iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro? If you believe the latest leaks, Apple will debut not two but three new smartphones this September, and the Pro could steal the show with its unique capabilities.
Based on new photos spotted by Nowwhereelse, the iPhone 7 Pro will sport both a larger dual-lens camera and a Smart Connector, which would enable the Pro to accommodate a wide range of accessories.
9to5Mac has reported on the iPhone 7 Pro leak, noting that the device could ship with a whopping 256GB of storage, but the other purported features are more exciting. For instance, despite the big bump it apparently adds to the design, the dual-lens camera could make the iPhone 7 Pro the best smartphone camera yet. Offering two lenses could dramatically improve low-light performance--an area where the Galaxy S7 outshines the iPhone right now--as well as improve color accuracy.
Apple could also leverage its 2015 acquisition of Israeli startup Linx in the iPhone 7 Pro. According to Cult of Mac, the company's cameras are "half the height of a standard mobile camera, but capture better color and produce high-quality, low-noise imagery, even in low light." Putting two of these sensors in the iPhone Pro could bring us the closest yet to DSLR-level photos in a phone.
So what about the Smart Connector that will supposedly line the bottom of the iPhone 7 Pro? It could be used to attach accessories like a charging cover (one that's less bulky than Apple's current eyesore of a case) or perhaps a keyboard dock. If the dock were sturdy enough, I could see myself using the Pro during my daily commute as a mini laptop replacement.
On the iPad Pro, the Smart Connector transfers both data and power to the optional Smart Keyboard, but Apple could leverage this connection for much more on the iPhone 7 Pro. Perhaps the company will take a page from the LG G5 and Moto Z, creating some modules of its own while enabling third parties to create accessories that are easy to snap on the back. The accessories for the LG and Moto thus far range from hi-fi audio add-ons and speakers to camera grips and power backs.
Apple's advantage would be its scale; more developers would flock to the iPhone 7 Pro's Smart Connector than the G5 or Moto Z because of the company's market share. As Macworld reports, Apple could also be working on a smart dock for the iPhone Pro that would let you turn the device into a mini desktop, attaching it to a larger display and keyboard at your desk. It might also turn the iPhone 7 Pro into a mini Amazon Echo of sorts, enabling you to use "Hey Siri" from across the room.
One other possibility for the iPhone 7 Pro could be Apple Pencil support. I don't think Apple would use the same large accessory that's available for the iPad Pro; ideally, you would be able to dock the stylus directly in the phone, just like the Galaxy Note 5 and upcoming Galaxy Note 7.
Apple's iOS 10 already lets you scribble notes with your fingers, and I can easily see the Pro taking that capability to the next level with a mini Apple Pencil that lets you take notes, sign documents, make fine edits on photos, annotate documents and draw and sketch in various apps.
When you add up the 256GB of storage and all of the other possible features, the iPhone 7 Pro could be one pricey device. But it could also be the flagship Apple needs to stay one step ahead of Samsung in the camera wars and one step ahead of everyone else in the new modular phone race.