Apple just released an upgraded MacBook and a new iPhone, but there are plenty more exciting Apple products to come later in the year. Curious about what’s going on in Cupertino? Read on to learn about the week’s most exciting rumors about the iPhones, Apple Watches, and other products that Apple has in the works.
1. Apple could equip the iPhone 7 with a touch-sensitive home button, plus full water and dust-proofing
Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that according to the latest Chinese-language reports, Apple’s iPhone 7 has just completed its third test phase and could be equipped with both a touch-sensitive home button and full water and dust-proofing. The camera is expected to lay flush with the back of the device, since it’s rumored that Apple will do away with the camera bump seen in the current iPhone lineup. That bump has annoyed some iPhone users, since it prevents the device from laying completely flat and mars an otherwise clean aesthetic.
So far, reports have disagreed on whether the next-generation iPhone will be waterproofed. The iPhone 6s is somewhat water-resistant, but making the iPhone 7 waterproof would enable Apple to more directly compete with Samsung, whose Galaxy S7 can be submerged in 5 feet of water for 30 minutes without damage. Fingas notes that making the device waterproof would necessitate closing as many gaps in the device as possible. One change that might help is the rumored elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
2. The iPhone 7 Plus could feature a dual-lens camera and Smart Connector
Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that the design of the iPhone 7 is taking shape thanks to continued leaks from Apple’s supply chain, the latest of which shows the iPhone 7 Plus featuring a dual-lens camera, a Smart Connector port, and the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack. Multiple leaks have claimed that Apple plans to ditch the legacy headphone jack, which would leave users to connect their headphones through the Lightning port or via Bluetooth.
The addition of the Smart Connector port introduced with the iPad Pro could add new charging capabilities to the next-generation iPhone. Significantly, it would also enable iPhone 7 owners to charge the device and use Lightning-connected headphones simultaneously — something that wouldn’t be possible if both the headphones and the charger use the Lightning connector.
The schematics describe a device with the same screen size as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus, which suggests that the display will remain the same as in the current model. The schematics are also almost identical to a purported iPhone 7 casing that leaked online last month; like the schematics, that casing shows a Smart Connector port on the back of the phone, above where the Lightning port would be.
3. Apple could add an iPhone 7 Pro to the lineup, or replace the Plus model with a Pro model
Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac that the iPhone schematics making their rounds on line actually label the device the iPhone 7 Pro. He notes that Apple could replace the Plus model with a Pro model, or a Pro model could join the iPhone lineup as an additional option. This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard rumors of Apple adding another model to its iPhone lineup, and a separate report that surfaced last month claimed that Apple was planning to launch an iPhone 7 Pro with a dual-camera setup.
In Miller’s estimation, the most likely scenario for the iPhone 7 Pro is that it will be introduced alongside the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. While the iPhone 7 Pro taking the place of the Plus model would yield a more concise lineup, Miller notes that Apple’s recent decisions have indicated that its focus on creating simple and easy-to-understand product lines isn’t quite as strong as it once was. The iPhone 7 Pro would likely be Apple’s most enterprise-focused option; while the iPhone 7 Plus would feature largely the same specs as the iPhone 7, just in a larger size, the iPhone 7 Pro would be a higher-end option, perhaps with the Smart Connector and dual cameras.
4. Apple may skip the iPhone 7s and jump straight to the iPhone 8
Luke Dormehl reports for 9to5Mac that after this year’s iPhone 7, Apple might skip the iPhone 7s and instead introduce the iPhone 8, according to Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz. Moskowitz posits that the iPhone that launches in 2017 would be the biggest upgrade since 2014’s iPhone 6 — with OLED displays and wireless charging, and without a physical home button — and that the phone will lead to a “mega cycle” upgrade.
The analyst thinks that the iPhone 7, on the other hand, will be an incremental upgrade more in line with an “S” release. In his estimation, the biggest improvement will be the elimination of the traditional headphone jack, but otherwise, he doesn’t expect much more than the usual tweaks and component upgrades.
5. The Apple Watch 2 could feature cellular connectivity and a faster S2 chip
Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for The Wall Street Journal that the Apple Watch 2 that according to “people familiar with the matter,” Apple is working on adding cell network connectivity and a faster processor to the next generation of the Apple Watch. The addition of an LTE radio and an upgraded processor would solve some of the problems that current users have reported with the first version of the Apple Watch. Apple is also working on solving some other problems with the watch; for instance, the problem of lagging apps could be solved by a new Apple policy that all new WatchOS apps must be native apps, beginning June 1.
6. Apple seems to be prototyping parts for the Apple Car
Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac that Apple is continuing to hire talent for its car project, and the latest developments hint that the company is prototyping car parts. Apple’s latest hires from the automotive industry suggest that the company is working on those prototypes at its Product Realization Lab, a facility that it’s used to prototype new Macs, iOS devices, and other products. The lab is where model makers, machinists, and engineers prototype parts and products alongside industrial and product design teams.
Buster Hein reports for Cult of Mac that amid accelerating rumors about Project Titan, Apple’s most recent financial results reveal increased R&D spending. Apple reportedly has more than 600 employees working on its car project, and engineers are reportedly spread between facilities in California and Germany.