Rumors suggest Apple’s 2016 iPhone 7 will look very similar to the iPhone 6s, with major changes to the iPhone’s form factor actually coming in 2017, the year that marks the 10th anniversary of the device’s initial launch. Apple blogger John Gruber recently shared some tantalizing details about the 2017 iPhone, which may see some radical design tweaks.
In the latest episode of his podcast The Talk Show, Gruber said he’s heard “scuttlebutt” suggesting the 2017 iPhone will include an edge-to-edge display that eliminates the top and bottom bezels on the device, with the front-facing camera, Touch ID, and other sensors hidden under the display.
I think next year’s phone, the 2017 model, the one that will come out in September of 2017. What I have heard — now this is not really from the rumor mill but just scuttlebutt that I’ve heard — is that it will be an all-new form factor.
And there have been some rumors, I guess, but what I’m saying is that I’ve heard this independently and it is completely getting rid of the chin and forehead of the phone. The entire face will be the display. And the Touch ID sensor will be somehow embedded in the display. The front-facing camera will somehow be embedded in the display. The speaker, everything. All the sensors will somehow be behind the display.
What I don’t know… I have no idea, but whether that means that they’re going to shrink the actual thing in your hand to fit the screen sizes we already have, or whether they’re going to grow the screens to fit the devices we’re already used to holding… I don’t know.
Previous rumors have indicated Apple is planning to introduce a flexible OLED display in the 2017 iPhone, and an OLED display panel would allow for an edge-to-edge screen design. Apple has already signed a deal with Samsung for a portion of the OLED panels it will need for the devices.
Multiple rumors have suggested one 2017 iPhone could include a 5.8-inch OLED display, which would perhaps mean Apple plans to have the display wrap around the edges of a 5.5-inch device, but it is not clear how such a screen size would work without top and bottom bezels as suggested by Gruber.
Along with an OLED display, the iPhone coming in 2017 is rumored to include a glass shell, like the iPhone 4 and 4s, rather than the aluminum body that’s been used for the iPhone 5s, 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, and SE. Long-range wireless charging and expanded biometric features like iris or facial recognition are also features that have been rumored, along with a 10-nanometer A11 chip from TSMC and NAND flash memory supplied by Samsung.
Apple has been working on developing touch and display driver integration (TTDI) chips since 2015, which would let the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system be embedded directly into the display, allowing for the elimination of the Home button. Analyst rumors have previously suggested the Home button will be removed in the 2017 iPhone, in line with what Gruber has heard.
With Apple planning major design changes for the 2017 iPhone, there have been rumors indicating the devices will not feature an “S” name, with Apple perhaps skipping the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus to move directly to the iPhone 8 or another name.
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