The reaction to the potential removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the expected iPhone 7 has grown to such outsized proportions that one might expect Apple CEO to step up on stage next week and silently release a balloon with the words “headphone jack” as the audience tracks its journey into the rafters until it pops.
Depending on when and if Apple makes that reveal, Cook and company might have a hard time getting everyone to refocus on all the other new stuff. And there will be a lot to focus on.
Early rumors had Apple introducing as many as three new iPhones at the launch event. Now most believe we’ll see a more traditional pair: a 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
Even though last year was the more incremental “S” year update (one where Apple often says all it changed in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus “was everything,” which meant “everything inside”), don’t expect a flashy new design. The aluminum cases may lose their antenna lines for a more unibody look, but the dimensions, curves and screen probably won’t change at all.
Odds makers have the removal of the headphone jack at 4/1 in favor.
On the flagship iPhone 7, there will still be just one camera, though Apple will upgrade the imaging hardware, software and — perhaps — even the megapixels, to 14.
The larger iPhone 7 Plus will get the biggest camera upgrade, though. Most expect a dual-camera design. The second camera will capture additional image information. possibly enabling, among other things, post-capture depth-of-field changes à la Lytro (Lytro circa 2013, anyway). One has to wonder if the smaller iPhone 7 will at least get optical image stabilization.
Assuming neither one of these phones includes a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Apple should also introduce a 3.5mm-to-Lightning port adapter that could ship with every iPhone 7.
Apple hasn’t redesigned its included iPhone earbuds in four years, which raises another tantalizing possibility: It could introduce its first set of Lightning port Beats earbuds, included in the box with every iPhone.
Other possibilities for these iPhone 7’s include wireless charging and waterproofing, though the latter seems more likely. In addition, the iPhone base model may now start with 32GB of storage and the iPhone 7 Plus could offer a whopping (and whoppingly expensive) 265GB option.
Both iPhones could feature Apple’s rumored A10 processor, though there’s a chance Apple will equip the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with the A9X found in the its iPad Pro tablets.
The once-rumored iPhone 7 Pro, which might have featured a Smart Connector and Apple Pencil compatibility, now seems less likely.
There’s also an outside chance there will also be a new iPhone 6SE, an update to the iPhone SEreleased earlier this year. Debuting a new SE model would allow Apple to finally retire the blockier iPhone 5S-style in favor of something that more resembles the iPhone 6S, but in an iPod 5th-gen form factor: a 4-inch display with the iPod’s thinner body and curved edges.
The introduction of a new iPhone will also mark the official launch of iOS 10, which Apple unveiled at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Cook and company will walk us back through the mobile OS highlights, which include a new lock screen (the phone wakes when you lift it and you tap the home button to unlock).
Most believe we’ll see a more traditional pair: a 4.7 inch iPhone 7 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
3D Touch will expand to more apps and even the Control Center.
Messages are getting a major overhaul with tons of Snapchat-like enhancements, including stickers, doodles and even something called invisible ink, which can hide a message until the user hovers over it with their finger.
Other updates include more third-party widgets, a Maps update, new AI-driven Photo tools (daily, auto-generated Memories galleries), Spotlight enhancements and the ability to delete stock apps.
For all that we learned about iOS in June, there’s the possibility that some new hardware-related features that are tied directly to the new iPhone hardware will also be revealed.
Do not expect a new iPad or even MacBooks next week. The only other hardware on the menu will probably be updated Apple Watches.
We already know that the watchOS is getting an overhaul. The more health-focused watchOS 3is set to debut around the same time as iOS 10. However, some believe that the one and a half-year-old Apple Watch hardware is also due for an upgrade. A full redesign is unlikely, but a thinner model that still works with all of the existing band options is possible (so are new bands). Apple could leave the design alone, but swap out the guts for smaller components and a larger battery. A more interesting (but unlikely) thought is the idea that Apple could introduce its first Apple Watch with a plastic-composite exterior, which would allow for a wide array of colors and potentially lower the base model price to $199.
Since Apple is getting close to releasing tvOS 2, there is a chance we might see an updated Apple TV box or at least a new Apple TV Siri remote.
Obviously, this is all a lot of guesswork based on the rumor mill, expert insight and some wishful thinking. And as we prepare for Apple’s iPhone event which will be held on Wednesday, September 7 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, only one thing is truly certain: the venue. This will be Apple’s first iPhone event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Traditionally, Apple has unveiled new iPhones at its headquarters in Cupertino or at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which down the street from Wednesday’s venue.
Apple has favored the Bill Graham center in recent years as it prepares the gigantic Spaceship Campus and its dedicated product-launch theater. That construction is expected to wrap up next year. Perhaps Apple will wait until then to retire the 3.5mm jack. But probably not.
It could introduce its first set of lightning port Beats earbuds