Guessing what new features the next iPhone will have is a bit like reading tea leaves. Beyond peering into the unknown, you have to study the rumors, reports, and alleged leaks with a healthy degree of skepticism, and use history as your guide.
Lucky for you, with the next iPhone launch around the corner on Sept. 9, we’ve got that all handled. Here are the most reliable leaks that have graced the web so far.
Apple has launched a new iPhone design every two years for several years now, and given that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus gave Apple’s smartphone a new look last year, the iPhone event next week will most certainly reveal a device that looks virtually identical to the existing models. It’s less hardware eye candy, but at least you won’t have to buy a new case, assuming you’re already an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owner.
No Bendgate 2.0
Claims that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are prone to folding in half like a wet newspaper are largely overblown, and as long as you don’t stick your phone in your back pocket and slam your butt on a park bench you’re probably going to find it plenty firm enough.
Still, Apple would like to avoid any possible chance that a vocal minority of iPhone 6s or 6s Plus cause a sequel to the infamous #Bendgate. To that end, the next iPhone’s aluminum skeleton is reportedly much more bend resistant, with thicker reinforcement at its most bend-prone spots and a potentially an all new alloy composition.
These “off” years are less about hardware eye candy and more about usability features and adding new functionality to the existing design, like Touch ID in the iPhone 5s, for example. This year is set to follow that trend, with credible reports suggesting Force Touch, which is currently present on the Apple Watch and MacBook trackpad, will find its way to the iPhone, along with a new, less innuendo-packed name.
On the Apple Watch, Force Touch allows the wearer to press down firmly on the display, using it as a completely separate input method from a normal tap. On the iPhone, the feature is expected to enhance functionality by acting as a shortcut for features that, at present, require the user to hold their finger on the screen and then select from a pop-up. As it does on the Apple Watch, the Force Touch feature is said to provide haptic feedback on the iPhone.
Ok, so this one is a bit of a softball, since the iPhone line gets camera upgrades like clockwork, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
There are currently three possible ways the iPhone 6s camera situation could play out, according to various rumors and reports. The first possibility is that the camera could remain largely unchanged from the 8-megapixel version found in the current iPhones. This wouldn’t be entirely shocking, as the iPhone line has utilized an 8-megapixel sensor since the iPhone 4s, and simply adds new image quality and video features on a regular basis.
The second, and most likely scenario comes from the typically spot-on sources of Mark Gurman. The insiders claim that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will boast a 12-megapixel camera, complete with the ability to record videos in 4k resolution, which would be the most significant camera upgrade Apple has given its smartphone since the introduction of the iPhone 4s.
More accurate Touch ID
Touch ID on the iPhone 5s and 6 is considered to be reasonably accurate, but Apple will reportedly make it even less error-prone for the next iteration of its smartphone. Reports from the relatively trustworthy analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggest an upgraded version of the Touch ID sensor will find its way into the iPhone 6s, further reducing read errors and enhancing Touch ID-based features like Apple Pay.
One of the coolest features of the upcoming Apple Watch software update is the eye-catching moving watchfaces.
A similar option is reportedly coming to the iPhone 6s, with high definition animations for lock screens and backgrounds, following in the footsteps of the lightly animated “Dynamic” wallpaper options that already exist.
One more thing…
No matter how many leaks manage to find their way to the Internet ahead of Apple’s annual iPhone showcase, there’s always at least a few things the company actually managed to keep secret.
We won’t know exactly what the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are packing until we see them on stage, so if this features rundown doesn’t have you excited, there’s still a pretty decent chance you’ll see something on Sept. 9 that strikes your fancy.
Illustration by Max Fleishman