Forget the iPhone 6S. The rumor mill has instead already turned its attention to what’s next up Apple’s sleeve, perhaps an iPhone 7.
Apple hasn’t officially said that it’s working on a new smartphone. But leaks from the iPhone maker’s extensive supply chain have started to give onlookers at least an idea of what may be coming when the company unveils the device later this year. While it’s a tad early for extensive part leak photos, here’s a glimpse of what we might expect in Apple’s next iPhone.
Dual Camera and Flush Lens Design
One feature that isn’t expected to make its way into the next iPhone is the protruding “camera bump” of the iPhone 6 and 6S, which made it difficult for iPhone owners to lay their device flat without an additional protective case. Instead, the iPhone 7 is expected to come with a camera design complete with a lens that sits flush with the rear case, a feature last seen on the iPhone 5S.
Another upgrade to the iPhone’s camera could come in the form of a dual-camera design, which would enable Apple to add features such as an optical zoom, without the need for a protruding lens. However, the feature may be reserved for a version of the larger iPhone 7 Plus, according to a February research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Thin as an iPod
While the iPhone 6S went in the opposite direction with a slight thickness increase, the iPhone 7 could slim down to a thickness of 6 mm to 6.5 mm, similar to an iPod Touch, according to a September research note issued by Kuo. In comparison, Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus respectively come in at 7.1 mm and 7.3 mm thickness.
No Headphone Jack
To accommodate the thinner design, one feature that Apple could be leaving out from the iPhone is the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. In its place, Apple is expected to include a pair of headphones that plug into the Lightning port located at the bottom of the device. While Lightning-enabled headphones are hardly commonplace among iPhone owners, Apple had supported the feature as early as 2014, when it introduced the accessory standard during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
In addition, Apple may also make the Lightning port of the iPhone slimmer to adapt to the thinner design and introduce stereo speakers to the iPhone, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara.
To complement its wired headset, Apple may also be developing a set of wireless EarPod Bluetooth headphones that can be purchased as a separate accessory. While it will likely be another addition to Apple’s accessory portfolio, the headphones aren’t expected to replace its line of Beats Electronics wireless earbuds.
Waterproof (or Maybe Not?)
This is one feature that the rumor mill has gone back and forth on. Rumors in September originally pointed to waterproof features coming to Apple’s next iPhone redesign. However, there’s a possibility that the feature may not make its way into the iPhone 7, according to Mac Otakara.
Officially, Apple hasn’t said its iPhone is water resistant. But teardowns of the iPhone 6S performed by iFixit reveal the addition of several rubber gaskets, likely to reduce the chance of destroying an iPhone by accidental liquid damage. While it’s unclear if water resistance will make it to the iPhone 7, several patent applications reveal that Apple is at least experimenting with the feature.
More Memory and Faster Processor
Apple may also bump up the memory of the iPhone 7 to 3GB from the 2GB found in the iPhone 6S, according to Kuo’s November research note. This can enable the iPhone to run more apps simultaneously. A faster A10 processor with six cores may also be a feature that makes its way into the smartphone. In theory, more cores enable a chip to process larger amounts of data simultaneously. But how well it performs depends on a number of factors, such as balancing the needs for reduced power consumption and software optimization.
Fewer Antenna Bands
To clean up the look of the iPhone’s case, Apple may eliminate the antenna bands that run across the rear of the device, according to MacRumors. However, the bands along the side are expected to remain on the iPhone 7.
— MacRumors.com (@MacRumors) February 2, 2016
Harder to Unlock
One possible addition that could make its way into the iPhone 7 or perhaps a future iOS device are security features that would make it harder for even Apple to break into, according to the New York Times. Apple has generally worked to improve the security of its smartphones with new iOS versions and iPhone models. But its renewed efforts to make its devices more secure in part come in response to an FBI demand that Apple create a backdoor into an iPhone 5C used by one of the shooters in the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, California. If developed, the backdoor would enable the FBI to try an unlimited number of passcodes on the device, in what is known as a brute-force attack.
Officially, Apple hasn’t said that it’s working on a new iPhone. But if it sticks to the release trends of previous years, it’s likely that customers could see a new device sometime in the second half of 2016. Before that happens, Apple in March is expected to unveil a 4-inch smartphone that could be called the iPhone 5se.