The iPhone 7 leaks continue to flow with a series of photos purporting to show the new handset from Apple.

We recently saw the 4.7 inch Apple iPhone 7 in a leaked photo, and now it is apparently the turn of the 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus. The larger handset has allegedly appeared on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, writes Benjamin Mayo for 9to5mac.

Source: 9to5mac
Source: Weibo

Is Apple adding a Smart Connector to the iPhone 7?

The latest leaked photos again show a design which looks similar to the existing Apple iPhone 6s Plus. However the photos do reveal the addition of a Smart Connector which can be seen on the back of the device at the bottom.

Rumors have long pointed to a new Home Button which would sit flush to the rest of the phone. The images are low quality, but it does look like the button design has been changed.

Another interesting change shown by the photos is the fact that the iPhone 7 Plus does not have a mute switch. You can’t see any button near the volume buttons which might be used to enable and disable the calling tone. However given the source of the leaks it is important to take this with a pinch of salt, especially because this is the first time that such a change has been mentioned for the iPhone 7 Plus.

Source: 9to5mac
Source: Weibo

Mute switch cannot be seen in images

At the same time it is interesting to note that mute switches have slowly been disappearing from iOS devices. There has been no switch on any new iPad since the iPad Air 2, but this makes more sense given that tablets are not usually used for ringing alerts or alarms.

For the iPhone the removal of the mute switch would be a major change. On the other hand most Android handsets do not have a physical mute switch, instead using software toggles to mute or activate the ringer. It may be that Apple is going to move the mute function to its new iOS10 Control Center.

The Home Button appears to have a stronger border in these photos, with a visible silver outline. The iPhone 6s in Space Grey does not have a metallic ring, but other color handsets do. This may indicate that the Home Button has changed.

There have been rumors of a touch-sensitive Home Button and if this becomes reality it would make sense to have a clear border around the button. However the photos show that the button is not completely flush, so this might not be a problem. Other rumors have suggested that the Home Button would be redesigned as part of Apple’s efforts to improve water- and dust-proof ratings.

Source: 9to5mac
Source: Weibo

Dual-camera system visible

The back side of the iPhone 7 Plus is shown in a photo that fits with the rumors that we have heard previously. There are new camera components and different configurations for the antenna lines. A cutout for the new dual camera system can be seen in the top left, and rumors abound that two separate 12MP sensors will be used.

The antenna lines do not stretch across the whole phone, but instead sit on the top and bottom edges. The lower area is also home to the Smart Connector.

So far commentators have been divided on whether the Smart Connector will be included in the final iPhone 7. Many people believe that the company is testing the feature, but will remove it from the final version. It is hard to think what the functionality would be used for, seeing as a Smart Keyboard-style accessory makes little sense for a smartphone.

Dummy unit or unfinished chassis?

The images show that the Apple logo is unfilled, indicating that the iPhone 7 Plus is either an empty chassis or a dummy. It is most likely that the logo will be filled with black plastic as on previous models.

Interestingly the bezel of the phone can’t be distinguished from the screen. Previous rumors have suggested that Apple would introduce edge-to-edge screens, but it seems unlikely. One explanation for these photos is that the iPhone 7 Plus is a dummy unit seen without the screen components.

The headphone jack has been subject to rumors for months, and it looks almost certain that it will be removed on the iPhone 7. The bottom of the phone cannot be seen in these images but it looks like the headphone jack is going to go.

If the company sticks to its normal launch schedule the iPhone 7 will be launched in September. Until then expect the rumors to continue in earnest!