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What we (think) we know about the new iPhone launching tomorrow, 7 September

September 5th, 2016 |  Published in Apple

iPhone 7

 

Eric De Grasse
Chief Technology Officer

6 September 2016 – The year’s iPhones (and maybe Apple Watches) will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 September. Small deal: dropping the headphone socket. Big deal: totally new camera system.

As we noted in our blast to clients before our summer holiday break, the headphone socket change is not a biggie. The camera transition is a biggie. A standard element of technology that can be traced back to 1878 and the invention of the manual telephone exchange, the jack is apparently going the way of the floppy disk and the folding map. The future will be wireless. Apple is good at moving towards the future.

Interesting: it seems there is no new case design this year, breaking the every-other-year pattern. There are rumours floating around of a really big new design with new materials for next year, leading to another super-cycle sales surge, as for larger screens last year. But as always with a new iPhone release rumors keep surfacing like whack-a-mole. We know about this potential absence thanks to a global information chain, one that shadows the supply and manufacturing chain that produces Apple’s products. The shadow chain is intended to ferret out Apple rumors: promoting them, discussing them and then discussing them some more, long before they become facts.

This rumor mill is both a gift to Apple and a burden, a sign that it has not lost its magic and a warning that everyone is on watch for the moment it does. No other company is tracked quite so relentlessly.

Other than cameras and (in the next few years) VR, the performance and feature gains for all smartphones are slowing down – we’re getting towards the top of the S-Curve.

And that’s the thing: Apple is hopefully turning on the development afterburners. Until recently, when Apple’s hiring in the AI field has stepped up and the company has made a few high-profile acquisitions, observers have viewed Apple as a laggard in what is shaping up as the most heated competition in the industry: the race to best use those powerful AI tools. Because Apple has always been so tight-lipped about what goes on behind badged doors, the AI cognoscenti didn’t know what Apple was up to in machine learning. It’s not part of the community. Apple is the NSA of AI. Now we know how developed Apple has become in AI – an iBrain, as it were , already inside your iPhone. How advanced machine learning is now found all over Apple’s products and services.

Over the weekend KGI Securities, which has a history of being pretty spot-on with accurate iPhone spec predictions, released it’s “what-the-iPhone7-will-have” report.  A summary of the key points:

  1. KGI says that the iPhone 7 will include the new Apple A10 SoC, which will be CPU clocked at up to 2.4GHz, a dramatic increase over the existing A9 silicon.
  2. The iPhone 7 will also come in two new color options which KGI describes as “dark black” and glossy “piano black”, replacing space grey. There are also changes to the speaker system, Force Touch sensors, waterproofing and more.
  3. The iPhone 7 screen display will also be getting an upgrade. Although size and resolution are staying the same, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, the displays will ‘copy’ the visual features of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro. This means the iPhone 7 display will be able to render wide-color imagery. This will help boost the appearance of the photos taken by the new cameras in the iPhone 7.
  4. The 4.7 inch iPhone 7 camera will be getting an upgrade but this KGI report focuses on the brand-new dual camera system which will be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus. The report says the dual camera will enable optical zoom and ‘light field camera applications’. The dual camera is made up of a wide-angle camera and a telephoto camera. Both cameras will feature 12 megapixel sensors. The larger camera will also feature optical image stabilisation and a 6P lens. NOTE: this is markedly different technology to what Huawei uses in its dual-camera adorned P9 phone — it’ll be interesting to see what Apple demos on Wednesday in regards to image quality.
  5. Apple is also including a new camera flash component in the iPhone 7 to improve photos taken in low-light situations. Apple will be boosting the number of LEDs from two to four (two cool, two warm) to create a more effective True Tone flash in the upcoming handsets.
  6. Memory and RAM will also be increased. KGI says Apple will drop the 16 GB and 64 GB offering and add 256 GB storage tier. The new lineup will feature 32 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB models. The company will also bundle an additional 1 GB of RAM for the iPhone 7 Plus which is necessary to handle with the advanced camera processing provided by the dual-camera (an iPhone 7 Plus exclusive feature). Therefore, the 5.5.inch iPhone 7 Plus will include 3 GB RAM whereas the 4.7 inch iPhone 7 will feature 2 GB RAM – the same as the iPhone 6s.
  7. The much discussed point: KGI says that Apple will include Lightning EarPods and a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack adapter with every iPhone 7. This is to compensate for the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack in the hardware itself. KGI says that that space will be used to enhance the Force Touch recognition system. On the outside, it will look like a second speaker grille but it will actually house a new sensor to improve the ‘Force Touch user experience’. Apple is adding a new internal amplifier to boost sound output from the phone’s receiver.
  8. KGI also claims the proximity sensor component is also getting a upgrade (‘switching from LCD to laser’) with faster response times and longer recognition distance, with support for hand-waving gesture features. The inclusion of such gestures is not confirmed, however.
  9. The new iPhones will also be waterproof with an IPX7 rating, this is the same as the Apple Watch. This rating means the hardware will be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. According to KGI, Apple’s high standards for waterproofing have impacted the supply chain and lowered total production of iPhone 7.
  10. KGI is forecasting 65 million iPhone 7 units shipped by the end of the year, a significant decrease below the 82 million level set by the iPhone 6s in the same timeframe last year. KGI blames poor assembly yield and “limited innovative selling points”. Although there are lot of changes to be seen, the analyst expects customer to focus on the new black color options, the dual camera, water resistance and the removal of the headphone jack.

So …. tune in tomorrow, 7 September, kick off set at 10:00 am PT or 1:00 pm ET:

Apple TV 3 and Apple TV 2

If you have Apple TV 3 or Apple TV 2 with Apple TV software 5.0.2 or later, then navigate to “Apple Events” channel with the ‘Let us loop you in’ event logo on the main menu to watch the event live on your television.

Mac

If plan to watch it on your Mac, then launch Safari browser and point it to the following url: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/

iPad, iPhone or iPod touch

If you plan to watch it on your iPhone or iPad, then point mobile Safari to the same URL – http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/

Windows 10

Windows users can also live stream the event on their PC officially. But there’s a limitation. You can only do it if only on the Microsoft Edge browser which comes with Windows 10.

If you’re on Windows 10, then point Microsoft Edge to the following url – http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/

 

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