iOS 9 will get public trial, and rumours suggest iPhone 7 will follow just months after iPhone 6S
Both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 will be released in 2015, but Apple will stagger the launches “to capitalise on sales”, according to the Daily Mail.
That would be a substantial break from tradition for the company, which has previously updated its flagship handset only once per year.
But under Tim Cook, the chief executive who replaced the late Steve Jobs, Apple seems more willing to break precedent. The Independent reports today that iOS9, the operating system that will sit at the heart of the iPhone 7, will be released for public beta testing. In the past, all Apple operating systems have been tested in private.
That privacy hasn’t always paid off: when iOS 8 was launched, some customers had difficulty making phone calls and Apple had to rush out a new version of the software.
The company has also proved more willing to experiment with its hardwar, diversifying its iPhone product line having previously resisted that strategy. In 2013 it launched a cheaper iPhone 5C alongside the 5S, and last September both the iPhone 6 and larger 6 Plus appeared at the same event.
These developments have leant some credibility to the suggestion that we may see two new iPhones this year.
The Stabley Times reports an anonymous supply chain source who says that one reason we may see both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 this year is that Apple wants to give customers more of a reason to buy the Apple Watch, which is due to go on sale in the spring.
“Our source says that Apple is hesitant about launching the iWatch in the spring of 2015 without a new iPhone to go along with it,” it reports, “as it could give hesitant consumers an excuse to wait on buying both until the fall.”
Nevertheless, the suggestion has been met with disbelief in many quarters, and most analysts still expect to see a single round of Apple smartphone launches this year.
KnowYourMobile says that the report “doesn’t seem to strike through”, in part because Apple would not want to distract potential smartwatch customers with a new phone launching at the same time.
Also, it says, “with new products [coming out] every six months, the temptation is there for people to keep putting off their purchase, knowing that a newer and better phone is due soon”.
A more credible – but less exciting – claim about the iPhone 7 comes from the South Korean Electronic Times, which has reported that Samsung has already begun to make A9 processor chips for the new phone or phones.
Apple had dropped Samsung as a chip supplier when the two smartphone makers ended up in court over claims of patent infringement, and the A8 chip for the iPhone 6 was built by TSMC, a Taiwanese manufacturer.
Now, according to Geek.com, Apple has been won back to Samsung by the South Korean company’s expertise in making high-performance chips that draw little battery power. TSMC is also working on the technology, but cannot currently match Samsung’s capabilities.
“Samsung’s production certainly looks to be the better option at the moment, even if Apple would rather not work with their rival,” Geek.com says.
Electronic Times says that Samsung began making chips for the iPhone 7 at its plant in Austin, Texas, late last year.
Few high-profile design changes: Having come up with an all-new aesthetic for the iPhone 6, Apple is unlikely to alter the look and feel of the handset for the next update. Changes to the operating system and upgrades for individual components will take centre-stage, assuming Apple follows its usual pattern of product releases. “It’s likely the update will focus on internal improvements rather than a new external look,” says MacRumors.
Dual-lens camera: The camera could be in line for a substantial overhaul, according to the vaguest of rumours. John Gruber of Daring Fireball, a respected source of Apple information, said he has heard that the iPhone 7 might get “the biggest camera jump ever”. He added: “I don’t even know what sense this makes, but I’ve heard that it’s some kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery.”
Improved TouchID sensor: The company has big plans for Apple Pay, the payment system that it hopes will take the place of credit and debit cards for in-store transactions. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company is preparing “a better and and safer Apple Pay user experience by reducing reading errors” of its fingerprint scanner. That may also help to allay security fears as British banks give customers the option to sign in to their accounts using TouchID.
Apple’s flagship smartphone is only a few months old, but already the rumour mill is hard at work with hints and leaks about its successor. Likely to be called the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, the new device will come with twice the processor memory of the 2014 model, according to the latest reports.
The iPhone 6’s 1GB of Ram is relatively small by the standards of many Android rivals, although that doesn’t seem to harm its performance. Most reviewers say Apple’s phone is at least on a par with competition from Sony, Samsung and HTC.
Nevertheless, a Taiwanese website with sources in Apple’s supply chain reports that the iPhone 7 will get 2GB of Ram.
“Doubling up on memory should mean a much faster and more capable iPhone,” says TechRadar, “particularly when it’s paired with the usual CPU upgrade that Apple treats us to.”
According to MacRumors, the new Ram modules “offer lower power consumption” as well as a “significant performance increase” over the current models.
MacRumors also identifies the companies that will build the Ram components for the iPhone 7: Hynix, Samsung and Micron-Elpida.
If the iPhone 7 does end up with 2GB of Ram, that would bring it into line with the iPad Air 2.