Apple’s iPhone 7 gets even closer to the desktop

The iPhone that thinks it's a Mac

Apple, iOS, iPhone, A10, Mac, WWDC, iPhone 7

People aren’t stupid, but even smart people can be misled, and misleading is what the recent deluge of “iPhone 7 will be boring” nonsense will turn out to be, once Apple takes the wraps of its new, hyper-connected device. Here’s what we know:

4 big talking points

The complex device is reportedly already in production, from here it seems likely the biggest iPhone 7 talking points will be:

  • Processor speed
  • Camera improvements
  • Headphones
  • Battery life

Processor speed

Apple is expected to shove a version of its new A10 series processor inside its new iPhone. This is going to be a very big deal indeed, as the A10 chip appears to be at least as fast as the A9X processor you’ll find inside an iPad Pro, itself a souped-up version of the A9 inside iPhone 6S phones. What this means is the new iPhones will be not only the most high performance smartphone you can get, but will stay that way for years as no one else has anything that comes close to this in real world tests. Take a look at these GeekBench figures for some indication of how much of a performance boost this provides. Then take an estimate at how much faster next-gen iPad Pro products might become while you think about what apps you need to use a Mac to run. These 64-bit performance demons will deliver plenty of horsepower, with the software and graphics you need to back that up.

Camera improvements

Graphics are already good enough, so how can Apple convince you its new improvements are essential? Simples. The new iPhones are going to carry all-new camera technologies combining third party and proprietary Apple imaging research in order that the iPhone 7 will remain the camera you want with you all the time.

Some expect an exciting dual lens camera (this new Huawei phone shows how this might look) with the camera lens(es) flush with the side of the smartphone, trimming the “bump”. Even those who don’t anticipate this already see a bigger lens (and better images). This state-of-the-art camera will make use of some of the technologies Apple acquired with LinX Imaging in 2014, consolidating Apple’s leadership in the space. And when it comes to looking at those images, you’ll enjoy the fantastic display, not to mention some interesting new technologies for VR.

Out of your headset

Will they or won’t they? Sundry reports claim Apple will abandon the headphone jack, remove the Mute switch and eradicate the Home button. I think all of this makes sense. Ultimately it seems clear iPhones will become a thin, light, glass sheet. There will be no moving parts. Wireless charging, Bluetooth headphones and haptic virtual buttons will define these products as they shrink. Eventually your iPhone will be your Apple Watch and you’ll wear a display on your sleeve. But I digress: I think it may be wisest to advise iPhone users to avoid buying headphones this side of September, given the strong and persistent claims the company plans to eradicate the port and ship Lightning EarBuds. The benefit will be a much more waterproof iPhone.

Battery life

A larger battery? 9to5 notes OnLeaks’ claim that iPhone 7 will carry a 1,960mAh battery, rather than the 1,715mAh battery found in the iPhone 6s. It’s hard to tell how much additional battery life this will provide in normal use as we don’t know how much power the new processor and other device components will require.

So, what do we have?

The iPhone 7 will be the latest articulation of the Apple smartphone. Based on what we saw at WWDC, software watchwords will include consistency, compatibility and – most of all – Continuity. The connected core of Apple’s ecosystem, the smartphone will let you logically work with any of the company’s products in the most productive way, even as intelligence migrates from the device and, iteration by iteration, into the environment. Apple Watch is the future of the Mac, and iPhone is the prophet of such change. The hardware will remain true to the essential focus of the product – it will still look like an iPhone, but an increasingly waterproof version, shorn of a few more ports and moving parts. What’s really critical is that the processors used inside these devices will soon be credible on other platforms – and that’s going to change everything.

What else do we know?

  • In previous episodes of the iPhone 7 speculation game, we’ve learned to expect the following:
  • Thinner (6.1mm and 6.3mm thin, half the thickness of iPhone 1)
  • We may see wireless charging a la Apple Watch.
  • Almost unbreakable – hard body, much harder glass
  • Water resistant core – internal components may be carried inside an enclosed System on Chip container as used inside Apple Watch.
  • Some claim it will be available in gold, rose gold, silver and space gray, but no black.

I guess we can expect to learn lots more this fall, when the company will also introduce all the new software it spoke about at WWDC.

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