Apple has finally announced the four-inch iPhone SE that has been rumored for many months. This new smartphone contender will be aimed at the affordable end of the marketplace, with the design significantly resembling the existing iPhone 5s. But what many Apple fans are wondering is will the release of the new iPhone variant affect the schedule of the premium iPhone 7.

iPhone 7: When Will Apple Release New Phone?

Of course, it was never expected that the iPhone 7 would release alongside the iPhone SE; the March 21 event was linked with the release of the second Apple Watch at one time, but the iPhone 7 is very much in line for later in the year.

iOS 10 coming

There have already been a raft of rumors emanating from close to the Apple supply chain which suggest that the consumer electronics giant is preparing the iPhone 7 for release right now. With iOS 10 expected to make significant improvements over the existing Apple operating system later this year, it seems that the groundwork is being laid for the next generation iPhone release.

One issue that could affect the release date of the iPhone 7 is the ongoing court battle between Apple and the FBI. The United States authorities are making very serious demands of Apple, and the consumer electronics behemoth is strongly opposing the position of the government in court. Apple believes that the requests being made by law enforcement agencies in the United States are insidious, and it intends to fight tooth and nail to avoid acquiescing with them.

However, despite the fact that Apple unquestionably possesses an extremely powerful and experienced legal team, there is no guarantee that the California-based corporation will ultimately get the result that it wants from this conflict. The United States federal government has made a strong legal case against Apple, and despite support from most of the technology industry, Apple will face a serious battle to come out on top in the ensuing court case.

Court case delay

And it is predicted by some sources that this court case could ultimately delay the release of the iPhone 7, even regardless of its ultimate outcome. Obviously, if Apple is unsuccessful in defending itself, then alterations may need to be made to the iPhone 7 that would necessitate its delay. But analysts also believe that the process of simply defending himself in court, and some of the experienced engineers who could be called as witnesses to the case of Apple, could even cause a delay in itself.

Additionally, Apple also has an extremely ambitious release schedule for the iPhone 7, at least if early reports on the smartphone are to be believed. Some rumors have suggested that Apple is contemplating four separate models for the iPhone 7 (including the new iPhone SE), with an iPhone Pro featuring a dual-camera being particularly mooted in recent weeks.

The complexity involved with this large scale production could motivate Apple to push the release schedule of the iPhone 7 back somewhat. Although this would be surprising, as September has been the month of truth for the iPhone range in recent years, it is certainly not an unheralded suggestion. Apple has released iPhone units in October in the past, with the iPhone 4s, for example, released in the western world on October 14, 2011.

So there are certainly several issues for Apple to attend to ahead of the release of the iPhone 7, and it is possible that the consumer electronics giant could veer away from its typical September release date. Certainly this is something that the Cupertino-based company would wish to avoid, as it has already predicted that the number of iPhone units sold during 2016 will be slightly less than during the previous calendar year. This would be the first time this has occurred since the original iPhone was released in 2007, and a delayed release for the iPhone 7 would hardly contribute positively to this prospect.

New features in iPhone 7

Aside from the release date of the iPhone 7, analysts and followers of Apple are already speculating about how the next generation smartphone will ultimately turn out. It is widely believed that the iPhone 7 will be significantly redesigned after the last generation made only rudimentary alterations, with a particularly sleek and slim design predicted in some quarters.

Another clue regarding the makeup of this smartphone was provided by Sir Jonathan Ive, the Chief Design Officer of Apple. Ive indicated in interviews that Apple is exploring the possibility of significantly improving battery life in the iPhone 7, but that the corporation does not consider it worthwhile to make significant sacrifices in other areas of the smartphone simply to improve the battery life of the unit.

Considering that larger batteries necessitate less space for other components, this view from an important individual in the Apple hierarchy suggests that Apple will rely mainly on software solutions in order to improve the battery life of its next generation smartphone.

There is also an ongoing debate regarding whether Apple will choose to increase the screen resolution of the iPhone 7 when it is released. This would certainly seem to be a sensible decision, as the existing flagship smartphone from the California-based corporation is rather lacking compared to some of its competitors in screen resolution terms. But reports have also suggested that Apple will not be in a position to improve the resolution of the iPhone 7 due to technical reasons, and that the iPhone 7 will ultimately ship with the same resolution as the existing iPhone 6s.

Other rumors suggest that Apple will produce a 256GB storage version of the iPhone 7, and it has been suggested in some quarters that a USB-C port will be included. One big design change that is being strongly promoted by some Apple analysts is the introduction of edge-to-edge displays, which could be resident in some iPhone 7 models.

Nonetheless, despite the problems that Apple faces in getting the iPhone 7 out on time, most analysts still believe that it will be released in September, probably on the 6th, 7th, 13th or 14th.