iPhone 7: Leaked case designs show big changes to Apple's next phone
Published 10/06/2016 | 07:47
Rumours about Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 have suggested that not much is set to change, but leaked designs for the next model's cases suggest that there will be several significant differences.
The cases appear to show that Apple will get rid of the headphone jack, a move that could potentially result in a major backlash from customers who have splashed out on expensive headphones.
They also reveal a "dual camera" design, which could mean a vast upgrade to the iPhone camera making it capable of SLR-quality photos, as well as a "smart connector", which could be used to power accessories.
However, the leaked cases, revealed by 9to5Mac, appear to be related to the "Plus" iPhone model. The more expensive and bigger option could include features not available in the regular iPhone 7.
The 5.5-inch Plus model, introduced in the iPhone 6 and continued with the iPhone 6s, has to date been largely similar to the 4.7-inch standard version. Minor differences include the addition of optical image stabilisation in the 6s Plus model.
But leaked photos of both handsets suggest the difference could be bigger this time round. Other leaked photos have suggested the smaller models will not have the smart connector, or dual-lens camera, although Apple is expected to remove the headphone jack on both.
No headphone jack
This is widely expected. Rumours that Apple will ditch the 3.5mm socket universally used for headphones as well as microphones and hands-free sets have been floating around since January.
Instead, Apple could bundle the iPhone with wireless bluetooth headphones, which have improved in quality in recent years, or use headphones connected by Apple's Lightning connector - currently used to charge it.
It's already possible to buy Lightning headphones, and of course Apple itself owns a headphone company in Beats.
A "dual camera" design would allow two different lenses to work in tandem, allowing much-better quality photos. One wide-angle lens would be able to photograph a wide area, while a second zoomed-in lens would be able to focus on important parts of the image, allowing much higher quality.
The second lens would also allow a higher-quality optical zoom effect instead of the digital zoom on current cameras that essentially just expands an image, reducing pixel density.
Analysts have predicted that the dual camera would be limited to the iPhone 7 Plus, with the smaller version getting a different, although still upgraded, camera.
The three dots on the back of the supposed iPhone image suggest that the iPhone 7 Plus will be getting a feature Apple introduced with last year's iPad Pro: The three pin smart connector.
The smart connector is used on the iPad Pro to connect items such as keyboards. It's unclear how many people will want to do much writing on their phone, and a mini keyboard would probably be a little difficult to use, but there may be other possibilities such as audio docks.
There have been rumours that Apple had planned to introduce the smart connector but ditched the idea, so it is unclear if this will make it to the final design.
The iPhone 7 is likely to be unveiled in early September, as Apple's handsets traditionally are, along with updates to the iPad and Apple Watch.
Stylistically, the iPhone 7 is expected to be relatively similar to the 6 and 6s, although the antenna lines that currently cross the device are expected to run around its borders. An all-glass iPhone 8 is rumoured for next year.