The release of a new iPhone every September is a tradition at this point, but 2016 could be the year Apple shakes things up with its flagship smartphone. The inevitable iPhone 7 is rumored to make some significant design departures (seriously, no headphone jack?), and it could be accompanied by a more classic 4-inch iPhone set to release earlier in the year. Here's everything we've heard so far about the iPhone 7 -- and everything we want from it.
So Long, Headphone Jack?
Talk about a jarring change. According to a report from Japan's Mac Otakara, the next iPhone will completely ditch its 3.5mm headphone jack, which comes standard on just about every mobile device in existence. This design choice may lead to an even thinner iPhone, but would also force users to rely on either Bluetooth or Lightning-based headphones. It's hard to fathom any smartphone without a 3.5mm jack, but if the latest, one-port MacBook is any indication, Apple may be looking to both slim down and simplify its devices.
A Smaller 4-inch iPhone
Those clinging to their iPhone 5s handsets in protest of Apple's newer, larger devices may soon have something to look forward to. The company is rumored to be working on a new 4-inch iPhone that would release early in 2016 at a lower price than the flagship model. This aligns with previous rumors of a smaller "iPhone 6c" that was expected to launch alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but never saw the light of day.
The End of the Home Button?
The next iPhone might be shedding more than just its headphone jack. Many are speculating that the iPhone 7 may shed Apple's iconic home button, due to the fact that the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch technology on the iPhone 6s may be capable of handling navigation duties. While this would force Apple to get creative with how it implements Touch ID finger scanning, it would also allow the next iPhone's display to have a broader, possibly bezel-less design.
Stronger Guts, Waterproof Design
The iPhone 7 will likely pack a stronger Apple A10 processor, and, according to a report by TrendForce, could see a bump in memory to 3GB for extra-fast performance. The new handset might also pack a tougher exterior; the same report claims that the iPhone 7 may sport a waterproof design. While this seems uncharacteristic of Apple, a waterproof iPhone could help sway fans of Samsung's rugged Galaxy Active handsets.
Looking Forward: What We Want
The iPhone 6s is Apple's most impressive smartphone yet, with game-changing 3D touch functionality, fast performance and fun camera features. Still, there's plenty of room for improvement.
For starters, Apple should up the storage on its starting model from 16GB to 32GB. A measly 16GB of space is no longer acceptable for a smartphone -- especially now that the iPhone can shoot 4K video.
It also may be time for Apple to embrace sharper screens. The displays on the iPhone 6s (1344 x 750) and iPhone 6s Plus (1920 x 1080) are impressively vibrant, but are starting to show their limitations now that quad-HD (2560 x 1440) comes standard on many Android flagships.
Apple would also do well to up its game in the battery department. The iPhone 6s Plus lasted over 8 hours on our battery test -- that's enough to get through a workday, but isn't nearly as impressive as the colossal 12-plus hours of juice we got out of Google's Nexus 6P.
Lastly, the iPhone 7 could benefit by taking a few cues from the newly released iPad Pro. The addition of multitasking and stylus support could help Apple's smartphone go head-to-head with devices such as the Galaxy Note 5, and would establish the iPhone 7 as a device for power users and mainstream fans alike.