Everything you need to know about the iPhone 7S
Looking for all the latest iPhone 7S news? Here’s where you’ll find it. We’ve rounded up information on the iPhone 7S release date, specs, price, and all the news and rumours you could hope for.
(Update: April 20, 2017): A newly leaked schematic appears to suggest that the iPhone 7S will feature a Touch ID sensor on the back of the phone, rather than the front. Read on to find out more.
When the iPhone 7 landed in the TrustedReviews office last year, we weren’t that impressed. Previous Apple flagships had never failed to wow us, but the iPhone 7 didn’t have the same magic we’d seen before. Nevertheless, we’ve still got high hopes for the iPhone 7S – or, alternatively, the iPhone 8, as it may be called.
We’re still many months off a launch, with the iPhone 7S reveal likely set for September. But there’s plenty to chew over in the way of leaks, rumours and speculation, and it sounds like the iPhone 7S is shaping up to be a real winner. Mooted improvements include an OLED display, a new 10nm processor, and possibly even a 3D camera built in conjunction with LG.
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For the latest iPhone 7S news, read on.
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Latest iPhone 7S News:
When does the iPhone 7S come out? September 2017
What’s new about the iPhone 7S? Rumoured: Glass design, A11 chip
How much will the iPhone 7S cost? Possibly £599+
iPhone 7S Release Date UK & US – When will the iPhone 7S come out?
We won’t know the exact iPhone 7S release date for a while, but it’s not hard to guess at a potential launch window. Apple is a creature of habit, as is evident by this brief history of iPhone launches:
- iPhone 7: Wednesday, September 7 (reveal) | Friday, September 16 (release)
- iPhone 6S: Wednesday, September 9 (reveal) | Saturday, September 19 (release)
- iPhone 6: Tuesday, September 9 (reveal) | Friday, September 19 (release)
- iPhone 5S: Tuesday, September 10 (reveal) | Friday, September 20 (release)
- iPhone 5: Wednesday, September 12 (reveal), Friday, September 21 (release)
With those dates in mind, the following seems likely:
- iPhone 7S reveal date: Tuesday, September 12 or Wednesday September 13
- iPhone 7S release date: Friday, September 22 or Saturday, September 23
Unfortunately, until Apple invites press to its keynote, we’ll be in the dark.
iPhone 7S Design – All new, all glass?
Most of the iPhone 7S rumours have centred around the idea of an ‘all-glass’ handset, as originally reported by Japan’s Nikkei news agency. It’s believed that the glass chassis has been in development since 2015, and that it will be produced by long-time Apple supplier Foxconn.
Another key iPhone 7S theory is that Apple will finally ditch the Home button – Samsung is said to be planning the same for the Galaxy S8, expected to launch in February. Thanks to recent advancements in optical fingerprint scanners, it’s now relatively simple to place such a sensor underneath display glass. This means Apple could create a ‘virtual' Home button, hide the fingerprint scanner, and significantly reduce the bezel thickness – increasing the iPhone's screen-to-body ratio as a result. This rumour was been reported by both the New York Times and Bloomberg’s long-time Apple scoop machine Mark Gurman.
We've even seen a leaked schematic (of questionable legitimacy) that showcases exactly that sort of all-screen front design (via SlashLeaks):
However, it's important to note that the jury is still out on whether there'll be an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor. On current iPhones, the Touch ID sensor is built into the Home button, but that's reportedly being scrapped with the iPhone 7S. The working theory was that Apple was hoping to embed a fingerprint sensor within the screen, but analyst Andy Hargreaves believes Apple could now be planning to ditch Touch ID entirely:
"Likely options for Apple include a delay of production or elimination of fingerprint sensing on the OLED iPhone. We believe Apple continues to work on solving its optical fingerprint issues. If it's able to solve the problems in the next month or so, it would likely place volume orders at that point."
Hargreaves continued: "This would likely lead to a delay of the OLED iPhone launch, but we would not expect it to meaningfully affect volume for the cycle. If it's not able to fix the problems in that time frame, Apple may be forced to eliminate fingerprint sensing from the OLED iPhone altogether."
However, reputable Apple leaker Sonny Dickson recently leaked a schematic that suggests the Touch ID sensor will be retained, only moved to the back of the phone – just like the Samsung Galaxy S8. Although we can't verify the legitimacy of the image, it's still worth checking out:
The only other iPhone 7S design rumour being peddled is that Apple plans to introduce a new ‘ceramic’ design. However, rather than coming from an insider source, this theory can be traced to a Quora post that describes why such a design change is likely. As such, we’re not entirely convinced this is going to happen. Still, it’s quite an interesting read – if you have a degree in metallurgy.
iPhone 7S Specs – Screen, Camera, Battery Life and More
Screen: There are several rumours regarding the iPhone 7S screen, the first of which relates to size.
In recent generations, the iPhone has shipped in two variants: 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. But a pre-publication Digitimes article posted by The Motley Fool in March last year said that we’d see a 5.8-inch iPhone this year. However, Digitimes has a very mixed track record on leaks, and the entire story was based around an alleged order of 5.8-inch display panels – perhaps they were just being used for testing purposes, if the order even existed at all? In any case, we reckon Apple is going to stick to its current screen sizes for the iPhone 7S.
The biggest iPhone 7S rumour by far is that Apple will finally introduce OLED displays. To date, Apple has retained the use of traditional LCD panels, while rival Samsung has been regularly turning out Galaxy phones with OLED screens for years. But several news agencies, including The Korea Herald, Nikkei, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and Barrons have published reports saying a switchover is imminent. Most tellingly, in 2016, Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu went on the record as saying that Apple would move to OLED panels.
The advantage of OLED displays is that each pixel produces its own light. That means the screen doesn’t need a backlight, which saves power – great news for anyone hoping for better battery life on the iPhone 7S. Better still, because individual pixels can be turned off, you end up with truer blacks. Unfortunately for Apple, Samsung controls the lion’s share of global production for phone-sized OLED panels, which may partly explain why we haven’t seen an OLED iPhone so far.
There's also talk that we'll see "True Color" screens added to all upcoming iPhone models. This technology is said to be similar to the True Tone displays we saw on the iPad Pro, which uses four-channel ambient light sensors to change the colour and intensity of a device's screen to better match the ambient light in your surroundings.
Specs: We’re also expecting a big performance boost with the iPhone 7S. Apple has the advantage of designing its own SoCs (system-on-a-chip), and creates a custom-built version for almost every new iPhone release. This time we’re likely to see the A11 chip, but what will it be capable of?
The most likely change is that Apple will build the A11 chip using a 10nm manufacturing process, with Taiwan’s TSMC having reportedly bagged the production contract over Samsung. It’s worth noting that Samsung can also produce 10nm chips – as evidenced by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 – but it’s no surprise that Apple doesn’t want to rely on one of its biggest rivals for such a core iPhone component.
The manufacturing process relates to the density of transistors on a chip. The A10 Fusion chip (seen in the iPhone 7) was created using a less efficient 16nm process, but a 10nm chip could have many more transistors packed in. Transistors are what allow computing to get done, so the more transistors you have, the more processes can be completed simultaneously. That means a 10nm chip has the potential to be more powerful, more efficient (and sometimes both) than 14/16nm predecessors.
Last year’s iPhone also saw Apple introduce a new chip architecture called ‘Fusion’. In the ‘Fusion’ design, Apple built four processor cores, two of which were powerful but power-hungry, and two which were more efficient but less powerful. Now, when an iPhone 7 performs a task, it will selectively choose a core based on how demanding the given task is, potentially saving battery life in the long run. It’s highly likely Apple will retain this ‘Fusion’ system for the next iPhone chip too.
Camera: Apple made headlines last year when the iPhone 7 Plus debuted with a dual-camera module on board. Combining a telephoto lens with a wide-angle lens made for an impressive camera that sat well with us in our review.
Fortunately, most rumours so far point to Apple carrying the dual-camera module over to this year’s iPhone too. And one report from the Korea Economic Daily claims that Apple is preparing to partner with LG to fit the iPhone 8 with a 3D camera that would allow the phone to recognise physical objects. A 3D camera would also enable augmented-reality functionality, overlaying graphics onto what you’re looking at. Like Snapchat filters, but way better.
Similarly, prominent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple’s next flagship smartphone will feature a “revolutionary” front-facing camera that has depth-sensing capabilities. An infrared module would allow 3D depth-mapping, paving the way for 3D selfies, apparently.
Battery Life: We haven’t heard anything about battery life for the iPhone 7S, which is a shame. We weren’t massively impressed by the iPhone 7’s battery life, however, so here’s hoping that the introduction of OLED screens and a 10nm chip may improve things next time around.
In other battery-related news, a report from ESM-China analyst Sun Changxu claimed Apple would introduce wireless charging with the iPhone 8, which would be a first for Apple handsets. This was followed by Apple's joining of the Wireless Power Consortium in February – that's the organisation that oversees the Qi wireless charging standard. While it's not exactly proof of wireless charging in the iPhone 7S, it makes the whole rumour seem far more likely.
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iPhone 7S Software – iOS 11?
It’s not tough to predict Apple software cycles, so the likelihood is that the iPhone 7S will come running iOS 11.
The problem is that Apple hasn’t announced iOS 11, so we’ve got no idea what it will have in store for us. But it won’t be too long before we find out. Apple will almost certainly show off the new software at the company’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference, which we expect will take place in June 2017.
However, iOS 11 proper won’t arrive until the iPhone 7S launch month, which is likely to be September. So if you’re hanging around for the final software, you’ll be waiting a while.
iPhone 7S – A USB Type-C connection?
Apple has already embraced USB Type C with the new MacBook range, but introducing USB-C onto the iPhone is a whole new ball game.
But a newly obtained research note suggests that Apple may be looking to do just that with the iPhone 7S. The good news, however, is that it seems Apple may be plotting to replace with USB-A end of your charger with a USB-C connection, meaning you won’t lose the Lightning port.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons Apple will launch the new charger with iPhone 8 to reduce charging times: “We believe all three new iPhones launching in 2H17 will support fast charging by the adoption of Type-C Power Delivery technology (while still retaining the Lightning port).
“A key technical challenge lies with ensuring product safety and stable data transmission during a fast charge,” the KGI Securities analyst added.
iPhone 7S Price – How much will it cost?
It’s tough to say how much the iPhone 7S will cost, because smartphone pricing depends on so many variables. For an idea of what to expect, here’s a brief rundown of iPhone pricing history:
- iPhone 5 – £529
- iPhone 5S – £549
- iPhone 6 – £539
- iPhone 6S – £539
- iPhone 7 – £599
As you can see, there was a clear trend of low £500-ers, but this year saw the price leap upwards. That’s likely thanks to the currency fluctuations that followed the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Unfortunately, the unpredictable GBP-USD exchange rate may not have stabilised by the iPhone 7S release, so there’s every chance that the next iPhone will be as expensive as the iPhone 7 – and perhaps even pricier.
Should I wait for the iPhone 7S?
If you’re dead set on getting the next iPhone, there’s little convincing you’ll need from us. For iPhone fans, it makes sense to stick with what you know, just as Android fans will get along just fine sticking to their ecosystem. However, we’d advise that if you already have an iPhone 7, it might not be worth the money upgrading to the iPhone 7S. After all, 'S’ iPhones tend not to be hugely different from their predecessors – but we’ll have to wait for the official announcement to make a call here.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a new phone in the short term, there are plenty of Android options available that will suit you just fine. We’re very happy to recommend the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Pixel, both of which scored very highly in our reviews.
And for the patient, we’ve already seen the announcements of the LG G6 and Huawei P10, with Samsung's Galaxy S8 expected to debut later this month. Meanwhile, other handsets such as the Galaxy Note 8, HTC 11 and OnePlus 4 should all launch later in the year – but still before the iPhone 7S.
iPhone 7S Concept Videos
We've already seen a bunch of great iPhone 7S/iPhone 8 concepts, some of which you'll find below:
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What would you like to see from the iPhone 7S? Let us know in the comments.