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iPhone 7 release date rumours & new features

David Price | June 23, 2016
Apple to ditch usual upgrade cycle, save features for iPhone 8 | iPhone 7 headphone jack 'safe for now' according to reports.

Sorry if that sounds obvious, but it's not as simple a question as it sounds. The iPhone 7 isn't the seventh iPhone (the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were the 11th and 12th iPhones respectively, in the product's ninth generation, so that ship sailed a long time ago) but it's what we have been for convenience calling Apple's next iPhone launch.

At the moment Apple sells iPhones in three sizes: with 4-inch screens (the iPhone 5s); with a 4.7-inch screen (the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s) and with a 5.5-inch screen (the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus). We're currently working on the basis that Apple will make at least one new model in the latter two sizes, and for now we're choosing to call those theoretical devices iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. There could be another 4-inch iPhone, though - which we like to call the iPhone 7 mini, but could be called almost anything at this point.

Although we originally thought that Apple would release two variants of its iPhone 7 this year (4.7in and 5.5in), the latest rumours suggest that there could, in fact, be three new models available at launch. Along with the 4.7in iPhone 7 and 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus, KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo claims (via a note obtained by MacRumours) that there will be a third (even more) premium option available, based on the already huge iPhone 7 Plus, which is leading some to call it the iPhone 7 Pro. We're not too sure about this unofficial branding, but we'll go with it until something more convincing gets leaked. Anyway, we digress. 

What's the main difference between the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 7 Pro? A new 'groundbreaking' camera. Or should that be cameras? As Kuo claims that the iPhone 7 Pro will sport a dual-camera system on the rear, developed by LinX, an imaging specialist that Apple acquired back in 2015. The LinX imaging technology should provide enhanced speed when taking photos and better low light photography, as well as possibly being able to incorporate a 2-3x optical zoom for better quality when taking photos. It's also rumoured that the camera module is so thin that the camera bump present in the iPhone 6 and 6s range could be a thing of the past (or so we hope!).

But why only release the upgraded camera technology on an expensive model, when the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus cameras can barely compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7? According to Kuo, the decision was made because of supply constraints - Apple can't produce enough LinX camera modules for both the 7 and 7 Plus, so creating a third option allows the company to still bring the technology to market. Apple's "Shot on iPhone" marketing campaign is hugely popular, and a 'Pro' variant of the iPhone with an enhanced camera would definitely be the poster boy for the campaign.


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