With a major iPhone physical redesign expected in 2017, the iPhone 7 may feature just modest changes this year. Will that be enough to keep consumers interested? Read on.
The closer you get to an Apple event, the more accurate the rumors tend to get. We’re now a few days before the event and probably have a pretty good idea what to expect -- barring a few surprises -- according to reports and analysts.
Let’s go over the new stuff you’re most likely to see on the next-generation iPhone at the September 7 Apple event.
Physical design: The iPhone 7 will not be a major departure from the appearance of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch 6s Plus. The expected similarity is one of the reasons that the iPhone 7 is being referred to as another interim release, rather than the full redesign typically seen every two years.
Elimination of traditional headphone jack: This expected change has gained steam this week with an apparent leak revealing new Beats headphones due to be announced at the event. Rumors suggest that Apple will debut both new wireless headphones and Beats headphones that use Lightning connectors, according to MacRumors.
Water resistance: The elimination of the headphone jack is also expected to allow improved water resistance and is a key reason for its removal.
New dual-camera: A better camera has become a de rigueur upgrade for any smartphone. In the last few months, dual-sensor cameras (aka, dual cameras) are just beginning to come into vogue on high-end phones. The larger iPhone 7 model could use a dual-camera system similar to Huawei’s P9 smartphone. The dual-cameras produce photos with more detail and perform better in low-light conditions. The camera sensors combine the two images to yield a single, merged photograph, according to a Bloomberg report.
New home button: Apple may replace the current buttons -- which must be pressed down into the phone -- with a flush, pressure-sensitive button.
Faster processors: It is almost certain that Apple will come out with a new generation of faster processors, most likely called the A10 processor, as follow-on to the current A9 chip.
So far, analysts are not overly impressed by the expected changes to Apple's flagship device.
“As much as the updates are solid moves forward they sound fairly mundane,” Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm Conlumino, told FoxNews.com. “That said, there will likely be more interest in the new phone if only because consumers with iPhone 5 or 5s models who feel it is time to trade up. However, this isn’t a replacement for the demand created by a phone which represents a real step forward.”
Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at market researcher IDC, agrees. “The minor changes and the major refresh expected in 2017 are partly the reason we forecast a decline for the iPhone in 2016,” Ubrani told Foxnews.com.
IDC published a forecast on Thursday that reinforced this outlook for Apple -- though the report added: “IDC does expect a rebound in 2017 and beyond as iPhones reach nearly a quarter billion units in 2020.”
And what about the most-talked-about change, the elimination of the venerable headphone jack? “Apple’s rumored decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack will dramatically improve audio quality,” Rene Oehlerking, CMO at headphone maker Jaybird, told Foxnews.com. “Replacing the 50-year-old analog technology allows you to listen to digital music in its purest form and, along with the upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 release, paves the way for a massive leap in wireless adoption.”
Other expected announcements on September 7 include a new Apple Watch with GPS, a faster processor, and better health and fitness tracking. A new iOS 10 operating system is also expected, as is the latest operating system for Macs, called macOS Sierra.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.