The latest analysis on the iPhone 7 suggests that it will be significantly slimmer than previous iterations of the series. This is according to a source close to the Apple supply chain, who has been speaking to Fast Company.

New Leaks Suggest Slimmer, Waterproof iPhone 7

iPhone 7’s headphone jack to disappear

This source suggests that the iPhone 7 will eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack, and also that the device will support wireless charging and be waterproof. Each of the specific design parameters have been anticipated by Apple analysts in the last few months, while the predilection of the Cupertino-based company for ever slimmer mobile devices is legendary.

Thus, as has been frequently rumored over the last few months, it has been stated that the new iPhone 7 will rely on its Lightning cable port for sound output to wired headphones. In recent iPhone releases, this port has previously been utilized for power and data transfer. It is believed that Apple is currently collaborating with its perennial audio chip partner Cirrus Logic Tension in order to adapt the audio chipset to operate with the Lightning port.

It is also reported that the audio system that Apple is working on internally will take advantage of a new noise-canceling technology. This system has been manufactured by Wolfson Microelectronics; a UK-based audio tech company Cirrus acquired in 2014. The software will apparently be included in the iPhone 7 when it is released, and also in the smart headphones that will plug into the device. This technology will aid the iPhone 7 in removing background noise in music playback, and also when phone calls are being made.

Aside from the proprietary Apple technology, it will also be possible for third-party headphone makers to utilize the new system in their own Lightning-compatible headphones. Naturally, Apple will make this audio processing technology available via license.

Beats licensing

Early reports on the iPhone 7 have suggested that Apple is tinkering with the idea of including a set of Lightning-connected EarPod earphones with the iPhone 7. But the leaks from close to the Apple supply chain suggest otherwise. It is more likely instead that Apple will sell a higher-spec, more expensive pair of noise-canceling, Lightning-connected, earphones or headphones separately. The source suggests that Apple will market this product under its Beats branding.

On the other hand, other media reports have indicated that Apple may instead include an adapter with the iPhone 7 with the intention of providing consumers with more flexibility. This would enable consumers to plug regular 3.5mm analog headphones into the iPhone 7, making the smartphone a more convenient proposition.

Apple’s motivation in removing the 3.5mm jack is clearly related to making the device slimmer, smaller and simpler. Apple has thrived by producing sleek devices that are easy to use, and the iPhone 7 will absolutely inevitably follow this ethos. Recent device releases from the consumer electronics giant have been consistent with the principle.

For example, just last year Apple unveiled its new 12-inch MacBook computer that features a single USB-C port to handle power, data transfer, and video output. However, despite the simplicity of this market-leading laptop, it is also worth noting that it did include the headphone jack that is expected to be eliminated from the iPhone 7.

Wireless charging coming

In addition to this significant design change, it is also anticipated by the source close to Apple that the Californian company will make other significant changes to the iPhone 7. Top of the list will be the inclusion of wireless charging, which would enable Apple to catch up with Samsung, who included this feature in the Galaxy range last year.

Apple has been working on wireless charging behind the scenes, and it is now believed that the corporation has perfected the technology ahead of its inclusion in the iPhone 7.

Health-tracking focus

Other reports have suggested that Apple is working on ensuring that the iPhone 7 is both significantly dustproof and waterproof. This would have the advantage of making the iPhone 7 more convenient to use in rainy conditions. But it is also believed that this functionality would enable Apple to promote the health-tracking functionality of the iPhone 7, in line with an increasing emphasis on this quality in its product range.

The Apple Watch 2 is expected to launch in 2016, and it is anticipated that Apple will include the health-tracking features that it was forced to exclude from the first Apple Watch owing to logistical and technical difficulties.

It is certainly intended for Apple to include wireless charging, dustproofing and waterproofing in the iPhone 7, but the corporation still faces challenges in order to deliver this. It is far from uncommon for Apple to remove features from its hardware at the last minute if it feels it cannot produce them to the standards that it demands, and this was indeed the case with the Apple Watch smartwatch last year.

Although the iPhone range remains the market-leader by a considerable distance, there is still pressure on Apple to improve the iPhone 7 considerably over the iPhone 6S that was released last year. The iPhone 6S has been an extremely respectable seller for the corporation, but there has also been evidence that sales of iPhone devices are stalling in Western marketplaces. Most of the growth in sales achieved by the iPhone 6S was thanks to improved figures in China, and the ability of Apple to continue to grow revenue in the world’s most populous nation must be doubted, considering the recent market turmoil in the East Asian nation.

So in line with the fact that the iPhone 7 is a next-generation smartphone, Apple is expected to up the ante significantly with the iPhone 7. This will mean producing a device with a superior battery life to existing Apple mobiles, possibly improving the screen resolution of the device to quad HD for the phablet version and full HD for the smartphone version, and perhaps finally including the more durable sapphire glass in its make-up.