As July turns to August, it means that summer is winding down — and that new iPhones are imminent.
With an announcement expected during the first or second week of September, we’re now officially in the homestretch — less than 8 weeks away from the big day when rumors turn to vapor or crystalize into reality.
Here’s an updated rundown of the things we may see with the iPhone 7.
Editors’ note: This story was originally posted on December 14, 2015 and has been updated regularly.
In recent years, Apple has alternated annually between major design changes and minor upgrades. That’s expected to change in 2016. The overall consensus among analysts and rumor-mongers, supported by many unofficial photos and videos leaked during the past few months, is that for the second year in a row we’re likely to see mostly modest, superficial changes — call it the “iPhone 6SS,” if you will.
Perhaps the most dramatic change still in play would be the addition of a rumored third “Pro” model. According to multiple sources, Apple’s portfolio, which was already extended to include the new SE model in March 2016, may soon include an iPhone 7, an iPhone 7 Plus — and an iPhone 7 Pro. Leaked photos that first surfaced in July 2016 on Nowhereelse.fr appear to show three such different models. But recent rumors have suggested that Apple will probably stick with only two models.
The other biggie involves the 3.5mm headphone jack — which has been MIA in many recently leaked photos. The thought is that Apple, always pushing the envelope on killing off legacy ports and media, is removing the one that even predates the 1979 Sony Walkman.
If true —— it leaves a few options on the table. Apple could bundle new Lightning-tipped EarPod headphones (or sell them separately). Or it could throw in a Lightning-to-minijack adapter, as Motorola is doing with its Moto Z (which has only a USB-C port). And, of course, since Apple owns Beats, you can expect some fancy new wireless PowerBeats to arrive alongside iPhone 7, too. (Like most other phones, you could use the iPhone 7 with any existing Bluetooth headphones or speakers, too.)
Ditching the headphone jack would also leave room for a second speaker grille, which has appeared on other leaked photos. That would allow the iPhone 7 to be the first model with true stereo sound.
Otherwise, the exterior changes are expected to be rather minimal — similar to identical screen sizes and bezels, and the familiar home button below the screen. Even if Apple expands the line as shown in the photo above, they all look pretty much like clones of the iPhone 6/6S and 6/6S Plus.
Many sources are expecting a significant step up in quality with the iPhone 7’s camera. In mid-March 2016, Taiwanese site Apple.club.tw posted what it says are images of a dual-camera module that it says will be included on the iPhone 7 Plus. The LG G5 and Huawei P9 already sports dual rear cameras, which offer more flexible photography options (including wider angle shots).
Since then, a steady stream of sources have bolstered the dual lens rumor. According to the rumors, the dual camera would likely be included on the 5.5-inch-screen iPhone 7 Plus and/or Pro, but probably not the standard 4.7-inch-screen iPhone 7.
Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka @OnLeaks) of Nowhereelse.fr, who has a good track record of leaking things that turn out to be true, tweeted that a reliable source revealed that the iPhone 7 will receive a healthy battery upgrade.
He reports that Apple will upgrade the iPhone 7 battery to 1,960mAh (from the iPhone 6S’s would go from 1,715mAh), which translates into a 14 percent bump in capacity. It’s unclear how much of a battery life bump that will ultimately give you, but that translates to 90 minutes more video playback time — 12.5 hours versus 11 hours — if you do the math using Apple’s iPhone 6S stats.
A redesigned home button was one of the most active topics in the early iPhone 7 prediction conversation. As late as June, analysts at Cowen and Company were predicting that the iPhone 7 would have a “Force Touch” home button. According to Business Insider’s coverage of the report, “Instead of a physical mechanism, Apple will use its ‘Force Touch’ technology and a motor inside the iPhone to provide the sensation that the button is being physically depressed.”
On the component front, an analyst firm has predicted that the iPhone 7 will support a whopping 256GB of storage space, matching the iPad Pro and offering lots more room for apps and videos. The firm, Trendforce, also predicts that the phone will get a memory boost to 3GB in the 5.5-inch model.
In June, BGR reported that Chinese shopping site Weibo had posted prices for three iPhone 7 models, with storage tiers starting at 32GB; the current entry-level iPhone models start at a paltry 16GB. That rumor was effectively confirmed by The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern on July 5.
Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June left behind a decent trail of clues, with plenty of new features coming down the pike. Siri, photos, maps, and especially the Messages app have all been upgraded. iOS 10 is available only to developers at the moment; the official release is expected to come this fall, likely coinciding with the release of the forthcoming iPhone 7. (Click here for the complete scoop on iOS 10.)
The next generation of Apple’s mobile operating system will include increased 3D Touch integration, pickup-to-wakeup, in-notification responses, more detailed notifications, faster access to apps and widgets from the lock screen, and live video in notifications. Calling improvements will include an extension API for filtering out phone spam, and the addition of VoIP calling. Messages will support rich content (such as link expansion and video building), bigger emoji with predictions, an in-app camera, scalable text, invisible ink and handwriting and sketches. And Apple will roll out object and scene recognition for Photos, and using AI to cluster photos by relevance.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities has predicted that Apple will revamp its 2017 lineup to include an iPhone with a curved display. According to his story, the screen will be based on active matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, which offer several advantages over the LCD (liquid crystal display) screens currently used in iPhones. Earlier reports predicted that Apple would switch to OLED displays in 2018. Either way, this would likely debut on whatever model succeeds the iPhone 7.
And 9to5mac.com has reported that in 2015 Apple filed a patent for a transparent fingerprint sensor embedded into a smartphone display. First published in May 2015, the patent application outlines three sensor technologies, including “ultrasonic imaging” that could be embedded into a display and deliver greater accuracy than the current iPhone’s Touch ID capacitive sensor. It’s unlikely that the technology will be ready for the iPhone 7, but the following model could plausibly be the first to do away with the venerable physical home button — though LG might beat Apple to the punch.
One other story that has surfaced involves the possibility of the generation after the iPhone 7 supporting wireless charging; Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz has predicted that Apple reserve this innovation for what he has called the iPhone 8. The Verge reports that Apple has been staffing up on wireless charging experts, including a couple from wireless charging startup uBeam, and has hired more than a dozen overall in the last two years.
Scroll down for a reverse-chronological look at the latest rumors.
July 19, 2016
Would you give up the iPhone 7’s headphone jack for better battery life?
Rumor has it the iPhone 7 will have a 14 percent higher capacity battery. But is it worth giving up the headphone jack to get that bigger battery?
July 18, 2016
Alleged iPhone 7 goes up against iPhone 6S in video clip
The comparison video reveals dual speakers and a larger camera for this year’s upcoming iPhone but no other discernible differences, at least not on the outside.
July 7, 2016
iOS 10 public beta arrives today, and this is what you can do with it
Wonder what Apple’s new software can do for your iPhone? I tried it for a few days, and found its best features still a work in progress.
July 6, 2016
Our iPhone 7 dreams of wireless charging and ‘waterproofing’ could come true, rumor says
Splish-splash? The latest leak allegedly promises an iPhone you can take in the bath and then drop onto a charging pad, cable-free.
July 5, 2016
Apple rolls out second developer betas for iOS 10, MacOS Sierra and WatchOS 3
Software updates for Apple’s iPhone, computers and smartwatch are now available for developers.
June 30, 2016
Apple patent blocks your iPhone from recording video at gigs
The patent uses infrared to tell your phone to disable video recording so you can be forced to enjoy the show.
June 30, 2016
BGR: Chinese leak show purported iPhone 7 pricing and storage tiers
Unknown party posts iPhone 7 pricing on Weibo for three iPhone models.
June 28, 2016
Business Insider: The iPhone 7 could have a totally new kind of home button
Analysts at Cowen and Company believe the iPhone 7 will have a “Force Touch” home button.
June 27, 2016
iPhone 7 alleged photos expose second speaker, larger camera
The photos seemingly provide more backing for rumors that have been floating about the past few months about the next iPhone.
June 23, 2016
Video: Don’t expect big changes with the iPhone 7. Wait for 2017
Brace yourself. Multiple reports agree that the iPhone 7 won’t be a major upgrade, watchOS 3 has me excited about the Apple Watch and our Speck case winners!
June 23, 2016
Here are the subtle changes you will see on the iPhone 7
The changes will affect the earpiece and the position of certain sensors, according to Japanese blog Makotakara.
June 21, 2016
WSJ: iPhone 7 won’t have a major design change
The Wall Street Journal corroborates what analysts and rumors have said for months: Apple’s next iPhone will ditch the headphone jack, but other major design changes will wait till 2017.
June 18, 2016
How Apple plans on making features smarter while balancing privacy
The tech giant touted “differential privacy” as a way of smartening up key apps in iOS 10 without having to access specific information about you.
June 17, 2016
CNET Podcast: The iPhone 7 Plus may not even get a dual-lens camera
We’ve got more details from WWDC 2016’s aftermath. One rumor even says not to expect a dual-lens camera for the next iPhone.
June 13, 2016
CNET Editor’s Take: Apple iOS 10
Due out this fall, iOS 10 enhances everything from the lock screen to Siri, and trots out a boatload of new crazy-fun messaging features.
June 13, 2016
Apple unveils iOS 10, packs it with new features
Apple announces the latest version of its smartphone operating system, iOS 10. The new mobile software updates Siri, photos and more.
June 13, 2016
Apple iOS 10: Will it make you love your iPhone again?
Apple’s refining its iOS software even further with new features like quicker interactions with apps and revamps for its photos, maps and Apple Music apps.
June 5, 2016
New iPhone 7 Report Corroborates Previous Storage Option Rumors
A new report surfaced recently from market intelligence firm TrendForce corroborating previous rumors that the larger-sized iPhone 7 will have 3GB RAM and a 256GB storage.
June 2, 2016
iPhone 7 Plus case bets on a dual-camera design
A Chinese retailer lists a phone case with an extra-wide camera slot in expectation of Apple’s iPhone 7 plans.
June 1, 2016
Apple’s next big press event set for June 13
The tech giant begins inviting the media to its annual Worldwide Developer Conference keynote this month in San Francisco.
June 1, 2016
App gluttons, rejoice: Analyst says iPhone 7 doubles storage to 256GB
TrendForce also expects the larger 5.5-inch model to sport a dual-camera module and boost memory to 3GB.
May 31, 2016
Apple to enter 3-year product cycle for iPhone, starting with iPhone 7
The iPhone 7 may look a lot like the 6 or 6S now that Nikkei reports Apple will shoot for a total redesign every three years instead of two.
May 23, 2016
The iPhone 7 might be doubling up on speakers
Alleged images of the iPhone 7 point to a second row of speakers and a larger camera, but that doesn’t entirely agree with other leaks.
May 20, 2016
Apple could switch to a glass casing for upcoming iPhone
The CEO of a Taiwan-based supplier of iPhone frames predicted the design changes in a shareholder meeting this week.
May 19, 2016
Video: Apple’s working on a different wireless charging method for the iPhone
The Verge reports that Apple is staffing up on wireless charging experts, including a couple from wireless charging startup uBeam.
May 18, 2016
9to5mac.com: Bezel-free iPhone a step closer as third Apple patent published for Touch ID sensor embedded in display
An Apple patent filed last year, but first published in May 2016, outlines new fingerprint sensor technology.
May 17, 2016
Apple may offer three versions of iPhone 7
The company could end up adding an iPhone 7 Pro or Plus Premium to the mix, says blog site Mobipicker.
May 15, 2016
The iPhone 7 you want may not be here until 2017
With rumors percolating that Apple’s fall 2016 iPhone release will look very much like the iPhone 6S, you may have to wait for that big iPhone redesign you were hoping for.
May 13, 2016
Podcast: Apple says it will not shut down iTunes downloads. Plus, the iPhone 7 design and features are revealed
Apple invests in a $1 billion Chinese car service, and the best iPhone might be coming in 2017.
May 5, 2016
Tim Cook: The iPhone 7 will give us “things we can’t live without”
Apple Music and iTunes are getting a revamp, the Apple Watch is just getting started and Phil Schiller teaches us Apple grammar rules.
May 3, 2016
The iPhone 7 headphone jack dies, comes back to life — again
Will Apple’s iPhone 7 have a headphone jack? Only Apple knows, but the rumor mill keeps churning with all sorts of theories. The latest: It’s staying. But wait till next week and it may be dead again.
April 26, 2016
Apple’s iPhone 7 problem
Commentary: Apple needs the next iPhone to be a hit. But the technology for a truly knockout upgrade may be more than a year away.
April 24, 2016
Apple predicted an iPhone sales drop. Here it comes
The company probably saw weak demand for its top-selling product in its fiscal second quarter, setting the stage for a tough 2016 for CEO Tim Cook and his team.
April 21, 2016
Apple’s iPhone 7 Won’t Be A ‘Must-Have’
If you’re hoping for a major iPhone upgrade this year, you’ll be sorely disappointed, one analyst says.
April 18, 2016
Apple confirms WWDC 2016 developers conference begins June 13
Apple announces dates for this year’s developer conference in San Francisco, confirming what we learned earlier from the company’s own digital assistant.
March 27, 2016
Apple’s iPhone may get new screen, wireless charging next year
The popular smartphone may get a complete makeover in 2017, a year earlier than previously predicted, according to a reliable Apple analyst.
March 22, 2016
Here’s the new iPhone lineup
Apple made some new additions and cuts to its phone lineup. Here’s a quick glance at the available models and their pricing.
March 21, 2016
Apple brings back the smaller iPhone for less, but doesn’t skimp on internal processing power.
March 14, 2016
Photo leak: iPhone 7 Plus dual camera lens
March 4, 2016
Intel to Make ‘Significant Portion’ of the iPhone 7’s LTE Modems
Apple’s next flagship smartphone will reportedly have some components manufactured by Intel.
March 3, 2016
Next year may see Apple switch its iPhone display from LCD to OLED, a move that would offer consumers several benefits, according to news site Nikkei.
February 25, 2016
Apple to beef up customers’ iCloud encryption
Apple is working on new ways to strengthen the encryption of customers’ iCloud backups in a way that would make it impossible for the company to comply with valid requests for data from law enforcement.
February 24, 2016
Stronger encryption might be aimed at heading off the next battle with the US government over gaining access to iPhones.
February 16, 2016
Apple is working on electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding that will help maintain performance as its power, complexity, and potential for interference increases.
February 12, 2016
Apple’s next-generation iPhone, expected to abandon a 3.5mm headphone jack, will probably replace the part with a second speaker, according to a Barclays research memo obtained by AppleInsider.
February 4, 2016
New rumors suggest that the new iPhone 7 will closely resemble the iPhone 6 and 6s.
February 3, 2016
Sony’s Dual Camera to See Inclusion in Devices From ‘Major Smartphone Players’
Sony, the manufacturer behind many of the camera sensors used in Apple’s iOS devices, recently confirmed that its dual-lens camera platform will be featured in devices from “major smartphone players” in 2016.
January 29, 2016
The iPhone 7 could bring a new dual-lens camera.
January 28, 2016
The iPhone 7 Plus looks to bring a dual lens camera
A report claims there are two 5.5 inch versions of iPhone 7 Plus — one with a single eye sight camera and another with a dual camera design.
January 27, 2016
iPhone 7 Plus may beckon with two rear-facing cameras
Apple’s next iPhone needs killer features to revive consumer demand. A dual-camera system could be what catches your eye.
January 14, 2016
Apple looks to bring wireless ‘Air Buds’ to the iPhone 7
An iPhone 7 without a headphone jack looks more real, Apple Watch 2 rumors and the iOS 9.3 beta is legit.
January 8, 2016
Hey, Apple, leave that jack alone
The iPhone 7 may be missing a 3.5mm headphone jack when Apple releases the phone this year. A new petition begs the electronics giant not to switch to a Lightning jack.
January 5, 2016
Rumors continue to percolate that Apple will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack in its next iPhone to help slim down the device. But is it a good idea?
December 29, 2015
Catcher to see strong 2016, says paper
The upcoming new iPhone products are rumored to be waterproof and use new compound materials to hide the antenna.
December 10, 2015
Apple has an idea for ‘self-healing’ technology that could make the next iPhone waterproof
Apple has thought of a novel way to help waterproof devices: Covering ports in self-healing seals.
With the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in the rear-view mirror now, it’s time to look ahead and put in our upgrade requests for the next iPhone.
December 3, 2015
A report claims Apple will make Lightning its do-everything port for a slimmer iPhone 7.