iPhone 7 Plus: release date, news and rumors
Update: We’ve had a good look at a possible final prototype of the iPhone 7 Plus – whether or not it’s the final version (and if the color will even exist) remains to be seen.
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus release date is likely to surprise no one thanks to the Autumn launch date of iOS 10. That’s when the software update will arrive, with the various iPhone 7 models expected in tow.
But the exact iPhone 7 Plus features remain uncertain, with multiple rumors saying that we’re in for a new camera and a Smart Connector, but possibly no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The new 5.5-inch iPhone for 2016 could take more cues from the iPad Pro than its Smart Connector port. There’s an off-chance it could assume the more advanced-sounding name with an iPhone 7 Pro moniker, or even that there could be a third phone with that name.
Whatever the iPhone 7 Plus ends up being called, there’s reason to believe it’ll include enough power and design tweaks to get you to upgrade from the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.
Watch our latest iPhone 7 rumor round-up video below.
Cut to the chaseWhat is it? Apple’s next phabletWhen is it out? Probably September 2016What will it cost? Expect it to be just as much as an iPhone 6S Plus, meaning $749 / £649 / AU$1229iPhone 7 Plus release date
When is the iPhone 7 Plus coming out? All signs point to a routine September launch following WWDC 2016 at which Apple announced that iOS 10 would arrive in Autumn.
Further evidence for this comes from @evleaks, who claimed we’ll see the new phones during the week of September 12. He’s since got even more specific, saying they’ll arrive in stores on September 16 and be available for pre-order on September 9, suggesting an announcement sometime in the week of September 5.
It’s possible that the company could change its schedule, especially as an AppleInsider source, deemed ‘reliable’, claims the company hopes to launch the iPhone 7 earlier in the year.
However, we’re mighty sceptical of that, as there’s been no other hint of an earlier launch and we hear the same hopeful news of an earlier launch every year. We say plan for a September upgrade.
TechRadar’s take: Look out for an iPhone 7 Plus announcement in early September (we’re sticking to Tuesday Sept 6), followed by a mid-September launch in stores.
Similar prices to iPhone 6S PlusDouble the storage for your money
Both Weibo and WeChat have revealed rumored pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus and the two sources agree on what it will cost, but unfortunately they list it in Chinese yuan.
However, the prices for the smallest two sizes (rumored to be 32GB and 128GB) match up with the Chinese pricing for the 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6S Plus, so assuming it’s accurate you can expect to pay US$749/£619/AU$1,229 for the smallest iPhone 7 Plus and US$849/£699/AU$1,379 for the middle option.
It’s a bit less clear on the largest (apparently 256GB) handset, as the Chinese price for this is higher than the 128GB iPhone 6S Plus, but not by much, so hopefully it won’t be a lot more than the US$949/£789/AU$1,529 that phone costs.
The eagle-eyed among you will also have noticed that in each case you’re getting double the storage offered by the iPhone 6S Plus, so if the prices are right you’re actually getting a decent amount for your money.
TechRadar’s take: These prices make sense as the iPhone 6S Plus is already one of the most expensive phones around, while offering double the storage for similar money would give the iPhone 7 Plus a major selling point.
iPhone 7 Plus design
No headphone port Water resistance A Smart Connector
Aside from possibly differing dimensions the iPhone 7 Plus is likely to look very similar to the iPhone 6S Plus.
That means you can expect a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, but one with a slightly slimmer design – maybe so thin that the headphone port will be removed. There’s a chance Apple won’t go that far, but most evidence at this point suggests its days are very numbered.
A recent video from Unboxed Therapy shows the larger phone in full (well, the chassis anyway) in a rather natty blue – a colour that’s been ‘leaked’ by a Chinese network.
However, the model shown by Unbox Therapy is a model based on designs by wireless headphone manufacturer Besound – which means it could easily be a very good fake. We’ll leave it to you to decide:
The changes aren’t all set to be controversial though, as the iPhone 7 Plus might sport water and dust resistance.
That water resistance rumor has popped up again recently, courtesy of a slide supposedly snapped at an internal Foxconn meeting. The text states that the iPhone 7 Plus is IP68 certified water and dust resistant, as well as supporting wireless charging and having a dual-lens camera, though this could easily have been faked.
More evidence for its water resistance comes from an Apple patent detailing waterproof speakers for use in phones. There’s no specific mention in the patent of any iPhone 7 model though, so this could just be something it’s looking to do in the future, and recent reports have cast aspersions on the possibility of the phone being IP68 rated (water and dust resistant) and merely ‘splashproof’.
Caught on camera
As of today, one of the clearest looks we’ve had at the phone comes from a leaked dummy unit shared by Nowhereelse.fr. It shows both a dual-lens camera and redesigned antenna bands, which have been moved to the top and bottom edges of the phone where they’re less visible.
The shot also includes a Smart Connector (the three dots at the bottom), which could be used for connecting accessories to the phone, much like on the iPad Pro and iPad Pro 9.7. Though not all sources agree on whether we’ll see that and Apple might reserve it for a third handset – the iPhone 7 Pro.
The shot could also be a fake of course, especially as the space between the flash and the camera is wider than we’ve seen on other leaks. However a blueprint has also emerged and this looks similar.
We’ve also seen the iPhone 7 Plus alongside the iPhone 7, in both a short video and some leaked photos, with the design echoing previous leaks.
More proof of the iPhone 7 Plus’ much-debated design may have materialized by way of some high-quality renders nabbed by Stuff.tv. In the video, which travels around the supposed build of Apple’s upcoming, grande-sized iPhone 7 Plus, there are some telling clues about what we might see come September when the phone is slated to be announced.
First off, as with most other leaks it lacks a headphone jack here. Next up, there’s a slight camera bump near the top of the device where there’s rumored to be a dual-camera setup. Nothing new here. We also get another look at the rumored Smart Connector.
Another leak suggests the iPhone 7 Plus will come in a deep blue color for the very first time, though it’s now looking more likely that we’ll see a ‘Space Black’ version instead, which isn’t entirely new but hasn’t appeared on an iPhone since 2012. The Space Gray option may be up for the chop to make way for it as well.
We’ve also now seen some leaked cases, thanks to 9to5Mac, which match up with earlier rumors, including a dual-lens camera and a Smart Connector, but with no headphone port.
TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 7 Plus will likely look a lot like the iPhone 6S Plus, but without the 3.5mm headphone jack. Believable evidence is also growing for waterproofing, as it’s a feature Apple’s resisted so far but it would help an otherwise conservative design upgrade stand out.
iPhone 7 Plus screen
A sharper screenA bezel-less display
The screen will likely stay at 5.5 inches but could get a resolution boost, since the iPhone 6S Plus is trailing Android rivals in that area.
The iPhone 7 Plus could also have a bezel-less screen, as shown in the diagram below, shared by MyDrivers, which shows a phone that’s got identical dimensions to the iPhone 6S Plus, as well as a similar shape.
It’s been rumored that Apple is working on an edge-to-edge display, potentially with the fingerprint scanner and front-facing camera built in, but we’d be surprised if we see that in the iPhone 7 Plus, so this is likely a mistake and calls the whole diagram into question.
TechRadar’s take: The screen will almost certainly stay at 5.5 inches but Apple is sure to improve it in some way. An edge-to-edge display is unlikely but a resolution boost is possible – especially if VR is on the cards.
iPhone 7 Plus camera and battery
A dual-lens snapperA bigger battery
The camera could be one of the biggest changes on the iPhone 7 Plus, as it’s heavily rumored to be dual-lens.
Almost every leaked shot we’ve seen of the phone has shown a dual-lens camera and for a closer look at that alleged camera you can check out the image below, obtained by Nowhereelse.fr.
However, while most rumors so far have pointed to a dual-camera, Mobipicker reports that Foxconn employees have taken to Weibo, saying that Apple has decided to drop the feature due to technical difficulties, so while it’s impossible to verify this its fate is uncertain.
Assuming the phone does have a dual-lens camera there’s still the question of what it will do. It could follow the LG G5’s approach and make one lens wide-angle, or it could make one monochrome like the Huawei P9, or perhaps it will do something different altogether.
The battery in the iPhone 7 Plus could grow even if the phone shrinks thanks to Fan-Out technology, which could be used to reduce the size of components. We wouldn’t expect it to get much bigger than the 2750mAh juice pack in the iPhone 6S Plus though.
TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera is looking almost certain, despite the small amount of evidence against it. The battery might grow, but probably not by much.
iPhone 7 Plus OS and power
A hexa-core A10 processorUp to 3GB of RAM
While the outside might look similar the iPhone 7 Plus could be a big change on the inside from its predecessor, as according to CNBC, the Economic Daily News has reported that it (along with the standard iPhone 7) will be “more complex” to build than previous models.
If nothing else there’s likely to be a whole lot of power under the hood, with talk of a hexa-core A10 processor, likely coupled with 2GB or maybe even 3GB of RAM and iOS 10.
TechRadar’s take: The A10 isn’t likely to be more than quad-core, but it’s sure to be powerful. There’s a chance RAM will hit 3GB but 2GB is more likely, with optimisations in place to ensure it still offers slick performance.
iPhone 7 Plus other features
A revamped home buttonA Smart Connector
Other than a Smart Connector like we’ve seen on the iPad Pro for connecting accessories, another new feature we might see on the iPhone 7 Plus is a pressure-sensitive home button, building on the 3D Touch technology that’s already found in the screen.
That was first rumored back in April but the rumor has popped up again via Macotakara, which claims that you won’t be able to press the button and instead it will vibrate when pressure is applied to it.
TechRadar’s take: The Smart Connector has appeared on numerous leaked pictures, so there’s a fair chance we’ll see that, but a redesigned home button seems less likely as it’s never an area Apple has felt the need to change before other than to add Touch ID.
iPhone 7 Plus rivals
The chief rivals to the iPhone 7 Plus could be other Apple handsets like the iPhone 7, which is expected to offer similar performance in a smaller size and at a lower price. Then there’s the iPhone 7 Pro, which, if it exists, could be an even more powerful 5.5-inch phone.
Check out all the latest news and rumors on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Pro
Away from Apple the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is sure to be its biggest competitor. This is rumored to have a larger 5.7 or 5.8-inch screen, plus a stylus to set it apart.
Take a look at the latest leaks and rumors about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Of course assuming it’s 5.5 inches the iPhone 7 Plus won’t actually be any bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, so that too could be a major rival. It’s cheaper than the 7 Plus is likely to be and has a stylish curved screen, along with a top camera and oodles of power.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge reviewiPhone 7 Plus: what we want to see1. A sleek design
A certain amount of size and heft is inevitable with a phablet, but the iPhone 6S Plus felt a little larger and heavier than was strictly necessary, thanks in large part to the big bezels above and below the screen.
This made it awkward to use with one hand, even compared to other 5.5-inch phones, so we’d like to see a more compact design for the iPhone 7 Plus.
Having said that it really doesn’t need to get much thinner – it’s more the length and width that we’re worried about, so hopefully rumors of a super slim design don’t pan out, especially if it comes at the expense of battery life or a 3.5mm headphone port.
2. A tempting price tag
With a starting price of US$749 (£619, AU$1,129) the iPhone 6S Plus is just about the most expensive mainstream phone on the planet, especially when you consider that for that money you get just 16GB of built in storage.
We’re not asking for the iPhone 7 Plus / iPhone 7 Pro to be cheap, given the size and likely specs that’s never going to happen, but if Apple could trim the price down a bit it would become far more desirable.
3. Beefy battery life
Battery life tends to be one of the weaker elements of Apple’s phones and most other handsets for that matter too.
Partially it’s because battery tech just can’t keep up with the pace of other advancements, but it’s also partly because companies often sacrifice battery life for smaller, slimmer handsets.
Apple’s been guilty of that in the past and it’s rumored that the same thing might happen again this year, but we really hope it doesn’t. The iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t need to be any thinner than the iPhone 6S Plus and we’d even take a thicker phone if it meant a bigger battery.
4. Better 3D Touch
3D Touch was one of the big new features of the iPhone 6S, but it’s yet to really hit its stride. It’s easy to forget it’s there and even when you remember it exists it doesn’t often add much to the experience.
But it’s got potential, a whole lot of it and we’d like to see it expanded and improved for the iPhone 7 Plus.
An obvious starting point would be allowing you to scroll through screens that you ‘peek’ into, rather than the static previews that you’re given currently, but we’re sure Apple can take it even further than that. We want to see 3D Touch become a genuinely useful addition, the sort of thing that one day we’ll wonder how we ever did without.
5. A whole new look
The iPhone 6S Plus is a good looking phone for the most part, but with a design that’s much the same as the iPhone 6 Plus it’s time Apple changed it up for the iPhone 7 Plus.
At the very least we want to see the company fix the obvious problems with the current design- removing the antenna bands and reducing the camera bump, both of which have already been rumored.
But hopefully it will do more than just refine and actually give the iPhone 7 Plus a completely different look, one which will turn heads like the iPhone 6 Plus did when that was first launched.
6. A stunning screen
The iPhone 6S Plus has a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 screen and while it’s clear and vibrant it’s not the sharpest of screens, coming in at 401 pixels per inch, when the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (which also has a 5.5-inch display) is 534ppi.
Text and images are still fairly crisp, but it falls short of feeling like a true flagship in this area and placed side by side with a sharper QHD display the difference is noticeable.
Resolution is only one part of what makes or breaks a screen and Apple does a great job of most of the other parts, so hopefully with the iPhone 7 Plus it will bring the sharpness up in line with rivals too.
7. Camera innovations
Cameras are the current smartphone battlefield, with every manufacturer seemingly competing to be the best, or pack in new and interesting features that can’t be found anywhere else.
That’s led to some incredible camera phones, the iPhone 6S Plus among them, but competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 isn’t letting up, so Apple needs to keep on pushing what’s possible from a smartphone camera if it’s going to stay near the top of the heap.
This is one thing that we’re not too worried about though, as Apple is already rumored to be working on a new camera for the iPhone 7 Plus, possibly a dual-lens one.
8. Stereo sound
The iPhone 6S Plus just has a single speaker and while it’s respectably loud two speakers – or even four like on the iPad Pro – are better than one, especially when that lone speaker is so easy to accidentally cover with a stray hand.
If Apple could make them front-facing too then all the better, though we don’t want that to come at the expense of the phone’s design.
9. An end to 16GB models
We’ve been saying this for years now, but Apple really needs to stop selling 16GB devices. Given the premium price and the fact that storage is never expandable on iPhones it’s just not an acceptable amount, particularly with many iOS games now stretching to multiple gigabytes.
The minimum storage level we want to see on the iPhone 7 Plus is 32GB, as that’s enough to not feel immediately restrictive.
A growing number of phones are following Sony’s lead and becoming waterproof, or at least water resistant, and we’d like to be able to count the iPhone 7 Plus among them.
We can count the number of times we’ve drowned a phone on zero hands, but it’s about reassurance as much as anything. You probably won’t spill that pint of beer on your handset, but you’re likely to feel a lot happier about having them next to each other if your phone’s waterproof.
A waterproof iPhone may be in our near future though, as some sources reckon Apple is making the iPhone 7 more resilient to the elements.
There are lots of other great phablets