Almost 100 Percent Gonna Happen
The following features are pretty much assured. Apple never, ever comments on its phones before they debut, but if any of these things don’t happen, I’ll be shocked.
No Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7
Say good-bye to the 3.5mm headphone jack, which has been around for over five decades. If you use an iPhone 7, you’ll listen to music over Bluetooth or through the same Lightning port that you use to charge your phone.
It’s tempting to say this will be like when iPhone 5 owners were forced to ditch all their old chargers for Lightning ones. People complained, but the switch was eventually made without damage to Apple’s iPhone sales. But chargers are largely stationary items — you keep one at your desk, one by your bedside, maybe one for the kitchen or living room. Maybe you carry an extra charger in your bag, just in case, but even then you’re likely charging it from a wall outlet.
Headphones are for everywhere and are meant to be mobile. Finding yourself without a pair while on the subway or while on a run can be as painful as forgetting your keys at home, and wireless headphones have the nasty habit of running out of battery life at the worst times. Apple will almost certainly include a pair of wireless earbuds with the iPhone (amusingly called, per regulatory filings, “Air Buds”), but this will make billions of headphones with 3.5 mm jacks largely useless for iPhone 7 users (there are adapters, but they seem, ah, not ideal). Unless Apple also rolls out a new touchscreen that will give you a small but quite painful electric shock every time you touch it in the wrong way, this is going to be the most controversial part of the new iPhone.
Still, Apple has been at the forefront of removing ports when they deem them no longer necessary. They got rid of CD-DVD drives years before others, and continue to remove ports from their laptops if they consider them extraneous. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that, by 2018, the idea that we constantly had cords running from our ears to our phones will seem just as silly as the idea of loading a program onto your computer from 17 CDs.
The Plus Model Remains
There were early rumors that Apple may end the bifurcation of the iPhone into a regular model and a plus model, but it now seems all but certain that an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 7 Plus will both be offered. Current leaked specs show the regular iPhone 7 with a 4.7-inch display, and an iPhone Plus with a 5.5-inch display. The specs for both roughly mirror what you see in the current iPhone 6s versus iPhone 6s Pluses — more battery, more RAM, better camera — all at a higher price.
The iPhone 7 Plus Will Have Dual Rear-Facing Cameras
Apple isn’t the first to market with this idea — the HTC M8, the LG G5, and others have done dual-mounted cameras before — but the invitation that Apple sent out offers a good idea of what they see as the main advantage of having two cameras on the back of your phone.
The bokeh effect (which is just a fancy term for lights that are out of focus and give that pleasant, hazy feel you see in films and pro photographers’ pictures) means that photos taken with the iPhone 7 Plus are about to take a big leap forward. If you can pull off bokeh, it usually means you have a pricey camera capable of tightly focusing on one object and leaving everything else in that filmic blur. Having spent some time with LG’s G5’s dual cameras, I can testify that the two cameras make it much easier to pull off shots like that, plus take crisp and clear low-light photos, take wide-angle shots, and even do zoomed-in snaps that won’t make your pics look like they were taken with a Motorola RAZR circa 2005.
No Other Major Form Factor Changes
Every leaked photo shows that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are going to largely continue on with the rounded edges that we saw reintroduced in the iPhone 6, after a few generations of sharper edges. The iPhone 7 is going to be a lot more powerful than the previous generation — the iPhone 7 Plus is rumored to carry a hefty 3GB of RAM and an A10 processor, which doesn’t place it at the top of the market, but also makes it no slouch — but they won’t look significantly different than the current generation.
Maybe Could Happen
These are the things that are up in the air. Leaks seem to indicate these will make their way to stage, but leaks have been wrong before. Still, there’s a fair chance we’ll see these on Wednesday.
Five Different Color Options
When Apple announced the iPhone 4 would come in both black and white, it was major news. By the time the iPhone 6 came out there were four color options: silver, space-gray, gold, and rose-gold. But new leaked shots show that Apple may be switching things up: space-gray will be replaced by a matte space-black, while a fifth option, a glossy black finish, will be added. (There were earlier rumors of a navy option, which, frankly, looked a lot cooler, but the latest leaks all point toward glossy black.) Why bother protecting your $700 investment with a case when you’ve got a glossy black finish to show off?
No More Drying Off Your iPhone With Rice
It’s been an open secret that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s are pretty water-resistant, able to withstand dunks that would have destroyed an iPhone 4. Thanks to an eliminated headphone jack and some upgraded charging standards, the new iPhone 7 may be fully waterproof. This would allow Apple to finally catch up to many Android phones — the press materials for the Samsung Note 7 practically demand that you drench it in water to show off how waterproof it is. And even if you don’t care about smartphone rivalry, actual, official waterproofing would be a welcome relief to many, many iPhone customers who have lost a phone thanks to a spilled coffee or a slip near the sink.
So Long, 16 GB
As the size of iOS has increased, a 16 GB phone has made less and less sense. Yes, you can back up your photos to iCloud or a similar service, but when almost a third of your storage space is taken up by your OS, and four episodes of a podcast can eat up 1 GB, nearly every gadget geek will tell you to stay away from 16 GB models. Some early prototype stickers show that Apple may agree, and that the base model of the iPhone 7 will start at 32 GB.
As popularized by @THEKIDMERO and @DesusNice, a.k.a. the creators of the best podcast ever, the Bodega Boys, these are the things that technically could happen — like you finally recording that mixtape or perfecting your crossover-to-fade-away jumper and making the Knicks warm-up squad — but probably won’t happen. But hey, even a broken watch with an eight ball and some serious debt is right twice a day, so who knows?
No Home Button
There were rumors that Apple — much like nearly every Android device out — would be removing the Home button in favor of an onscreen button with haptic feedback (i.e., it’ll make your phone buzz slightly when you touch it). But the latest spec leaks and photos all show the familiar circular divot we’ve seen since the beginning. The advantage of removing the Home button is simple: The Home button and the bezel around it all reduce screen size while doing nothing to reduce the actual size of the phone. But it’s more likely this will happen in 2017, during the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.
Early rumors suggested that Apple wasn’t going to offer just a regular iPhone 7 and an iPhone 7 Plus, but also an iPhone 7 Pro, which would have been the same size as the Plus, but packing some extra processing power, maybe a better camera, and a “Smart Connector,” as seen in iPad Pros, that allows you to set up a Bluetooth keyboard and Bluetooth mice quickly — the idea being that Apple’s phablets could become an on-the-go computer, able to tackle a lot of stuff we still need laptops for. But no recent leaks seem to indicate that this is coming down the pike. There’s always a chance it could be the “one more thing,” but we’re guessing that if the Pro model does come, it’ll come in 2017.
Saving the 7
Some have suggested that because the leaked pictures of the upcoming phones look so similar, Apple would save the iPhone 7 name for 2017, and instead keep the line under iPhone 6 but add some special designation to let people know these were the really, really good new phones. But this goes against nearly everything Apple has done to date — yearly updates are major steps forward, not iterative ones. And while the symmetry of releasing the iPhone 7 in 2017 may be appealing, Apple would risk confusing the market by releasing yet another version of the iPhone 6. Tim Cook & Co. will be onstage announcing the iPhone 7. Plus, if they wait until the iPhone turns ten, they could call it the iPhone X and probably do some cool product placement with the next X-Men movie. “Beast, I need you to set a timer for 15 minutes — but you can only use your voice,” Professor X will say. “Not a problem,” Beast will reply, before leaning in toward his iPhone X and accidentally setting a timer for 18 minutes. “Fucking Siri, you goddamn piece of shit. I said fucking 15 minutes,” Beast will say. (Our other #cokedreams prediction is that the next X-Men movie is gonna be a hard-R film.)