Apple is widely expected to introduce two brand new iPhones during its upcoming event on Sept. 7. It may also unveil an updated Apple Watch among other products.
Here’s a look at what we may see from this year’s iPhone — likely to be called the iPhone 7 — based on the latest rumors and reports.
Apple typically releases its new iPhones in September, and it seems like this year will be no different. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is holding an invitation-only event on Sept. 7 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, which is where it debuted the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus last year. Bloomberg previously reported that Apple will unveil its new iPhones on that day, while VentureBeat’s Evan Blass reports that the phones will be available for purchase on Sept. 16. It’s possible that this date may be pushed back to Sept. 23, as suggested by a supposedly leaked AT&T retail schedule published by 9to5Mac.
1. No headphone jack
Apple is expected to take the controversial step of removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, as reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have indicated. This alteration is said to make the next iPhone slimmer and more water resistant, though critics have colored the move as consumer-unfriendly.
Since Apple typically includes a pair of earbuds with each new iPhone, it’s possible we’ll see a pair of headphones that plug into the phone’s Lightning port, or a wireless pair of earbuds, ship with the iPhone 7. One report suggests Apple may introduce a set of wireless earbuds called “AirPods” sold as a separate accessory.
2. Dual camera
The iPhone 7 is rumored to be getting a big boost in the photography department thanks to a new camera system. The new iPhone will feature two sensors that snap photographs simultaneously, according to Bloomberg. Each sensor is said to capture color differently, and the iPhone 7’s software will combine the results to produce a single brighter and more detailed image. While the iPhone’s camera is already among the best you can get on a smartphone, Samsung’s newer smartphones are generally better at taking photos in low-light conditions. A dual-sensor system could give Apple the upper hand.
3. One caveat
This upgrade is only expected to appear on Apple’s larger iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 7 Plus. That’s according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has made fairly accurate Apple predictions in the past. iPhone photographers who prefer the smaller model might find solace in the rumor that Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a technology that helps reduce blur in photos, is coming to the iPhone 7. If true, it will be the first time OIS makes its way to a non-Plus model.
4. Slightly different design
Save the absence of the headphone jack, Apple’s next iPhones aren’t expected to look very different than their predecessors. However, Apple is said to have figured out a way to get rid of the antenna bands that stretch across the back of the device. Still, iPhone owners who house their devices in protective cases might not notice the difference.
Next year’s flagship iPhones may see a more significant design change. Apple is rumored to be developing three new iPhones, one of which is said to have a curved screen similar to that of Samsung’s newer smartphones, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Apple is also reportedly planning to get rid of the home button as part of this redesign, Bloomberg reports.
5. No 16GB option
Apple may finally bump up the entry level iPhone’s storage capacity from 16GB to 32GB, according to The Wall Street Journal. Most Android phones come with 32GB of space by default, but Apple has maintained that 16GB is sufficient for those who use the cloud for most computing tasks. However, critics say that even with cloud storage, 16GB is hardly enough storage for many users, particularly because the iPhone’s operating system tends to take up some of that space right off the bat.
“The belief is more and more as we use iCloud services for documents and our photos and videos and music, that perhaps the most price-conscious customers are able to live in an environment where they don’t need gobs of local storage because these services are lightening the load,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, recently told tech blogger John Gruber.
6. Tap-to-pay for mass transit in Japan
Apple is planning to incorporate a tap-to-pay technology called FeliCa into its next iPhone, according to Bloomberg. This tech will allow those in Japan to store public transportation passes on their phones rather than having to carry around physical cards. Near Field Communication, which is the technology that powers Apple Pay and other contactless payments, is popular in North America, but the FeliCa standard is very prevalent in Japan. There are 1.9 million payment terminals in Japan that support it, says Bloomberg. While the report says Apple is planning this feature for its next iPhone, Bloomberg also mentions this functionality may debut in next year’s model depending on how talks with Japan-based payment networks play out.
7. iOS 10
Apple’s newest smartphones always come with the latest software already installed. That pattern is likely to continue. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are likely to come with iOS 10 out of the box, which brings an improved version of iMessage that supports app integration, a new Siri that can interact with third-party services, and a revamped Photos app that uses machine learning to determine the contents of an image, among other new features. Older iPhones and iPads will be able to update to iOS 10 in the fall.