iPhone 7 Plus: release date, news and rumors
Update: The possible design of the iPhone 7 Plus has been shown off in detail in a pair of diagrams, case leaks and even a video, suggesting we may well see both a Smart Connector and a dual-lens camera, though possibly no headphone port.
Surprisingly there’s even some evidence of a bezel-less design, though we’re very skeptical about seeing that. It’s also thought the handset could be more complex than any previous iPhone, suggesting big changes on the inside.
Original article follows below…
The iPhone 7 is one of the most eagerly awaited phones of the year, but alongside it Apple is sure to launch an iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 7 Pro as it might be called.
The screen will be bigger than on the normal iPhone, that much is certain, but a number of other things could be different too, including the camera and the presence (or lack) of a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Smart Connector.
And even the things that are the same on both handsets are cause for excitement, as with talk of plenty of power and a new design the iPhone 7 range could be a big upgrade on the iPhone 6S/iPhone 6S Plus.
So far nothing is certain, but there are a huge number of rumors floating around and we’ve collected them all below, so you can get the clearest possible idea of what to expect from the iPhone 7 Plus.
If that wasn’t enough we’ve also thought up a list of the things we want to see changed and added for this year’s model, to make it the best it can possibly be.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s next phablet
- When is it out? Probably September 2016
- What will it cost? A lot
iPhone 7 Plus release date
The iPhone 7 Plus / iPhone 7 Pro is likely to launch in September 2016, given that Apple has launched its last few flagships during that month.
It’s possible that the company could change its schedule, especially as an AppleInsider source, deemed ‘reliable’, claims the company hopes to launch the iPhone 7 earlier in the year. But we’re skeptical of that as there’s been no other hint of an earlier launch, so for now we’d say September.
iPhone 7 Plus news and rumors
So far most of the design rumors refer to the iPhone 7 rather than the iPhone 7 Plus, but aside from differing dimensions the two phones are likely to look very similar. That means you can expect a slim design, possibly so thin that the headphone port will be removed, though with any luck Apple won’t go that far.
Though the clearest look we’ve had at it comes from a leaked diagram shared by MyDrivers, which shows a phone that’s got identical dimensions to the iPhone 6S Plus, as well as a similar shape.
It differs in some key areas though. For one thing it’s got a dual-lens camera, which we’ve heard of before, with talk of two versions of the 7 Plus launching, one with a dual-lens snapper and the other with just a single lens one. We doubt Apple would muddy the waters with two versions of its phablet, but a dual-lens could mean a big camera upgrade.
The diagram also shows a Smart Connector, much like what’s found on the iPad Pro and iPad Pro 9.7. This would open up the door to first and third-party accessories and other potential methods of data transfer. Though not all sources agree on whether we’ll see that and we doubt Apple would stick one on a phone.
Most unusual though is the lack of bezel around the screen. It’s rumored that Apple is working on an edge-to-edge display, potentially with the fingerprint scanner and front-facing camera built in, but we’re not expecting to see that in the iPhone 7 Plus, so this is likely a mistake and calls the whole diagram into question.
However another blueprint has also emerged and this looks similar, but with the bezel intact.
The most convincing proof of the iPhone 7 Plus’ much-debated design may have materialized by way of some high-quality renders nabbed by Stuff.tv. In the video, which travels around the supposed build of Apple’s upcoming, grande-sized iPhone 7 Plus, there are some telling clues about what we might see come September when the phone is slated to be announced.
First off, it lacks a headphone jack. This could either confirm your hopes or your nightmares that Apple might actually juke the 3.5mm standard in favor of its own Lightning port. But, as this is an unofficial render, you can keep relaxing until September when we find out for sure.
Next up, there’s a slight camera bump near the top of the device where there’s rumored to be a dual-camera setup. Nothing new here. We see also get another look at the rumored Smart Connector.
The screen will likely stay at 5.5 inches but could get a resolution boost, since the iPhone 6S Plus is trailing Android rivals in that area.
We’ve also now seen some leaked cases, thanks to 9to5Mac, which match up with earlier rumors, including a dual-lens camera and a Smart Connector, but with no headphone port.
Whatever happens, the iPhone 7 Plus could be a big change on the inside from its predecessor, even if it’s similar on the outside, as according to CNBC, the Economic Daily News has reported that it (along with the standard iPhone 7) will be “more complex” to build than previous models.
That complexity might come in part from the battery, which could grow even if the phone shrinks thanks to Fan-Out technology and there’s likely to be a whole lot of power under the hood, with talk of a hexa-core A10 processor, likely coupled with 2GB or maybe even 3GB of RAM and iOS 10.
The iPhone 7 Plus / iPhone 7 Pro may also sport a pressure-sensitive home button, building on the 3D Touch technology that’s already found in the screen.
iPhone 7 Plus: what we want to see
1. A sleek design
A certain amount of size and heft is inevitable with a phablet, but the iPhone 6S Plus felt a little larger and heavier than was strictly necessary, thanks in large part to the big bezels above and below the screen.
This made it awkward to use with one hand, even compared to other 5.5-inch phones, so we’d like to see a more compact design for the iPhone 7 Plus.
Having said that it really doesn’t need to get much thinner – it’s more the length and width that we’re worried about, so hopefully rumors of a super slim design don’t pan out, especially if it comes at the expense of battery life or a 3.5mm headphone port.
2. A tempting price tag
With a starting price of US$749 (£619, AU$1,129) the iPhone 6S Plus is just about the most expensive mainstream phone on the planet, especially when you consider that for that money you get just 16GB of built in storage.
We’re not asking for the iPhone 7 Plus / iPhone 7 Pro to be cheap, given the size and likely specs that’s never going to happen, but if Apple could trim the price down a bit it would become far more desirable.
3. Beefy battery life
Battery life tends to be one of the weaker elements of Apple’s phones and most other handsets for that matter too.
Partially it’s because battery tech just can’t keep up with the pace of other advancements, but it’s also partly because companies often sacrifice battery life for smaller, slimmer handsets.
Apple’s been guilty of that in the past and it’s rumored that the same thing might happen again this year, but we really hope it doesn’t. The iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t need to be any thinner than the iPhone 6S Plus and we’d even take a thicker phone if it meant a bigger battery.
4. Better 3D Touch
3D Touch was one of the big new features of the iPhone 6S, but it’s yet to really hit its stride. It’s easy to forget it’s there and even when you remember it exists it doesn’t often add much to the experience.
But it’s got potential, a whole lot of it and we’d like to see it expanded and improved for the iPhone 7 Plus.
An obvious starting point would be allowing you to scroll through screens that you ‘peek’ into, rather than the static previews that you’re given currently, but we’re sure Apple can take it even further than that. We want to see 3D Touch become a genuinely useful addition, the sort of thing that one day we’ll wonder how we ever did without.
5. A whole new look
The iPhone 6S Plus is a good looking phone for the most part, but with a design that’s much the same as the iPhone 6 Plus it’s time Apple changed it up for the iPhone 7 Plus.
At the very least we want to see the company fix the obvious problems with the current design- removing the antenna bands and reducing the camera bump, both of which have already been rumored.
But hopefully it will do more than just refine and actually give the iPhone 7 Plus a completely different look, one which will turn heads like the iPhone 6 Plus did when that was first launched.
6. A stunning screen
The iPhone 6S Plus has a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 screen and while it’s clear and vibrant it’s not the sharpest of screens, coming in at 401 pixels per inch, when the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (which also has a 5.5-inch display) is 534ppi.
Text and images are still fairly crisp, but it falls short of feeling like a true flagship in this area and placed side by side with a sharper QHD display the difference is noticeable.
Resolution is only one part of what makes or breaks a screen and Apple does a great job of most of the other parts, so hopefully with the iPhone 7 Plus it will bring the sharpness up in line with rivals too.
7. Camera innovations
Cameras are the current smartphone battlefield, with every manufacturer seemingly competing to be the best, or pack in new and interesting features that can’t be found anywhere else.
That’s led to some incredible camera phones, the iPhone 6S Plus among them, but competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 isn’t letting up, so Apple needs to keep on pushing what’s possible from a smartphone camera if it’s going to stay near the top of the heap.
This is one thing that we’re not too worried about though, as Apple is already rumored to be working on a new camera for the iPhone 7 Plus, possibly a dual-lens one.
8. Stereo sound
The iPhone 6S Plus just has a single speaker and while it’s respectably loud two speakers – or even four like on the iPad Pro – are better than one, especially when that lone speaker is so easy to accidentally cover with a stray hand.
If Apple could make them front-facing too then all the better, though we don’t want that to come at the expense of the phone’s design.
9. An end to 16GB models
We’ve been saying this for years now, but Apple really needs to stop selling 16GB devices. Given the premium price and the fact that storage is never expandable on iPhones it’s just not an acceptable amount, particularly with many iOS games now stretching to multiple gigabytes.
The minimum storage level we want to see on the iPhone 7 Plus is 32GB, as that’s enough to not feel immediately restrictive.
A growing number of phones are following Sony’s lead and becoming waterproof, or at least water resistant, and we’d like to be able to count the iPhone 7 Plus among them.
We can count the number of times we’ve drowned a phone on zero hands, but it’s about reassurance as much as anything. You probably won’t spill that pint of beer on your handset, but you’re likely to feel a lot happier about having them next to each other if your phone’s waterproof.
A waterproof iPhone may be in our near future though, as some sources reckon Apple is making the iPhone 7 more resilient to the elements.