhone 7?
It’s not clear yet. But it does seem plausible that may see fit to include Li–Fi to future-proof its newest smartphones, knowing that the tech is getting closer to being a day–to–day reality.
It’s most likely, though, that Apple wants to use Li–Fi to boost its HomeKit partner products.
These are made to be controlled by iPhones and iPads.
With smart lightbulbs increasingly common, Apple may want to ensure its future devices work with any Li–Fi bulbs that hit the market in the next few years.