What to expect for the iPhone 7 event: the Apple Watch 2 and more(?)
On Wednesday, Apple will gather the press together while the rest of us crowd up the event livestream to show off the latest in mobile hardware and software for the company’s ecosystem. In other words, it’s the iPhone, stupid.
This year’s iPhone 7, suspected to have come in three flavors and a congested name at one point, may take many Apple fans big and small by surprise — even though we’ve been talking about it for months and months at this point. But if you happen to be getting on the train during the moment before “the iPhoning” on September 7, don’t worry about it. We have you covered with this quick wrap up.
That Headphone Jack
Time after time, we’ve heard the rumors pop up about this issue and what would come to replace the 3.5mm port. Well, ever since we took a look at leaked metal casings for both phones, we’ve been able to say that we’re pretty confident that the jack’s disappearance will be the case.
The favorite to replace the hole? Multiple holes. A grille, in fact, but not for another speaker — sources say that a microphone will most likely be under there. We’re inclined to believe that move as well. Another trade-off of the headphone jack, supposedly, is some form of water-resistance as we see on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7 phones. Those two rumors might have been developments exclusive of each other, but they were delivered together at the time.
So, will Infinite Loop leave behind people who can’t shell out for a pair of cans with a Lightning connector on it? We’d hope not, especially if it can stuff something in the box. While the possibility is there for Apple to include a pair of wireless earbuds (dubbed “AirPods“) with your expensive new iPhone, the more likely routes would be for the company to either give you some Lightning EarPods and/or an adapter converting Lightning connections for 3.5mm ports. There’s a slight chance that Apple could offer a traditional 3.5mm pair of EarPods with the adapter instead.
All of this was possibly in the effort of getting the iPhone devices thinner than ever.
Rearing its head
If you have eyes, you’re probably seeing the final design of the back of each iPhone. Both of them show off aluminium bodies similar to the iPhone 6 generation with a refined antenna line design that hugs top and bottom edges and doesn’t just cut straight across the back of the surface.
The camera ports are a little chunkier this time around, though. The iPhone 7 may get one camera sensor on the back with optical stabilization (for those shaky situations), laser-assisted autofocus and LED flash. The iPhone 7 Plus will have two slightly smaller sensors instead. According to Chinese industry analysts, one sensor on the Plus will be optically stabilized.
If what we’ve been hearing about is true, Apple would be joining a trend started by other manufacturers of having two cameras on the back, but it would implement a use case unique in the industry — according to a patent application published earlier this year, one camera would have a standard field of view like any other iPhone’s camera would have while the other camera would have a telephoto lens strapped on for a “zoomed-in” look at your subject. Software would allow you to look at the wider image once you open your gallery and then, as you pinch and zoom into image, you would see the photo taken from the zoom lens.
The iPhone 7 will feature a 4.7-inch display similar to what we saw for both the iPhone 6 and 6s. Same goes for the iPhone 7 Plus with its 5.5-inch display being an analogue to its kin. The front of the phone may not feature a Home button as we know it. Rather it could be a touch-sensitive pad that does not actuate and return upon pressure, but a capacitive space that may use Apple’s Taptic Engine, developed for the original Apple Watch, to simulate a “click”.
Both phones will feature the latest processing chip, the superfast A10, as made exclusively by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
As we dig deeper into the specification speculation, we give a little less confidence in the data: the iPhone 7 will get 2GB of RAM while the iPhone 7 Plus will get 3GB of RAM — the more of it there is, the more apps your device can handle at once. Storage options begin at 32GB, head up to 128GB and then top out at 256GB. Both phones will also see the largest batteries in the history of each variant — about a 10 percent increase both ways. We may see Apple support the latest, fastest and most capable Bluetooth 5 standard — that may have to do with the Apple Watch 2.
iOS 10 will be finalized after a few months of beta testing with developers and members of the public. There’s a spruced up iMessage client with features like Invisible Ink and more emoji, an integrated Home app for small, but smart technology and users will be able to “uninstall” or, rather, disable some native apps. “Slide to unlock” has been replaced with “Rest finger to unlock“. You can take a look at other changes from our coverage at WWDC over here and here.
We expect Apple to maintain its traditional pricing model — the standard 32GB iPhone 7 will likely be priced at $649, though we may see more than a $100 price increase as you head up the ladder.
Apple Watch 2
Digging dirt about the Apple Watch 2 has been a little bit tougher — most of the chatter for us has been about its release period. While sources are sketchy, we do believe that we’ll see the same branded variants as we saw last year: the Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Edition. The watch cases will be coming in the same sizes it did last year — 42mm and 46mm — and the buttons and the digital crown you saw then should be coming back as well.
One major change that you’ll see? GPS. Professional and wannabe athletes can track their workouts from point A to point B, even without their iPhones with them. What won’t be coming? Cellular connectivity. Samsung’s Gear S series of smartwatches have had options for 3G and now LTE data so that apps can be updated with the latest information without a tethered phone. It’s a shame that sources have said that Apple couldn’t find a way to make cell radios power efficient to the point of inclusion into some Apple Watch models.
A new MacBook Pro and a few iPads are out on the horizon, but not scheduled for this event. That said, we haven’t seen much of a hint for “One More Thing” that might ambush us. But if you have any ideas about what could happen or if you have any thoughts about all of the above, feel free to put it down in the comments.
We’ll see you on Wednesday.