It seems like yesterday that Apple’s newest additions to the iPhone family–the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus–were released to the public. And really, that isn’t too far off.
But Apple’s already said that they have big plans for the next addition, the iPhone 7, and rumours are already beginning to circle on the web regarding what the new phone will bring. So far, there will be some pretty noticeable changes.
Designer Hasan Kaymak created a concept video showcasing the new phone’s features, and arguably the most notable one is that Apple might get rid of the home button altogether. It sounds a little risky, but the result is going to be a complete edge-to-edge display, eliminating any unused and wasted space on the front of the phone.
Some technology experts are also predicting a completely waterproof iPhone 7, based on the fact that both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are a lot more water resistant than the ones that came before them (thanks to a wider lip around the frame and a silicone seal around the logic boards).
Patent applications published recently by the US Patent and Trademark Office showed that Apple might also be preparing to enable their phones to be charged wirelessly, something that companies like Sony, LG, and Samsung have already done. The iPhone’s aluminium case is to blame for the company being behind in this race; wireless chargers can’t power the iPhone’s battery through it, but this might be changing with the upcoming iPhone 7.
Apple also filed a patent application for “sidewall displays,” indicating a wrap-around screen that stretches all around the phone might be in the works.
“A large majority of portable electronic devices have settled into a standard factor,” said Apple in its patent application, “namely a flat planar form factor with a display on one side and an opaque housing that contains the electrical components covering the rear surface of the device. Unfortunately, this popular form factor leaves the sides and rear surfaces of the device unused or at best configured with buttons and switches with fixed location and functionality. [There is] a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices which allows functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device.”
A recently granted patent may indicate that the new iPhone 7 could include a built-in panic button. According to the patent released by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the fingerprint scanner–which serves as a home button–may be used to lock the phone and transmit a warning signal to emergency services.
“The mobile device may be unlocked using a designated finger that activates a panic mode of operation, wherein personal data stored on the mobile device is not accessible or viewable to the user,” says the patent application. “In other implementations, the user may register particular fingerprints to be associated with different modes of operation and activate the different modes based on the particular fingerprints.”
According to rumours, the new iPhone 7 will not include a headphone jack, but instead a lightning port for audio output. There are also rumours regarding the new phone being significantly faster than the iPhone 6S and 6S plus thanks to a hexa-core processor. It’s also said that the newest installment of the iPhone family will sport a higher-quality camera, as well as a stronger body–ensuring that it will not bend like the iPhone 6S.
While there is no official release date as of yet, tech critics are able to speculate that the iPhone 7 will launch sometime around September of 2016.