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iPhone 7 Rumors Blunt Anticipation

It appears there won’t be a lot of design changes in the next iPhone, according to a schematic photo NowhereElse published online Monday.

It shows what’s purported to be Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 to be the same size as the 6s.

“They’ve done a lot with the design already. They’re keeping multiple design languages to keep their customer base happy. The SE, for example, has the old design language, while the 6 and 6s have the new design language,” said Kevin Krewell, an analyst with Tirias Research.

“That mix is something they’ll do more of,” he told TechNewsWorld. “With the 7, they’ll try to push the envelope and try to get thinner.”

Jack Backlash

One way to shed thickness would be removing the 3.5-millimeter jack for plugging headphones into the phone. However, any thinness gained would be slight, maintained Wayne Lam, a director and analyst at IHS.

“Removing the jack isn’t going to buy them much,” he told TechNewsWorld. “More than anything, they’d drop the jack to drop legacy connections and to make the phone waterproof.”

Eliminating the 3.5-millimeter jack might be a sales tactic, according to Jack E. Gold, founder and principal analyst withJ.Gold Associates.

“Apple is of different mindset than most of the people in the industry,” he told TechNewsWorld. “That mindset is if we can change something and then sell you an accessory where the profit margins are high because of it, we’re probably going to do that.”

“They’ll say they took the headphone jack out to make a thinner device, but in reality it’s about selling a new set of accessories to users,” he added.

While new features in an iPhone usually are designed to stoke enthusiasm in the market, removing the headphone jack could have the opposite effect.

“The removal of the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack will dampen the iPhone 7’s reception from some quarters, particularly among audiophiles who like choice,” said James Moar, a research analyst with Juniper Research.

“While an adapter will probably be available, this will probably not be enough,” he told TechNewsWorld.

New Camera

Although little change was evident in the schematic photo NowhereElse posted, one noticeable change was the size of the rear camera on the iPhone 7. It is significantly bigger than in previous models and closer to the edge of the phone.

Imaging will be a primary focus of the iPhone 7, noted Lam of IHS. There will be two versions of the 7 Plus, one with a conventional camera and one with a dual camera array.

The features of the dual camera are still up in the air, he continued. The multiple lenses in the camera could be used for selective focusing or to reduce noise in low-light situations.

“Apple will likely do something unique in this case,” he said.

It’s also been suggested that storage on the highest-end iPhone might be bumped up to tablet levels — a notion Moar discounted.

“Unless Apple has plans to increase the size of the iOS software as a whole, we do not consider the introduction of a 256-GB iPhone 7 to be likely,” he said.

Smart Connector

For weeks, a rumor has circulated that the iPhone 7 would have a Smart Connector, like the iPad Pro. Both data and power can be transferred through the port, so adding it to the iPhone would open the door to a new category of accessories for the device, including wireless charging.

However, Mac Otakara last week threw cold water on that rumor.

Nevertheless, wireless charging in iPhone 7 is a real possibility, Moar said.

“We expect some degree of wireless charging in the iPhone 7, given Apple’s experiment with it in the Watch and hiring of individuals with knowledge in this area,” he noted.

What specification Apple will use for wireless charging — its own specification or an existing one — remains to be seen, Moar noted.

With Android’s flagship phones supporting wireless charging, it’s a disappointment the iPhone doesn’t have it, he added.

As for the feature enticing upgrades from Apple users or Android deserters, “it won’t drive sales on its own,” Moar observed.

Home Run

Given Apple’s most recentdisappointing earnings report, “a lot of people are putting stock on the need for Apple to hit a home run with the iPhone 7,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.

“But there’s almost nothing they can do that’s going to dramatically change things for them, and I think there’s too much pressure on the iPhone 7 and that’s going to create even more of a challenge for them,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Apple sales volumes don’t have to beat those of its competitors for it to be a winning company. “They’re focused on making their ecosystem sticky and winning over Android users,” Lam said.

“That’s their overall strategy,” he added. “It’s not how many iPhones they sell. It’s how good their ecosystem is and how good their user experience is so people want to stay there.”

John Mello is a freelance technology writer and contributor to Chief Security Officer magazine. You can connect with him on Google+.

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