Update: The iPhone 7S could have a True Tone display, while the Touch ID fingerprint scanner might be moved to the back.
No phone in 2017 is more highly anticipated than the iPhone 7S. The launch of a new iPhone is usually the biggest smartphone event in any given year, but with this one marking the iPhone’s tenth anniversary it could be even more special.
As such, despite it still likely being many months away, we’re already hearing numerous rumors about what to expect.
You’ll find them collected below, along with our opinion on their likelihood, information on the price and release date, and educated guesses for the things that haven’t yet been leaked.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next phone 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 haven’t heard any iPhone 7S release date hints yet, but Apple tends to be quite consistent with this, so we’d expect the phone will launch almost exactly a year after the iPhone 7, meaning an announcement in early September 2017 (possibly September 7 or 9 based on past dates).
It will then probably be another one or two weeks before the iPhone 7S is actually for sale, so expect to be able to buy it from mid to late September.
It’s also unclear if the iPhone 8 will actually launch in 2017 instead of the iPhone 7S. It’s the ten year anniversary of the original iPhone and some rumors have suggested Apple may skip the S variant next year.
That said, one rumor from the Apple supply chain has also suggested it will be a slight upgrade on the iPhone 7, meaning it may just be called the iPhone 7S.
iPhone 7S screen
- An OLED screen
- A sharper display
- A new size
- Better 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.
And like the Galaxy S8, one rumor suggests Apple will move the fingerprint scanner from the front to the back.
TechRadar’s take: A glass body is believable, though until we start seeing leaked images of the iPhone 7S it’s too early to be confident of. 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
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.
In both 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.
As for the battery, there’s evidence that Apple might finally include wireless charging. That stems both 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.
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.
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.
Another possible feature is an iris scanner, which has been rumored, and is already a feature of some phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Or Apple might go one further and add facial recognition, as several rumors now point in that direction.
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.