iPhone 7 latest news: Gorilla Glass 5 could appear on next iPhone

Corning's new display can survive higher drops than previous versions

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.

iPhone 7 Screen concept by Marek Weidlich

Apple iPhone 7: at a glance

  • iPhone 7 release date expected to be 13 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

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iPhone 7: latest news

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.

News of the benchmark was leaked to TechTastic via a Weibo user in China. IT is also rumoured that chip maker TSMC will exclusively manufacture the iPhone 7.

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.

Japanese news site MacOtakara and 9to5Mac mention sources who claim Apple is bringing back its ‘Space Black’ handset colour, which has not been used since the 2013 iPhone 5s.

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.

A page found on Chinese site Weibo (translated via Google Translate) show a new entry-level tier of 32GB (instead of the 16GB tier), a 128GB mid-range tier, and a 256GB top-end 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.”

Apple is late to curved screen trend. Samsung has explored the form, and has its Galaxy S7 phone already, with the forthcoming Galaxy Note 6 to come later this year.

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.

Adverts for a number of low-level workers have appeared on the websites of Foxconn and Pegatron, according to CNBC, and they seem to be filling up quite fast.

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