Already? iPhone 7 rumour round-up

The iPhone 6s only went on sale at the end of September, but the first iPhone 7 rumours are already starting to rear their enigmatic heads.

The most controversial iPhone 7 rumour is that Apple will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack in order to build a thinner device. Users would instead connect headphones via the phone's Lightning jack or Bluetooth. The rumour has actually been floating around since 2014, when Apple introduced a "Made for iPhone" specification for headphones and headsets using the Lightning connector. JBL and Philips both already have Lightning-based headphones on the market.

Apple wouldn't be the first smartphone manufacturer to ditch the 3.5mm jack, with OPPO opting not to include on in its 4.85mm thick R5. In addition to support for Bluetooth earbuds, OPPO included a micro USB to 3.5mm adapter in the box, allowing users to connect more traditional headphones to the handset.

The rumour resurfaced at the tail-end of last week on Japanese Apple website Mac Otakara, citing a reliable source. The report suggests that the iPhone 7 would be over a millimetre thinner than the 7.1mm iPhone 6s due to the lack of a 3.5mm jack, and would ship with an Apple-made pair of Lightning earbuds.

Another longstanding rumour speculates that Apple will get rid of another longstanding iPhone feature: the home button. Earlier this year, DigiTimes reported that Apple was working on a way to integrate a fingerprint sensor into the iPhone's display. AppleInsider corroborated these rumours with its own source, who said the company was working towards removing the physical home button. While the lack of a physical home button would cause some design challenges, a number of these would be addressed by the pressure sensitive 3D Touch display Apple introduced on the iPhone 6s. AppleInsider does however suggest the home button could stick around until at least 2017.

The lack of a physical home button would however allow Apple to cut down the bezel surrounding the iPhone 7, making it a shorter device.

Looking further forward, a recent rumour suggests that Apple will be tapping LG for an OLED iPhone display, although a report published by Nikkei claims that Apple isn't looking to make the change until 2018. As such, the iPhone 8 (if Apple continues with its current naming scheme) would likely be the first iPhone to feature an OLED display.

The speculation sprung up as a result of LG's planned USD$8.4 billion in investment in a new OLED panel factory. The plant is set to produce OLED displays for everything from big screen TVs to tiny smartwatches.

LG is currently Apple's preferred supplier for the Apple Watch's AMOLED display.

As a technology, OLED is attractive due to its ability to display "perfect black". As a result, this allows OLED powered screens to display a much wider range of colours.

Apple isn't expected to unveil the iPhone 7 until September 2016. 

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