iPhone 7 Rumors: Apple Inc. Plans to Go Waterproof in 2016 (AAPL)

We’re only a few months into the iPhone 6s release cycle and information is already leaking about the next big smartphone release from Apple Inc. (AAPL): the iPhone 7.

AAPL iPhone 7 Rumors: Apple Inc. Plans to Go Waterproof in 2016

According to a press release from TrendForce, a key selling feature of the iPhone 7 will be its waterproof case. If true, this would be a first for an Apple iPhone, although it’s a capability that competing smartphones from the likes of Sony (SNE) and Samsung (SSNLF) have had in the past. Sony even promotes underwater filming with its Xperia ZR smartphone

Good Idea or Bad Idea?

The prospect of a waterproof iPhone 7 isn’t that radical of a prediction. When the iPhone 6s was released in September, iFixit did a teardown of the latest Apple iPhone and discovered “mystery adhesive” that performed a function similar to a liquid-repelling gasket surrounding its display. In testing, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s turned out to be much more water resistant than previous Apple iPhones.

Earlier this year, Apple filed a patent for “methods for shielding electronic components from moisture.”

Clearly, waterproofing has been on Apple’s mind, and if the iPhone 6s was a step in that direction, the iPhone 7 could be the model that gets the full waterproof treatment.

While waterproofing would be a very welcome development for consumers — everyone dreads having to pull out their iPhone in the rain — it appears that Apple has a few other upgrades in mind for the iPhone 7 as well.

What Else is Up AAPL’s Sleeve?

TrendForce is also predicting the iPhone 7 Plus will get a RAM boost to 3GB, a move which would offer improved performance with multiple windows open.

The iPhone 6s Plus is the current phablet in AAPL’s lineup, and it has 2GB of RAM.

Apple has always maintained that its AX processors make more efficient use of memory than smartphones running Qualcomm (QCOM) mobile CPUs. However, with the new Nexus 6P from Alphabet’s Google (GOOG, GOOGL) boasting 4GB of RAM, AAPL may be upping the allotment in the iPhone 7 Plus to ensure the new iPhone stays competitive in specs versus Android phablets.

There have been rumors swirling for months now that the iPhone 7 might drop LCD displays for the brighter AMOLED used in Samsung’s flagship smartphones, as well as the Apple Watch, but it now seems more likely that AAPL will stick with the tried and true LCD in 2016.

The other big rumor around the iPhone 7 is that AAPL seems poised to release a new four-inch version to replace the iPhone 5c.

Despite the company’s focus on making the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus bigger, there is still considerable demand for iPhones with smaller displays and a lower price tag. Multiple analysts are expecting AAPL to release a four-inch iPhone 7 version in 2016 to meet that demand, and it seems likely the company will go with a metal case rather than the plastic shell used with the iPhone 5c.

Also helping to keep costs down (and to differentiate the more expensive iPhone 7 flagship models), the new four-inch Apple iPhone would use an A9 CPU instead of the A10 and would lack Force Touch capability.

Both TrendForce and KGI Securities think AAPL will further shake things up by releasing this compact iPhone 7 model in the second quarter of 2016, instead of the usual September timeframe.

Look for iPhone 7 rumors to continue heating up. The big difference this time compared to previous years — at least if analysts are correct about that new four-inch Apple iPhone — is that we should find out if they’re on the right track by May or June next year, instead of having to wait until September.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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