Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will launch an iPhone 7 later on this year, with September 18 the likely release date. As rumors about the specs of the device roll in, it’s clear that it’s going to be beefier than the iPhone 6, but not in the same way that Apple has done with its previous iPhone updates.
The iPhone 7 will, according to many different rumors that have appeared in recent weeks and months, be thicker than the iPhone 6. This is the first time in years that Apple has made a device thicker than its immediate predecessor, but it’s with good reason. Apple can use that extra space to give users what they crave.
Making a bigger iPhone 7
The iPhone 7 will be thicker for one major reason. The device will include Force Touch, at least according to Ming Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. Mr. Kuo says that the new tech, which was first seen in the new MacBook from Apple and in the Apple Watch, will add some great features to the iPhone 7.
A schematic from Engadget Japan, which appeared earlier this week,showed that the iPhone 7 will be 7.1mm thick. The iPhone 6 came in at 6.9mm.
That comes with a price that most users are likely willing to pay. The next iPhone will be a little bit thicker, a little bit taller and a little bit wider in order to fit the Taptic Engine into the device. The Taptic Engine will allow the iPhone 7 to become the world’s first Force Touch phone.
The unique haptic feedback system is an incredible feat by Apple. It’s one feature that no other OEM can claim the firm copied, it’s going to become a bigger and bigger part of how iOS functions, and it’s changing the shape of the iPhone itself.
There are more uses for a bigger phone than just Force Touch, however, and it’s clear that users may prefer to take the thickness in exchange for Force Touch and some of the other boons bestowed by a thicker device.
A bigger iPhone 7 means a bigger battery
Even if Apple is going to be put the Taptic Engine inside the next iPhone, there’s likely to be room left in the case for a little extra battery. iPhone users, like those with of almost every smartphone, have long been looking for a longer life out of their phones. Apple is attacking the problem from more than one side.
In iOS 9 Apple is adding a Low Power mode that will constrain the background functions of the device in order to boost battery life as it wanes. That should help even power-users get to the end of the day without their battery running out on them. A longer life means the end of looking around the office for somebody with a charger.
Low Power mode has already been tested with some impressive results on the iPhone 6 and the other models that work with the beta of iOS 9. Tests on GeekBench have shown that the iPhone will bind your processor to slower speeds in order to boost battery life. The iPhone 7 will come with a new A9 chip that should make that speed reduction more tolerable.
Battery life on an iPhone 6 Plus in Low Power mode was boosted by more than 3 hours as a result of that slow down. Combined with the bigger battery that may appear in the next smartphone from Cupertino, that could make quite a difference to those who shell out for an upgrade this fall.
The iPhone 7 will be stronger
A thin device tends to be less strong than a thicker one, as iPhone 6 users found out during the “Bendghazi” crisis on the release of the iPhone 6. It turned out that the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were open to being bent through normal use. With the iPhone 7, Apple is trying to ensure it doesn’t see that problem again.
On top of being thicker the iPhone 7 is going to use a better quality of metal in order to ensure the strength of the device. The 7000 series Aluminum used in the Apple Watch will make its way into the iPhone 7 if Ming Chi Kuo of KGI is believed.
He’s one of the most accurate iPhone analysts out there, and his forecast for the iPhone 7 is being taken as gospel by some fans eager to find out about the next device. The 7000 series Aluminum is stronger than that used in the iPhone 6 and, combined with the thicker profile of the device, should prevent any more bending mishaps.
Making the iPhone bigger to make it smaller
The stronger, thicker iPhone 7 is going to be bigger, but Apple is working on a way to reduce the size of the iPhone beyond what users are used to. The Force Touch Taptic Engine will be there to give users the kind of control over their iPhone that they’ve never had before.
Force Touch is going to bring more gesture control to iOS devices and that’s going to spur a revision in the way that user approach their smart phone. Ultimately that means getting rid of the Home Button, a change that most users won’t think they’ll need until they see the first iPhone without it.
Digitimes, a paper with a dubious record in iPhone rumors, reported on June 22 that Apple was working with models of the iPhone that excluded the Home button. Those phones are to be controlled through the screen, which will become a button through the power of Force Touch.
Force Touch changes the iPhone forever
Apple is making the iPhone 7 thicker and this time around some users, who’ve likely been trying to fit the iPhone 6 in their wallet, are going to be disappointed. Adding Force Touch will change the way that people use their phone, and it will change the iPhone forever as a result.
Removing the Home Button, which will be made possible once Apple figures out how to make Touch ID work through a screen, will allow the iPhone to be just a screen from top to bottom, and it will allow it to get smaller as a result.
It will make the interaction between a user and their phone more solid, and make it even easier to give advanced, exact commands to a phone that’s almost able to read your mind.
The future of the iPhone is obscured by the fog of time, but Apple knows what it’s doing and the firm is going to make it that much better with each passing generation.
For a year or two that means making the iPhone thicker, but it also means making it bigger, stronger, longer lasting and, most importantly, smarter. That’s a trade-off that most users will be willing to take on September 18.