That noted, the iPhone SE is a relatively minor, mid-cycle update that brings little to the table in terms of design, features, or specs. Given this, there remains a pervasive expectation that the market will see the next major iPhone update, right on schedule, in the fall of 2016.
Could Apple flip the script and bring out a new iPhone at its Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC), which it recently confirmed is scheduled to begin on 13 June 2016?Very unlikely, but there is one predictable cycle: major design changes in even-numbered years, followed by "under the hood" tech upgrades that keep the same basic physical chassis in odd-numbered "s phone" years.
For 2016, then, a total redesign is a near certainty - possibly with some dramatic innovations. However, latest report suggests that the iPhone 7 may buck this trend.
According to Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz, supply chain murmurs indicate that the iPhone 7 won't have "any must-have form factor changes," suggesting that everyone will see only a few modest refinements and perhaps some newer internal components.
In this vein, MacRumors has suggested that the iPhone 7 will have a design that's "very similar" to that of the iPhone 6 and 6s, though without the antenna bands that run across the current generation. And it is still expected that the company will release two versions of the phone - ostensibly, a standard-sized, 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and larger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
Given the regularity with which folks drop phones in toilets and other bodies of water, could Apple develop a water-resistant or waterproof chassis? Other manufacturers have already gone there, of course: Samsung with the Galaxy S5, Sony with its Z5 Premium and Motorola with its entry-level Moto G. Still, the fact that Samsung did not make the Galaxy S6 waterproof suggests that it's not a critical feature for most consumers.
In recent months, multiple sources (of varying reliability) have reported that the iPhone 7 will be waterproof and dustproof. Business Insider reports that Apple has filed for a new waterproofing-related patent. Titled "Electronic Device with Hidden Connector," the application suggests that ports could be covered with a "self-healing elastomer."
According to the patent description, iPhone ports equipped with this technology would be covered with membranes, which could be penetrated by a headphone or USB connector, for example, and which would seal back up once the connector is withdrawn.
Building on this narrative, 9to5Mac has reported that Apple is developing a new set of Bluetooth earphones that could be introduced simultaneously with the iPhone 7. The fruit of the company's acquisition of Beats Electronics, the new earphones, potentially called "AirPods," are rumored to be completely wireless, similar to the Motorola Hint.
Note that the melodramatic iPhone 7 "leaked concept" video in circulation on social media has been flagged as a fake. The video shows a cleansuit-clad employee, ostensibly of Foxconn, one of Apple's longtime suppliers, handling a home button-less iPhone 7 until, offscreen, someone shouts, "Hey!".