It’s almost 2016, which must mean another iPhone is on the way. Not only will we be getting a new iPhone, but one with significant changes over previous models, if we are to believe the rumors. The release date may still be nine months away, but that shouldn’t stop us from parsing through the rumor mill.
Reports are leaking out from Cupertino that Apple is considering a variety of upgrades to its flagship product when the iPhone 7 is released in 2016. That could include anything from a switch to an OLED (organic LED) display to a chassis made out of new, possibly even waterproof, materials.
Organic (LED) Growth
OLED screens use an organic compound that acts as a semiconductor. The technology has become the darling of digital displays recently, thanks to its ability to function without the use of a backlight. That allows it to display deeper black tones while at the same time reducing weight and thickness compared to a standard LCD display. Apple already uses the technology for the screen on its Apple Watch.
Only two companies currently manufacture the displays: handset competitors LG and Samsung. But one rumor has it that each firm is close to inking a $12 billion deal with Apple to supply the screens for the next model of the iPhone. Previous reports that LG is building out its manufacturing capacity would seem to support, or at least not directly contradict, this rumor.
But even if the news of a deal to supply OLED screens to Apple is true, that may not necessarily indicate it will make an appearance on the iPhone 7. Apple may simply be getting its ducks in a row ahead of planned upgrades on later models, such as an iPhone 8 in 2018. Or it may be looking to use the screens for other products.
Major Design Changes Possible
The other major speculation surrounding the new model has to do with he case of the iPhone 7. Reports indicate the company is considering everything from a new design for the chassis to upgrading the glass on the display to sapphire, a more durable material than the glass currently used.
There are also rumors that Apple is thinking about doing away with the standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack in favor of a proprietary connector. The change, if true, is already raising the hackles of many Apple customers who are unhappy that they won't be able to use their existing headphones without having to buy new adapters.
Another major design change could include getting rid of the iconic Home button, which has graced every version of the iPhone since its inception. Instead, Apple would lean more heavily on its recently introduced 3D Touch technology to give the same functionality to the display. The new model will also likely feature a more waterproof, dustproof design, although you still probably won’t want to leave your phone sitting in a glass of champagne next New Year’s Eve.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple; iStock/Artist's concept.