With a new Apple phone to be unveiled on 21st March and the iPhone 7 expected to hit shelves in Autumn, the rumour mill is now going at full steam.
Apple is said to be working on finalising the iPhone 7's chassis, so we don't know exactly what it will look like. However, multiple rumours and leaked pictures point to it having the same general shape as the S6, but thinner.
Italian website HDblog has suggested that the phone will feature up to 256GB of storage – the most of any Apple smartphone yet, while many are saying that Apple will continue on the path of introducing more powerful, efficient devices, with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus expected to include next-generation A10 processors.
The later iPhone 7 Plus could have also a dual-lens camera with an optical zoom.
As an expert on smartphone diagnostics and security, Pat Clawson CEO of Blancco Technology Group gave us his thoughts on the implications of some of the most important rumoured features, particularly for security and practicability.
What are the ramifications if the new iPhone is 14% thinner?
Apple is rumoured to be making the iPhone 7 1mm thinner than iPhone 6s – making it around 6mm.
'One reason it’s thinner is because they’re axing the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a relatively big component of the device itself,' says Clawson. 'Another reason for its thinner shape is that the antenna bands on the newer model are placed on the top and bottom edges of the phone.'
'The most significant ramification is that the battery will now be smaller in size – and it relies on the performance improvements of the operating system. Because there is more and more functionality and complexity in the operating system, it will be difficult to optimise the power consumption of the battery.'
However, it is thought that Apple is probably using EMI coating in iPhone 7, which reduces electromagnetic interference and makes it possible to place the chips closer together.
'Because of this,' explains Clawson, 'they probably don’t have to shrink the battery too much. Some rumors say that iPhone 7 Plus will have a 3100mAh battery, compared to the 2750 mAh battery in iPhone 6s Plus.'
Will this make the iPhone more fragile? What types of materials would provide the must durability but least weight?
Clawson thinks that Apple has probably learned its lesson from the infamous 'Bendgate' issue that caused iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 models to bend in people’s pockets – a scandal that is still causing quite a stir among Apple users, not to mention negative publicity for the device manufacturer.
'It looks as though the 7000 Series aluminum on the new models is alloyed with zinc, making the phone very strong and durable,' says Clawson, assuring us that for the most part, Apple products are typically a step above the rest when it comes to quality and functionality.
'I’ve had an iPhone 6 Plus for over a year and dropped it a couple of times – and the phone has withstood the drops and is still in close to new shape.'
What types of environments do you think the wireless earphones work best? What types of environments will the wireless earbuds work poorly? And will there be any situations where the wireless earbuds might not work?
Apple has a storied history of innovating and evolving their technologies – and this is another example of that.
'I expect other device manufacturers will follow Apple’s lead over the next several months,' Clawson predicts.
According to industry speculation and rumors, Apple is developing its own wireless earbuds that will work completely wirelessly and without any wires between the pods.
'I think it’s a smart and strategic product move on Apple’s part,' says Clawson. 'These days, people are inclined to opt for using wireless products whenever they can – be it a mouse for their computer, or a headphone for their smartphones – because that adds another layer of convenience for them. At first, it might be a slight adjustment for Apple users who have been so used to plugging in the traditional 3.5 mm earphone jacks.'
And for some users, it will be slightly frustrating if they’ve spent money to buy wired Hi-Fi headphones.
'But like anything else in life,' he says, 'they’ll adjust quickly and soon come to prefer the wireless earbuds.'
Do you think wireless earphones will make the iPhone more vulnerable to hacking via Bluetooth?
'I don’t think there’s a serious security risk with using Bluetooth wireless earbuds on the new phones,' Clawson says. The one big security risk that could occur is if users connect their device to a malicious device. But the good news is that iPhones only support a few Bluetooth profiles so a cyber criminal could not do much to steal the user’s information.'
To minimise this possible security risk, Clawson users should not set their device to 'discoverable' so that it won't respond to scanning attempts. If devices are not paired, they won’t be able to communicate. In Bluetooth v2.1, encryption is enabled by default.
> See also: It's time to say no to Apple and its iPhones
'It’s also a good idea to remove & repair your Bluetooth devices every now and then. And if you do not need Bluetooth, turn it off.'
Will the smaller size of the iPhone, combined with a more powerful processor, have an impact on battery life, device performance and overall device health? If so, how?
Apple’s earlier processors have been very good and A10 should be even better. A9 was dual core, but A10 is six core.
'I expect the A10 processor will be a much faster processor,' says Clawson. 'It remains to be seen what impact the faster processer will have on battery life, which we know has come to be one of the biggest frustrations of Apple users.'
'But if you look at some of the recent rumors, it looks like that could possibly change with the possible introduction of the A10 processor, which could have 20% higher performance and 40% less power consumption compared to the iPhone 6s.'
Overall, many people will not be happy about giving up the traditional 3.5mm jack, and Apple still haven't found a way to make the component waterproof. But a thinner, more lightweight iPhone with a beefier processor and stereo sound should keep fans satisfied.