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Rumor Roundup: iPhone 7 to feature new casing material, water and dustproof design


While the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus only just became available this past week, rumors surrounding next year’s flagship from Apple are already starting to surface. A pair of postings on Chinese social networking site Weibo first spotted by Macotakara claim that the iPhone 7, or whatever it may be called, will feature several design changes that are a significant departure from the past few years of iPhone releases…

The first Weibo posting claims that the iPhone 7 will feature a waterproof and dustproof design. Several flagship Android devices already carry this added layer of protection, so it would make sense for Apple to add it to its own flagship phones. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus don’t technically feature a waterproof design, but early tests have shown that the phones are significantly better at handling water than previous generation iPhones.

Another Weibo post goes on to claim that the iPhone 7 will feature a new casing material, meaning that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the last iPhones that will feature a metallic frame. It’s unclear what that new material may be, but it is said that Apple has already developed the first prototype of the device.

Finally, rumors claim that the iPhone 7 will feature a “completely flat” LCD panel. What exactly that means is unclear at this point, but it’s definitely something worth noting.

These rumors should all be taken with a grain of salt, especially seeing that we are an entire year away from the announcement and release of the iPhone 7. Nevertheless, we can expect the iPhone 7 to be a relatively major upgrade, assuming Apple follows its normal pattern of major design changes every other year.

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  1. iSRS - 8 years ago

    My prediction? No home button.

    • Gintoki (@Keeg86Von) - 8 years ago

      That was my same thought! I think Touch ID will be built in the screen because iOS 9 on the 6s shows hint’s how the multitasking will work. Also I could be really wrong on this one but maybe wireless charging because of how the Apple Watch handles it. Just like how they brought 3d touch from the watch to the Macbooks and iPhones.

    • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

      Yes, if they crack that effectively it could bring quite a significant reduction in size for the iPhone, especially the humungous Plus version!

    • Remember that time when rumors where flying about the iPhone 6 screen being “curved”? While the glass turned out to be indeed curved at the edges, its not what everyone thought as a wrap-around screen.

      Its so funny because Samsung bit that one rumor and rushed an actual curved screen to beat Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement.

    • cdm283813 - 7 years ago

      Where would the finger print scanner go? They could put it on the back or imbedded it in the power button but having the home button on the front is so iconic for Apple. I’m betting that the home button is not going anywhere.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Um, it will be a part of the screen or the very bottom small bezel that will be left. They have patents to embed it in the screen. For all we know the new Touch ID is the same tech that will be capable of being in the screen.

        3D Touch anywhere on the sleeping display > turns on the screen > Taptic feedback > scans finger > instantly into the home screen. 3D Touch peek on the left side > swipe fully across the display to switch to previous app > pop on the left side > opens multitasking switcher. 3D Touch on the bottom of the screen/bezel which will be left (screen coming down close to the curves) > press takes you back to the home button > press and hold > opens Siri. If accessibility is turned on then peek > takes you out of app back to home screen > peek and hold opens Siri > pop takes place of triple click for accessibility.

      • Evan - 7 years ago

        @o0smoothies0o I think you are overestimating the pace of innovation for Apple. Not only would many of the things you listed take years to design, code, and rollout. But the technology to scan a fingerprint anywhere on a screen in nonexistent. The scanner would have to be built into a specific spot, like where the home button is now. And just because they are researching it doesn’t mean it’s even invented yet. For major technology breakthroughs like that, I always look for another company to do something similar first, and then Apple to implement and improve on the basic idea to make it actually useful.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      They are more likely to make it non physical but still at the bottom bezel, or move it to the side than to fully remove it. The apple watch does it on the side and it’s probably easier to reach on these huge phones than at the bottom.

      Touch ID would be moved to behind the screen (which will be amazing).

  2. I believe a virtual home button will replace the physical home button that will be used through 3D Touching it :)

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      I don’t think there will be a home button displayed on the screen, ever.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      Think about how that would work a little more. How would that not interfere with apps and games that use 3d touch? If it is a dedicated section of the screen that always displays a home button, then why waste pixels and battery on displaying it all the time?

      For global functions that should work no matter what the phone is displaying, a physical or separate button makes more sense. That’s not to say I don’t think they could make a virtual one with the force pressure sensors, but I don’t think it would be apart of the visual display. Maybe it’s still under the bottom bezel but is not a physical click.

  3. plooms - 8 years ago

    “Completely flat LCD panel” probably means they’ll go back to a straight edge design like the iPhone 4/4s/5/5s

  4. Aleksandar Srdic - 8 years ago


  5. spencerbrown - 8 years ago

    Looks like we may finally see that “Liquid Metal” casing. Because there is no way Apple will be using plastic…

    • spencerbrown - 8 years ago

      *unless Apple has come up with a bendy phone

    • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

      That’s what I’m hoping for too. But Apple also holds a patent for a Zirconium ceramic casing material…the stuff’s already used on the back panels of the steel and gold Apple Watch’s. Might be closer to mass production than Liquid Metal. But I’m still advocating for the latter.

  6. RP - 8 years ago

    Can’t wait, I am skipping the entire 6 cycle.

    • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

      Me too!

      • RP - 7 years ago

        The 5s is so good, so well made and so beautiful, the 6 feels like a downgrade

  7. mpias3785 - 8 years ago

    The 7 won’t really be much of an improvement until the 7s. I just hope the case loses the curved edges (90º angles are stronger, just ask any I beam) and I want a higher capacity battery! Screw Ive’s fashion sense, I’m sick of anorexic iPhones. Ive’s form over function paradigm HAS to end, it’s going to damage Apple by changing its focus from tech to fashion.

    • mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

      Ive’s brilliant designs are one of the main aspects of Apple success. Battery life isn’t more important than design but if you think it is, just use battery case. Battery tech is very old now, yes they have to do something about it but I will not sacrifice the beauty in anyway.

      • mpias3785 - 7 years ago

        Form over function? Really?

    • robinlmp - 8 years ago

      Really? Please provide a link.

      I think you’ll find that curved shapes are actually stronger. Just look at car body panels which are made out of very thin gauge sheet metal, they are always curved because it gives a shell like rigidity that a flat panel would not have.

      A right angle would help a bit vs a flat panel because it is closer to a curved surface than it would be if flat.

      • mpias3785 - 7 years ago

        A Link? Any physics book. Or speak to any structural engineer. Look up I-beam in wikipedia. Go to Home Depot and get some steel tubing and a piece of I-Beam of equal size and bend them. It isn’t rocket science.

  8. Ali Hamodi - 8 years ago

    Hopefully the 6plus will support a pen like the s-pen in the Note 5 and has as good screen and battery as the note 5. I owned almost every iPhone until I traded iPhone 6 for the Note 5. Note 5 is amazing but I still miss a lot off the stuff like the great appstore and the features thats comes in handy when you own a mac and an iPhone. I just need a stylus with my pocket device.

    • Ali Hamodi - 8 years ago

      *the iphone 7 plus.

    • mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

      Battery life on 6/6S Plus is already amazing. Screen ? 3D-touch screen is the most advanced technology yet but the stylus Who needs a stylus ?! Augh

      • Ali Hamodi - 8 years ago

        NO, battery life on iPhone 6 and 6plus are terrible compared to Note. Cnet has a youtube video on that. I need a stylus and its ok if you don’t, BUT I DO. When I talk about a stylus I mean the one like the s-pen. The one that has the wacom technology of pressure sensitivity. Not like the one that comes big and heavy with the surface pro or (maybe) the ipad pro.

      • vamseenunna - 7 years ago

        dude, you literally just said “.. battery life is not more important than design..” and even got a Like for it.
        You can’t respect the fact that this guy wants some extra functionality? Esp. after Apple just released a Penc.. fuk it, stylus?

      • mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

        your analogy is tenuous at best, of course the “design is more important than battery life” my point was “Plus” family is doing well but not the best in terms of battery life. If I prefer the battery over design I would probably go for any other phone.

    • RP - 8 years ago

      Yeah the Note 5 is amazing. As big as the screen is, it’s still smaller than the 6 plus. Amazingly sharp screen and camera.

      • mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

        Yes, there are a lot of amazing smartphones out there with good specs but it’s that simple “If it is not an iPhone, it is not an iPhone”

  9. Chad Mark (@ChadsFault) - 8 years ago

    “Another Weibo post goes on to claim that the iPhone 7 will feature a new casing material, meaning that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the last iPhones that will feature a metallic frame.”

    Actually it means none of that because:
    a) the frame and the case don’t have to be the same thing (the iPhone 4 was metal and glass);
    b) the use of a different metal (i.e., liquid metal) would qualify as a new material, yet still be metallic and;
    c) this rumour is only for the next iPhone, not all future ones, so calling it the last one with a metallic frame would be premature.

    All that said, the rumour itself is pretty conservative, all but one of the “tock” cycles have featured a casing material change:

    Original iPhone – Aluminium
    3G/3GS – Plastic
    4/4S – Stainless steel and glass
    5/5S – Aluminium
    6/6S – Aluminium (but the 6S has a stronger version)

    Based on that list, a material change would not be a surprise, although not going back to aluminium in the future would be (until they use something that is truly better in all aspects). I guess we’ll see what the material is eventually. People can hardly wait before creating rumours, at this point Apple would still have time to change their minds on the casing.

  10. all i want is longer battery life, on any phone.. sometime.. but i guess more features to drain the battery is inevitable..

  11. mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

    Stop it ! I want to enjoy my new iPhone :)

  12. nwmike - 8 years ago

    With 3D Touch, the home button will go away. The fingerprint reader will be just under the glass and there will probably be just a circle on the glass. Better 3D Touch will enable more options other than just soft press or hard press. The 16 gig model will go away.

    • Jim Phong - 7 years ago

      Circle on the glass? It would be lame. Apple doesn’t do that kind of lame thing. They would just have iOS drawing a circle in place when someone puts the finger in the area covering it then to better show the boundaries

  13. michaelcpearson7 - 8 years ago

    I agree with most about no home button. I believe that the top of the phone will feature a thin bezel that will be used for the camera, speaker and other sensors. Once again, this will be a thin strip at the top. Below that will be all glass from edge to edge and all the way to the bottom. 3D Touch will enable you to have a virtual button. Also, with the reduction of the bezel at the top, the removal of the bezel at the bottom (including the button) somehow Apple will figure out a way to get a new battery in there that will give you 24hrs talk / 72hrs standby.

    Ok… there is my wish list :)

    Wait… One more thing: The back of the iPhone now doubles as a… (wait for it…. wait for it….) SOLAR CHARGER! Lay the iPhone 7 face down and charge it with the sun or any lamp! Boom! Apple just changed the game.

    • mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

      LOL! Great wish list
      but if there a bezel will be on top then the bottom must have one too for the purpose of similarity.

      • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

        ‘Symmetry’ – but yes.

    • 89p13 - 7 years ago

      Add in a charging system similar to the Apple Watch – and you’ve got it! I do love the magnetix charging puck on the watch – no plugin / just attach!

    • rettun1 - 7 years ago

      I still think they can get away with a LITTLE bezel on the top and bottom. The space above and below the home button on my 5s looks like it would be enough of a ‘chin’ to allow for pressure sentivities, without having to build the tech into the display just yet. I think 5 mm above and below the screen would be good, allowing room for cam, speaker and sensors at the top and a pressure sensitive area below

  14. Andrew Chen - 8 years ago

    OLED and touchID everywhere

  15. Ilko Sarafski - 7 years ago

    My two cents – no Home button (completely flat LCD should mean exactly that), no stereo jack, maybe even thinner phone. Other things will be as usual – better camera, better CPU, etc. It will either look completely mindblowing or just as any other butonless phone out there. Nothing in between. But lets wait and see! :) I am still looking forward to my 6s in December! :) Don’t ruin my happiness hehe! :)

  16. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    Put Touch ID in the Apple logo. Use 3D Touch for typical home button functions, Use liquid metal back plate with an alumni frame and shrink the top and bottom bezels.

    • nickjeremiah - 7 years ago

      How are those with cases supposed to use Touch ID if it’s on the back of the phone?

      • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

        A small hole on the back of the case where the logo is. I’ve already seen cases out there that have this as a styling feature.

      • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

        No thumbs though!

      • taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

        Leave the Apple logo open like some cases already do.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Yeah Apple isn’t going to put anything you have to touch or press on the back of the phone, it’s just not good design. The Touch ID will be in the very bottom bezel or in the screen.

      • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

        Maybe Apple will ultimately develop a more flexible Touch ID feature, where a virtual Touch ID reader can appear anywhere on the display area that one specifies.

    • Jim Phong - 7 years ago

      Touch ID in the Apple logo would be an awful idea. People wouldn’t like having to put their finger on the back of the iPhone.

      • taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

        Apple has many ideas for the back of the phone. Touch ID, health sensors and wireless charging are all bing looked at.

        When Apple removes the government text from the back of the phone they might change were the Apple and iPhone logo are located. The Apple logo would be better in the middle,like an iPad or down low were the current regulation stuff is printed if they choice to use it as Touch ID or health sensors. The frame of the phone is a no go for Touch ID and with 3 D Touch and everything else built into ththe screen not sure how easy it would be to out Touch ID into the screen. 3D Touch is a good sign Apple will be ditching the home button and thus Touch ID has to be moved somewhere else.

  17. minieggseater - 7 years ago

    Water resistantance woukd be a welcome addition

    I wonder if 3d touch could help with the perennial problem of touch screens not working in the wet

    Also i think wireless charging must be onbthe list especially with car starting to appear with this for android phones

    • elilabes - 7 years ago

      it has been tested, 3d touch doesnt work under water unfortunately!

      • Jim Phong - 7 years ago

        Like using a smartphone or tablet underwater had to be something common…

      • minieggseater - 7 years ago

        It’s not so much ‘underwater’ more outdoors in the rain. If you are outdoors a lot for work/leisure then modern touch screen devices are a bit of a pain to use. We don’t all live in sun drenched California and work in air conditioned offices !

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Wireless charging is useless until it can be done over a distance. Any intelligent person knows that a phone or tablet, which people use when they are charging, cannot be wirelessly charged until they can do it up to at least a meter. It makes sense for the watch because guess what you don’t do with a watch when it’s charging? Wear it. On the other hand, I could see them losing the Lightning port and going to their new smart connector on the bottom of the phone, because they’ll be getting rid of the home button down there and with both of those gone you can see how much internal space they’d get back (not to mention if the lose the SIM card which I’m sure they will for e-sim). They’d need a very strong magnetic attachment for the smart connector at the bottom though, because as I mentioned, people use their phones while they are charging, and you don’t want to be constantly pulling the cord off the smart connector.

      • minieggseater - 7 years ago

        I think ‘useless’ is perhaps a bit strong. Getting rid of the connector is one less thing to damage when in a hurry and just being able to place on a pad in the car or night side table or event office desk would be a nice feature. Nothing stopping you picking it up to use it and putting it back down agin to charge

  18. usmansaghir - 7 years ago

    Really hope Apple add some magic to the battery department. I would really love for a wireless charging on the next iPhone. Im betting the iPhone 7 will have a resolution of 1080p and the 7 plus 4k resolution.
    Apple will most likely stick with the 12mp camera. That wont change for a while now!
    Already looking forward to the iPhone 7 though 😃

    • Theres no such thing as wireless charging. If you enter a room and your phone suddenly charges up in the air without plugging in anything – thats wireless.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Wireless charging unless it’s up to at least a meter is a horrible idea for a phone. It’s a great idea for a watch because you don’t use a watch while it’s charging, but a phone, you do use while it’s charging, and I don’t know many people that want to carry around a pad and hold the pad behind their phone so they can still use it while it’s charging. On a desk? The phone is laying flat…have fun using it. Just simply stupid design.

  19. Bernt Espelien - 7 years ago

    Please just make a good looking phone again. Without that awful protruding camera.

  20. pacmania1982 - 7 years ago

    I heard that it will feature a microwave so you can cook your food with it too. That and a transwarp conduit so you can instantly beam yourself to where your friends are so you don’t have to facetime any more.

  21. perks83 - 7 years ago

    It’s a “Pinch of salt” 🙈

  22. perks83 - 7 years ago

    Wireless Charging please!!……

  23. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    That S cycle doe

  24. dfresh1988 - 7 years ago

    I’d be willing to bet the next iPhone isn’t iPhone 7. This will be Apple’s tenth iPhone (original, 3G/S, 4/S, 5/S, 6/S), so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them play off the longstanding success of OS X and calling it iPhone X and releasing iOS X to go along with it. Just a thought.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      What do they call it after X? You can’t continue Roman nuemerals because very few know them. The phones must be numbered for marketing purposes.

      • dfresh1988 - 7 years ago

        OS X has been an iteration of OS X for almost 15 years. You’re already seeing the move away from numbering in iPad naming: iPad, iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad Pro, etc. With a marketing team as capable as Apple’s, you don’t have to have a number to differentiate a product. They could release a new iPhone every year and call it the “New iPhone” each time and you’d still know the difference.

      • Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

        awww bless you… people can learn…after all… osX is OS 10 and has been known that for quite some time now…lol…

        and even if some people didnt know – iphone X still sounds good… although personally i dont like it…lol

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      I’d rather them just call it the new iPhone. Since I’m still a fan of smaller phones I’d love for them make a new smaller iPhone and just call it “iPhone” then rename the 4.7 and 5.5″ to iPhone pro – a la macbook and macbook pro. If they are going with the iPad standards then it’d be iPhone mini, iPhone, and iPhone pro.

      The iPhone 6 plus and 6s plus are already being treated with more pro features like battery and image stabilization but I guess those are just “pulses” and not really exclusive new features like Apple pencil is for the iPad pro. If next year the plus supports pencil then it’d kinda make sense for the rebranding.

  25. Sofus Hindø (@S0FU5) - 7 years ago

    It is clear that the next step for the iPhone is that it will become water and dustproof. Apples intent was clearly to experiment with such concepts already with the 6S, that though not guaranteed or conformed has shown to hold very well under water and overall very tuff.

  26. yakuzahi - 7 years ago

    Wireless charging? – iPhone 9s.

  27. Jim Phong - 7 years ago

    A non-metal iPhone like the atrocious iPhone 5C that Tim Cook wanted to sell at any cost would mean Apple risking to go bankrupt. Even Apple couldn’t manage to sell a fake iPhone like the iPhone 5C. And the iPhone 5S , a true iPhone like Steve Jobs wanted, is what people bought despite the iPhone 5C that Tim Cook was using all Apple marketing resources to sell it.
    If Apple releases plastic only iPhone models then it would be just plain suicide. Even Apple can’t afford an iPhone failure like that for a whole year. The iPhone 5C wasn’t the only one on the market otherwise Apple would have risked bankruptcy back then already.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Hahaha Apple bankruptcy you know nothing apparently. By the way the 5C didn’t do well and I don’t agree with its sale but it was the 3rd highest selling smartphone, behind the other iPhones.

    • mpias3785 - 7 years ago

      I think the reason the 5c didn’t sell as well as the 5s was because it was the prior year’s phone in a new case. If it had the same internals as the 5s I think it would have given the 5s a run for its money.

      Metal cases are not the be all and end all, there is a wide variety of non-metallic materials that could be used as case materials like high strength plastics, ceramics and various composites. I always use a case anyway so it doesn’t matter to me as long as the internals are the same.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      The 5c wasn’t atrocious. It felt more like a nice ceramic than plastic – some people actually preferred it’s curved design to the 5s.

      “a true iPhone like Steve Jobs wanted.” The iPhone 3g and 3gs were proudly handled by Jobs on stage. Could you please put that argument to rest. They were far crappier plastic than the 5c and that was the flagship iPhone for 2 years.

      Apple heavily marketed the 5c because it was attempting spin off the old iPhone into a new product line and the existing line didn’t need marketing. The latest flagship iPhone basically sells itself every year. I think the 5c was a huge success from a strategic standpoint. Apple successfully differentiated their last years model from the current model, helping to up sell the 5s. In the mean time, some people got a phone they really ended up loving.

      This year apple didn’t continue that theme. I’m not sure why but my guess is that they actually have enough new stuff to talk about in the new iPhone that they could get away with not changing the iPhone 6 body. “The Only Thing That’s Changed…” ad is them admitting that it looks the same but it is worth buying. I don’t think they really had enough new to say about the 5s that it would stand out against the 5. It was an awesome update for sure but the only new user facing feature was touch id and I guess slow mo videos?

  28. Bobby (@thatgeekdad) - 7 years ago

    LifeProof are going to freak out if this is true. That is easily 50% of their market. So if all you need to worry about is drop protection, why bother with a sealed case that muffles your speaker a good 35% and make it harder to hear the person on the other end of the line.

  29. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    I like the home button where it is…it has its usage, especially for finger print reading, and is conveniently located for both right and left handed people – to put anywhere else would be annoying…

    what would be nice is to put the ear piece speaker behind the screen so that the front camera can go next to the light sensor and get rid of the thick bezel at the top…
    I do think they need to move the power button to half way down the phone on the PLUS size only…or better still incorporate this into the home button, (have a long press to turn on, and use an option in 3D touch to power down)

    I also think they may get rid of the headphone jack…now that bluetooth is more efficient and they have beats and the apple watch relies on bluetooth – plus they will push for the macbook to get rid of this more in favor of an extra usb-C

    removing these things will allow to create that extra space to put in a slightly larger battery…

    Having the curved edges is actually annoying because it’s very hard to get good screen protectors – i would like to go back to a flat screen…

    hopefully we will see a new cpu – but the ram will stay the same…

    and hopefully they will bring back the 32gb and finally get rid of the pointless 16gb… apple should be ashamed that this still exists.

    It would be nice if the plus size got the same speaker system as the ipad pro

  30. Getting rid of the home button will effect troubleshooting iOS devices. The they would need to develop another way to trouble shooting their devices, because right now you need the home button to unlock iPhones, or throw them into recovery mode to connect to iTunes for further assistance. The home button can’t just be built into the screen.

    I do hope one of the newer features is wireless charging station for all iOS devices. That would certainly be an added benefit. However if Apple wants to get ahead of the game, they will need to reinvent the wheel to really shock me. Everything else will be “about damn time”

  31. Efrain Rivera Junior - 7 years ago

    I want a stylus on the next iPhone.

  32. clearskinminerals - 7 years ago

    Boy, technology moves fast! I haven’t even had a chance to discover all the wonderful capabilities of the iPhone 6 yet ♥


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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