iPhone 7: Next iPhone may have no home button

Jul 27, 2016

With just weeks to go before a reveal, potential new iPhone features are still surfacing

An iPhone 7 with no physical home button is back on the agenda, with the often reliable Mac Otakara issuing a fresh report backing up older rumours of an innovative way to use Apple's upcoming smartphone.

According to the report, the iPhone 7 will feature a new, flush home button powered by the 3D Touch technology used in the iPhone 6S. It would mean the button is a touch sensitive patch.

You'll still be able to feel it physically, though. Mac Otakara says the un-clickable button will be capacitive, using haptic feedback to give the impression of moving down when pressed.
Haptic feedback makes use of rapid vibration. Pressing a non-physical button or icon on a screen recreates the sense of touch by instantly applying vibrations or motions to wherever the user is pressing. It is also respondent to how much pressure is being applied.

It's a concept Apple has already added to its product line and can be found on the company's latest laptops - the Force Touch trackpads on the 2015 12ins MacBook and the new MacBook Pros use the technology.
To some, the feature may sound like a gimmick, but it could have genuine advantages.

9to5Mac says combining the controversial removal of the headphone jack with a non-physical home button would go a great distance towards making the iPhone 7 waterproof, a feature many of Apple's key rivals currently have.

The new technology could also prove more reliable in the long run. Home-button failure is one of the most common problems with the iPhone. With no physical weak point, it will be far less likely to break and need replacing.

A set of renders created by graphic designer Martin Hajek shows what the new phone could look like in Space Black – a new colour scheme being mooted by some.

While it's a rumour that goes against the established thought that this year's iPhone won't be too different from the previous model, the iPhone 7 is still expected to look similar to the iPhone 6 generation, with the same aluminium casing and screen sizes.

iPhone 7: Could it actually be called iPhone 6SE?

26 July

Apple is gearing up for an iPhone launch, with critics widely expecting the tech giant to reveal the iPhone 7 this September.

However, a new rumour doing the rounds suggests this may not be the case at all.

According to German blog Apfelpage, in a report picked up by Apple leak big guns 9to5Mac, the phone will actually be an expansion of the current flagship range called the iPhone 6SE.

That's the name that has been printed on the retail packaging for the smartphone, says the site.

While there's nothing beyond Apfelpage's word that this is true, a new iPhone 6 certainly isn't out of the question, considering what we think we know about the device.

This year's iPhone has long been rumoured to only include small, incremental changes over the iPhone 6S, with the introduction of new camera systems across both the standard and Plus-sized devices, some internal hardware upgrades, a slightly modified look by way of repositioned antenna bands and, controversially, no headphone jack.

The size is not expected to change, coming in at 4.7ins and 5.5ins, and the aluminium unibody casings will look vastly similar to Apple's current offerings.

As a result, many believe this year's iPhone is merely a stop gap before a much-rumoured, vastly overhauled iPhone to mark the handset's tenth anniversary in 2017, with an original design and fresh technologies such as an OLED display.

This device is expected to mark a shift in the way Apple names and refreshes its smartphone line-up. An iPhone 6SE would introduce the change from a two-year to a three-year upgrade cycle a year earlier.

Based on that, Forbes says calling this year's release the iPhone 6SE makes perfect sense and that names still using the "6" have already been suggested as a possibility by some noted smartphone leakers.

Apple also introduced the 4ins iPhone SE in March, a name that adds to the argument.

However, 9to5Mac argues "iPhone 7" still remains the most likely choice as we head towards the device's expected 16 September launch.

iPhone 7: Release date for Apple's next smartphone revealed

25 July

With anticipation building for Apple's next smartphone release, one well-known tipster has revealed the day fans will be able to get their hands on the iPhone 7.

The iPhone 7 will be released the week of 12 September, says established smartphone leaker Evan Blass. 

Blass adds that the handset will get a retail release on 16 September, but does not go into specifics. However, many believe that is when pre-order books will open and the full rollout won't happen until at least the week afterwards.

This would mean Apple holding a keynote event either on 12 or 13 September, says Know Your Mobile. This makes sense if you look back at some of the company's earlier releases – the current iPhone 6S was announced on 9 September 2015, before pre-orders opened three days later, with stock in store on 25 September.

It is expected that Apple will reveal two phones: a standard iPhone 7 using the iPhone 6's 4.7ins display and a larger Plus model with a 5.5ins phablet-style screen.

Few design changes are anticipated. The phones should get new antenna bands, packaged into a neater arrangement, as well as larger and more powerful cameras, with a dual-lens system on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Most controversially though, it's expected that neither device will feature a headphone jack. It's long been rumoured that Apple will ditch the port from the iPhone 7 and use the space to add new features to future iPhones, as well as opening up the possibility of making devices thinner. As BGR reports, credible sources now suggest a jack to Lightning port adaptor will be bundled with the phone.

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