The interesting news that Apple is set to refresh its iPhone range with a new iPhone Pro device has also ironically shifted the spotlight onto the iPhone 7. What exactly can we expect from the flagship smartphone when it is released later this year?

What we do know is that the iPhone Pro is certainly speculative at the time of writing, and that it is largely expected that the differences between the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone Pro will be pretty minimal. Despite the mooted release of this brand new smartphone, Apple will certainly be ensuring that the next generation iPhone 7 is an outstanding device.

Apple is also thickening the broth of the iPhone generation with a new four-inch unit as well this year, and this is expected to be the iPhone SE, due for release in April. This three-pronged attack on the smartphone marketplace is perhaps a reaction to the Apple share price slipping somewhat over the last few months. But there is no doubt that the iPhone 7 remains of critical importance for the corporation.

iPhone 7: Everything We Know So Far

iPhone 7 – Design

Apple isn’t expected to make dramatic changes to the appearance of the iPhone 7, and the company certainly has set precedent in this department previously. Its attempts to upgrade its iPhone range physically have focused on gradual increments rather than dramatic revolution, and it is extremely unlikely that it will depart from this ethos when the iPhone 7 is unveiled.

Therefore, we can reasonably expect the smartphone to feature an aluminum alloy body, retaining the gentle and pleasing curves of the iPhone 6s. However, one rumor persists regarding a radical change to the design of the iPhone itself, namely that the 3.5mm headphone jack will be removed in an effort to ensure that the device is sleeker still.

Removing the headphone jack may make logical sense on one level, but it could also prove to be controversial. Apple would naturally like to include new wireless headphones with its iPhone 7 handsets, while also slimming down the appearance of the device. It is also possible that Apple could include a pair of headphones which connects the iPhone 7 via a Lightning connector. However, not all consumers will necessarily favor this move, and Apple could thus be guilty of dictating to consumers rather than delivering preferred functionality.

Early concept images also suggest that the camera lens in the iPhone 7 will tessellate neatly with its body, while plastic antenna bands that have been included in previous releases will be eliminated completely. The rear-camera will instead sit within the aluminum casing of the device, while the antenna bands will be present on only the upper and lower extremes of the handset, instead of extending across its complete breadth.

The new casing could also be thin enough to ensure that radio waves can pass through unimpeded, which would mean that the need to coat stripped sections with plastic would be negated. Thus, this could be an entirely metallic iPhone 7 on this basis.

Slimmest iPhone ever

According to Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, the next generation iPhone 7 will be as slim as the current iPod Touch, suggesting a depth between 6mm and 6.5mm. Producing an ever slimmer iPhone unit has been a particular focus for Apple over the last few years, although there are concerns that this compromises the durability of the handset.

Wireless charging

Apple is also finally anticipated by some analysts to include wireless charging in the iPhone 7 unit, and there have been reports that the California-based corporation has been working on some particularly innovative technology. However, some observers disagree and suggest that the technology that Apple has been developing internally, which frees the iPhone from needing to be placed on a charging mat, will not be incorporated into the flagship smartphone series until 2017.

Apple has been working on integrating QI charging technology, and sources close to the company have indicated that this could occur sooner rather than later. However, the jury is still out on whether this will be achieved by the time that the iPhone 7 is released.

Touch ID alarm

Another interesting new feature linked with the iPhone 7 is the implementation of a so-called ‘panic button’ function into the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It is known that Apple has this technology available, as a patent for the service emerged in November last year, having been filed back in May 2014.

The panic mode would effectively make data on the handsets completely inaccessible to users in the event of theft or some other emergency situation. The phone will still unlock once panic mode has been activated, which could be implemented in various ways. Essentially, this is another layer of security being built into the iPhone series, and there seems to be no barrier to this being included in the iPhone 7.

Specs

Apple must surely improve the resolution of the iPhone 7 over previous releases, as the consumer electronics giant has fallen behind competitors in this department. So it is expected that the smartphone version of the iPhone 7 will embrace full HD, and the phablet will be a quad HD unit.

In addition, Apple should increase the size of the battery included in the iPhone 7 significantly, while the usual A10 and M10 processor updates will be present.

The iPhone 7 has been linked with a wide variety of innovative and powerful camera technology, and it will be essential for Apple to upgrade the specifications of the iPhone 7 snapper in order to respond to Samsung and its dual-pixel technology.

Release date and price

There is no reason to believe that Apple will depart from the release schedule of the iPhone 6s, which suggests that the usual special event in San Francisco will occur in early September, with Apple releasing the iPhone 7 into the public domain a couple of weeks later. Having increased the price of the iPhone 6s over previous units last year, it is likely that the iPhone 7 price will be frozen.