Prospective iPhone 7 buyers may have another drastic adjustment to consider. A post on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo today (July 12) includes photos of a supposed iPhone 7 Plus that's missing the mute switch you typically find found above the phone's volume buttons.
While it's not an impossible change, dropping the mute switch makes even less sense than Apple ripping out the headphone jack. iOS's Do Not Disturb feature may offer similar muting effects, but it requires turning on the device's screen, sliding up the control panel and tapping its icon. That's much more complicated than flicking a switch on the side of the device, which you can do while your phone is still in a pocket or purse without even having to look.
And while making it harder to mute your phone could lead to a ton of embarrassed iPhone users whose devices go off during movies or other events, it's probably a familiar situation for Android users. Most Android devices don't offer a mute switch, requiring users to swipe down and use a setting found in the Quick Settings menu.
It's hard to gauge how seriously to take the rumor, as it comes from a Weibo account named "iappsnews" without much of a track record on device leaks. If other reports and images emerge in the coming days, then it's a rumored change to be taken more seriously.
As user-unfriendly as removing the mute switch would seem, Apple already dropped that switch from its tablets starting with its iPad Air 2. But that decision made some sense, as you're less likely to need to mute an iPad, since it's not typically used as a phone receiver (though it's possible by using Continuity).
But while the Weibo photos show the iPhone losing its mute switch, they also suggest the iPhone 7 Plus will gain the company's Smart Connector port. This port may allow Apple to sell more accessories to customers, such as keyboards or power adapters, which could prove necessary if the Lightning port becomes the de facto audio port.
The same photos that reveal a Smart Connector port also show this potential iPhone 7 Plus to have dual cameras, which would corroborate a long-standing rumor about Apple's larger-smartphone. (Earlier leaked images suggest that the smaller iPhone 7 won't have a dual-lens camera, though it's expected to have a wider lens than the iPhone 6s it's slated to replace.) The home button on this iPhone appears to be more flush to the display, with a thinner ring around it, but there are no current rumors pointing to any adjustment of that feature.