Update: Wireless charging might not be ready in time for the iPhone 7S's launch, but may still be activated later. There's also growing evidence of a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, while a new mirror-like finish has been rumored, but will the iPhone 7S get it or just the pricier iPhone 8?
Apple's iPhone 7S is going to give you new features at the normal iPhone price, according to the latest rumors.
That's going to make it the right choice for a lot of people who want to upgrade their iPhone and shy away from a potential expensive, experimental iPhone 8.
But what will make the iPhone 7S better than the iPhone 7? It won't be size, but it may pack plenty of speed, wireless charging and maybe a new screen.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next iPhone from Apple
- When is it out? Probably September
- What will it cost? At least as much as the iPhone 7
iPhone 7S release date
We fully expect the iPhone 7S release date to be in September this year, with an announcement date one or two weeks beforehand. History and rumors tell us this.
The big question is will the iPhone 7S arrive in stores alone (with a Plus version), or will the iPhone 8 also make it out at the same time?
As per usual, expect the actual in-store release date and the delivery date to be on a Friday. That just leaves five days in September when it could release:
- Friday, September 1, 2017
- Friday, September 8, 2017
- Friday, September 15, 2017
- Friday, September 22, 2017
- Friday, September 29, 2017
We're leaning on the latter half of the month of September for the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus launch this year.
- Pre-register for iPhone 7S
- UK: Carphone Warehouse
iPhone 7S screen
- A sharper, OLED display
- A new size
- Improved 3D Touch
There are a number of iPhone 7S screen rumors, but one we keep hearing is that it could have an OLED display, rather than an LCD one.
In fact, the president of Sharp has even said the iPhone 7S will have an OLED screen, and as Sharp makes some iPhone screens he should know, though we’re a long way out from launch, so plans could change.
OLED displays are used by Samsung and on the Apple Watch, and tend to sport superior contrast to LCD. They’re also better suited to being curved, which we’ve also heard the iPhone 7S might be, though that seems less likely.
Another change we might see is the resolution, as Apple is lagging behind rivals there and sharper screens are apparently being prototyped, including one that’s more than 1440 x 2560, though that sounds like too much of a jump.
Finally, the size might change, or an extra size option might be added, with both 5-inch and 5.8-inch sizes rumored. 5 inches would slot between the existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes, while 5.8 inches would dwarf them, but even larger phones have been launched by other companies.
And beyond the visual differences, there's a chance Apple will also improve 3D Touch, making it more sensitive and accurate than it is currently, according to one source.
The iPhone 7S might also feature True Tone technology, allowing the screen to adjust its colors based on the ambient light around you. The iPad Pro 9.7 already has this feature, so it's a very believable addition.
TechRadar’s take: A change to OLED is looking likely, if Apple can source enough panels in time. A new size and resolution is possible too, but we wouldn’t count on curves.
iPhone 7S design
- A curved glass back
- A fingerprint scanner on the back
The iPhone is due a design change and it could get a big one for the iPhone 7S, with rumors pointing to a curved glass back, in place of the metal body the iPhone 7 has.
However, if that change happens at all, it might not happen to all iPhone 7S models, so you might still be able to buy a new iPhone with a recognizable design too.
Recent rumors state there will be an iPhone 7S, 7S Plus and a 7S Pro - although we'd expect that last one to be an iPhone 8.
The new phones will apparently have edge-to-edge displays, potentially making them smaller with the same sized screens or the same dimensions but with a massive screen, a bit like Samsung has done with the Galaxy S8. You can see how this might look in the images above.
And like the Galaxy S8, one rumor suggests Apple will move the fingerprint scanner from the front to the back.
That's been echoed more recently by the leaked image above. It's not clear whether this is accurate though, and which upcoming iPhone model(s) it would actually apply to.
We've also heard that Apple might be preparing a new mirror-like finish for the next iPhone, though again, it's not clear whether that would just be for the premium iPhone 8 (if such a phone exists) or for all new iPhone models.
TechRadar’s take: A glass body is believable, though may be reserved for the iPhone 8. Whatever happens, we’d expect significant changes though, especially as the iPhone 7S’s launch will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.
iPhone 7S camera and battery
- A single-lens camera
- Wireless charging
- 3D cameras
We’re not expecting a huge change to the camera on the iPhone 7S, with just a single-lens rumored for the 7S, and a dual-lens for the iPhone 7S Plus and iPhone 8.
In all cases there are sure to be some improvements though. The iPhone 7S Plus for example is said to have optical image stabilization for both lenses, rather than just one as is the case on the iPhone 7 Plus.
That’s according to a research note from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by MacRumors.
Everything else is speculation, but a change in megapixel count is possible, at least on the rear cameras (which currently sit at 12MP). It’s less likely that the front-facing camera’s count will change, as Apple only recently upped it to 7MP.
There's also the possibility of 3D cameras, which could add augmented reality functions to the phone. Though these likely would require a dual-lens snapper, and might be reserved for a more premium model. You can see rough sketches supposedly showing a 3D camera below.
As for the battery, there’s evidence that Apple might finally include wireless charging.
That stems from a rumor that Foxconn (which is involved in manufacturing iPhones) is experimenting with the tech, and from a research note obtained by 9to5Mac, which states that all iPhone 7S models will have wireless charging.
That rumor has been repeated since, more than once, and bolstered by the fact that Apple has now joined the Wireless Power Consortium (an industry group focused on the adoption of a wireless charging standard).
There's even evidence for it in the iOS 11 beta, with a hidden sound file possibly designed to play when you charge your phone wirelessly.
However, you might not be able to charge your iPhone 7S wirelessly at launch, as it's also rumored that while the hardware will be ready, the software won't, so it might be enabled as an update after launch.
TechRadar’s take: Expect a similar camera, but with improvements to the software and some new features. Wireless charging is likely too.
iPhone 7S OS and power
- Improved AR and VR performance
There aren’t many OS or power rumors yet, but this aspect is easy to take a guess at. For one thing, the iPhone 7S is likely to run iOS 11, given that we’re on iOS 10 now.
It’s also likely to have an A11 or A11 Fusion chip (up from the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7). We’d guess this will be quad-core, since Apple’s only just made the jump to quad-core smartphone chips and probably won’t go beyond that for a while.
We’d also expect either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, given that the iPhone 7 Plus already has 3GB.
It may have a powerful graphics chip that would allow for improved augmented reality and virtual reality gaming. Why? Because a company that often makes parts of the A-series chipset has created just such a chip.
This isn't the only hint that augmented reality will be improved on the iPhone 7S either, as Apple is also rumored to have up to 1,000 engineers working on augmented reality tech, and is including augmented reality tech in iOS 11.
iPhone 7S other features
- An iris scanner
- Facial recognition
The iPhone 7S might get a Smart Connector, just like the iPad Pro range, which uses it to connect accessories such as keyboards, though this is a rumor that's gone quiet recently, so may not happen.
Another possible feature is an iris scanner, which has been rumored, and is already a feature of some phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Or Apple might go one further and add facial recognition, as several rumors now point in that direction - another feature the new Samsung handsets also boast.
In fact, Apple has even bought a startup company that works on the tech - though that doesn't mean it will be imminently adding it to an iPhone.
TechRadar’s take: Apple is likely to add new features to the iPhone 7S, but a Smart Connector, facial recognition and iris scanner will probably only be included if it can make them genuinely useful and slick.
iPhone 7S price
For now, all we can go on is the iPhone 7’s price, which is $649/£599/AU$1,079 for the smallest size. A similar starting price for the iPhone 7S is likely.