If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) follows its usual release pattern — and there’s no reason to believe it won’t — we should be seeing the iPhone 7 in September.
There have been a lot of iPhone 7 rumors floating around over the past few months, but as the expected launch date approaches and leaks of cases, components and even complete units have begun to show up with increasing frequency, we have a pretty good idea of what Apple has in store.
Here’s a roundup of what we currently think Apple will unveil when it shows off its latest iPhone in just over a month.
It looks as though Apple will be sticking with the same two-model release strategy it initiated with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. There had been talk of a third iPhone 7 Plus “Pro” model as well, but most bets are on a 4.6-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
With iPhone sales slowing and Apple moving to a three-year model refresh cycle, this year’s smartphones are expected to look very much like the previous two generations.
Leaked photos have shown the antenna band moving to the top and bottom of the case, the new versions may be slightly thinner and images have circulated of a darker, near-black color option, but the iPhone 7 should look very much like the iPhone 6 and 6s.
iPhone 7 Camera
One of the big selling points for 2016 is expected to be the camera, especially the one Apple appears to be sticking in the iPhone 7 Plus. Buyers who shell out for the more expensive smartphone are expected to get a dual-lens camera system for advanced photography.
This could include the ability to take much wider angle photos, or one of the lenses may allow for a two to three times optical zoom. The dual-lens system can be seen appearing in many iPhone 7 Plus cases, including the ones shown in the photo that are already being offered for pre-order by China’s Sunnyc.
The iPhone 7 itself seems to be getting an upgrade as well, with spy shots showing a much larger camera lens.
Goodbye Headphone Jack
While the iPhone 7 camera is expected to generate upgrade interest, one factor that could cool consumer demand is the headphone jack, or lack thereof. Rumors suggest that Apple is killing the headphone jack with the iPhone 7, instead relying on its Lightning port for audio output. That means either including new Lightning ear buds with the phone, or a Lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in the box.
Lightning ear buds are a more elegant solution, but eliminating the headphone jack means millions of headphones sold over many decades are suddenly incompatible with the iPhone 7 — without an adapter. Including one in the box might quell some complaints, but there’s no doubt many people will be upset with this move.
Waterproof and Improved Battery Life
Why would Apple risk infuriating millions of music lovers by ditching the long-time industry standard headphone jack?
It appears to have fallen victim to several other features, primarily waterproofing. Apple seems intent on eliminating every possible water entry point (including the home button which may become a “force touch” virtual version instead of a physical button) and that 3.5 mm headphone jack is a big entry point. While rival Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) has offered waterproof smartphones for years, the iPhone 7 would be an Apple first — and another big reason for current iPhone owners to upgrade.
It’s also possible that the iPhone 7 could feature the recently announced Gorilla Glass 5 from Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW). Corning says the new ultra-durable screen protection will be on devices starting this fall, and given that Apple has used Gorilla Glass on iPhones in the past (although the relationship is kept low-key) it’s possible the iPhone 7 could be much more rugged overall than previous Apple phones.
Another bonus to eliminating space taken up by that connector is more room for a battery, and the iPhone 7 is expected to get a bump in battery life as a result.
Besides lack of waterproofing, another area Apple gets picked on is its insistence of sticking with 16GB as the base storage for its phones. That seems like a blatant rip-off these days, especially when features like 4K video recording generate huge files.
The Wall Street Journal says Apple will finally relent this year and the iPhone 7 will offer 32GB of storage in its base model. Some analysts expect the company will also boost the maximum storage from the current 128GB to 256GB, for power users.
Every new generation of Apple devices get a spec bump and the one thing we can count on this year is that the iPhone 7 will be powered by a new A10 processor.
Expect more speed, and improved efficiency. While the iPhone 7 is expected to remain at 2GB of RAM, processing demands of the dual camera system of the iPhone 7 Plus could see it get bumped to 3GB.
Naturally, Apple is mum on all the rumors and speculation, so we’ll have to wait for confirmation on the details. But with several key upgrades high likely –including waterproofing and a boosted iPhone 7 camera– the demand for the Apple’s new smartphones may be high enough to shake off its current sales slump.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.