Apple will be releasing the iPhone 7 before the end of the calendar year, and the new numeral in the branding of the smartphone indicates it will be a true next generation device. The Cupertino-based company reserves its revolutionary iPhone handsets for every bi-annual release, with the ‘S’ range iPhones really an upgrade of the previous year’s unit.
So what can we expect in terms of major design changes from the iPhone 7 in 2016, and what will the handset retail at? Here is a summary of everything that we know so far.
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The first thing to note about the iPhone 7 is that it could encompass three separate units, with analysts tipping the introduction of an iPhone Pro in 2016. Reports have suggested that the iPhone Pro will be the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, and will simply feature extra functionality.
One possibility for the iPhone 7 is that it could feature an edge-to-edge display, a physical aspect which is already present in some of its smartphone rivals. This would enable Apple to either reduce the size of the device, or possibly implement another design parameter that has been rumored elsewhere.
Apple could consider extending the display of the iPhone when the iPhone 7 is released, particularly if it is able to slim down some of the bezels included in the device. There is particular pressure on Apple to deliver this physical feature as Samsung is producing smartphones with ever larger displays. And the Galaxy Note 6, also expected to be released before the end of the year, is anticipated to feature a six-inch display.
Curved screen embraced
Apple has already patented curved screen technology, and it is possible that it could introduce this feature with the iPhone 7, particularly as curved screens in the Galaxy range proved so popular for its great rival Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Edge devices have also attracted critical acclaim, and although it is unusual for Apple to be following the trends rather than setting them, some analysts believe that it will seriously consider a curved screen iPhone 7 this time round.
Camera bulge eliminated
Concept images and reports from China have both suggested that Apple will eliminate the unsightly camera bulge that was present in the last generation iPhone 6s when the iPhone 7 is released. This was a critical aspect of the existing iPhone 6s, and it is a design flaw that the California-based corporation reportedly intends to eliminate with the iPhone 7.
Headphone jack removed
Another frequently rumored aspect of the iPhone 7 is the removal of the headphone jack, with Apple instead expected to rely on wireless technology in order to enable people to listen to music. This is a controversial move to some extent, as this has been a fixture in the iPhone range for many years. But Apple is expected to place a particular emphasis on music-playing in 2016, aiming to acquire more value from its acquisition of the Beats brand, and shifting to wireless headphones is merely part of this overall ethos.
Apple could introduce a revolutionary dual-camera setup when the iPhone 7 is released, although there is some debate over which versions of the handset will ultimately receive this feature. It has been strongly suggested by some very credible sources that the iPhone Pro will be the only iPhone handset to feature this particular functionality, although others have suggested that it could be a standard iPhone 7 feature.
In particular, the dual-camera feature would enable Apple to improve the low-light shooting capabilities of the snapper in the iPhone 7; considered a necessity owing to the dual-pixel technology that Samsung has already delivered this in the Galaxy S7.
Sapphire glass introduced
Sapphire glass has been linked with the iPhone range for several years now, since it was widely reported that Apple had bought up industrial quantities of the substance. Apple did utilize sapphire glass in the Apple Watch smartwatch, but it seems certain that the consumer electronics giant will want to introduce it to the iPhone range as well at some point in the foreseeable future.
If there is one thing that Apple is most readily associated with, it is the high quality design parameters that it imbues its devices with. Central to this ethos with the iPhone range has been the production of ever slimmer and sleeker devices, and it is expected that Apple will once again slim down the iPhone 7 when it is released later this year.
iPhone 7 price
It is extremely debatable whether Apple is in a viable position to increase the price of the iPhone once again when the iPhone 7 is released, particularly as the consumer electronics behemoth raised the price point of the iPhone 6s last year. Apple has already conceded that it expects to sell less iPhone units in 2016 than the previous calendar year, and this will be the first time this has occurred since the iPhone was first launched back in 2007.
Considering the diversification of the smartphone marketplace, and the threats that Apple is facing from affordable alternatives, coupled with the fact that there has been something of a stagnation owing to the diminishing returns that smartphones can actually deliver, an increase in the price of the iPhone 7 would seem to make little commercial sense for Apple. Thus, we can expect the iPhone 7 to be frozen in price from the previous generation.
The price point for the iPhone Pro, or even whether it will be released in 2016, is certainly not known yet, but it is reasonable to assume that this device will be more expensive than the iPhone 7 Plus. We can probably expect a $200 disparity between the affordable iPhone 7 variant and this iPhone Pro handset should it indeed emerge in this calendar year.