Apple is expected to reveal the next iteration of its ever-popular iPhone in the next Apple Event today.
The Californian tech giant usually updates its smartphone lineup in early September so it can see out the end of the year on a high.
This year it will almost certainly be the iPhone 7 that’s revealed, and the online rumour mill has been in overdrive ahead of the September announcement.
From photos leaked from factories in China, and concept images created by digital artists, to choice information from people with insider knowledge of Apple’s plans, the internet is abuzz with information on the the new smartphone.
Follow our iPhone 7 launch LIVE blog here.
We’ve gathered together all the latest news surrounding the phone, and will continue to update this article as we learn more.
For previous Apple models, here are the best iPhone deals this week.
Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has issued a new research note, claiming that the iPhone 7 will include one very useful feature for photo fanatics.
The phone will reportedly have four LED flash lights – two in cool colours, and two in warm colours – and an ambient light sensor.
While the iPhone 6s ‘ camera is widely praised, it still struggles to take good photos in low-light situations. These additions should theoretically improve image quality.
It is unclear whether the new features will appear on the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 or just the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which is also expected to feature a dual-lens camera capable of taking SLR-quality photos.
Either way, Apple is clearly stepping up its photography capabilities in the face of growing competition from the likes of Samsung, Sony and Huawei.
Apple has sent out invitations for an event, where it is widely expected to unveil the iPhone 7 .
The event is taking place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 7, at 10am local time, (6pm BST).
Apple often likes to include a hidden message in its invitations, but this one gives very little away.
It carries the tagline “See you on the 7th” – which may allude to the name of the iPhone 7, as well as the date.
It also features a number of translucent coloured dots outlining the top portion of Apple’s logo, which may relate to the rumour that Apple is planning to introduce new coloured handsets.
In photography, this out-of-focus effect is called bokeh. It is usually hard to create with a phone camera, suggesting that the iPhone 7 could feature an upgraded camera lens.
However, the dots could also be water droplets, which would be relevant if Apple was planning to launch a waterproof iPhone.
Although the launch will take place on 7 September, there is usually a gap between Apple unveiling its latest iPhone and the device going on sale.
Notorious leaker Evan Blass claims to have pinned down the release date to Friday, September 16 – although he has cited no source for the information.
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.
September 16 would be in keeping with Apple’s normal timetable, allowing the company to start taking pre-orders a week earlier, on Friday, September 9.
It’s unlikely that Apple’s main iPhone 7 will be any easier on the wallet than past variants.
Tech site igyaan claims to have leaked a full price list of all iPhone 7 handsets in Chinese Yuan.
The low spec handset for the 32GB version will reportedly cost around £595 with the highest spec phone – the iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB – being priced at almost £900.
iPhone 7 32GB ¥5,288 (£595.25)
iPhone 7 128GB ¥6,088 (£685.30)
iPhone 7 256GB ¥7,088 (£797.87)
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB ¥6,088 (£685.30)
iPhone 7 Plus 128GB ¥6,888 (£775.36)
iPhone 7 Plus 256GB ¥7,888 (£887.92)
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While most people expect Apple’s next iPhone to be called the iPhone 7, some leaks suggest that Apple may opt for the name “iPhone 6SE” instead.
The rumour comes from German tech news site Apfelpage , which spoke to Chinese supply chain sources who claim to have seen finished packaging and labels with the new name.
The name iPhone 6SE would make sense, given that most of the rumours point to Apple’s next iPhone being an iterative update rather than a major design overhaul.
However, the latest rumours suggest Apple is going with iPhone 7, “to avoid confusion” – and the tagline on the invitation backs up this theory.
While the iPhone 7 is expected to look largely identical to the iPhone 6s, rumours point to a number of key changes.
Many tech fans felt the design change from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6 (and then 6s) was a hugely positive step – praising the thinner body and larger screen.
As with last year’s flagship, the iPhone 7 will come in two sizes – one with a 4.7-inch display, and one with a 5.5-inch display (which will be known as the iPhone 7 Plus).
These will both have the same aluminium body as the iPhone 6s. However, a video obtained by French tech site Nowhereelse.fr shows that the white plastic antenna lines across the back will be removed.
It also shows that there will be no 3.5mm headphone port on the base of the handset, suggesting that iPhone 7 users may have to rethink their headphone choices.
Another video shows an iPhone 7 Plus mockup in a deep metallic blue tone – suggesting the tech giant may be planning to expand its range of colours for the iPhone 7 range.
Kuo claims that the iPhone 7 will come in five colours – silver, gold, rose gold, dark black and “piano black”.
The glossy piano black variant could be limited in availability, so Apple is expected to focus on large-storage models for that shade.
Designer Martin Hajek has created several impressive 3D renders of what he thinks the iPhone 7 could look like.
Rather than the traditional Space Grey colour, Hajek has taken the Space Black finish from the Apple Watch and applied it to the phone.
His realistic-looking renders also show how many of the iPhone 7 rumours might look if they were implemented in a finished product.
The most persistent of which is that Apple will remove the headphone jack from the new iPhone and use the Lightning port instead. There’s more on that below – read on to find out.
Hajek has added a pair of headphones with a Lightning cable in one of his shots to illustrate what that may look like.
Similarly, the camera lens has been enlarged to take into account a more powerful sensor and the antenna lines have been moved from across the back to the top and bottom of the phone.
Both Samsung and LG have embraced curvy screens with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the LG G Flex 2 respectively.
It’s unlikely Apple will follow suit but then the world’s most valuable company has had a problem with bending phones in the past.
This picture appears to give us our clearest view yet of what the iPhone 7 will look like.
Emerging on Chinese social media, it shows a device that’s very similar to the current iPhone 6s, albeit with a couple of small changes.
Firstly, the camera lens is clearly bigger – which holds true to rumours the tech giant is improving the on-board snapper.
Secondly, the lines across the back have been removed.
These lines currently allow radio signals to pass through the metal casing and reach the antennas. However, it looks like Apple may be planning to redesign the case to get around this restriction.
The home button has become one of Apple’s most iconic design features. And while some rumours say Apple will ditch the home button, others suggest it’s getting a revamp.
According to Bloomberg Technology, the new iPhones will use pressure-sensitive technology from Macbook computers for the home button.
“Current home buttons are switches that physically press into the phone, but the new models will have a pressure-sensitive button that provides feedback to the user via a vibrating haptic sensation rather than a true physical click,” explains the site.
“This mechanism is similar to that of the trackpads on the latest MacBook line.”
Kuo also claims that the iPhone 7 will have a redesigned pressure-sensitive click-less Home button, that will provide haptic feedback to mimic a clicking sensation when the button is pressed.
Meanwhile, pictures surfaced recently that appear to show a version of the phone with a completely blank front panel. They seem to suggest that Apple will drop its famous home key in favour of an on-screen button.
Taken in China and obtained by the blog site Apple Insider , the pictures have now been widely circulated around the internet.
The shady pictures look to be taken quickly and without much thought to lighting or presentation. They show what is allegedly a new iPhone with a very different design.
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We find it hard to believe that Apple would get rid of the home button. The feature actually pre-dates the iPhone as it was first used on the iPod music players.
There is also no evidence of a headphone jack on the bottom of the phone in these pictures. However, the external speakers on the bottom look similar to previous iPhone models.
These pictures were obtained by the Taiwanese site Apple Club, which previously published the first schematics showing the protruding iPhone 6 camera lens, before being republished by 9to5Mac.
They appear to confirm rumours that Apple is set to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone 7.
If true, this will probably mean anyone who buys the next version of Apple’s iPhone will have to use wireless headphones or use a converter.
In January, the usual shadowy “supply chain sources” told a Chinese website that the 3.5-inch headphone jack will not be included on Apple’s next mobile.
Recently, these rumours have been fuelled by images of a case for the new phone that apparently show no hole for the headphone wires.
The pictures, spotted by Nowhereelse.fr after they were published on Twitter, seem to support the rumour that Apple will ditch the headphone socket.
There’s no hole in the case for where a headphone socket should be – instead there are just spaces for the charging port and speakers.
Of course, there’s no way of confirming the legitimacy of the case – but it serves as an interesting indicator for a potentially big design change.
Tech experts reckon that by removing the headphone socket, Apple engineers will be able to shave 1mm off the thickness of the phone, and possibly add a second speaker with an audio amplifier.
The question is, how will iPhone 7 users be able to listen to music?
One suggestion is that the iPhone 7 will ship with wireless headphones, called AirPods, which will connect to the new iPhone using Bluetooth.
Meanwhile an insight coming from Deutsche Bank analysts by way of Business Insider , suggests that Apple will include a special adaptor along with the iPhone 7 instead of a pair of headphones.
“A Lightning-to-audio dongle included with the iPhone 7 – not a pair of Lightning headphones,” reports the tech site.
That would mean instead of plugging your headphones directly into the phone, you have to carry around an adapter with you everywhere you go.
Beats Electronics, which Apple bought for $3 billion in 2014, may also be able to provide a solution to iPhone users’ woes.
According to an email sent out to French-speaking journalists by Beats’ PR team, and posted online by igen.fr , Apple’s event on September 7 will allow attendees to “discover new products from Beats by Dre”.
It goes on say the event that “can’t be missed” – suggesting that a selection of new products from Beats by Dre will be revealed at the event.
It would make sense for Beats to release a refreshed headphone lineup to coincide with the iPhone 7 launch.
This will most likely include a selection of wireless Bluetooth headphones and wired headphones with a Lightning port connector.
Business Insider calls Apple’s strategy a “huge risk”.
Because the new iPhone will likely arrive with Apple’s iOS 10 software and an upgraded processor, it will offer even more power and better efficiency.
According to Kuo, the iPhone 7 will boast a next-generation A10 processor that could be as fast as 2.4GHz – a dramatic increase over the existing A9 chip.
At the moment, we don’t know what kind of battery the iPhone 7 will use – but at least there’s now a Low Power Mode built into iOS 9 to help it last even longer. We expect this will continue into an updated version of iOS.
According to Korean site ETNews , Apple is currently in discussion with arch-rival Samsung over supplying OLED screens for its next phone.
This would shift the display over from the current LED model to a much more vibrant OLED screen. Such a move would likely make for better colour reproduction for videos and games, but might hamper battery life.
Elsewhere, a leak Italian website from HDblog suggests that Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which is expected to launch alongside the iPhone 7 this September, will feature a whopping 256GB of storage.
That’s double the storage of an entry-level Macbook Air, and would make the iPhone 7 Plus Apple’s most high-capacity smartphone yet.
The site shows pictures of a 256GB SanDisk NAND flash memory chip that “could be appropriate for the next generation smartphone”, according to MacRumours .
Apple has used SanDisk flash memory chips in a number of previous iPhone models – including the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus – so it wouldn’t be surprising if the two companies decided to link up again for the iPhone 7.
However, this one change could be a huge boon for Apple fans.
The iPhone7 launch could also see Apple finally ditch its pitifully small 16GB storage option in favour of a more generous 32GB base model.
The current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus lineup offers customers a choice of 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB storage options.
However, supply chain investigations by Kevin Wang, director of market research at respected analyst firm IHS Technology, suggest the iPhone 7 base model will come with with 32GB of storage.
According to Kuo, Apple is also planning to kill off the 64GB model, meaning the iPhone 7 would come in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options.
A photo claiming to be of the iPhone 7 Plus has surfaced on Chinese website Bastille Post , fueling rumours that the smartphone will feature a dual-lens camera.
The picture shows a protruding, pill-shaped enclosure – which differs from the two separate circular camera openings depicted in some other online renderings.
Meanwhile, a video claiming to show the flagship iPhone 7’s transparent case has been uploaded to YouTube by Unbox Therapy , showing a large cut-out for the rear camera.
The advantage of a dual camera is that it could allow iPhone users to snap SLR quality photos and 3D images on a smartphone.
According to Kuo, the camera will feature two 12-megapixel lenses – one wide angle, and one telephoto. The new design is expected to offer optical zoom and light field camera applications.
However, this feature may only be coming the the iPhone 7 Plus. On Chinese social media site Weibo, a new picture supposedly showing the back of the iPhone 7 has been doing the rounds.
The main noticeable detail is that the “camera bump” from the iPhone 6s appears to have carried over to the new design.
Last year, Apple bought an Israeli smart camera company called LinX Computational Imaging, which builds smartphone and tablet cameras with sensors that provide depths of field.
The technology also allows for high quality images to be captured in low-light conditions.
The misery of dropping your iPhone down the toilet could soon be over as the latest rumours suggest Apple’s next iPhone could be completely waterproof.
According to a report in the China-based Commercial Times , Apple is working on a new “compound material” that repels water for use in its forthcoming iPhone.
This new material will also reportedly remove the need for the two strips of plastic that run across the back of the current generation of iPhones to allow mobile signals to reach the antennas.
This suggests that the body of the next iPhone may not be made from metal at all, but some other kind of material that allows radio waves to pass through it.
Industrial designer Herman Haidin has taken a stab at predicting the next version of Apple’s handset and reckons the American tech giant could use a material known as ‘liquidmetal’.
Apple acquired a patent for liquidmetal back in 2010 and uses it to make the small SIM ejector tool that comes in each iPhone box.
The material itself is a type of alloy that’s tougher and more water-resistant than typical aluminium.
In the concept, Haidin envisions the iPhone 7 as a mere 3mm thick with a body formed of glass and liquidmetal.
While the theory would explain the changes to the antenna lines on the back of the device, liquidmetal seems like too drastic a change for this update, but it may be one to look out for in 2017.
Kuo claims that the iPhone 7 will be waterproof to a depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes – a rating known as IPX7, which is the same as the Apple Watch .
There has also been some suggestion that the iPhone 7 could include a cutting-edge technology known as LiFi , that is capable of transmitting information at 100 times the speed of WiFi.
However, this is unlikely, given that LiFi is still in the early stages of development, and researchers don’t expect it to be ready for commercial use before the end of the decade.
See our pick of the best 5 contract deals on the iPhone 6s here , plus find out how to buy a second-hand handset, or sell your current device for more.
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