Apple has big plans for the iPhone in 2016.
The so–called iPhone 7 is set for an autumn release, with nothing to suggest that the tech giant will deviate from the launch schedule it has stuck to rigidly since the iPhone 4 hit shelves in 2010.
So, what can you expect this time around? And is it worth holding fire until later in the year to get hold of one? Here’s the lowdown on the iPhone 7 so far…
An all–new design
What with 2016 being a so-called ‘tick’ year (in contrast to ‘tock’ years when not much about new iPhones changes), Apple will be looking to refresh the design of the iPhone completely. Just as it did with the iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPhone 6.
Rumours suggest Apple is gunning for an all–metal body, which will be much thinner than the current 7.1mm iPhone 6s.
Word is Jony Ive and his team are looking at edge–to–edge screens. Some even claim the home button could actually form part of the screen rather than being the mechanical, physical button everyone’s come to know since 2007.
No more headphone jack
‘Reliable sources’ from Japan who are familiar with Apple’s plans claim that the company will look to slim down its iPhone 7 to ultra-thin proportions by removing the headphone jack.
Instead, iPhone headphones will be connected via the phone’s Lightning charging port.
Alternatively, users could connect wireless Bluetooth headphones in order to listen to music and watch video.
That Apple is mooting this isn’t entirely ‘new’ news.
Reports that Apple has been planning something along these lines have been abroad since the Lightning connector was first launched in 2012. So it seems highly likely it’ll happen.
Apple has always used LCD screens in its iPhones. But with Samsung having adopted superior OLED tech some time ago, it’s high time the Californian company caught up.
Suggestions that a change to OLED is on the cards stem from reports that LG and Samsung, both of whom supply screens to Apple, are investing heavily in new OLED-manufacturing equipment.
What would it mean for you? Well for starters, OLED screens are brighter and sharper than LCD. Better still, they require less power, so won’t drain your battery so fast.
However, there is a major downside. OLED is more expensive to produce than LCD. So it could push iPhone prices higher.
It’ll be waterproof. And that’s official
Apple never announced it, but the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are already waterproof, thanks to a rubberised gasket and waterproofing material that protects their internal components
It’s believed the iPhone 7 will go one–step further, with rumours suggesting Apple will make its water-resistant properties a major selling point, much as Sony did with the Xperia Z range.
What’s more, a newly unearthed patent points towards Apple working on tech that could actually pump water and other liquid out of the iPhone 7’s speaker grilles.
That would end one of the biggest worries for iPhone-owners and cause a lot less stress when a spilt pint drenches your phone.
Same sizes, plus one surprise
Apple is lining-up devices that will be the same size as its current range, it’s claimed.
These will include a 4.7–inch model and a 5.5–inch Plus variant.
However, there’s plenty of talk that with the iPhone 5s reaching the end of its shelf life, Apple will offer a brand new 4–inch model, dubbed either the iPhone 6c or iPhone 7 mini.
That would allow it to hoover up customers who don’t but still want the iPhone experience.