As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tries in vain to keep its activities private behind closed doors of its top secret lab, another report has now surfaced about the upcoming iPhone 7. The tech giant is expected to launch its next-gen smartphone in fall, in line with its years-old tradition. An unusual leak now shows some changes in the device that weren’t previously known or even rumored.
An Italian manufacturer of iPhone accessories showed a possible design for the iPhone 7 chassis, via the French language newspaper NowhereElse. The case maker’s design indicates that the next iPhone would house four speakers, rather than two, as well as a novel layout for the main or rear camera and flash, in addition to the larger hole for a bigger aperture. There are two speaker grilles at the bottom of the case and two similar grilles at the top; the latter part is what’s innovative here.
This report isn’t in line with the previous reports on the iPhone 7 suggesting an identical design to the latest high-end iPhone 6s models. The latest report shows the relocation of the flash, which no one saw coming up until now; the larger camera hole, however, has been discussed in previous leaks. The case doesn’t possess a hole for the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack that many rumors suggested was going away; the iPhone 7 will rely on wireless Bluetooth earphones and the new Lightning port connector for audio output.
The iPhone 7 case seems to be made for the 4.7-inch version shown in the image, while the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus is expected to house dual camera-lens technology — something completely novel in the iPhone series. The rumored dual camera would combine images from independent sensors, through advanced software techniques, to produce better results. While the dual camera upgrade seems more interesting, the larger aperture in the iPhone 7 models would represent a considerable upgrade for both devices from their predecessors. The dual camera is likely planned for the larger smartphone due to the abundance of physical space to integrate the necessary components.
While the credibility of this leak can be questioned, as it doesn’t fit in with previous rumors, it could be true. Although stereo speakers coming to the iPhone 7’s bottom side had been speculated upon previously, four speakers sound excessive for a smartphone; the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices have four speakers each to yield better output, but the innovation seems better for tablets theoretically.
Keeping the quad-speaker theory aside, another image has surfaced from Weibo that depicts a different camera design for the iPhone 7; the photo looks more credible than that of a case or a mockup. The next Apple smartphone will apparently have a new rear camera that would protrude outward and be located closer to the corner. The camera hole seems to be a bit larger than that of the current iPhone 6s model. In both reports, the only overlapping information is that the iPhone 7 will see a change in its camera design and technology with enhanced photo and video quality results.
The image from Weibo also shows a redesign of antennae lines on the iPhone 7 body’s rear end. In place of two rectangles traced around the rear end of the device, several leaks have recently shown the antennae lines located at the very edges. This design looks neater than the excessive horizontal strips observed in the iPhone 6 and 6s models. It also shows screen cable and related components that can be distinguished from the parts in the iPhone 6s.
Ming-Chi Kuo, the high-profile Apple expert from KGI Securities, recently published a report about the upcoming iPhones. He said that while the company will overhaul the iPhone in 2017 fall with an all-glass body by replacing the physical home button with a digital one, the high-end iPhone of 2016 won’t see too many changes relative to its predecessors. Meanwhile, there have been reports of the next iPhone being made completely waterproof and dustproof.
Additionally, the 2016 September iPhone refresh will focus more on internal upgrades such as CPU, graphics performance, and camera. Neither of the reports from the Italian case maker and Weibo depicts a substantial change in the device’s chassis; instead, they focus on its camera and speakers.
As demand for iPhones slows down, the next-gen iPhone in September will be expected to come up with something out-of-the-box to reignite the widespread anticipation for the product that drives most of Apple’s business. For the March quarter, the company reported its first year-over-year (YoY) drop in iPhone sales and its first YoY revenue decline in 13 years. The iPhone maker must have a trick or two up its sleeve or it can kiss its iPhone business goodbye.