5 Apple Rumors: Dual-Lens Cameras and a 256GB iPhone 7

Apple’s next iPhone event is just days away, so if the rumors and reports are correct, you’re probably going to be hearing about a brand-new iPhone SE and a smaller iPad Pro very soon. But in the meantime, there have been plenty of exciting reports about Apple’s upcoming products, both those that it will introduce in the near future, and those that may be at least a few months away from a release date. Read on to catch up on the latest Apple rumors to surface this week.

1. Apple will likely unveil a new iPhone on March 21

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

We have all the details on what to expect from Apple’s March 21 iPhone event, but if you need a quick refresher, Apple is expected to unveil a 4-inch iPhone SE, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands. Announcements about the final versions of iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, watchOS 2.2, OS X 10.11.4, and an iTunes update are also expected.

The iPhone SE is expected to be equipped with a 4-inch Retina display, the A9 processor used in the iPhone 6s, the M9 motion coprocessor that enables more accurate motion tracking and always-on “Hey Siri” support, the same camera sensor used in the iPhone 6, and 1GB of RAM. The base model will likely feature just 16GB of RAM, a storage tier that’s long frustrated users, though Apple will likely also offer a 64GB model. While the iPhone SE likely won’t feature 3D Touch, it’s rumored to be able to capture and view Live Photos, and to integrate an NFC chip and the TouchID fingerprint sensor.

According to Apple Insider, a purported packaging leak claims to confirm the name “iPhone SE,” a 16GB capacity, and an NFC chip for the new 4-inch iPhone. In separate posts, the leaker claims that the iPhone SE will also be available with 64GB of storage, and will be offered in four color choices. The new 4-inch iPhone reportedly features an external design that’s similar to that of the iPhone 6s, which aligns with previous rumors and predictions.

2. Apple is probably working on stronger iCloud encryption

Apple logo

Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

As Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac, a recent report from The Wall Street Journal corroborates an earlier report that Apple is working on stronger iCloud encryption. While iCloud backups are currently encrypted, decrypting them currently doesn’t necessitate knowing the user’s passcode. But Apple wants to re-engineer the iCloud backup system, so that even if law enforcement officials ask the company to hand over users’ backups, they’d be impossible to decrypt without the user supplying his or her passcode.

Tightening iCloud security would be a good move for users’ security, but would likely make Apple’s services and devices a bit less user-friendly. If accessing iCloud backups hinged on knowing the passcode, users who forget their password would also lose access to all of the photos, contacts, and documents that they’ve stored via iCloud.

3. The iPhone 7 could lose the antenna lines

Apple iPhone 6s in rose gold

Source: Apple

Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that if the latest claimed chassis images are genuine, Apple could be planning to get rid of the antenna lines that run across the back of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. While the antenna lines have been an unpopular feature, they’ve been necessary because Apple decided to switch to an all-aluminum casing. Because radio signals can’t pass through the metal, Apple had to break up the casing with two plastic strips, which are transparent to radio signals. Recent rumors have the iPhone 7 getting rid of the antenna lines running directly across the back of the phone, and instead featuring curved strips running around the top and bottom of the casing.

Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac that a move to get rid of the antenna lines could see Apple using a method outlined in a recent patent, describing the development of a new composite material that looks like anodized metal but enables wireless signals to travel through. Speculation over the redesigned antenna bands is likely to persist until September, when Apple releases the iPhone 7 and clears up the confusion.

4. Apple could add a dual camera to the iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone

Source: Apple

Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that photos of a dual-lens smartphone camera, possibly intended for Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, have emerged online. One lens appears to have a larger diameter than the other, and the system looks similar to one seen in photos from January. Multiple rumors have indicated that Apple plans to include a dual-lens camera module in this year’s iPhone, particularly the higher-end iPhone 7 Plus. While one lens might provide standard wide-angle shooting, the other is reportedly going to offer optical zoom, a feature that’s rare among smartphone cameras. (Most phones rely on digital zoom.)

As Apple Insider reports, photos that originated in China show an iPhone 7 with dual cameras and no home button or headphone jack. Though the authenticity of the photos is dubious, particularly because they indicate that the home button and Touch ID sensor are integrated into the display itself, a button-less design is a feature that’s been rumored for years, and numerous rumors have indicated that Apple is planning to abandon the 3.5mm headphone jack. Other iPhone 7 rumors suggest that the phone will gain a thinner body and a camera that lies nearly flush with the rear casing.

5. The iPhone 7 Plus could get more storage than previous iPhones

Apple store

S. Alemdar/Getty Images

Buster Hein reports for Cult of Mac that it’s possible that the iPhone 7 Plus could get more storage than previous iPhones thanks to a tiny new chip from SanDisk. Photos of the new chips surfaced on an Italian tech blog that compared them to the 64GB NAND flash chip that SanDisk made for Apple in the past. While there’s no indication that SanDisk’s new chip is destined for the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple did use SanDisk memory chips in the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

The company last upgraded the top tier of iPhone storage in 2014, when it added the option of 128GB of storage. Rumors have claimed that a 256GB storage option could be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus, which might also get a dual-lens camera. The battery could also be bigger than the battery included in the iPhone 7, which could make it more of a “pro” model. If Apple does boost the storage of the top-tier iPhone to 256GB, 32GB could become the new baseline, and 128GB could become the middle option.

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