Apple iPhone 7
Details are pictured on the back of an Apple Iphone 6 on a table in a restaurant in Hanau, Germany, April 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Rumors are rife that Apple wants to abandon the 16GB storage tier for the upcoming version of the company’s flagship smartphone, widely-expected to be called the “iPhone 7.” While the Cupertino-based tech giant remains silent about the speculation, a Chinese website has backed the recent murmurings, suggesting that the new iPhone may be offered in three variants — iPhone 7, iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro.

Unlike earlier rumors that suggested 32GB, 64GB and 256GB storage variants for the iPhone 7, China’s Wechat listed the tiers as 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, indicating that Apple is finally ditching the entry level 16GB option. The report implies that the same storage tiers would be featured in all three iPhone 7 models, something that should be treated with a pinch of salt as Apple moves slowly in terms of storage upgrades.

If Apple offers 128GB versions as the middle tier, buyers are unlikely to opt for the top tier, which is 256GB, 9To5Mac reported, adding that “doubling across the range” is doubtful.

Here are the price details, claimed by the report:

iPhone 7: 5,288 yuan ($794.51) for 32GB, 6,088 yuan ($914.71) for 128GB, 7,088 yuan ($1064.96) for 256GB

iPhone 7 Plus: 6,088 yuan for 32GB, 6,888 yuan ($1034.91) for 128GB, 7,888 yuan ($1185.16) for 256GB

iPhone 7 Pro: 7,088 yuan for 32GB, 7,888 yuan for 128GB, 8,888 yuan ($1335.41) for 256GB

Since the rumored pricing is the same as the iPhone 6s for the bottom and middle tier models, doubling the storage across the board without raising prices is indeed suspicious. Although Apple is highly expected to kill the 16GB storage starting with the next iPhone — the company is supplying iPhones with in-built 4K camcorders — it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will offer 32GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options.

Recent reports suggested that Apple would give its iPhone a minor refresh this year ahead of a more substantial design overhaul in 2017. Some leaked images, showing the casing for the new iPhone published by the website last month, also backed up these claims.

However, despite rumors of a comparatively minor upgrade, Apple is reportedly asking its supply chain to make more handsets than it had produced in the previous two years. According to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Apple has requested its suppliers to produce 78 million new iPhones in 2016, the highest in two years.


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