9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman got the biggest scoop of the year yet on the next iPhone this week when he published images which he believes are the actual metal housing of the next iPhone, to be unveiled this September.
While that may excite iPhone fans, what that metal housing reveals is that it is almost certain that this autumn’s iPhone will not be a radically redesigned “iPhone 7”–instead it will indeed be the “iPhone 6s”. When you think about it, this should come as little surprise considering that Apple has generally used the same design and form factor for iPhones on a two year cycle, starting with a “prime” iPhone (iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6) and then only iterating internally on the prime model for the next cycle (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s).
So, what do Gurman’s images reveal? Well, the iPhone 6s will look largely the same externally as the iPhone 6 does today. Gurman writes: “Our images show no noticeable external changes coming from the iPhone 6 — even the Space Gray color has remained light, contrasting with the darker Space Gray Apple Watch — but it is possible that Apple’s final hardware could include additional tweaks.”
He goes on to note that “Our source says that any potential difference in thickness or width on the 4.7-inch iPhone 6-sized device is too minimal to notice, but this does not (yet) rule out rumored changes to the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus body.”
What that means is that it’s still possible that iPhone 6s Plus could look different than the current iPhone 6 Plus (but we’re not betting on that).
Perhaps the biggest blow from this leaked shell is that it reveals the semi-loathed iPhone 6 antenna lines are here to stay in the next version–as they are clearly visible on the leaked casing. “Apple recently applied for a patent on a technique to hide the antenna lines on the back of an iPhone with an ‘anodized metal appearance.’ Unless something changes from the casing here, those lines will persist through the iPhone 6S lineup,” Gurman says.
Another disappointment for those hoping for a radically redesigned iPhone this fall comes in the camera department. It had been rumored that the next iPhone would feature a dual-lens camera system for improved shots, but as the casing shows, there’s no additional room for a second lens.
But while the outside of the next iPhone looks largely the same, this casing leak does show internal changes, notably new mounting structures for new logic boards and components.
It is entirely possible this casing isn’t the final one, but as the next iPhone is already rumored to be in production and Gurman has a strong track record with Apple leaks, it’s best not to get your hopes up for a radically redesigned iPhone 7 this autumn.