The new Apple phone is on the way. And, as ever, so are the rumours.
The iPhone 7 will be an important release for Apple: it’s the first phone it has launched since sales of the handsets stopped growing. The company has promised to keep innovating to ensure that those sales stay up and people stay interested – so it will be interesting to see how Apple actually manages to do that.
Here’s our comprehensive and up-to-date list of everything that’s expected for the new phone. It’ll be continually updated as the launch date approaches.
This is perhaps the easiest of the secrets to predict: Apple tends to launch the phone at some point the same few days each year, and the release date is as predictable too.
This year, the phone had been expected on 7 September – a Wednesday, after the Labor Day long weekend in the US. It’s almost certain that it will fall within this week, although Apple might shift the exact date around slightly.
The release itself is expected to come on 16 September, though it might fall a week after. Apple will announce the release date at its launch event.
Apple usually starts selling the phone in a limited range of countries first, including the US, UK and some of Europe. It’ll then roll out elsewhere in the following months.
All will become clear when Apple sends out its invites to the press, which usually happens towards the end of August.
The new handset is likely to be called the iPhone 7 after all. That might not seem so surprising, but it is – the phone is expected to be more like another “s” year than a whole new phone, and Apple was thought to be perhaps moving away from its traditional naming system.
This year, at least, it’s strongly rumoured that it won’t. The new phone will be the 7 after all.
No headphone jack
Perhaps the biggest rumour about the new phone is what’s not going to be there, rather than what is. There’ll be no traditional headphone jack on the bottom of the next phone, according to a huge number of reports.
By now, it’s almost certain this is going to happen. But what remains entirely unknown is how Apple will spin it, what headphones they’ll offer in the box and exactly how mad everyone will be.
Actually, that last one probably is known. People will be very mad, and then they’ll forget about it.
No antenna lines
Perhaps the only obvious difference from the iPhone 6 and 6s will be on the back, where there’ll be none of the light, plastic antenna lines that grace the back of those phones. Until now, they’d been presumed to be necessary to allow the phone’s data connection to escape out of the handset – but it seems that Apple might have fixed that.
That will mean that the whole back will be the same colour.
And that colour might be new. There’s been some suggestion that Apple is working on ether bringing back truly black phones – the 6 and 6s have only come in Space Grey, which is a kind of dark silver – or that it is working on a colour that’s more like a deep blue.
This would make sense, since Apple has been keen on rolling out new colours to its phones, bringing gold to the iPhone 6 and then rose gold to the iPhone 6s. Those colours have been gradually making their way across the rest of the line, too.
The phone might be able to go underwater, like some of its competitors - but Apple might not say so. Recent rumours have suggested that Apple is making the new iPhone more hardy, and that alongside a less crackable screen and stronger materials the phone will also be able to go for a swim.
Some of the other changes rumoured for the phone appear to back this up. The removal of both the physical home button and the headphone jack might help Apple seal up parts of the phone where water would usually get in, for instance.
If this does happen, Apple might choose not to mention it. The company has been gradually making its devices more water resistant – both the Apple Watch and the iPhone have been found to stand more water than advertised - but it appears that Apple is happy allowing that just to ensure that the phones don’t get broken rather than using it as an advertised features.
Perhaps the biggest improvements this year, if reports are to be believed, will be to the camera. At least some of the versions of the phone are expected to feature a dual-lens camera, which will allow the handset to take far better pictures – images that might rival SLRs in their depth and low light performance.
It isn’t clear yet whether this will only come to the Plus-sized models of the phone – which have in the past received better upgrades to their camera, because there’s more space to put them in – or will come to them all.
No actual home button
There’ve long been rumours that Apple would drop the home button entirely, so that the whole front of the phone could be a screen. We’re not there yet – but we’re on our way.
This year’s phone will include a flush, unpressable home button that will sit in the normal place, according to rumours. It’ll feel like a real button – using the same haptic feedback that lets the actually flat trackpad on the new laptops feel like there’s a button – but you won’t actually press it.
What we do know about the new phone is that it’ll run iOS 10. There seem to have been some changes in the new operating system that are built for a new phone – but very little has been given away, despite Apple making the software available for everyone.
It does make it possible to open up the phone without ever pressing the Home button, however. And it gives the handset a full spruce-up ready for its new look.
iPhones usually stay roughly the same price year-on-year, with the new phones moving into the slot inhabited by their predecessor and all the others falling into the different price points accordingly.
That will mean that the phone will be priced from about £539 or $649 at the bottom of the range, for the smallest storage and the smaller handset. Prices will then go all the way up to £789 or $849 for the Plus-sized phone at the top storage level.
But at least this year you might be getting more space for your cash – Apple is upping the storage at the bottom of its phone line-up, and probably doing the same at the top.
That will mean that the likely line-up will go: 32GB, 64GB (or 128GB) or 128GB.
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