iPhone 7 Rumors
Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 could be its thinnest handset yet. Pictured: Members of the media gather around a lineup of the iPhone 6S. Stephen Lam/Getty Images

While Apple’s iPhone 6S has only been on sale for only a few months, the rumor mill is already gearing up for its next smartphone – the anticipated iPhone 7.

Officially, Apple hasn’t announced that it has a new iPhone in the works. That being said, its supply chain has hinted at what may make it into the final device. Here’s a look at what to anticipate in Apple’s next iPhone.

Six-Core A10 Processor

Like clockwork, Apple is expected to bump up the performance of the mobile processor in the iPhone 7 with the addition of six cores. In theory, multiple processor cores allows a computer to handle more commands and data simultaneously. But in real-world use it’s but one of many factors that can affect a device's performance, such as software optimization and considerations of balancing battery life with processor speed.

Thinner Case Design

With the exception of the iPhone 6S, Apple’s smartphones have generally shaved off some thickness over the years. The iPhone 7 is expected to continue this trend, likely shrinking to a thickness resembling the 6.1 mm iPod Touch, according to a research note by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In comparison the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus come in respectively at 7.1 mm and 7.3 mm.

No Headphone Jack

To facilitate a thinner case, Apple may entirely ditch the 3.5 mm headphone port. In lieu of the standard port, wired headsets will likely connect through the Lightning port of the iPhone. It’s a feature that iOS devices have supported since iOS 8. While the idea may initially sound far-fetched, Apple isn’t exactly known for being sentimental with old standards. Over the years it has shown its willingness to abandon technology, such as FireWire, built-in optical drives in its Macs, 30-pin iPod dock connector and larger USB ports in the 12-inch MacBook.

Wireless EarPods

Complementing the lack of a headphone jack, Apple may instead include a set of Bluetooth wireless earbuds with its iPhone 7, according to 9to5Mac. While it’s not known what Apple will name the new earphones, one option is AirPods, which was trademarked by a company possibly linked to Apple, according to MacRumors.

Increased Memory

Apple iPhone RAM Over Time | SpecOut

Apple bumped up the maximum memory of the iPhone 6S to 2GB up from the 1GB found in the iPhone 6, allowing for more apps and data to run simultaneously. But with the iPhone 7, it could also bump that even higher with 3GB of RAM, according to a note from Kuo obtained by AppleInsider in November. What’s still up in the air is whether Apple will increase the base storage of the iPhone up from the 16GB found on current models.

Water Resistance

One feature the iPhone 7 could find itself with is improved water resistance as well as dust resistant features, according to Macotakara. Officially Apple doesn’t say its iPhones are water resistant. However, several tests have shown that its iPhone 6S does have the ability to survive a brief trip into the drink. Teardowns performed by iFixit have also shown the addition of additional gaskets to protect the edges of the handset. Alternatively, Apple is also looking into ways to remove moisture from a smartphone’s case using its speaker ports, according to a patent application published in November.

Wireless Charging

Taptic Wireless Charger
The coils of Apple's Taptic Engine could also be used for wireless charging, according to the patent application. USPTO/Apple

Apple’s patent applications reveal that it’s at least experimenting with the idea of adding wireless charging to its smartphones. One way it could do this is using a coil of a built-in vibration motor or speaker to double as a wireless charger. Alternatively, Apple could potentially tap into technology released by Qualcomm, which allows wireless charging through metal smartphone cases.

Release Date

If Apple follows the trend of previous releases, those in the new market for a smartphone can likely expect a release sometime in the second half of 2016. But before that happens, Apple is also expected to release a 4-inch smartphone in March, dubbed the “iPhone 6C.” While the handset is anticipated to come with features such as the Apple Pay mobile payment system, it may not come with more advanced features such as the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display on the iPhone 6S.