No you didn’t jump a year into the future–and we haven’t lost the plot. But you did read that headline right. In this article we’re going to look at what the next generation iPhone 6s will look like versus next year’s iPhone 7. The image above is an awesome mockup by Computerbild.de of what the iPhone 7 could look like.
Why? Just for kicks, mainly. But also because of two other factors. First, though the official specs for the iPhone 6s won’t be released until next month, rumors have been steady, so we have a pretty good idea of what it will be like. Second, the way Apple’s iPhone product cycles work, it’s relatively easy to predict what a major new iPhone design will feature. You see, Apple historically has released iPhone upgrades on a “tick-tock” basis. Every tick is a major new form-factor upgrade and every tock retains the old form factor but usually introduces a new feature.
Examples of “tick” releases are the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus). These iPhones all featured radical form-factor redesigns over the previous iPhone. The iPhone 4 had the first Retina display and glass and aluminum body. The iPhone 5 had the 4-inch screen. The iPhone 6 had the 4.7-inch screen and so on. Examples of “tock” releases are the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5s. In each case each of these phones retained the same form-factor of its predecessor but added new usability features. The iPhone 4s added Siri; the iPhone 5s added the Touch ID and M7 motion coprocessor. The iPhone 6s major new feature will be the Force Touch display.
So without further ado, let's gaze into our crystal ball to see what each phone will be like, starting with the specs:
Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Major Specs
Rumored iPhone 6s
Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Force Touch, max res of 1920x1080
Design: It will look exactly the same as the iPhone 6
Storage: 16, 64, and 128GB
CPU and RAM: A9 processor, 2GB RAM
Front Camera: 1.8MP
Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording
Likely iPhone 7
Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Force Touch, but likely with a QHD display of 2560 x 1440 resolution
Design: Completely new design. Thinner body and bezel.
Storage: 32, 64, and 128GB
CPU and RAM: A10 processor, 3GB RAM
Front Camera: 5MP with wide angle lens
Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording, optical image stabilization.
The important thing to remember with iPhone upgrades is that the tock “S” cycle upgrade primarily see internal enhancements and the tick prime upgrades see body design changes. That’s why the iPhone 6s will probably have more radical internal changes from the iPhone 6 than the iPhone 6s does to the iPhone 7. It’s believed the iPhone 6s will get the A9 processor and finally get a double-the-RAM boost to 2GB. That means that the iPhone 7 will almost certainly have an A10 chipset and 3GB of RAM. Traditionally Apple has kept the amount of RAM the same for more than one year, but by the time the iPhone 7 ships in autumn 2016, most Android phones will have 4GB RAM minimum. Apple will need to keep up, if not match it.
As for storage options, with the iPhone 7 we finally expect Apple to drop the 16GB entry level option for a 32GB entry level model.
Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Design
The iPhone 6s will look exactly as the iPhone 6 does. That means the iPhone 7 will feature a radically different design. What to expect? A thinner body is guaranteed. But also expect thinner bezels and maybe–maybe–an edge-to-edge screen. There’s also strong hints that Apple is working on doing away with the physical home button and embedding a virtual home button and Touch ID in the screen itself, but that might not come until the iPhone 8.
Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Display
The iPhone 6s will gain the Force Touch display that the Apple Watch has–of course the iPhone 7 will adopt this as well. But we also expect the iPhone 7 to get a higher resolution display, specifically a QHD one with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, as many Android handsets have. By autumn of 2016 anything less that 2560 x 1440 will be the equivalent of what standard definition is today.
Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Camera
Internally the iPhone 6s will gain a huge camera upgrade with its 12MP rear camera (up from the 8MP camera in the iPhone 6). But going to the iPhone 7 we expect the camera upgrade to be less pronounced. Apple will probably keep to a 12MP rear camera but add optical image stabilization across the line (right now only the “Plus” models feature it). The iPhone 6s is also likely to gain 4k video recording–something we don’t see changing or expanding on for the iPhone 7.
What we do think will change with the iPhone 7 is the front camera. We believe the iPhone 6s will have the same 1.8MP front camera as the iPhone 6, but the iPhone 7 will upgrade that to a 5MP wide angle camera–something many Android phones have. Why the front camera boost? It’s simple: selfies rule the world.