Expected Release: Autumn 2016
Hopefully, however, after lens-gate, bend-gate, the truly hideousness of battery-gate and, for me at least, the perennial ear-gate, whereby no Apple earphones have ever fitted my peculiar lugholes, we may finally see some real improvements with the release of the new iPhone 7 in autumn this year.
The iPhone 7 specifications include features such as a composite “liquid metal” casing. This is a clever, but not particularly new alloy originating in the California Institute of Technology, which allows complicated casting in a single process. It is also rumoured that the casing will be waterproof.
The horrible, and thoroughly un-Jobsian, design compromise of a protruding lens will finally be addressed with a new flush-fitted lens.
Some, but unfortunately not all, of the ugly antenna lines will be removed. We can also say goodbye to the legacy headphone jack, though I’m not convinced that this is anything other than a purely ascetic decision.
Finally, we should see wireless charging at a distance! Cool. Though expect millimetres, not kilometres, (damn it).
The most interesting of features, at least for the more serious photographers out there, is an ingenious twelve megapixel dual lens camera system in the iPhone 7 Plus. This technology was sourced from the recent acquisition of LinX Imaging in Israel last April for 20 million dollars. The point being that LinX developed a novel multi-lens systems for smartphones, tablets and other space-limited hardware as far back as 2014. According to LinX, these cameras will enable mobile devices to compete, on an almost comparable basis, with the quality of images taken with DSLR cameras.
On the other hand, even at this late stage of the game, Apple will be playing catch-up. For example, there is still no sign of the most telling feature of many other premium smartphones – an ultra-sharp and bright AMOLED display.
And, though the lack of an AMOLED display is a puzzling omission, perhaps even more perplexing is Apple’s continuing quest for thinness at the expense of battery life.
With people hanging on to their increasingly reliable smartphones, and more than credible competition from both old rivals like Samsung and other newer upstarts, the volume of iPhone sales is clearly under threat. This can be seen in the recent slump in iPhone demand; even with new markets opening up in India and China.
If the iPhone 7 fails to impress, then Apple will have a real problem tackling flat sales in their most sought after, desirable and aspirational of devices.
Addendum et Errata
- This article is based on a feature in Roy’s Rocket Radio RRR 121, Inc. iPhone 7, Gravity Waves and Planet X, originally written for Maybe Magazine, Milton Keynes’s online blog, but never published.