iPhone 7 release date, news and rumors
Update: Will the iPhone really be waterproof? Will it come in blue as well? And has the first proper chassis look been leaked?
Want to know the iPhone 7 release date or all the incoming features? You’ve come to the right place. It’s going to be a big change this year, as the iPhone 6S is underwhelming because it doesn’t bring anything amazing aside from fancy new 3D Touch technology.
But Apple always goes bigger on the non-S variants (think about the big jumps the iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 brought) so we’re expecting big changes both in and out.
We’ve collected all the latest from around the web, sifted through the likelihood of each rumor and given you our expert take on what to expect from Apple’s launch – so read on to find the authoritative take on your possible next phone.
Fancy Android instead? Here’s our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S7. Looking for something smaller? Then you’ll want to check out the iPhone SE – while our iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro rumors pages should cover all your big screen needs.Want to know about the next-gen rivals? Well, check out our expert analysis on the new Samsung phones for 2017 – including the Galaxy S8 release date and all we know on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge.
In a rush? Get the latest iPhone 7 news in our video roundup below:
Cut to the chaseWhat is it? A rebooted iPhone, with new powers, features and designWhen is it out? Almost nailed on for September 2016What will it cost? Very likely the same as the iPhone 6SiPhone 7 release date
If we were betting folk, we’d bet the house on the fact the iPhone 7 will launch in September 2016. Apple sticks to a schedule and the last few iPhones have all been launched in the month of September. Autumn is also exactly when iOS 10 is due. It just makes sense for September.
There’s now additional evidence pointing in that direction too, with reputable tipster @evleaks claiming that it will be launched during the week of September 12. He followed that up with more specific details – saying it will be available for pre-order on Friday September 9 and land in stores on September 16.
That suggests the announcement will happen sometime on the week of September 5, so we shouldn’t have long to wait.
TechRadar’s take: Don’t book holiday in the first half of September if you want to see everything about the launch, and we’d bet Tuesday 6 September will be the day. Last year, Apple moved things to a Wednesday but the previous two years saw the iPhone emerge blinking into the light on the second day of the week.
More:What WWDC secretly told us about iPhone 7iPhone 7 cost
Prices to remain staticSmallest storage size to increase to 32GB for same cost
The iPhone cost rarely varies from year to year, and price rumors from Weibo suggest just that.
That means the iPhone 7 price will be around US$649 (£539, AU$1079), but here’s the good news: for that money you’ll apparently get 32GB of storage rather than 16GB.
At the top end it will be more expensive than the US$849 / £699 / AU$1379 iPhone 6S 128GB, but you’ll apparently get 256GB of storage.
There’s some confusion over whether there will be a 64GB or 128GB ‘middle option': a leak from WeChat, spotted by BGR, agree on the prices for all three sizes, with the middle choice coming in at 6088 yuan, which is the same price as the mid-sized (64GB) iPhone 6S in China, around £619 / US$749 / AU$1229.
The sources can’t agree on is whether you’ll get 64GB of storage or 128GB for that money – 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options seem the most likely.
TechRadar’s take: A larger base storage option, but very little price rise as the iPhone is already at the top end of acceptable cost.
iPhone 7 design
Water resistanceBezel-less metal bodyRedesigned antennas
While we were expecting big design changes for the iPhone 7, we’ve got bad news for Apple fans: it might be very similar outside of a few tweaks here and there.
We could get a new color option though, with rumors suggesting Apple will add a ‘Space Black’ shade to the mix, likely similar to the black Apple Watch option. That’s not been seen on an iPhone since 2012’s iPhone 5.
Another recent rumor pushed a blue variant too, with a Chinese network putting out a rather obvious hint about the new iPhone showing a blue option in the mix – but then again, the dual camera on the image is nothing like we’ve seen before, so it’s a slightly spurious choice.
You can see the likely shape of the new iPhone in the image below, which could be our clearest look yet at the phone, showing off the redesigned antenna bands and a single lens snapper. Another similar shot has appeared on nowhereelse.fr.
Or for a less clear but more mobile look at the phone there’s even now been a leaked video. It doesn’t show anything new, but it’s our first look at the iPhone 7 in motion.
The latest video we’ve seen of the ‘iPhone 7′ really appears to be of the iPhone 7 Plus / Pro, with the dual camera, lack of headphone port, dual speakers and smart connector on the bottom.
However, the chassis shape is clearer from the video – well, if it can be believed. From Unbox Therapy, it’s from Chinese wireless headphones manufacturer Besound, and it’s a mockup ‘based on plans’ – so this wasn’t an official chassis from Apple.
It looks very legitimate – but it could have just been a very good modeller – you decide:
The iPhone 7 is said to be slimmer than the 7.1mm-thick iPhone 6S; Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reckons it’ll drop to between 6mm and 6.5mm. That sounds unnecessarily slim to us, especially as it could cause the battery life to take a hit, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 is only marginally thicker at 6.8mm, so it’s possible.
If TSMC makes the chips, as has been rumored, then some space could be saved, which might help Apple slim it down without making sacrifices in other areas. Another report claims Apple will use fan-out technology to save space and reduce the thickness of the iPhone 7.
A waterproof phone?
The iPhone 7 could be built to last too, as according to Mac Otakara there are a number of iPhone prototypes with “ruggedized” features, which could mean a water and dust-resistant phone is on the way.
In fact, that’s exactly what we’ll get according to a supply chain source. Apple screen supplier Japan Display has come up with a new technology called “Pixel Eyes”, that is now in its second generation and makes it easier to use the screen while you have wet fingers. We’ve also now seen an Apple patent for waterproof speakers.
However, another report has suggested Apple will opt for a slimmer phone rather than a waterproof iPhone 7. Apple will likely get a new LCD display technology as well, which could allow the iPhone 7 to be 1mm thinner than before. That’s backed up by another report stating it will be ‘splashproof’ rather than full IP68 rated, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
No more camera bump or antenna bands
A design tweak rumor which will likely please many is that Apple will ditch the camera bump which has been present since the iPhone 6/6 Plus – with the firm going for a sleeker finish on the iPhone 7.
As well as being totally flat the back could also be uninterrupted, as the same report points towards the removal of the antenna bands.
That tallies with an image leak picked up by Nowhereelse.fr, which claims its snapshot shows the iPhone 7 to have no antenna bands and a larger camera.
The lack of antenna bands seems very likely, as other leak shows, a chassis design with a smart new way to hide the antennas – so a smooth back is very likely incoming.
Same shape as the 6S?
The overall size and shape of the iPhone 7 may not change much, as a sketch complete with dimensions shows it as being the same length and width as the iPhone 6S, as well as having similarly curved corners. That would be surprising for a new numbered model though and the sketch could easily be a fake.
Two separate leaked of the back panel have emerged to help corroborate these claims. The first is on MobiPicker, showing the phone in gold with a rounded design, antenna lines at the top and bottom and a new camera module, which could be a laser autofocus. It corroborates the reported changes, but has more than a whiff of fakery around it.
The newer image shows off the alleged back of the iPhone 7 itself. It looks like it could have been manipulated, but with most design rumors lining up it could still be close to the truth.
TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 7 will look similar to the 6S, but a more refined, rounded design with no antenna lines and a larger camera sensor.
iPhone 7 headphone jack
No headphone jack3.5mm adaptor for standard headphones in the box
One thing which no one seems to be able to agree on is whether or not the iPhone 7 will support your headphones. Early rumors suggested Apple was planning to ditch the bulky 3.5mm headphone jack.
That could lead to a great dependence on Bluetooth headphones, but another leak suggests there will also be a pair of Lightning-connected special Apple earbuds included in the iPhone 7 retail box, which have since popped up in another image.
Want more? Check out the iPhone 7 headphones jack story so farIf Apple ditches the headphone jack, you’ll want to check out these DACs
A picture from Nowhereelse.fr showed an alleged iPhone 7 chassis with two speaker grilles on the bottom and no headphone jack.
That’s been ‘backed up’ by a video showing the same thing, which is making it look very likely that there will be at least one variant without a the headphone port.
Ditching the headphone jack is unlikely to be a popular decision, but it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has messed with ports and nor would it be the first company to do it, as the Moto Z doesn’t have one either.
And while there’s evidence both ways the most frequent (and currently most recent) rumors suggest we won’t see a headphone jack, so it’s starting to look like that will probably be the case.
We’ve also seen leaked case images, courtesy of 9to5Mac, which show the headphone jack appears to be missing, as has been heavily rumored. Additionally you can see a dual-camera setup and a Smart Connector, which suggests these are actually for the iPhone 7 Plus.
TechRadar’s take: While evidence points to the contrary, Apple jumping to no headphone jack is too soon. There’s a good chance that the iPhone 7 will still feature the port, but Apple will start pushing Lightning-powered headphones ahead of the 7S dropping the jack. If it does go this year, it’ll be on the iPhone 7 Plus.
iPhone 7 screen
A sharper screenAn edge-to-edge displayNo OLED technology… this year.
The iPhone 7 could be in for a big resolution jump if a DigiTimes source is to be believed, as Apple is apparently likely to move to glass-on-glass screens, which opens up the possibility of a QHD or even a 4K display.
However Apple’s first move will surely be getting both handsets up to 1080p sharpness, and we’d still bet on seeing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.
The first image of the LCD backlight on the iPhone 7 comes from trusted French blog NoWhereElse and shows the connectors in different locations around the phone, suggesting there will be a few design changes on the next iPhone display.
Our first photo of it fired up, posted to Weibo and shared on Twitter by The Malignant, doesn’t reveal any obvious changes though, in fact we have a sneaking suspicion this might just be an iPhone 6 or 6S pictured next to an iPhone 7 shell.
Whether this shot is real or not there’s also talk that it could switch from an LCD display to an OLED panel, just like Samsung uses on most of its phones. So which will it be?
Well, one rumor states it will be 2017’s model – the iPhone 7S – that’s the first Apple phone to feature an OLED display. The rumor comes from Apple telling supply chain sources that it will be switching from LCD panels to OLED panels in the next couple of years.
It’s also been reported by the Chinese Wall Street Journal that Apple has ordered 100 million 5.5-inch AMOLED panels for a 2017 iPhone, so an OLED-equipped iPhone 7 seems highly unlikely.
There’s also talk of Apple taking a leaf out of Samsung’s book and opting for a 5.8-inch curved AMOLED display on a future iPhone, although this could be something for the iPhone 8 rather than the iPhone 7.
What about an unbreakable edge-to-edge display?
Hopes of an edge-to-edge display on the iPhone 7 have been raised slightly after an image appeared online claiming to show just that – but we’ve seen this kind of ‘photo’ appear for so many years it’s hard to trust its validity.
The iPhone 7 screen could be hard to smash, as an Apple patent has been unearthed showing bumpers which burst out from the edges of the screen to ensure it doesn’t touch the floor when dropped. Patents often don’t turn into products, but you never know – and it would certainly be nice to see a stronger screen.
3D Touch is bound to make a return, though it’s likely to be improved in some way, perhaps by enabling you to scroll through the previews of content you ‘peek’ into, rather than just having static previews.
TechRadar’s take: The screen has to improve in some way, whether that’s being easy to use with wet fingers or just increasing in size. The first move has to be 1080p resolution, so that in an LCD screen seems the most likely change.
iPhone 7 camera and battery
A larger, single-lens sensorNo more camera bumpA larger battery
Apple overhauled its camera tech for the iPhone 6S, replacing its old 8MP snapper with a shiny new 12MP one and boosting the front-facing camera up to 5MP.
Given that Apple tends to stick with camera components for a long time we wouldn’t expect to see a change in megapixels for the iPhone 7, but there’s a good chance it will have performance tweaks and additional features to help set it apart.
For one thing the standard iPhone 7 may get optical image stabilisation along with the larger iPhone 7 Plus.
Multiple recent leaks of the iPhone 7 – including the above from Nowhereelse.fr, suggest the camera lens will be bigger to let in more light and bring more power to the iPhone photographers – but the bad news is that if this is true then the larger sensor will bring the dratted camera bump that blights the symmetrical sensibilities of so many smartphone users.
It doesn’t seem to be a dual-camera lens, with most shots, including the leaked image above which supposedly shows iPhone 7 camera modules, displaying just a single lens.
The dual-lens shots we have seen are thought to be of the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 7 Pro, but being much larger will give the iPhone 7 a huge camera boost that Tim Cook is sure to talk up heavily.
We all need more battery life
The poorer battery life was one of the greatest failings of the iPhone 6S, so we’re really hoping for some improvements here. Sadly, though, if the phone does slim down further as is being rumored there’s not much hope of a big juice pack – or is there?
A recent leak suggests that Apple will increase the battery size in the iPhone 7 while still being able to reduce the thickness.
TechRadar’s take: A larger camera seems certain – and we’re fully expecting the iPhone 7 Plus to take the dual-camera set up. The larger aperture will give great low light and even more power – perhaps a slight boost in megapixels for better marketing. However, the battery will only get a slightly bigger boost… we’re talking miniscule, to enable that slimmer chassis.
iPhone 7 OS and power
A hexa-core processor3GB of RAMiOS 10
iPhone 7 is being groomed to launch alongside iOS 10, and it’s a tremendous feature upgrade over iOS 9.3. It’ll introduce a much smarter Siri that can command third-party apps, new Messaging functionality and an convenient Raise to Wake way of lighting up the phone.
It won’t stop with a software upgrade under the hood. iPhone 7 could be in for a huge performance boost, with whispers on Weibo that the phone will pack a hexa-core Apple A10 chip.
That’s a big leap from just a dual-core processor in the iPhone 6S. We’re skeptical that Apple would go for that much of a jump though, especially when the Snapdragon 820 chip at the heart of all top Android phones is only quad-core.
Up the RAM
Apple only just pushed the iPhone 6S up to 2GB, so we’re not expecting to see more RAM in the iPhone 7. That hasn’t stopped multiple rumors from indicating that the new phone will come with 3GB of RAM, but that’s said to be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus to account for its alleged dual-camera image processing.
3GB of RAM is big jump in a short amount of time, even for the 5.5-inch iPhone 7, but then again, Android phones like the Asus Zenfone 3 and OnePlus 3 are launching with 6GB of RAM. For some reason…
However, the latest rumor to place 3GB of RAM in (one of) the iPhone (s) has come with another nice idea: that the extra power will lead to a closer integration with virtual reality. Maybe Apple won’t be creating its own headset, but it’ll certainly be leading up to it, such is the popularity.
TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 7 will have a stronger processor, but the most it’ll go up to is quad-core processing. The 2GB of RAM will remain as the iPhone 7 should be optimised well enough to only need that much, but 3GB could herald a move towards VR.
iPhone 7 other features
A pressure-sensitive home buttonWireless charging
While the iPhone 7 is largely expected to look similar to the iPhone 6S it could be a very different beast on the inside.
According to CNBC, the Economic Daily News reported that the iPhone 7 will be “more complex” to manufacture than any previous iPhone, suggesting there could be a lot going on under the hood.
New home button
We could be in for a redesigned home button, as according to one source it won’t be a button so much as a sensor that you just have to place your finger on. The same source reckons that it might also be pressure-sensitive, so presumably if you press harder something different will happen, such as taking you to a different screen.
A whole slew of possible features are apparently in testing for the iPhone 7, with five different prototypes being used to test multi-Force Touch tech, a dual camera, wireless charging, a fingerprint scanner in the screen and a USB Type-C connector that’s compatible with headsets.
That all comes from a post on Chinese social networking site Weibo, but five apparent different prototypes mean much of this may not make it into the final phone.
One of the weirdest iPhone 7 rumors is that it might have a Smart Connector like the iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 9.7 range. On Apple’s slates this allows for the connection of a keyboard, which seems an unlikely fit for a phone, so it’s unclear why you’d need this on a phone.
What makes more sense is for this to appear on the larger, more powerful iPhone 7 Plus. A dummy unit shown on Mac Otakara offers the image above with three tell-tale Smart Connector dots at the bottom.
A few weeks later the same site came back and said that Apple had “shelved” plans for a Smart Connector port on its next phone.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Since then multiple dummies have popped up, including the video above and one from an anonymous tipster at MacRumors. The dummy is likely of an iPhone 7, rather than an iPhone 7 Plus, as you can tell from the smaller camera, and once again there’s a Smart Connector present.
It could easily have been faked and even if it wasn’t it’s possibly an old dummy from back when Apple was apparently considering it. A Smart Connector on the iPhone 7 is still possible, but we’d say it’s unlikely, as it never made a whole lot of sense to begin with.
TechRadar’s take: There are always new features, but beyond the fingerprint scanner the home button hasn’t changed in years, so it’s unlikely too this time around – it’s so iconic. None of the above have been really that heavily foreshadowed – beyond the iPhone 7 Plus-destined Smart Connector – so we’d be surprised if they turned up.
iPhone 7 rivals
The iPhone 7 is still weeks away, but many of its main rivals have already launched, with the biggest ones are the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Both of these phones have received five-star reviews on TechRadar – which we hadn’t previously given out to a phone for two years – so Apple has some serious work to do.
The HTC 10 is a worthy alternative to Apple’s handset too. Coming from HTC it’s as stylish as you’d hope and the audio quality is a cut above.
There’s also iPhone SE, which has arrived with a palm-friendly 4-inch size, 6S specs and an affordable price tag. For those looking for a phone which is manageable in one hand, this is the one you want.
Check out our full iPhone SE reviewNext up: Apple Watch 2 could launch at the same timeiPhone 7: what we want to see
Phones can always be improved, and we’ve had a few smart ideas for Apple’s next generation iPhone.
From a wider selection of screens and a resolution boost, to expandable storage and a speaker shift, here’s what Apple should do for the iPhone 7.
1. Three screen sizes
Don’t get us wrong, we’re thrilled Apple now has handsets which offer more real estate for your apps and games – but there’s still a pocket of fans who find 5.5 and 4.7 inches simply too big.
But with the arrival of the iPhone SE and its 4-inch screen we’re calling on Apple to repeat the trick with the iPhone 7.
But rather than marking it out as something different we want it to pack the same specs and features as the iPhone 7.
2. A resolution your movies and games deserve
You can now record 4K video on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but play them back on the handsets and you won’t get the full experience.
With the iPhone 7 it’s time Apple boosted the resolution of its handsets. We’d take a full HD resolution on the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, but if the iPhone 7 Plus turns up with anything less than a QHD screen then us and Apple will be having words.
QHD is now widespread throughout the top tier of Android devices, and we’re even seeing 4K screens sneak onto our smartphones. Don’t get left behind again Apple, please.
3. Wireless charging
Wireless charging remains one of the most frustrating technologies around, because while it’s here, it works, and it feels like living in the future, it isn’t as widely supported as we’d like.
An iPhone 7 with wireless charging would be great, especially if the same charger worked for the Apple Watch too. And if it could support both wireless standards as well, like the Galaxy S6, then that would be just swell.
4. Curved displays
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge wowed us with its delightfully curving dual screens earlier this year, and it’s fair to say we’re rather smitten with this futuristic look.
Now imagine such sultry curves on an Apple designed smartphone. We’re going weak at the knees already. Go on Apple, wrap that screen round the edges of the iPhone 7 and we’ll more than likely be in love.
5. No more 16GB models
iOS 8 adoption stalled and we reckon it was because people with 16GB iPhones didn’t have enough free space for the 5.7GB over-the-air update and don’t want to use iTunes because, well, iTunes.
iOS 9 improved things be coming in at a smaller size, but it still wasn’t tiny and will have been a problem for some. When your software updates are too big for your entry level products, your entry level products clearly don’t come with enough storage.
How about starting at 32GB for the iPhone 7? We can’t store everything in iCloud, even when it’s working properly.
This is what the iPhone 7 should look like6. Expandable storage
While we’re on the topic of storage – how about actually giving us some expansion potential Apple? It’s something we’ve been craving for years now, yet our request has continuously fallen on deaf ears over at Cupertino.
Expandable storage would allow us to buy the cheapest iPhone and then supplement the poxy 16GB of space with a microSD card of up to 2TB in size. Of course, that means Apple wouldn’t rake in as much cash for the 64GB and 128GB models – and thus it’s never going to happen.
7. Even better cameras
Apple gave us our first iPhone megapixel camera boost in four years with the 12MP sensor inside the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. But why stop there?
People love using their iPhones to take pictures, Apple can’t tell us that enough, so keep on innovating. 12MP is a good start, but spend some time with the 16MP snapper on the Galaxy S6 and you’ll be seriously impressed.
Of course it’s not all about the number of megapixels, and Apple continues to do great things behind the scenes to improve your snaps.
The Live Photo feature also seems like a little bit of a gimmick at the moment – and similar to the sort of things Samsung was doing on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5. If Apple can harness these new found abilities into something more productive on the iPhone 7 that would be impressive.
8. Look ID
Touch ID is great, and it’s got even better on the iPhone 6S with the second generation scanner tech making it more responsive than ever, but we want more.
The iPhone 7 has the chance to take biometrics to the next level, with iris recognition. It won’t be the first to the eye scanning tech (check out the Microsoft Lumia 950), but you just know if Apple jumps on board it’ll be slickly implemented and a joy to use.
Want to unlock your new iPhone? Just give it a knowing glance. Need to purchase a new must-have application? Give the iPhone 7 your best Blue Steel and boom, it’s downloading.
Need a name for it? Look ID. You’re welcome, Jony.
9. Speaker shift
With the HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z5 and Moto X Force all rocking front facing speakers, we’re becoming increasingly frustrated with manufacturers that still insist on putting a single speaker on the base of their handsets. The sound is poor, it’s not projected in the right direction and it’s often covered by a hand when the phone is held in landscape.
For the iPhone 7, Apple needs to shift its speaker location to the front so users can enjoy the audio from their games, movies, TV shows and favorite YouTube videos.
10. An unbreakable screen
Motorola has done it with the Moto X Force, and going by the number of smashed iPhone screens we see on a daily basis this is a must for the iPhone 7.
Stick in a four year guarantee and Apple will win the hearts of many who are disgusted at the firm’s charges for replacing cracked displays.