The iPhone 7 is still some six months away from release. But already the rumour mill is buzzing about plans for Apple’s 2017 smartphone.
The iPhone 7s should, by rights, be a relatively underwhelming update to the handset the Cupertino-based company releases this year.
However, word is that plans are afoot for something a whole lot more exciting.
So, what does that mean for those looking to upgrade this year? And what do we know so far about Apple’s futuristic flagship?
Read on and we’ll reveal all.
1 Glass not aluminium
A new report, released by Wall Street analyst and well–known Apple watcher Ming Chi Kuo, claims that Apple is looking to release an iPhone with an all-glass chassis.
That'd mark a move away from Apple handsets of recent years, which were made mostly from aluminium.
The all-glass iPhone won’t be released until next year, meaning Apple will be sticking with its all–metal frame for 2016’s iPhone 7.
The an-glass build was last used in the iPhone 4s. But reintroducing it in 2016 could help Apple stand out from rival smartphones, which are almost entirely built from aluminium.
2 A completely new look
This glass finish, according to Kuo, means that Apple will completely overhaul the iPhone’s design next year.
How this will play out remains unclear, but expect cleaner lines and something a long way from the current iPhone 6s look.
Assuming he's correct, it would mark the first time that Apple has issued a design overhaul in a so–called ‘tock’ year.
The handsets released in these years usually feature internal upgrades but look the same as the previous year’s model.
Think the iPhone 6s, iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s and you get the picture.
3 Brighter, sharper OLED screen
Apple last week sealed a deal with Samsung worth the best part of £2 billion, which will see the latter supply 100 million OLED screens for its iPhone business, starting next year.
These 5.5–inch screens will be brighter and should not hamper battery life in the same way the current iPhone line-up’s LCDs do.
Rumours last year suggested Apple was plotting an OLED screen of its own manufacture, but it now appears to be leaning on its arch rival for help improving its screen technology.
4 Still lightweight
The bulkiness and heaviness of a glass handset compared with an aluminium one is a problem Apple is going to have to surmount.
Experts believe that it can manage this thanks to an OLED screen, which is lighter than a traditional LCD.
Worries about cracks in the glass design have also been allayed by insiders claiming the material will be reinforced and won’t be as susceptible to smashes as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s.
5 A curved screen?
Rumours continue to swirl about Apple’s plans to release a curved screen version of the iPhone next year.
Whether this is the iPhone 7 remains uncertain, but Apple does need a device which can compete with the hugely popular and impressive Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Failure to do so will likely see a continuing decline in iPhone sales, something which Apple can ill afford.