Apple employees take orders for the new iPhone 6S at the Apple Retail in Palo Alto, California September 25, 2015
Apple employees take orders for the new iPhone 6S at the Apple Retail in Palo Alto, California September 25, 2015

iPhone 7 design to stay largely unchanged apart from removal of headphone jack, report claims

The decision will mark a major break with the previous pattern of iPhone upgrades, which has held since 2008

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Wednesday 22 June 2016 15:03

Apple is set to keep almost exactly the same design for its new iPhone – with one small tweak.

The iPhone 7 will mark the first time that Apple keeps largely the same external chassis for three years, if the reports are true. It will mark a major break with tradition for the company, which until now has run on a “tick” and “tock” process that sees the phone’s design changed once every other year.

But one major change will include dropping the headphone plug that sits at the bottom of the phone, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cited people familiar with the matter. Getting rid of that hole in the bottom will allow Apple to make the phone even thinner and allow it to be water resistant, the report said.

Apple will instead use the Lightning connector that sits in the bottom of the phone and is used for charging and other features to send sound to headphones, previous reports have indicated. Though switching to that new port will probably annoy many users by making old headphones defunct, Apple is expected to offer converters for existing plugs and emphasise that the change could provide power and better quality audio to headphones.

But otherwise the phone will stay unchanged, the same report claimed. The screen sizes and overall design will stay the same, with minimal adjustments to the antenna lines that run around the back, for instance.

The phone might also be able to become around 1mm thinner, because of the loss of the headphone jack and other redesigns, according to previous reports.

Instead, the big updates to the phone will be saved for 2017, according to the same report. That year – which will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone – could see a handset with an edge-to-edge OLED screen that would allow the company to get rid of the home button by adding a fingerprint sensor into the display.

It isn’t clear if Apple’s move to have two “tock” years of hardware refinement rather than re-design will be a permanent one. Deciding to make the change comes at a precarious moment for the iPhone because it just experienced its first quarter when sales didn’t grow.

Introducing iOS 10

Apple is making the change this year because it is taking the extra time to integrate new technology into the 2017 phone, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company hopes to bring new features like invisible fingerprint sensors and curved screens, but isn’t yet ready to integrate them into phones that it can sell to the public, according to the same report.

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