iPhone 7: 5 Features This Phone Should Have, But Won’t
There are plenty of rumors about the features you can expect to get if you plan to upgrade to the iPhone 7 this fall. But for all of the interesting updates that the next-generation iPhone is expected to gain, there are just as many great features that the iPhone 7 should have, but probably won’t. Ahead, these are the five features that you might hope to see with the iPhone 7, but shouldn’t expect to see Apple announce in September.
1. A major redesign
Daisuke Wakabayashi and Eva Dou report for The Wall Street Journal that with the iPhone 7, Apple plans to break its pattern of overhauling the design of the iPhone every two years. The company plans to make only minor adjustments to the design of the iPhone this year, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are expected to maintain the current 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes. The Journal reports, “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.” In that case, the Lighting Connector will serve both as the port for charging the phones and for connecting headphones.
Apple reportedly plans bigger design changes for 2017, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. Such changes could include the integration of an OLED screen or the elimination of the home button in favor of building the fingerprint sensor into the display. However, deferring any major changes until 2017 may mean that the iPhone 7 won’t be a must-have, as Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz posited in April. Without a major design upgrade, the iPhone 7 would depart from users’ expectations, and give Apple fans and investors fewer reasons to be excited about the phone.
2. Fast or wireless charging
Even if Apple continues its traditional prioritization of a thin iPhone over one equipped with a more powerful battery, it could still make that battery faster or more convenient to charge. Charging an iPhone can take significantly longer than charging one of the many Android flagship phones that incorporate fast charging. And while relatively few Android phones have integrated wireless charging capabilities so far, that’s a feature that could come in handy if the iPhone 7 really does include just one port for listening to music and recharging the battery.
As Rene Ritchie reports for iMore, it wasn’t possible to implement wireless charging in phones with metal backs until mid-2015. New methods of induction through metal have been introduced, which means that Apple could keep the aluminum back of its iPhones and offer wireless charging. While rumors have indicated that Apple is working on resonant inductive coupling, which would enable devices to charge even at a distance, they also indicate that the technology is at least a year away.
3. Better battery life
As usual, the next-generation iPhone is expected to sport a thinner chassis. And, as usual, that will leave iPhone fans who are eager for better battery life disappointed. As Liam Tung reported for ZDNet last year, at least some Apple executives aren’t too sympathetic to users’ complaints about the iPhone’s inability to last more than a day without recharging. According to Jony Ive, the fact that iPhone owners have to recharge their devices frequently just proves that Apple has made a “compelling” device.
Ive thinks that people love their iPhones specifically because they’re thin and light — which is the reason why the battery is depleted so quickly — and that making the iPhone thicker would mean that fans would love the device less. Tung notes that iPhones have typically shipped with batteries that are smaller than those in Android flagships. The 1,810mAh battery found in the iPhone 6 was a step up from the 1,560mAh battery in the iPhone 5s, but it still trailed the 2,550mAh battery of Samsung’s Galaxy S6.
4. OLED screen
While rumors have indicated that Apple is planning to introduce OLED screens to the iPhone lineup, that seems unlikely to happen with the iPhone 7. Chance Miller reported recently for 9to5Mac that Apple is expected to make the switch to OLED screens in 2017. Suppliers are reportedly preparing to mass-produce OLED screens for next year’s iPhone release, including by beginning to produce equipment that takes about three quarters to build, deliver, and install. That timeline makes it look extremely unlikely that the iPhone 7 will feature an OLED screen, or the curved form factor or smaller bezels that might come along with the technology.
Reporting for the Wall Street Journal, Wakabayashi and Dou cite curved screens as one of the features that Apple wanted to incorporate into the iPhone 7, but won’t be able to have the technology ready in time for the release of this year’s models. Additionally, plenty of Android phones have proven that it’s possible to dramatically reduce the bezels around the screen, fitting more screen into the same or a smaller footprint. That results in a phone that doesn’t feel giant in your hands, and isn’t a struggle to fit into your pocket.
5. Dual-lens camera system
As Brent Dirks reports for App Advice, the widely-circulated Wall Street Journal report doesn’t mention the possibility of a dual-lens camera, which Apple is reportedly considering for the iPhone 7 Plus. Such a camera system might enable optical zoom, and one lens could be a wide-angle while the other could incorporate telephoto technology. That sounds like a great addition.
However, as Buster Hein reports for Cult of Mac, a recent post on Weibo indicates that the iPhone 7 may not get that dual-camera system after all. Citing sources at Foxconn, a Weibo user has claimed that staffers were recently informed that the dual-lens camera technology is still too immature to include in this year’s release. It’s possible that the poster is wrong and the feature will still make the cut. But with a dual-lens camera system already showing up in some Android flagships, Apple should get the feature right sooner rather than later to avoid falling too far behind.