Apple’s PR team was hard at work this morning setting expectations for this year’s iPhone refresh. According to a few near-simultaneous reports including this one in The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus won’t feature any major design changes. Instead, they’ll be pretty well aligned with all of the rumors and leaks we’ve seen: the new iPhones will look a lot like the current iPhones, but they’ll ditch the 3.5mm audio jack and they’ll be slimmer. Remember what we said was probably our first look at a real iPhone 7? Well, it was indeed probably our first look at a real iPhone 7.
We covered WSJ’s big iPhone report earlier on Tuesday, but it’s worth diving into it again. Why? Because a couple of lines near the end of the article give us some pretty big hints of what we can expect from Apple’s future iPhones.
A string of reports leading up to today’s big planted story suggested that Apple’s 2016 iPhones will be relatively minor upgrades compared to new model number upgrades in previous years. In the past, Apple would release a big redesign and then an “S” model the following year before launching another big upgrade. This time around, Apple’s 2016 iPhones will basically be “6ss” models, offering plenty of internal upgrades but not much in the way of a new design.
Then, in 2017, Apple is expected to completely overhaul the iPhone’s design.
We’ve read in the past that next year’s iPhone will feature an OLED display with no home button and some new features like wireless charging. Now, WSJ’s report suggests that the “iPhone 8” or whatever Apple ends up calling it might arrive with an even bigger redesign than we thought.
“For years, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive has expressed a desire for the iPhone to appear like a single sheet of glass, according to people familiar with the matter,” WSJ reporters wrote. “The current design ideas for the 2017 iPhones are expected to push the handsets in that direction by eliminating much of the bezel around the display with the OLED screen.”
With current technological limitations in mind, it’s highly unlikely that Ive will realize his vision entirely, which might resemble the concept image at the top of this post. But next year’s iPhones will apparently head “in that direction,” which certainly sounds like a good thing for Apple fans following 2016’s minor update.