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iPhone 7: Here Are 6 Of The Biggest Rumored Features

Forbes logo Forbes 05-11-2015 Amit Chowdhry, Contributor
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

Disclosure: I own a small number of Apple shares.

In September 2016, Apple is expected to announce its new generation of smartphones that will likely be called the “iPhone” 7 and “iPhone 7 Plus.” The “iPhone 7” and “iPhone 7 Plus” should have better hardware specifications than its predecessors — known as the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. That means the “iPhone 7” and “iPhone 7 Plus” devices are expected to have updated processors, memory, LTE bands, 3D Touch technology and Touch ID finger sensors. The “iPhone 7″ and “iPhone 7 Plus” will also likely be powered by iOS 10 — which should be revealed at WWDC in June 2016.

Even though the “iPhone 7″ launch is still months away, a number of major rumors are floating around about what else Apple has in store for the new iPhone devices. Here are six of the biggest “iPhone 7″ rumors:

1.) Waterproof And Dust-Proof Rumor

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

Within a month of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus release, several people uploaded videos on YouTube featuring bend tests and waterproof tests. With its 7000 Series aluminum design, the iPhone 6S Plus proved it could resist another “bendgate” incident. And the waterproof tests were a pleasant surprise.

In this video uploaded by YouTube user Zach Straley, it shows the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices were able to survive being submerged in water for 48 hours straight:

The camera, speakers, home button, power button, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and 3D Touch still worked fine after the waterproof test. Apple does not promote the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus as being waterproof, but it seems like the Cupertino giant is heading in that direction. Mac Otakara, a Japanese Apple news blog that is known for successfully predicting several iPhone rumors, recently wrote its sources are claiming the “iPhone 7” should be waterproof and dust-proof.

To find out how the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices were waterproof, iFixit took a look at the glue that is used in the devices. It turned out that the glue appears to act as a gasket around the inside edge of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The strip of glue that is used in the new iPhones accounts for about a 0.3mm increase in the width of the devices compared to its predecessors. “If that strip of sticky goop on the 6s wasn’t put there to hold the display in, then maybe—just maybe—it was designed to keep liquids out. Like a gasket!” said iFixit.

2.) Glass-On-Glass Touch Panels / 4K Ultra HD Screen

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

Another Mac Otakara source claims that Apple will be going back to using glass-on-glass (G/G) touch panels, which would allow the devices to have a “completely flat” LCD panel. This also means that the new iPhones would have a new casing material that is different from the metallic frames that is used in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

By switching to glass-on-glass touch panels, Apple could build new iPhones that have edge-to-edge displays. Apple used glass-on-glass touch panels on its older iPhones up until in-cell tech started being used for the iPhone 5 and above. With a glass-on-glass design, the “iPhone 7” could potentially have a full 4K Ultra HD screen too. According to supply chain sources with DigiTimes, “fully laminated G/G technology” samples were already sent to Apple from Corning and Asahi Glass.

Speculation about the glass-on-glass design supports rumors that Apple will be getting rid of the Home button. Gene Munster recently told Barron’s he believes that the addition of 3D Touch gives Apple a way to eliminate the Home button on newer iPhones, thus making the screens bigger or the devices smaller. But to properly remove the Home button, Apple may have to move the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to a different location on the iPhones like the side or back. Munster cautioned that the chances of Apple removing the Home button in the “iPhone 7″ iteration is 50-50.

3.) Improved Battery Life

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

Munster added that the “iPhone 7” and “iPhone 7 Plus” will have major battery life improvements. “Looking at Macs over the past few years, Apple has close to doubled battery life for its Macbook line up (largely 5 hour battery to ~10 hours),” said Munster. “It has achieved this through more efficient processors and software. We believe battery life is one of the biggest areas of potential improvement and one that might be most welcomed by customers.”

In terms of battery capacity, the iPhone 6 has 1810 mAh, the iPhone 6 Plus has 2915 mAh, the iPhone 6S has 1715 mAh and the iPhone 6S Plus has a 2750 mAh. Despite the lower capacities in the new devices compared to the older devices, the battery life remains same because the iOS 9 software updates and the new Apple processors emphasizes power-efficiency.

4.) Thinner Design

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

The “iPhone 7” is reportedly going to be one of the thinnest iPhones ever released. It is expected to be between 6.0 and 6.5 millimeters thick, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. This means that the new flagship iPhone would be thinner than the iPad Air 2 and the sixth-generation iPod Touch. As a comparison, the iPhone 6S is 7.1 millimeters and the iPhone 6S Plus is 7.3 millimeters thick. In the past, Kuo correctly predicted the 12-inch Retina MacBook over a year before it was released, which makes his predictions very credible.

There is also speculation that the “iPhone 7″ could be so thin that it would not be able to support a standard headphone plug. In September, Apple filed a patent for a uniquely-shaped D-shaped headphone plug. This would be a nuisance because it would make “billions of pairs of headphones incompatible,” wrote Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly.

5.) Wireless Charging

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus© Provided by Forbes iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

A number of Android devices already supports wireless charging so it makes sense that Apple would want to get in on that action. The reason why Apple iPhones are not currently supported by wireless chargers is because of the aluminum cases housing the devices. Most of the handsets that supports wireless chargers are housed with plastic so that the power can reach the batteries. However, Qualcomm announced a wireless charger that works with metal bodies several months ago so it could potentially support newer iPhones.

Earlier this month, Apple also received a patent called Inductive Power Transfer Using Acoustic or Haptic Devices. The patent says: “Induction may be utilized to wirelessly transmit power between electronic devices. Such wireless power transmission may be performed for the purposes of powering one or more devices, charging one or more batteries, an/or other such purposes.” The patent proves that Apple is seriously considering wireless charging technology.

6.) Wraparound Screen / Sidewalls Displays

A few months ago, Apple received a patent for a design where the screen curves around its mobile devices. Interestingly, an image within the patent — which is called Electronic Device With Wrap Around Display — appears to lack the Home button. The new design would include ”sidewalls displays” that offers additional functionality besides volume and power. This feature is similar to what you may have seen in Samsung’s Edge line of devices.

Image Credit: Apple via USPTO© Provided by Forbes Image Credit: Apple via USPTO “Form factor is an interesting area for development given that a large majority of portable electronic devices have settled into a standard form factor; namely a flat planar form factor with a display on one side and an opaque housing which contains the electrical components covering the rear surface of the device,” says the patent. “Unfortunately, this popular form factor, leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. Since many of these buttons and switches have fixed functionality they cannot always be incorporated into third party applications.”

What are your thoughts about the 6 “iPhone 7″ rumors? Do you plan to buy an “iPhone 7″ next year? Please leave a comment!

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