iPhone 7 latest news, features, specs and price: iPhone 7 Pro scrapped
Top-end iPhone model shelved after supply chain improvements, rumours suggest
The iPhone 7 is expected to launch in early September this year, possibly accompanied by the iPhone 7 Plus.
Here we round up all the latest news on the iPhone 7 release date, price and features ahead of its official launch.
Apple iPhone 7: at a glance
- iPhone 7 release date expected to be 16 September
- Could be accompanied by iPhone 7 Plus/Pro
- iPhone 7 on sale in the UK one week after launch
- Predicted UK price from £540
- Apple iPhone 7: latest news
- Apple iPhone 7: release date
- Apple iPhone 7: price
- Apple iPhone 7: features
- Apple iPhone 7: specs
- Apple iPhone 7: versions, colours and accessories
- Apple iPhone 7: will it be a success?
iPhone 7: latest news
22/08/2016: Apple may have scrapped its rumoured iPhone 7 Pro model after improvements in its supply chain, according to reports.
Early rumours suggested that in addition to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the company was also planning to introduce a top-end iPhone 7 Pro model.
According to reports from Japanese site Mac Otakara, however, this plan has now been retired. MacRumors elaborated further, explaining that the decision is based on Apple's success with its dual-lens camera.
The iPhone 7 is set to feature a dual-lens camera for better contrast and low-light photography, but Apple was allegedly unsure as to whether or not the technology would be ready for a full rollout in the iPhone 7 Plus.
The dual-lens Pro version was created as a backup plan, to be released in limited quantities if production could not be scaled up to the level of the iPhone 7 Plus. In this case, the 7 Plus would share the same camera as the iPhone 7.
Now, however, the company appears to be confident there are no constraints around the component's manufacture, making the higher-specced, but limited run, iPhone 7 Pro unnecessary. Instead, September will see the release of just the the standard iPhone and iPhone Plus flavours.
The news comes alongside reports that iPhone sales have dipped by 7.7% in the last quarter, as consumers put off upgrading until the next iPhone debuts.
19/08/2016: Rumours are building that the iPhone 7 will have up to 256GB of internal flash storage.
While the saga of whether or not the new iPhone will have a headphone jack has been taking up many tech rumours column inches, a 256GB version of the 2016 iPhone could in fact be a more significant factor for users.
Apple's smartphones currently have only up to 128GB storage, with the 16GB entry level phone being widely considered too small for today's consumers' needs. If the 256GB top-tier iPhone 7 scenario plays out, it would see Apple scrap the 16GB version of the iPhone, with 32GB becoming the new base tier.
The latest rumour of a 256GB iPhone 7 comes from Asian tech news website Digitimes, which reports: "NAND flash vendors have increased chip prices citing strong demand for new smartphones partiucluarly the iPhone 7 featuring up to 256GB storage, according to industry sources."
Previously, Chinese website MyDrivers and Taiwanese research firm TrendForce both indicated the iPhone 7's storage memory would top out at 256GB, while the Wall Street Journal reported in July that the next iPhone would start at 32GB.
IT Pro's readers are cautioned, however, not to get too excited before the smartphone's actual debut, as a similar rumour surfaced last year in relation to the iPhone 6s, yet failed to materialise.
15/08/2016: Future iPhones could be waterproof. A report has unearthed a patent to take better pictures underwater.
According to Patently Apple, Apple has been granted around 80 patents, one of which relates to underwater photography editing tools.
The patent describes a system for colour-balancing images taken underwater that improves those pictures. It would remove unwanted tints without changing the colour of the water itself.
The patent said that the technology would run on mobile devices, hinting that future generations of iPhones and iPads could be waterproof themselves. As mentioned in previous reports, Apple is looking to remove the headphone jack and this would remove one area of water ingress.
The patent can be seen here.
12/08/2016: Assembly documents, purportedly for the iPhone 7, have appeared online overnight. The documents, which first appeared on Chinese social media but have since been picked up by NowhereElse, are apparently assembly instructions for the new iPhone.
As noted by NowhereElse, these drawings are more a confirmation of what has already been leaked over the past few months. This includes the fact that the bottom edge of the phone in the drawings shows two speaker grilles and a lightning port, but no headphone jack. If the documents are genuine, it backs up claims that the iPhone 7's headphones will plug directly into the lightning port.
Additionally, the drawings show what appear to be two lozenge-shaped volume buttons and a mute switch on the left-hand side and two other lozenge-shapes, one large and one small, on the right-hand side. One of these is presumably a power button and the other could be a SIM-card slot, as seen on the iPhone 6s.
However, as we are unable to independently confirm that these drawings are genuine, so, even though they are in keeping with previous leaks, they cannot be taken as 100% proof of the phone's final design.
10/08/2016: One of Apple's largest Chinese retail partners is already taking pre-orders for the iPhone 7, according to reports.
Chinese electronics wholesaler Leleda is now letting Apple fans reserve the latest iPhone, according to Twitter user @the_malignant. Enter a name and a mobile number to the form on Leleda's website, input the verification code, and you'll be able to reserve up to fifteen units of the iPhone 7, the leakster claims.
Apple has not even officially announced the existence of the iPhone 7 yet, so this offer is far from official. Instead, it appears Leleda is capitalising on the assumption that the company is heavily expected to unveil its new device in early September.
The latest iPhone is expected to feature substantial performance upgrades compared to the iPhone 6s thanks to more impressive internal hardware. Apple is also heavily rumoured to have ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, a move that may prove unpopular with many consumers.
Elsewhere, high-quality photos of gold iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models have appeared on Czech site Letem Svetem Applem ('Round the World Apple' in English), showing a raised camera housing, and dual-lens camera setup on the iPhone 7 Pro, a model rumoured to launch alongside the iPhone 7 next month.
The legitimacy of the pictures is not verified, but if true, the photos offer the most complete glimpse yet at Apple's latest products ahead of the September launch.
09/08/2016: Geekbench results purporting to be from the iPhone 7 have indicated that the phone could have 3GB of RAM and some serious performance upgrades.
The figures come courtesy of prominent leakster Steve Hemmerstoffer, who found a screenshot of the device's results on Chinese social networking site Weibo.
The results pictured do not appear to be available via the Geekbench browser, which could indicate either that the results are faked, or that they have been taken down by the site.
The listed model number for the device is 'iPhone9,2', suggesting that the specs are for the iPhone 7 Plus - the model number for the iPhone 6s Plus is 'iPhone8,2'.
If accurate, the results represent a much bigger uptick in performance than previous upgrades. The device's Geekbench single-core and multi-core scores are better than its predecessor by over 1,000 and 2,000 respectively, while the 6s Plus improved over the original iPhone 6 Plus by markedly less.
The hardware specifications included with the results indicate that the iPhone 7 Plus will come with 3GB of RAM - up from 2GB in the previous iteration - as well as a dual-core ARM processor clocked at 2.37GHz as opposed to 1.84GHz.
There is serious reason to doubt the legitimacy of these leaks however, and we would take them with more than a pinch of salt, but if they are accurate then they represent one of the most substantial hardware upgrades seen from Apple in the last few years.
08/08/2016: Apple is said to be working on a custom Bluetooth chip that could be used in wireless earbuds to launch alongside the iPhone 7 in September, in a report backing up longstanding rumours.
The cans should solve a problem that all wireless earbuds have: limited battery life. According to a report by Forbes, the chip comes from technology developed by Passif Semiconductor, a start-up Apple purchased in 2013.
However, the tech has not been without problems. The earphones were set to launch last year but issues related to performance put the kibosh on things. A source told the publication that if a product doesn’t work “100 per cent”, it gets cut.
The work on a custom chip signals Apple’s growing efforts to rely less on third-party vendors for components.
04/08/2016: Apple might release an iPhone 7 Plus alongside the iPhone 7, according to new leaked images that appear to show the larger 7 model.
Two handsets are set to be released at Apple’s Special Event in September, but the images from Unbox Therapy are stirring some debate as to whether they depict the Plus or another model, rumoured to be the iPhone 7 Pro.
Whichever it turns out to be, if the pictures are accurate then the new device will feature a second speaker grill and dual cameras, as well as Apple’s Smart Connector on its rear (which it would share with the iPad Pro, perhaps hinting it will be a Pro phone).
Unbox Therapy also found the Plus/Pro to be somewhat slimmer than the iPhone 6s Plus, at 7.14mm to 7.18mm.
02/08/2016: A picture has emerged that seems to confirm rumours regarding the colours of the iPhone 7.
Claiming to be the mute switch for the Space Black iPhone 7, the seemingly tiny part appeared on Chinese social media site Weibo and is shown below in a tweet from the editor of Nowhere Else, Steve Hemmerstoffer.
However, as Hemmerstoffer points out, it is easy to fake images such as this - indeed a mockup of his own to prove this point ended up being circulated as confirmation that the iPhone 7 would feature EarPods that plug in through the Lightning port, not a traditional headphone jack, ironically.
In addition to this possible confirmation of the iPhone 7 coming in black as well as gold, rose gold and silver, rumours have also begun to circulate that the iPhone 7 could come with a "digital crown", as seen on the Apple Watch.
These rumours come via a set of schematics included in a patent filing from 2014 that was only made public at the end of July. However, before anyone gets too excited (or irate), further reading of the filing makes it quite plain the whole thing is mainly targeted towards what would eventually be released one year later as Apple Watch.
Mentions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad are clearly Apple creating an all-encompassing patent for the "mechanical input", as it is termed, and possibly trying to obscure, as far as it could, the final design of the Apple Watch.
The full specifications of the patent, including sketches, can be found here.
31/07/2016: A video has been posted online showing the iPhone 7's EarPods plugged into the Lightning port rather than a 3.5mm headphone jack.
One of the hottest rumours surrounding the iPhone 7 is whether Apple will keep the standard headphone port or whether it will scrap this universal connector in favour of the Apple-only connection.
If the footage in this video is to be believed, it will disappoint a fair few Apple fans.
However, in the video, the device using the EarPods seems to be an iPhone 6S, rather than the iPhone 7, unless the latter will be a carbon copy of the previous iteration of the iPhone - which has also been rumoured.
It is also not clear whether the EarPods are official hardware - they could of course be a third party accessory designed to be used by an iPhone, current or future.
The fact that the person demonstrating the earphones does not actually explain how they work, just that they do may be a giveaway that the video is a fake, so it joins the sceptical rumour pile.
We would certainly be very upset if Apple takes away the standard headphone jack and decides to offer this proprietary connector instead.
28/07/2016: Apple has introduced patents to make the iPhone waterproof, according to Patently Apple.
The technology behind the patents is a membrane of waterproof, elastic material and a supporting structure.
The membrane may include an outer surface, an inner surface, and at least one concave region that is indented toward the inner surface, according to the patent.
“The supporting structure may be coupled to the membrane and include a support structure that mates with the concave region of the membrane when the speaker is subjected to a hydrostatic load,” reads the patent.
The patent said that this would only be waterproof to a certain depth. Excessive hydrostatic load may cause the membrane of the speaker to tear, rupture or otherwise experience damage.
27/07/2016: The iPhone 7 may have no physical home button, but instead feature a touch sensitive pad powered by 3D Touch technology.
This is according to reliable leakster Mac Otakara, whose latest leak says the button will not move when pressed, but instead issue haptic feedback that makes it feel like it is being pressed down.
Apple’s Force Touch trackpads on the 2015 12in MacBook and now the new MacBook Pros already use this technology.
But 9to5Mac believes the new “capacitive” home button would make the iPhone more reliable, with the usual home button component quite susceptible to failure.
Mac Otakara’s report also backs up claims the iPhone 7 will come in Space Black, Apple’s new colour.
25/07/2016: Apple's iPhone 7 will be released on Friday, 16 September, according to a well-known leakster.
Evan Blass, who goes by the name @evleaks on Twitter, tweeted on Saturday: "iPhone 2016 release: week of September 12th.
"Just to clarify, this refers to the retail release, not the launch event. To be even more specific, it should happen on Friday, Sept. 16th."
Blass is likely referring to the US release date of Apple's latest flagship device, rather than the UK release date, but it does fit Apple's schedule so far.
The Special Event at which the iPhone 7 will be revealed should take place in the second week of September, putting the US release date at the start of the following week, if Blass is correct.
IT Pro has estimated the UK release of the iPhone 7 will occur on the 23 or 24 September.
21/07/2016: The iPhone 7 could be one of the first smartphones to use the latest Gorilla Glass 5 from Corning.
Version 5.0 is said by the manufacturer to be “toughened up” to survive a drop from higher than previous iterations. Its latest product survives being dropped face-down from a height of 1.6 metres onto a rough surface 80 per cent of the time, according to the manufacturer.
"With each successive generation of Corning Gorilla Glass, we have taken cover glass technology to new levels. Gorilla Glass 5 is no exception, extending Corning's advantage in drop performance over competitive glasses," said John Bayne, vice president and general manager, Corning Gorilla Glass. "With many real-world drops occurring from between waist and shoulder height, we knew improving drop performance would be an important and necessary advancement."
Gorilla Glass 5 will appear in products later this year with the most likely candidate being the iPhone 7.
20/07/2016: Apple may well be working on Bluetooth-based wireless earphones that would work without a headphone jack. The wireless headset could be unveiled alongside the iPhone 7 in September.
According to a trademark submission to the US PTO filed in September last year, a company called Entertainment in Flight LLC, with a manager named Jonathan Brown, made a bid for the name. A recent amendment to the application appears to now link Apple to proceedings. According to MacRumors, Apple also employs an attorney named Jonathan Brown.
According to MacRumors, the original company bore all the hallmarks of a shell company run by Apple in the background. Apple has form in the area with previous product names such as iPad and CarPlay.
The report said that additional documents provided to the US PTO had been submitted and describe the earphones as “audio speakers; earphones; headphones; microphones; voice recording and recognition apparatus”.
Numerous reports suggest that the next iPhone will not have a 3.5mm headphone jack as the device looks to get even thinner while still packing in more features.
18/07/2016: More images have emerged of what could possibly be the iPhone 7.
Once again, Steve Hemmerstoffer of OnLeaks and NowhereElse tweeted photos of what look like the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro, giving credence to the rumour that Apple will release three new models this year.
One picture shows the back of an iPhone 7, the device appears with the “s” suffix, which normally is associated with the speed bump iPhones get every other year. The picture also shows a larger camera lens and a slight change to the positioning of the antennae.
Another tweet shows the device from more angles, and once more the pictures suggest that the headphone jack is to go from the iPhone.
A later tweet also showed a small video of the device, although this failed to shed any further light on the handset.
15/07/2016:The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus could sport Apple’s new A10 chipset which would give the device iPad Pro levels of performance.
According to IT Pro’s sister publication Know Your Mobile, leaked details of a benchmark of the forthcoming processor topped 3000 inside GeekBench, nearly 500 more that the A9. The A10 is thought to be dual core, so real-life performance may well be higher than this.
The new iPhone 7 has also been alleged to be have been caught on camera. According to The Week, a video has been released showing the Apple handset without the headphone jack and a speaker grill in its place.
14/07/2016: Fresh leaks from Italian publication macitynet.it have seemingly put paid to rumours of a 'Space Black' iPhone 7.
A picture published on the site yesterday showed a selection of four different iPhone 7 models, including Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Space Gray.
A black model was noticeably absent, despite rumours that Apple was going to reintroduce the colour as an option after its absence from the company's last three generations of iPhone.
The photo also adds further confirmation to rumours of a larger camera lens and repositioned antenna bands. There also doesn't appear to be a headphone port, but the picture quality and camera angle make it impossible to say for sure.
According to Steve Hemmerstoffer of OnLeaks and NowhereElse, reliable sources have also indicated that the iPhone 7 could sport a 1960mAh battery, as opposed to the 1715mAh battery seen on the iPhone 6s.
13/07/2016: The forthcoming iPhone 7 may ditch the mute switch, according to images on Chinese social media.
A picture of what is thought to be the iPhone 7 Plus has surfaced without this toggle. Up until now, it has generally been accepted that the new iPhone will lose the headphone jack, but the latest rumour lends credence to the theory that the new iPhone will be waterproof because fewer physical buttons mean less seepage into the device’s insides.
This plays well with the rumour that Apple is trying to remove as many physical buttons as possible. Apple is also said to be planning to replace the Home button with something else that uses the iPhone’s Force Touch technology.
The removal of the mute button would bring the device into line with its latest iPad, which has also lost that button. Users will still be able to mute sound by sliding up the on-screen Control Centre and using a dedicated toggle.
11/07/2016: New photos from reliable leakster Steve Hemmerstoffer appear to have confirmed some long-standing rumours regarding the iPhone 7's design.
Hemmerstoffer, also known as OnLeaks, tweeted pictures showing the rear of the new device. According to the images, the phone's appearance remains unchanged, aside from a few tweaks.
The principal change is that the camera housing is now larger, to accommodate a larger aperture. This will most likely translate to better photos in low-light conditions, although it does mean that the protruding camera bump will be sticking around.
There are two cutouts next to the camera housing. One of them is almost certainly the flash, but the smaller one could be some form of laser autofocus or a similar technology.
The photos also confirm that the plastic antenna bands - which help the phone communicate with cellular networks - have changed position. Instead of running across the back of the device, they have now been moved to the device's top and bottom edge.
As always, these are unconfirmed leaks, and should be taken with a pinch of salt. That said, however, Hemmerstoffer has repeatedly proven his reliability, so we're reasonably confident that these photos present an accurate picture.
04/07/2016: Apple’s next iPhone has reportedly had some last-minute tweaks ahead of its launch.
Rumours about the removal of the headphone jack and changes to the colour variants have gained fresh evidence, with the consensus now appearing to be that Apple will avoid a major redesign this year in favour of a smaller revision to its iPhone 6s model.
The Wall Street Journal has run a number of reports, via sources familiar with Apple’s iPhone plans, that suggested the 2017 iPhone will be a radical redesign.
For the iPhone 7 this year, the WSJ reiterated that “the biggest planned change in this year’s phones is the removal of the headphone plug, which will make the phone thinner and improve its water resistance, said people familiar with the matter”.
Apple is also thought to be bringing back its black colour variant.
This colour is expected to exist alongside Apple’s other variants for its iPhone 6s: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Space Gray.
Finally, Apple is believed to be scrapping its 64GB storage tier to make way for a new mid-level tier.
The iPhone 7 is thought to be in manufacturing now, in preparation for its September debut.
30/06/2016: A new patent granted to Apple could prevent people filming concerts on the iPhone 7.
The patent, which was filed in 2011 but only awarded on 28 June, describes a camera with the ability to detect infrared signals, as well as visible light. The camera sensor will receive two infra-red inputs and one visible-spectrum input and, by decoding these signals, can display additional information on the user's screen.
"For example, an infrared emitter can be located near an object and generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes information about that object," the patent reads (PDF).
"In some embodiments, a device can, based on received infrared data, disable a function of the device. For example, an infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices."
One of the illustrations accompanying the patent specifically gives the example of a smartphone with its recording function disabled while trying to film a band, whereas another shows how the technology could be used to provide more information about a historical artefact.
What is clear from all of this, however, is that the camera would not be able to do any of this by itself, but would require the owner of the object or venue in question to buy and install the infrared transmitters.
As ever, though, just because a patent has been granted, doesn't mean it will be used. As 9to5Mac points out, infrared as a method of relaying information has largely been made redundant by newer technologies, so this camera may, in fact, never see the light of day.
27/06/2016: The iPhone 7 might sport a larger camera than ever before if a new leak is to be believed (via Forbes).
A photo claiming to show the rear casing of Apple’s new flagship phone has surfaced on Chinese social media site Weibo, with the camera hole significantly larger than it is in the iPhone 6s.
(Credit: Rock Fix/Weibo)
Rock Fix, a repair company behind the social media post, claims the larger opening would support a camera with a bigger CMOS sensor.
The image is not the only one doing the rounds, with Nowhereelse.fr carrying a similar picture.
23/06/2016: Apple’s successor to the iPhone 7 may have a curved edge design for its OLED screen, the Wall Street Journal reports.
For 2017, the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Apple is believed to be working on a major redesign for its smartphone, which will include an edge-to-edge OLED screen, people familiar with the matter told the WSJ.
On top of this, the 2017 iPhone is also expected to eliminate the home button by building the fingerprint sensor right into the display.
Rumours about the removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 may, in fact, apply to this iteration instead, following new leaks about the iPhone 7 matching the iPhone 6S.
These features for the 2017 iPhone – tentatively known as the ‘iPhone 8’, rather than the iPhone 7S – have been suggested by Apple watchers this year.
According to WSJ, the reason Apple is holding off from including these improvements in its forthcoming iPhone 7 is because the pipeline will take time to implement: “People familiar with the matter said some features that Apple hopes to integrate into iPhones, such as curved screens, weren’t ready for this year’s models.”
21/06/2016: The iPhone 7 will have a 3.5mm headphone jack according to a Chinese leakster, despite previous rumours saying there won't be one.
Chinese smartphone repair shop Rock Fix has posted pictures of what it says are iPhone 7 replacement parts and the device's Lightning assembly still has the 3.5mm jack attached to it. Other pictures shared by the company include dual SIM trays, although we think it's pretty unlikely the iPhone 7 will support two SIM cards.
The dubious component pictures continue, including memory chips toting storage capacities of 256GB and a dual lens camera part, which would make Apple one of the first to offer such technologies in its smartphones, after Huawei.
However, this last revelation has caused a lot of controversy on Chinese social network Weibo.
One apparent Foxconn employee said Apple wasn't going to be offering a dual lens on its next smartphone because the technology wasn't quite ready for the mainstream, while another commenter, who also claimed to be involved in the manufacture of the iPhone 7, said the parts have already been made and it's too late to turn back now.
This source did reveal that other smartphone manufacturers including Samsung, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are also looking at making smartphones with dual lens cameras, but it's not clear whether the component would be exactly the same or unique to Apple and the iPhone 7.
17/05/2016: Pictures of what is claimed to be an iPhone 7 box have appeared on Chinese social network Weibo, alongside some alleged specifications.
One of the pictures shows the side of the cellophane-wrapped box, marked "iPhone 7" in grey or silver, while the other is a shot of the rear of the box, which appears to show the device has 256GB of storage, supports CDMA, GSM, UMTS, TD-SCDMA and LTE connectivity and comes with EarPods and a Lightning to USB cable in the box.
But before anyone gets too excited: it's a fraud.
We have several reasons to suspect this. Firstly, there's the timing. "Packaging [is] the very last step in the whole process," Steve Hemmerstoffer of Nowhereelse and something of an expert in the veracity or otherwise of leaked images, told IT Pro.
"So there [are] two possibilities: the packaging is real, [which] would mean iPhone 7 will be unveiled in a few weeks, or the packaging is fake, 'cause it would be unveiled in September... You guess..." he added.
Some analysis of our own points the same way - below is a photo of a real iPhone SE case. Compare it with the ones above and you will see a couple of major differences, the most immediately obvious of which is there is no Apple logo next to the lettering. This is common to most packaging on official Apple products: the largest face of the box has a picture of the device it contains and sometimes the name of the product. If the name of the device isn't printed with the picture, it is on the longest side edges, with the Apple logo appearing on two of the shorter or thinner edges.
Some basic tinkering to look for signs of image manipulation did not turn up anything immediately obvious, but the specs sticker is just that - a sticker - and therefore not hard to fake. There are certain things that do not appear to be quite worded properly, such as "Apple Lightning to USB Cable" rather than "Lightning to USB Cable", as well as the order of connectivity.
Of course, there is no way to 100 per cent verify, but all the evidence points to this iPhone 7 packaging being fake.
15/06/2016: Apple has been granted a patent for a 'consumer electronic product [which] includes at least a transparent housing and a flexible display', indicating that we could be getting an Apple device with a wraparound curved display at some point in the future.
The patent was granted today, reports 9to5Mac, but was first submitted back in 2011, meaning the accompanying image shows a 30-pin connector rather than a Lightning connector.
The drawing shows a display that wraps around the front, rear and sides of the device, with the site theorising that the edges and rear would not have touch sensors in order to make it possible to hold the device.
The phone would have a Touch ID sensor embedded into the display in place of a traditional physical Home button.
Image via Patently Apple.
14/06/2016: Apple’s iPhone 7 could feature handwriting support, allowing people to use the Apple Pencil to write directly into the Messages app.
Rumours about the feature are mounting after the tech giant revealed that its forthcoming operating system, iOS 10, will include an overhauled Messages app that supports handwriting.
On Apple’s website previewing iOS 10, it says: “Write it yourself. Send a message in your own handwriting. Your friends will see it animate, just as ink flows on paper.”
Its own example, below, hints that people can handwrite replies in iMessages.
While people could just write using their fingers, the company’s own stylus, dubbed the Apple Pencil, could help them do a far better job on a small device screen.
IT Pro wrote in its iPad Pro review that the Pencil, first released alongside the iPad Pro, “Apple almost certainly wants to emphasise that the Pencil isn’t a necessity - iOS as a whole is still best navigated and controlled using your fingers.
"It is brilliant for sketching, drawing and painting though, thanks to tilt, pressure and orientation sensors built into both the Pencil and the iPad Pro’s screen”.
13/06/2016: Two identical leaks seem to confirm many of the previously rumoured details about the iPhone 7. Both Forbes and MacRumours were contacted by two different Apple accessory makers, which shared with them prototypes of the iPhone 7 case.
It would seem from the bottom of the case that the headphone jack is definitely being removed and replaces with a second speaker. The lightning port remains in place in the centre, with rumours suggesting this will now double as the headphone input via a special adaptor. One slight contradiction to this is the fact that the iPhone SE has dual speakers on its bottom edge as well as a headphone jack.
The cases would also suggest that the iPhone 7 will not have a dual rear camera, as had previously been rumoured, but will instead have a much larger sensor. Rumours remain, however, that the iPhone 7 Plus will still have a dual rear camera - technology that has already been seen on the Huawei P9.
In terms of the iPhone 7's size and general design, it would seem that it will be pretty much identical to the iPhone 6s and, contrary to some rumours, it will not have a curved edge like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge as the case fully covers all sides evenly.
10/06/2016: Apple may drop its Space Gray casing colour for a new variant, according to a report.
The tech giant is planning to switch up its colour line-up with the arrival of the iPhone 7, Japanese news site Mac Otakara (via Softpedia) reports, and the Space Gray variant will be replaced with a new Deep Blue version.
Space Gray was first introduced in 2013, with the launch of the iPhone 5s and its iPod siblings.
Sources in the supply chain told Mac Otakara about the news, saying the iPhone 7 line-up will consist of Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and Deep Blue versions of both of its 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.
The Space Gray colour variant is also currently offered for the latest versions of the iPhone, iPad and 2015 21in retina MacBook.
06/06/2016: The iPhone 7 will reportedly have 3GB RAM and a 256GB storage, according to a recent report from market intelligence firm TrendForce.
The report chimes with previous rumours about the phone's storage options, after device leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer posted an alleged iPhone 7 Plus/Pro hardware photo that showed a dual-camera module and a 256GB storage module (via Forbes).
Additionally, IHS Technology's Kevin Wang announced that the tech giant's supply chain investigations found that the iPhone 7 will have 32GB of entry-level storage – an important feature seeing as the 16GB entry level that has been around since the iPhone 5 in 2012 does not meet today's storage demands.
TrendForce also reported that the 64GB storage option may be replaced with 128GB, but that decision has not been finalised yet.
“Steep drop in NAND Flash prices since the second half of 2015 has encouraged smartphone brands to use storage capacity as a selling point for their products. The storage specs competition has been especially intense in the high-end market. In the case of iPhone 7, the 5.5-inch model will need a larger storage for the high-quality photos and videos that its dual-camera can take,” said TrendForce in a press release.
03/06/2016: New images allegedly depicting cases for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have surfaced online.
The cases, though similar to what previous rumours have suggested, do sport a dual camera system on the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, reports 9to5mac. In the images, the two iris holes are shown side by side with a gap between them, and the camera flash and rear microphone are positioned horizontally.
As rumoured, the images also indicate that the iPhone 7 will feature a 3-pin Smart Connector on its back, which has previously been present on the iPad Pro in order for keyboards and other accessories to be connected.
The case also doesn't feature space for a 3.5mm headphone jack, which seemingly confirms its absence in future Apple devices.
31/05/2016: The base model for the iPhone 7 will have 32 GB of storage, according to an IHS Technology analyst, with Apple planning to drop the lower 16 GB model from its future lineup. For US customers the 32 GB phone will be priced at $199, reports 9to5mac.
The move is likely in response to complaints that the 16GB is far too small for use on newer models which, for example, allow users to record large 4K videos.
There is currently no 32GB model for any iPhone line-up, with the iPhone 6s jumping from 16 GB to 64 GB, then 128 GB. It was rumoured in February that Apple was planning to introduce a 256 GB option, which also led to speculation 16GB iPhones could be a thing of the past.
The analyst also claimed that the iPhone 7 will sport 2 GB of RAM, which matches the iPhone 6s.
24/05/2016: Apple has ordered 78 million new iPhone units, despite demand for the device plummeting, it is claimed.
Between 72 million and 78 million iPhone 7 devices will be built to cater for demand, according to a new report (via Daily Mail) that claims it is 10 million more than expected.
New leaks about the latest iPhone model suggest the camera bump will stay, but the headphone jack will be replaced by Bluetooth-enabled headphones that can also plug into the charging socket, according to 9to5Mac.
Apple sold just 51 million iPhones between January and March 2016, an annual drop of 18 per cent, earning the firm $33 billion in revenue.
23/05/2016: New leaked images of the iPhone 7 have emerged showing the device with four speakers and a much bigger camera lens.
The pictures, which were first published by French site Nowhereelse, are allegedly of a prototype case taken from a promotional video created by an Italian manufacturer of iPhone accessories.
The website notes that several of the details on the supposed iPhone 7 case are similar to those that have appeared in other leaks and rumours, notably the much more discreet antenna bands and larger camera lens that also protrudes slightly less than that on the iPhone 6 and 6s ranges.
The four speakers would be totally new for an iPhone although this was a flagship feature on both the iPad Pro 12.9in and iPad Pro 9.7in.
Nowhereelse does sound a note of scepticism, however, with regard to the location of one of the speakers directly above the camera. On the iPad Pros, this speaker is located slightly more towards the centre of the device's top edge, with the power button sitting above the lens.
Another notable feature in this leak is the colour of the purported case - purple. It has been repeatedly suggested that Apple will expand the colour range of its flagship phone with the release of the iPhone 7, although we would also caution against taking this rumour too seriously, as it did the rounds ahead of the launch of the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s, but in the end came to nothing.
20/05/2016: Reports suggest Apple could switch to a glass casing for some models of the upcoming iPhone 7.
According to a report on Nikkei, rumours have suggested Apple will shift from metal cases supplied largely by Catcher Technology to glass designs from the companies that supply its glass screen cover.
After an annual shareholder meeting, Catcher CEO Allen Horng said his company wasn't losing all of its Apple business.
"As far as I know, only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year," he was quoted as saying.
The shift from metal to glass wouldn't affect the cost, he suggested, but Apple may make the move to update the iPhone's look and help differentiate it from other phones.
The report has sparked speculation that the shift to glass may come in 2017, or could be a "Pro" model with an edge-to-edge display.
18/05/2016: Images of what is rumoured to be the new iPhone 7 have appeared on Chinese microblogging website Weibo.
The images show that the next iPhone will be similar, if not identical in size to the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The only difference appears to be the removal of antenna lines at the top and bottom edges.
The image doesn't give any clues to the rumour that the 3.5mm headphone jack will be removed in the next iteration of the iPhone.
The picture ties in with images released by Steve Hemmerstoffer of OnLeaks fame.
17/05/2016: Two of Apple's major suppliers for the iPhone are hiring large numbers of staff ahead of the launch of the iPhone 7 in September.
The website also references a report in Taiwan's Economic Daily News, which claimed that while the two companies do take on extra staff each year to deal with the initial iPhone rush, the reason for the even bigger mass hirings this year is because the iPhone 7 is much more complicated to produce than any of its predecessors, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE. It is also notable that the recruitment drive is taking place much earlier in the production cycle than normal, which is said to be because workers will need more training than in previous years.
While the iPhone 7 isn't expected to launch before this autumn, fans can satiate their appetite for all things Apple with WWDC 2016, which will be held from 13-17 June. More information about the event, including latest news, rumours and what to expect, can be found here.
13/05/2016: Suppliers are predicting lower than usual demand for the iPhone 7, attributing the drop in interest to a supposed lack of innovation.
Some of Apple's oversea suppliers, such as LCD supplier Japan Display, are feeling the after-effects of the company's decline in iPhone sales year on year, reports Mac Rumours, with that decline set to continue for the rest of the year.
A source quoted by Nikkei said: "Suppliers are saying that they are getting fewer orders for the second half of this year compared with the year-ago period. The traditional peak season this year will not be able to compare to the past few years."
The report goes in to say that the decline in orders from suppliers such as TSMC - Apple's primary chip source - is down to a lack of innovative features expected from the iPhone 7, as well as saturation of the smartphone market and increased competition.
12/05/2016: Apple's next-generation 5.5in iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 7 Plus, will have a two lens camera on the back, according to KGI Securities' Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Despite earlier rumours that Apple would likely offer a single lens camera version of its large model as well a dual lens camera model, the latest report from 9to5Mac says Kuo has now revised his previous prediction and claims all iPhone 7 Plus models will feature two cameras on the back.
Kuo also stated that the 5.5in model of the net gen iPhone will come with 3GB of RAM to handle the image-processing requirements, suggesting that the smaller 5in device will not see an upgrade from the 2GB the iPhone 6S has currently.
The analyst noted that shipments of the dual lens models from Sony and LG will soon be high enough to cover demand for the larger iPhone 7 Plus:
"We estimate total shipments of iPhone dual-camera module from Sony (JP) and LG Innotek (KR-TW) at 20- 30mn units in 2016F, sufficient to cover demand from the new 5.5in iPhone," said Kuo.
However, he predicts that due to constraints of form factor design, optical zoom capability may be limited as "the result of Linx algorithm performance is uncertain".
Dual lens rear cameras have seen relative success in the Android market, with the likes of Huawei and LG adopting the feature, which can combine images from two separate cameras to deliver far sharper zoomed-in photographs. But Kuo isn't so sure Apple fans will take so well to the feature.
"We believe market response to the performance of iPhone dual-camera remains to be seen," he added.
Continue reading to find out the iPhone 7's release date and price