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iPhone 7 Release Date, Specs & Features Rumours: Everything You Need To Know

Know Your Mobile logo Know Your Mobile 05-06-2016 Richard Goodwin

WWDC will take place on June 13 in San Francisco. That means we now only have a short time to wait to see what Apple has in store for iPhone and iPad with iOS 10. Last year saw the release of Apple Music; this year we’re expecting to see a lot of new iPhone/iPad features added into the mix. Especially with the expected arrival of the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro which is will apparently share some similarities to Apple’s iPad Pro line of devices.

The BIG keynote by Mr. Tim Cook takes place on the first day — June 13 — and it is here that Apple will detail its plans for the rest of the year, discus its ups and downs, and introduce new software for iPhone/iPad and Mac computers. And with the launch of the iPhone 7 just around the corner, what’s revealed about iOS 10 will likely give us a better idea about what features will be present aboard the iPhone 7.

Below, spread over multiple pages, is pretty much every crumb of information currently available about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. At this stage of the game it is mostly rumours, however, plenty of the sources and information cited come from very respectable leakers, insiders and analysts. And if last year’s iPhone 6s launch was anything to go by, the rumour’s more often than not turn out to be true. 

Another set of early June rumours has emerged claiming that both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available with storage options as high as 256GB - the news follows other recent rumours saying the 16GB lower tier will be ditched for a 32GB base option. The info comes via industry research and analysis firm TrendForce, which claims that Apple has pretty much finalised the spec line-up across the range. Previously we had heard that the iPhone 7 Plus, aka the iPhone 7 Pro, would have a top-tier 265GB storage option, but between the possible Pro branding (Apple's iPad Pro tablets both have 256GB options) and the presence of a high-spec dual-camera sensor (with the better quality photos requiring more storage space) it seemed like a logical move.

Now, however, TrendForce claims that even the iPhone 7, with its single camera sensor, will also have a 256GB variant for those who need stacks of space. The move also makes sense as content and applications become more sophisticated and take up larger amounts of space on a phone's internal storage, particularly as Apple does not offer microSD storage card capabilities. The report also claims the iPhone 7 Plus will feature 3GB of RAM while the iPhone 7 will have 2GB.

According to a tipster, Kevin Wang, Director of Market Research at IHS Technology, for the iPhone 7 generation coming later this year Apple will finally ditch the 16GB lower tier models and the base edtions of each device will be coming with 32GB of onboard storage and 2GB of RAM. Wang states this info comes from his "supply chain research," although this isn't someone with Ming-chi Kuo's track record so we are regarding it with a healthy degree of caution. Still, dropping the 16GB option is something that many consumers, reviewers and analysts have suggested would be a good idea for a while; as multimedia and apps go up in quality (with 4K video and images being far more common) 16GB is starting to look a bit anemic and can quickly be filled without much effort. Storage creep is something computing devices have had for a very long time, and in a way it is surprising that phones so far have not had to update as quickly. There is still some speculation that Apple's top-level option for the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro will be as much as 256GB, putting it on par with the iPad Pro tablets.

As of June 1, a picture has leaked showing what's alleged to be the iPhone 7's rear panel in a rose gold colour. The leak out of China shows the single camera port with another port for the LED flash, as well as the new antennae design which moves the bands to the upper and lower edges. This design fits with a bunch of earlier rumours and leaks we've seen, so we think it's probably legit. The design is expected to be more or less the same for the larger iPhone 7 Plus model except of course it will be larger and will have a dual-sensor camera port if earlier schematics and rumours prove accurate (and by now we're thinking they probaby are). Unfortunately this leak doesn't show anything related to the Lightning and headphone ports - there have now been so many conflicting rumours and leaks saying the 3.5mm headphone jack will or will not be ditched we honestly don't know what to think at this point. Hopefully more images will continue to leak and prove once and for all the presence or absence of a 3.5mm port.

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A set of alleged iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus schematics has leaked as of May 27, picked up by a source who delivered them to Chinese publication MyDrivers. Despite several recent reports that cases designed for the iPhone 7 series fit the iPhone 6s series perfectly, the schematics show that the new models will be 1mm thicker than their predecessors (although this might not rule out the cases still fitting the older models), but will share the same height and width. There is some speculation that the expanded waistline could signal a bigger battery cell. The diagrams also show ports for a Smart Connector on the iPhone 7 Plus (meaning it may be a "Pro" branded model) , and once again reiterate the dual-camera sensor aboard the iPhone 7 Plus model.

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Tim Cook Talks iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Sales & Apple Watch 2

All is not as rosy at it seems at Apple, according to certain reports about Apple's iPhone sales in 2016, leading many to ask: is Apple’s iPhone 6s struggling? Perhaps — chip orders are very low compared to this time last year, claims DigiTimes, despite the company having new hardware in the form of the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 available on market.

Samsung is back on top in the US. The company’s awesome Galaxy S7 took the top spot in the US ahead of Apple’s iPhone 6s in March. Counterpoint Research showed the Galaxy S7 with 28.8% of the market, with the iPhone 6s in second with 17.1% and LG in third with 11%.

The same research notes ZTE and Huawei accounted for just 6.6% and 1%, respectively, proving Chinese handset makers are still having a tough time cracking the US, despite excellent releases from Huawei with last year’s Mate 8 and this year’s P9.

After its heady ascent to world’s number one technology brand, Apple’s pace is now officially beginning to slow. And the reason for this is simple: iPhone sales have flatlined. The company is still selling a lot of handsets per quarter but, unlike previous years, it is not posting HUGE uplifts in sales for each new quarter. Analysts are obviously having a field day with this, as it is something they’ve been banging on about since, well, around 2012. 

“Overall chip orders placed by Apple for the second quarter will only be slightly higher than those for the first quarter, despite the upcoming availability of its 4-inch iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro devices,” said the report.

The arrival of the iPhone 7, however, will almost certainly bring things back in-line with what we've come to expect from Apple. Even more so if there turns out to be THREE iPhone 7 models. 

Interest is high in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7, though. Way higher than it was in the company’s 2015 iPhone flagship, the iPhone 6s. Not that this is surprising; Apple’s full number updates are always more exciting from a consumer perspective, as this is where the big changes are introduced.

“The UBS Evidence Lab did a survey of 6,336 smartphone users across the U.S., U.K., Germany, mainland China, and Japan to gauge interest in Apple's next smartphone,” notes Apple Insider. “Though nothing is officially known about the so-called iPhone 7, the poll found that consumer interest and demand are high.”

“In the U.S. and China, respondents showed more interest in the iPhone 7 than were interested in the iPhone 6s last year. In both markets, demand for the iPhone 7 has not yet exceeded the excitement for the iPhone 6, which launched in 2014 and marked Apple's first foray into significantly larger form factors.”

This could also be down to the fact that Apple will release three iPhone 7 models in 2016. 

"KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note that predicts two 5.5-inch versions of the "iPhone 7 Plus" are in development, one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another boasting a dual-camera design," said MacRumors. "The rumored iPhone 7 Plus model with a dual-lens camera system would take advantage of imaging algorithms that Apple acquired through its purchase of Israeli camera technology company LinX Imaging last year." 

Nevertheless, 2016 will still be Apple’s busiest year for a very long time. Never before has the company launched so much hardware in such as short space of time. Even just a few years ago the idea of a dual-iPhone launch seemed bizarre — and now we’re looking at three (and one inside Q1, no less). 

In a recent interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially talked-up new iPhones, no doubt after the company’s disastrous Q2 earnings call which saw iPhone sales dip by 10 million units from the previous year.

Cook said he was incredibly excited by what Apple’s designers and engineers had come up with. Cook was, of course, vague about specifics — no details about specs, hardware or changes were given.

iPhone 6s Sales

“We just had actually an incredible quarter by absolute standards, 50 billion plus in revenues and 10 billion in profits,” Cook pointed out.

“To put that in perspective the 10 billion is more than any other company makes so it was a pretty good quarter but not up to the Street's expectations clearly.”

Apple is still KILLING it in terms of business compared to every other technology company on the planet. This is true, even with less demand for iPhones during the last quarter. $10 billion in profits is decent by anyone’s standards but this isn’t why analysts are concerned — the concern is that the catalyst which created the monster that Apple is today is now, finally starting to slow down.

The iPhone 7, if we’re honest, will more than likely put Apple back on track with record sales again. The iPhone 7 is a far bigger deal than the iPhone 6s. Mostly because Apple whole-number updates always are and consumers know that and act accordingly, but also because the iPhone 7 will introduce a lot of new features and technology. Not just a single feature like TouchID or 3D Touch.

The iPhone 7 — And Why It Won’t Be BORING

“We're incredibly excited about things we're working on. Incredibly excited. We've got great innovation in the pipeline, new iPhones that will incent you and other people that have iPhones today to upgrade to new iPhones.”

“We're going to give you things that you can't live without that you just don't know you need today," Cook boasted when talking about future iPhones. That has always been the objective of Apple. To do things that really enrich people's lives. Features where you look back to before they were introuced and you wonder 'how did I live without this?’”

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This aspect of the interview is slightly harder to interpret. Is Cook talking about the iPhone 7 or future iPhones farther down the line? Apple is rumoured to switching to OLED panels in 2017, as well as redesigning the iPhone from the ground-up. Initial rumours suggest an iPhone 4-style glass enclosure.

The worry at present — from Apple fans and analysts — is that the iPhone 7 will not be different enough from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. The worry is that Apple, after the iPhone 6s, has changed tack and moved all the big changes to 2017’s iPhone 7s.

As is stands, these worries are largely unfounded. Apple is consistent is its anything, and sticking with its usual hardware cycle is likely to remain a stable of its business for the next few years. Consumers have been on this hardware cycle since 2007. It doesn’t make any sense for Apple to do a switcharoo now. Plus, the company has never listened to naysayers, anyway. Why would it suddenly start now?

Apple Watch 2

“You'll see the Apple Watch getting better and better. We're still in learning mode. We're learning fairly quickly, though. We know a lot more than we did a year ago.”

“I think that in a few years we will look back and people will say, 'How could I have ever thought about not wearing this watch?”

Personally, I am not convinced by the Apple Watch — or any smartwatches for that matter. I’ve tried many times to integrate one into my life, but always come away frustrated with the overall experience and the way they function. Obviously this is my own personal experience; your’s might be a lot different.

Still, there is a lot of room for improvements where the Apple Watch is concerned and Apple’s insistence that all new Apple Watch applications must work as standalone applications is a sure sign that Apple is attempting to do more with its future Apple Watch releases.

iPhone 7 will have the same Taptic engine as the iPhone 6s

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The Taptic engine is the vibrating motor inside the iPhone 6s that gives haptic feedback when you press the 3D Touch display. Right now the Taptic engine can only give two types of vibratory feedback–and the same should be expected for the iPhone 7, according to Japanese website Nikkei. Their report, however, notes that a new Taptic engine is coming…to the 2018 iPhone.

Lightning-to-headphone adapters start to show up from Chinese manufacturers

Of course one of the longest-running rumors about the iPhone 7 is that it will ditch the headphone jack, instead supporting headphones through the Lightning connector. This would mean users of iPhone 7 will need to have Bluetooth headphones, Lightning headphones, or an adapter, to listen to audio. It’s unknown if this rumor will actually come to pass, but Chinese manufacturers aren’t waiting around to find out, reports Macotakara.

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The Chinese accessory maker Tama Electric is now advertising Lightning-to-headphone jack adapters. Of course the fact that they are already making adapters doesn’t mean the nixing of the headphone jack is a guarantee. Chinese accessory makers often hedge their bets in order to be able to offer new accessories first. If they win, they win big and if they lose, the cost of manufacturing such accessories is relatively small, which means they aren’t out a lot of cash.

THREE iPhone 7 Body Component Leaks At Once

On May 24 a couple of leaks from different sources have shown us two different components allegedly forming part of the iPhone 7's bodywork. The first is a set of photos showing the machining plates used in the production of the iPhone 7 body, indicating the design and giving us some measurements for the device proportions. The plates shown are for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus/Pro and show a larger camera sensor for the former, while the latter has a dual-sensor port, in both cases fitting in with current rumours. On the whole the plates closely match many of the design leaks we've seen in recent weeks, however, the one thing missing is the smart connector ports, but with that said some very recent leaks also support their absence. It's also possible that the smart connector may be machined later in the manufacturing process than the point these plates represent.

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The second leak comes via nowhereelse.fr and shows the rear panel of the iPhone 7 with what appears to be a quad-speaker setup. There are of course a number of issue with this leak and it's possible its a fake. As MacRumors points out the "images apparently taken from a promotional video made by an Italian casemaker, which allegedly received a prototype iPhone 7 case in anticipation of the coming refresh in September."

But would an Italian case maker actually be given access to a prototype iPhone 7 case? Certainly not by Apple. It's possible a source in the Asian supply chain could have provided it, however. Still, that doesn't account for the four speaker grills, which would be a first for the iPhone. As MacRumors noted: "it doesn't seem viable for a speaker to sit so close to the camera module, unless the reorientation of the camera and LED flash holes from a horizontal alignment across the rear of the handset, to a vertical arrangement running down it, somehow allows for the possibility. In addition, it's unclear what benefit four speakers would have in such a small profile over one or even two of them."

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Another leak emerged on May 23 via nowhereelse.fr, a reliable tipster source, showing the rear panel of the iPhone 7. It's worth noting that the plate from the first leak we mentioned matches up with this image. This image also shows a supposed iPhone casing with a protruding camera lens--something the iPhone 7 has been rumored to ditch in favor for a flat lens. The aperture on this iPhone is also much larger than on the current iPhone 6s--perhaps to allow for a more detailed image sensor or upgraded camera module.

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iPhone 7 Renders Mocked-Up Based On Technical Schematics

We've seen a few technical CAD schematics leaked in the past few weeks via reliable tipster @OnLeaks, a source with a good enough track record in these things to make us think the diagrams will be pinpoint accurate. However, looking at technical drawings often doesn't give that much of a "feel" of what the forthcoming smartphone will actually look like; the most compelling visual aid is frequently the official press render or product render, which is why handset makers use them in their promotional material, of course. But more often than not, we don't get to see official renders until very near to a device launch.

Luckily some talented artists are capable of taking leaked schematics and mocking-up some very convincing 3D renders, and as of May 19 that's exactly what has happened for the iPhone 7. GSMArena was fortunate enough to be sent this set of renders which have been put together to replicate the official Apple product shot style, while using the detail from the leaked schematics; the result is probably the closest we're going to get to seeing the actual iPhone 7 until it launches later this year. Naturally the colour options are not based on the drawings or any insider information, it's simply an assumption based on the colour options Apple currently offers and which have not changed in the last couple of generations.

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And the details we can see? Well a lot of it is illustrating what we've heard before; for example, Apple has attempted to make the antenna bands more discreet and has moved them to the extremities of the bodywork. Additionally, while it is quite tight to the bodywork, there is a discernable camera bump, and we can see the Lightning port, punched speaker grilles, and the position of the control keys.

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Apple iPhone 7 Leaks In Gold

An image has leaked online allegedly showing the rear panel of the iPhone 7 in a gold colouration, this is said to be the 4.7in iPhone 7 model and not the Plus or Pro variant, hence the single-lens camera. The snap emerged on Chinese social network Weibo, though some are already calling into question the authenticity and it is possible this could indeed be a fake. Still, a gold colour option seems pretty likely given what Apple already has on sale in its retail outlets. The design shown appears to have rounder edges and corners than the current iPhone 6s generation, which could fit with previous leaks alleging that Apple is moving back towards an iPhone 4s style bodyshell for the next few generations; allegedly the iPhone 7s series will very closely resemble the iPhone 4s but will be made predominantly from curved glass. The newly leaked gold iPhone image also shows that the antenna bands have been moved to the top and bottom - not the first time we've seen suggestions that Apple wants to hide these bands. Lastly, there is also a new set of holes or ports between the camera sensor and the LED flash, which could be a laser autofocus module.

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KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo drops some more knowledge on the iPhone 7 rumormill

Kuo now says that contrary to his earlier reports, the iPhone 7 Plus will only come in one model and not two different Plus models. Kuo had previously stated the two iPhone 7 Plus models would differ in their camera offerings: one would have a single lens camera, and one would have a dual lens camera. Now Kuo says there will only be ONE iPhone 7 Plus and it will have a dual lens camera.

“In a previous report, we said the new 5.5-inch iPhone model (referred to as iPhone 7 Plus), to be launched in 2H16, may come in two versions: one with rear single-camera and the other with rear dual-camera. However, we now believe Apple (US) will only roll out the dual-camera version in 2H16, with 3GB RAM to meet image processing requirements, and we estimate shipments of this model in 2016F of 20-30mn units,” Kuo writes in his latest report.

iPhone 7 blueprints indicate dual camera and Smart Connector could be exclusive to 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus/Pro model

uSwitch got its hands on purported blueprints for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and if they are accurate they reveal that the dual camera and Smart Connector rumored for the iPhone 7 will be limited to the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus model. The drawings were reportedly sourced sourced directly from Taiwan-based Apple casing subcontractor Catcher Technology.

“The blueprints/renders, which come to us via Apple subcontractor Catcher Technology,” uSwitch  writes, “also add heft to claims that the Plus edition will be equipped with a superior dual lens camera. Those of you who opt for the standard iPhone 7 will have to make do with a single lens camera. Both phones’ cameras protrude from their casing, in keeping with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. But this time around, there’s no metal ring around the lens.”

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“To further differentiate the larger model, which has been variously dubbed the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro by tech-watchers, Apple will also equip it with a Smart Connector on the rear. This new port, which debuted on the iPad Pro, will not be present on the standard-sized iPhone 7.”

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The blueprints also show that there is NO headphone jack on either model of the iPhone 7.

“Dummy” iPhone 7 unit shows flush camera and Smart Connector

A photo of a new dummy unit of a purported iPhone 7 has been sent to MacRumors and it shows the back of the iPhone 7 which clearly has a flush camera. If this is legit it means the iPhone 7 will feature a completely flush design—something we have not seen since the iPhone 5s. But the dummy iPhone depicted in the photographs also show a Smart Connector on the device and the removal of the device’s antenna bands.

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The antenna bands being removed from the back of the device have been steadily rumored for a while, but the Smart Connector has had more iffy rumors attached to it. Some rumors say Apple is planning on adding a Smart Connector, while others have said Apple had decided against it. If the company has indeed decided against it, this iPhone 7 dummy could be fake—or it could be an older prototype design that Apple no no longer plans on using.

Besides the flush camera, Smart Connector, and antenna bands shift, the picture also depicts a 3.5mm headphone jack on the device—something that has been rumored to be removed on the iPhone 7.

Schematics show iPhone 7 will have the same length and width of the iPhone 6s

The sketch is a purported iPhone design drawing and comes to us from French website NWE. It depicts the iPhone 7 as having the exact same measurements as the iPhone 6s, meaning that if the drawing is legit, people should expect a new form factor this year. The dimensions in the drawing are 138.3mm (5.44 inches) in length and 6.71mm (2.64 inches) in width. The drawing also shows that the iPhone 7 may have a slightly convex camera housing.

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iPhone 7 Pro: Is This Apple's Third iPhone 7 Model?  

It's expected that Apple will launch its iPhone 7 line-up in September 2016, but at the moment it's not entirely clear whether we'll see one, two, or even three devices under the same branding. Because the last two generations have featured an iPhone and a "Plus" phablet model, that has been something of a default assumption for the next batch, but with Apple diversifying things even further with its "Pro" line for the iPad and the smaller iPhone SE things could go in any number of directions, and there is a very persistent rumour of an iPhone 7 Pro, which is believed to pack a dual-camera sensor setup.

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Now Japanese website Mac Fan has stirred things up with a set of schematics which it claims show the details of the iPhone 7 Pro, featuring, amongst other things, that dual-camera sensor - what's not clear is whether the iPhone 7 Pro is simply a re-branding of the iPhone 7 Plus (ie: it's the same device with a new name) or if it's a third string to the iPhone bow alongside an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The schematics also show that the iPhone 7 Pro will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack in-line with earlier rumours about the iPhone 7 series - it's thought instead Apple is opting for a proprietary solution which uses the firm's Lightning port design. We can also see that in terms of dimensions the iPhone 7 Pro will be very similar in size, shape and overall design to the existing iPhone 6s Plus, apparently confirming analyst Ming-chi Kuo's assertion that the next major re-design will be 2017's iPhone range. A set of three small holes has been pointed out on the rear of the handset shown in the schematic, but it's not clear what role they fulfil, however, some have proposed wireless charging capabilities.

Once again, this all ties in fairly well with Kuo's claims that the iPhone series in 2016 will be incremental and will not really offer any major selling points to appeal to consumers, particularly those who own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s series device.

More Bad News For People Hoping For An All-New iPhone 7 Design

All signs point to the iPhone 7 have the same design style as the iPhone 6s and two-year-old iPhone 6. And the latest research note from superstar and virtually always accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seems to confirm it. Why? Because Kuo is saying that the 2017 iPhone will sport an all-new glass body. There’s no way Apple would offer a redesigned iPhone two years in a row—which is why the news of a glass-bodies iPhone in 2017 spells bad news for the iPhone 7.

As Kuo reports: “If iPhone 7 still uses an aluminum casing in 2016, it will be the fifth year in a row that iPhone has done so, which means there is no longer a feeling of freshness to appeal to consumers. Also, a lot of Apple’s (US) competitors are also adopting aluminum casings, which means iPhone no longer has a clear edge due to a lack of differentiation. On expectations that iPhone shipments will decline in 2016, we believe Apple will be more strongly motivated to use non-aluminum casings in 2017 in a bid to enhance the competitiveness of iPhone by offering an all-new form-factor design.”

iPhone 7 Plus To Feature “Smart Connector”

Another picture of the rumoured iPhone 7 Plus has surfaced online. The image was posted by a Chinese website and picked up by Mac Otakara, who says the image is likely the real deal. What’s interesting here, though, is the three dots at the bottom, which are believed to be a Smart Connector for keyboard support.

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With respect to design, however, the iPhone 7 is expected to be very similar to the iPhone 6s. Reports of a dramatic redesign, then, might have jumped the gun. Ditto for claims that the handset will be 6.1mm thin. According to the report, all iPhone 7 models will be more or less the same size as last year’s iPhone 6s lineup.

“True Tone display support, which adjusts the display to match the temperature of the ambient lighting in a room,” notes Mac Rumors, “could be added to the iPhone if Apple upgrades the ambient light sensors so they measure colour in addition to brightness.”

So it looks like the removal of the headphone jack, potentially higher resolution displays, and dual-cameras will be the iPhone 7’s big USPs for 2016/17.

Apple iPhone 7 Could Use LG G5 Dual-Camera Technology

Apple will apparently use LG for the dual-camera technology inside its upcoming iPhone 7 Plus models. I can’t say I blame them either; the LG G5’s camera is bloody superb and was easily one of my favourite features of the phone when I tested it a couple of months back.

But why the switch to LG at the 11th hour?

Apple had commissioned Sony to build the camera units for its upcoming iPhone 7 range. However, Sony is now said to be struggling with the demands placed on it and this has resulted in Apple seeking an additional source (LG) for camera units as well, which means, if true, that BOTH Sony and LG will be making units for Apple’s iPhone 7.

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News of the last minute addition to Apple’s iPhone 7 build comes via Nomura Securities, which said the following, according to 9to5Mac:

“We think Sony may not be able to deliver its full share of dual cameras to Apple due to: (1) lower-than-expected yield, and (2) damage to its production facility from the April earthquake in Kumamoto. As a result, we think LGI will gain majority share of the initial dual camera orders from Apple; hence, we upgrade to Buy.”

This is great news for LG and even better news for iPhone fans because the LG G5’s dual-camera unit was utterly superb, offering a depth of field previously impossible on phones. Apple will not use the same unit though; it will be tinkered with and updated and brought in-line with the iPhone’s internal spec. This should not be cause for concern, though, because Apple has a solid track record with its cameras, which have just got better and better with each new iteration.

Additional reports have also confirmed that Apple will bring OIS to the standard iPhone 7 models as well. Previously this technology was reserved for the more expensive -- and better -- Plus models. This year, however, the differentiating factor will be the dual-cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus models. And that by itself is quite a USP, indeed!

Apple Drops The Ball: kick-ass dual camera system said to be 5.5in iPhone exclusive

Well, it looks like Apple didn’t listen to us. Superstar KGI Securities Apple analyst/fortune teller/maybe-Tim-Cook-in-disguise Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note to clients confirming people’s worst fears: the new, totally amazing, dual lens camera system Apple is planning on introducing with the iPhone 7 will limited to the 5.5in “Plus” model, reports MacRumors.

From Kou himself: “New iPhone shipments to be capped by similar form factor as iPhone 6s & 6s Plus; top hardware upgrade is dual-camera (5.5-inch model only), though many competing models with dual-camera will launch soon, joining others already on the market; first impressions could underwhelm.”

So, it looks as if Apple is going down the fragmentation route. The company wants people who want the best camera to shell out for the larger iPhone screen—even though that larger screen might not fit their hands the best.

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Above: three different LinX Technology multi-aperture camera modules

So just what will the normal-sized iPhone 7 be missing out on? As Macrumors notes: “The rumored camera improvements have been linked to Apple's acquisition of LinX Technology, which could lead to "DSLR-quality" photos on iPhones. LinX's multi-aperture cameras are also smaller sized than single-aperture cameras, meaning the iPhone 7 Plus could have a slightly less protruding camera lens.

“LinX camera modules have a number of other benefits, including 3D depth mapping, better color accuracy and uniformity, ultra HDR, low noise levels, higher resolution, low costs, zero shutter lag, and a compact design that allows for edge-to-edge displays. A recent video demo provides a good overview of dual-camera technology.”

So, thanks for NOTHING, Apple.

iPhone 7 Dual-Lens Camera: How It Works

Apple did secure a patent for a dual-lens camera interface way back in January. The patent application shows just what Apple believes a dual-lens camera interface should look like, complete with diagrams and annotations. The patent outlined a dual-camera system that consisted of one standard wide-angle lens and a second telephoto lens capable of capturing zoomed-in video and photos. Both can be used together simultaneously and users will be able to merge images together in “unique” ways.

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“As described by Apple, images from both lenses can be displayed on the same screen in the Camera app through a split-screen view that shows a standard wide-angle image on one side and the zoomed image on the other side,” notes MacRumors. “When capturing a video or a photo, users are able to transition between both lenses seamlessly, tapping on a spot in the photo to zoom in with a second lens. Apple's system would work similarly to digital zoom does today, but because it's using a lens with a longer focal length instead of zooming in through software, there's no loss of detail and the zoomed in image is much more crisp and clear.”

iPhone 7 will use a new packaging technology for the antenna switch to save space

By now it’s safe to say the iPhone 7 will be thinner than the iPhone 6s. Rumor after rumor suggest Apple is doing everything it can to shave every millimeter it can from the device. The latest rumor to this effect comes from Korean site ETNews. The site says Apple will be using a new technology to make the antenna switching chip inside the iPhone thinner, which will allow the overall iPhone to be thinner.

The antenna switch is the module inside the iPhone that allows the device to switch between cellular bands, such as LTE, GSM and CDMA. The new technology will package this antenna switch in a “fanned out” layout, meaning it will be more spread out, allowing it to be flatter.

As ETNews reports: “Fan Out technology is a technology that increases number of I/O (Input/Output) terminals within a package by pulling out wiring of I/O terminals to outside from a semiconductor chip (Die), which is a previous step before packaging. As area of a chip had become narrower as manufacturing processes had become finer, it was difficult to increase number of I/O terminals. Because industries do not want to increase size of a chip just for I/O terminals, they have been paying attention to Fan Out Packaging technology recently. It is most cost effective from production cost perspective if number of I/O terminals increases within a package while still decreasing size of a chip.”

Overall, this new design will allow Apple to pack more powerful components in, in a smaller space. And the fanned out design will also not see any noticeable feature loss over the older, bigger design.

iPhone 7 Casing LEAKS

Year-on-year the Apple iPhone dominates the mobile market, both in terms of being the most talked-about devices ahead of launch, and also the subsequent sales when they actually arrive. Apple news is big news. Apple is hosting a launch event on March 21, but that won't see the iPhone 7 arrive, oh no, that event is expected to reveal a new iPhone 5se (4in display), as well as some new iPads (iPad Air 3/iPad Pro Mini) and a possible new Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 proper (and, presumably, an iPhone 7 Plus) will be arriving in Apple's usual September slot, and while with solid number updates (ie: non "s" variants) usually introduce sweeping exterior design changes, the iPhone 7, it seems, will have a few more subtle, though not insignifcant, tweaks instead.

The latest leak from NoWhereElse shows that streamlining appears to be the name of the game this time round, with the iPhone 7 ditching the unsightly antenna bands (presumably integrating the necessary tech in a more discrete manner), as well as a near-flush-fitting camera lens instead of the old bulge.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

The source of the image said the iPhone 7 will not feature a standard 3.5mm headphone port, either, though this isn’t all that surprising — plenty of rumours and leaks have suggested the same thing: Apple will use its Lightning Port for headphones and charging.

MacRumors says these images are consistent with leaked information it received last month, which claimed the handset would lack antenna bands across the rear.

“As expected,” said the report, “the images show antenna bands are limited to the sides and around the top and bottom edges of the chassis.

In addition to the cleaner all-metal look, the images of the rear of the case depict a larger hole for the camera. The orifice is described as closer to the edges of the chassis and forming a ‘slight bulging outgrowth’, a phrasing which doesn't contradict our earlier source's claim that the camera sits flush with the rear casing.”

A lot has also been reported about the iPhone 7 using a dual-sensor setup, however, more recently it has been reported that this will likely be exclusive to a third iPhone 7 model, currently referred to as the iPhone 7 Pro.

Whether or not the iPhone 7 Pro surfaces in 2016 remains to be seen. Apple is expected to announce the iPhone SE on March 21, alongside a 9.7in version of the iPad Pro and, potentially, a big, new Apple Watch update.

As of March 15, images have emerged online showing the alleged dual-camera module destined for the iPhone 7 Pro, and as per the rumours it appears to feature one aperture that is wider than the other. It is believed, however, that despite this difference between the sensors they will both be Sony-made 12MP units and may use technology from Apple's relatively recent imaging tech acquisition; Israeli firm LinX. The images appeared via multiple sources in China and Taiwan, including users on the Weibo social network, Apple.club.tw and chuangsong.me.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

Apple iPhone 7 Plus To Feature Optical Zoom & Dual-Camera

According to some info released by well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo the iPhone 7 Plus may come equipped with a dual-camera configuration, complete with an optical zoom capability. Normally you'd be right to take this kind of thing with a pinch of salt, but as we've mentioned before, Ming-Chi Kuo has a near impeccable track record when it comes to making pin-point accurate predictions of Apple's plans, particularly when it comes to the iPhone series. In other words, when he speaks, we pay close attention!

Kuo sent a research memo out to his KGI Securities clients on January 27 describing how the larger phablet iPhone 7 variant, the iPhone 7 Plus, would feature an enhanced camera with dual-lens optics. The tech is said to come from Israeli company LinX, which Apple purchased inside 2015. The line goes that this tech can use multiple small lenses and apertures to capture better quality photos by working in tandem with clever software algorithms. Previously LinX has boasted of image quality approaching DSLR levels.

Kuo's note says that Apple will use two Sony sensors rated at 12MP, although they will feature different aperture sizes. He also says that one of these will have optical image stabilisation while the other will have a 2-3x optical zoom, which would be a first in smartphone imaging, although Apple does have patents for this kind of thing.

Images have now leaked out of China and Taiwan allegedly showing the iPhone 7 Plus dual-camera module and, as per Ming-Chi Kuo's tips, it appears that one lens does indeed feature a wider aperture than the other. There are multiple different shots of the module design, which is consistent between sources at Weibo, chuangsong.me, and apple.club.tw.

iPhone 7 WILL Be Thinnest EVER iPhone AND Feature 3GB of RAM

For the past two generations of iPhones, the only difference between the normal iPhone and the iPhone Plus model, besides display size, has been to do with imaging -- the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus both ship with Optical Image Stabilisation. This situation is likely to remain the same on the iPhone 7, as Apple looks to make the larger handset more attractive to its ever-growing base of users.

Whether making the next iPhones thinner is a good idea or not remains to be seen. Personally, I already find my iPhone 6 Plus way too thin -- I’d definitely prefer something a tad more substantial, as I am constantly dropping it while out and around. The iPhone 6s Plus is slightly thicker and the handset feels all the better for it.

According to new information circulating as of November 20, the iPhone 7 may, in fact, be the first waterproof iPhone (see more on this below). The word comes via research and analytics firm TrendForce. The company's report says waterproofing will be one of two defining new features, the other being the 3GB of RAM previously rumoured elsewhere. It also reiterates that we'll see a third, 4in display iPhone model launched in 2016 (the rumoured iPhone 6c/iPhone 7c/iPhone 5e).

Trendforce expects Apple to ship 260 million iPhones next year, a 12.5% increase compared to 2015, getting Apple 18.5% of the market. Samsung’s smartphone shipments are expected to reach 310 million (that’s a 4% drop, and 22% market share). TrendForce smartphone analyst Avril Wu said that “Samsung’s flagship devices for this year have hit the ceiling in specs, so the South Korean powerhouse will be straining to bring hardware innovations to its next smartphone release.”

Apple may achieve a super-thin iPhone chassis by omitting the traditional 3.5mm universal headphone jack. The reasoning here seems pretty obvious, firstly, the use of the 3.5mm jack means you can't have a body thinner than 3.5mm, so to go thinner means using a proprietary jack - and Apple loves proprietary stuff. Naturally some users are a bit concerned that this will render their expensive headphones useless, as if Apple does follow this plan it will surely issue its own custom headphones with new handsets and sell its own variants thereafter.

“Japanese technology website Macotakara has reported that Apple is planning to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the next handset in an effort to make the next iPhone 1mm slimmer,”reports The Week. “The site and its sources have been accurate in the past, and the rumours – while radical – fit in with Apple's past changes, such as the introduction of the lightning port over the original 30-pin charging setup, as well as the latest MacBook using small USB Type C ports.”

“From Apple’s perspective,” notes Forbes, “the move makes a lot of sense. It can gain control over the last industry standard port on the iPhone for increased revenue and licensing potential. It can potentially create ‘smart earphones/headphones’ thanks to the direct digital connection to the phone which could tie into apps, notifications and more creating another differentiator from the competition. And last, but not least, sales of dedicated Lightning headphones would prove another powerful way to lock users into its ecosystem.”

This rumor is bolstered by a January 5 report that alleges to originate from Apple supply chain sources: the iPhone 7 will indeed be so crazy thin as to omit the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The information comes via Chinese social network Weibo and claims that the 3.5mm jack is being ditched, in favour of a new connection method using Apple's Lightning port. It's also said there will be a Lightning-to-3.5mm adaptor and the phone will support wireless Bluetooth headsets too.

Apple's Lightning port method will apparently mean wired headphones will need to incorporate independent DAC and amp, as the port doesn't support analogue audio, unlike Apple's older 30-pin connector. That all means that as well as being fiddly an awkwardly proprietary, compatible headphones will probably be expensive and will up battery drain a little bit.

iPhone 7 New Tech Will Make Batteries BIGGER and Wi-Fi FASTER

Some advanced engineering news has leaked out about the iPhone 7. Apple is reportedly working on electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding that will individually shield most of the phone's major chips.

I know, what the heck does that mean? Will your iPhone now be able to withstand an EMP attack from a rouge foreign state?

No. No it won't.

EMI shielding is a layer of thin metal protective shielding put over various computer components to protect them from becoming affected by or affecting other components nearby. The negative effects various components put out usually come in the form of wireless signal (think NFC or Wi-Fi) interference. The more complex components get, the greater a chance are for them to interfere with other components in the same device.

That’s where EMI shielding comes it. It can contain any negative effect a component may have. Apple has actually used EMI shielding in the iPhone for a while now with various portions of the iPhone circuit board and some individual chips featuring the shielding. But now, according to ETNews, the iPhone 7 will feature the technology on a wider array of its chips.

“Apple first applied EMI Shield technology to major chip package ‘S1’ of Apple Watch that was released last year. To apply such technology onto major chips of iPhone 7, it has been doing development project with packaging businesses since last year. It is heard that Apple personally chose equipment partners during this process and had induced packaging businesses to give them contracts,” ETNews reported. “StatsChipPac and Amkor have made many contracts with South Korean sputter and handler businesses for EMI Shield since end of last year. Contracts are worth more than tens of millions of dollars, and additional contracts will take place during first half of this year also.”

“As clock signals of digital chips have increased and as diverse functions such as 3D-touch and others have recently added, reduction of electromagnetic waves have emerged as major topic of this industry.” a representative of chip industry told ETNews. “As other Smartphone businesses might be looking to apply EMI Shield technology to major chips just as Apple did, packaging and other related equipment industries will benefit a lot from this.”

So what does this mean for you, the end user? Well, not too much. Chances are the iPhone 7 will now be less prone to interference with whatever advanced chips it contains, but given Apple has handled this interference problem pretty well in the past without users noticing means you shouldn’t notice anything different in regards to this tech in the iPhone 7.

iPhone 7 Headphone Jack SAGA Continues: Bose-Style Headphones Rumoured

A few months back reports began circulating about Apple ditching the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack aboard its upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets. 

According to said reports, Apple wants to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack entirely and use the iPhone 7’s existing Lighting Port for connecting headphones instead. Whether the iPhone 5se will get the same treatment remains to be seen. 

News of the switcharoo, however, caused something of an uproar. How DARE Apple change something as fundamental as the iPhone 7’s headphone jack. 

How bloody DARE they, indeed! 

The apparent reason behind the switcharoo is that Apple wants to make the iPhone 7 SUPER slim and in order to do this it had to get rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack. 

“At the moment,” says The Telegraph, “iPhones feature just one speaker panel on the right hand side. Wider audio has been an interest of Apple in recent devices, such as on the iPad Pro — which uses speakers on all of its sides to produce a bigger, stereo sound.”

Sound familiar? It should. A lot of Android phones have been doing this for a long time, most notably HTC ones with their BoomSound speakers. The inclusion of a new speaker system aboard the iPhone, while useful, is not something we’d have predicted as a “high priority” for Apple. 

On a more positive note, though, the iPhone 7 will likely have dual-stereo speakers now, meaning chavs on buses can REALLY ruin your commute home later on this year. 

The move would also mean headphone manufacturers would have to produce Apple-specific headphones that feature lightening port connectors and not the standard 3.5mm jack. From Apple’s perspective this might be advantageous but that is literally the only positive — for almost everybody else it will SUCK. Lightening port headphones will likely cost more, your old headphones will become redundant and it’ll take A LONG time for headphone makers to adopt the new standard, meaning choice will be limited to begin with should Apple go this route.

Or, the other alternative: “Apple will likely bundle new iPhones with EarPods that pack Lightning connectors or include 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapters in the iPhone’s box,” notes BGR. “That latter option seems like the more reasonable option, meaning the new headphones will likely work with older smartphones and other devices that have 3.5mm headphone jacks. Of course, this also means that old headphones will need the adapter to work with the iPhone 7, and Apple will likely have one for sale, generating a new, even if tiny, profit stream for the company.”

Additional reports, citing Barclays analysts, claimed the iPhone 7’s new Lighting Port headphone setup would mean better sound quality — something Apple would likely market as HD Music with a solid Apple Music tie in for good measure — as well as, potentially, noise cancellation inside the EarPods that come with the iPhone 7. 

“The move will prepare Apple for the possibility of including Cirrus Logic's (an Apple audio supplier) more advanced noise-cancellation smart codec in 2017,” says 9to5Mac, “which requires a digital codec to be installed in the first place.” 

Sounds great, doesn't it? NOISE CANCELLATION. But unfortunately this new feature might not be available inside the iPhone 7. Nope. According to some market watchers, Apple COULD do its old trick and keep this one back for 2017’s iPhone 7s . 

“We still believe there is potential for AAPL to add ANC in the iPhone 7s but believe AAPL is including just the digital headphone in the iPhone 7 this year. Recent speculation surrounding the elimination of the headphone jack in the IP7 is consistent with this move as AAPL will need to provide a digital headset inbox but likely was not willing to spend the extra cost for the ANC functionality.”

To be honest, I’d be happy if they’d just make the damn thing more comfortable. The current generation EarPods really make my ears ache after hardly any time at all. 

iPhone 7 Release Date, Specs & Features Rumours: Everything You Need To Know© knowyourmobile.com iPhone 7 Release Date, Specs & Features Rumours: Everything You Need To Know

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