The Wall Street Journal is reporting the next iPhone model to debut this year will largely resemble existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S in appearance. Instead, Apple will opt for a more dramatic design overhaul with the 2017 model year iPhone.
According to WSJ, the most notable visual change in this years iPhone release will be a removal of the 3.5mm audio port on the bottom of the device. That means the Lightning charging port will serve as a means of connecting headphones or audio output to the iPhone:
“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, said people with that matter.”
The new report from WSJ coincides with longstanding rumors that iPhone 7 will largely look like an iPhone 6 without a headphone port, though it’s notable that this is the first time a major news organization has reported directly on the matter.
Presumably the removal of the headphone port would mean a special adapter is necessary allow existing 3.5mm hardware and AUX cables to connect to the iPhone for audio output.
Other loose rumors about iPhone 7 are that it will be slightly thinner, have a much improved camera with dual lens capabilities, offer larger storage options up to 256GB, may feature a different naming convention straying away from the traditional numerical progression (similar to the naming of iPhone SE), and perhaps offer a new color option to visually differentiate the device from existing models.
The next iPhone, whether it be called iPhone 7 or otherwise, is likely to debut in the fall.
iPhone 8 to offer radical redesign?
Interestingly, the same Wall Street Journal report skips ahead of this years iPhone and also discusses rumors about the 2017 model year device, colloquially referred to as iPhone 8:
“Apple plans bigger design changes for 2017, the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Those changes could include an edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen and eliminating the home button by building the fingerprint sensor into the display, according to people familiar with the matter.”
It’s hard to imagine what an iPhone 8 would look like without a Home button and a smaller bezel, but it would surely look more impressive than this poor quality mockup:
Presumably iPhone 8 will launch in Fall of 2017, though historically Apple has also launched new iPhones earlier in the year.
It’s important to remember these are simply rumors at this point, and nothing is set in stone until Apple unveils new hardware.
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