The next-generation iPhone is expected to be called the iPhone 7, but there have been some rumours suggesting Apple could drop its standard numbered naming convention, instead calling the 2016 iPhone the “iPhone Pro.” It is unclear at this point if those rumours are accurate.
Because 2015 marked an “S” iPhone upgrade year that introduced new features such as an improved camera and a better processor, 2016 will bring an even-year upgrade that will include a new iPhone design in addition to new features.
Apple will continue releasing two versions of each iPhone, so we can expect to see an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 7 Plus in 2016. Apple is said to be planning to stick to the 4.7- and 5.5-inch screen sizes it first introduced with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Apple is still working on finalising the iPhone 7’s body so we don’t know exactly what it will look like, but multiple rumours suggest it will be a modest update that continues to use a design similar to the design of the iPhone 6s. It is said to have the same general shape as the iPhone 6s, but it may have a camera that protrudes less (though rumours currently disagree on this point). Antenna bands across the back of the device have been removed, but are expected to remain at the top, bottom, and sides of the iPhone. The front of the iPhone is also expected to see some changes with a longer earpiece cutout and a relocated ambient light sensor.
Mockup of iPhone 7 case showing the possible flush rear camera and no antenna bands across the rear.
Some rumours suggest Apple is aiming to make the iPhone 7 up to 1mm thinner, perhaps through the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack and the implementation of a thinner Lightning port, but other rumours suggest the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will have a body that is the same thickness as the iPhone 6s.
With no headphone jack, wired headphones will connect to the iPhone 7 using its Lightning port and Bluetooth headphones will connect wirelessly. Apple is rumoured to be working on Lightning-equipped EarPods to sell alongside the iPhone 7. The removal of the headphone jack may also improve water resistance.
Blueprints and an image of a device said to be the iPhone 7 Plus have surfaced depicting a Smart Connector on the back of the shell, suggesting that is another potential feature, but it is not yet clear what it would be used for and other rumours have said it will not be included. If the Smart Connector rumours are accurate, it appears it will be a feature limited to the larger-screened model.
Internal specs for the iPhone 7 aren’t yet known, but we can speculate Apple will continue on its path of introducing more powerful, efficient devices with each design iteration. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are expected to include next-generation A10 processors manufactured by TSMC.
There are rumoured to be some distinguishing features between the iPhone 7 and the larger-screened iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 7 may ship with 2GB RAM, while the iPhone 7 Plus could include 3GB RAM, and there is said to be a different camera system in the iPhone 7 Plus that uses two cameras instead of one with 2-3x optical zoom and improved performance in low-light conditions. The iPhone 7 will likely continue to use a standard single-lens camera as multiple sources have said the dual lens camera is exclusive to the 5.5-inch iPhone
Storage space may also be a differentiating factor between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. An unconfirmed rumour suggests the larger iPhone 7 Plus will include a high-end 256GB storage option that will not be available for the iPhone 7. 256GB is a capacity that is not offered in any of Apple’s current iOS devices, but a 256GB SanDisk flashes storage chip possibly appropriate for use in an iPhone has been spotted.