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iPhone 7 release date rumours & new features

David Price | June 23, 2016
Apple to ditch usual upgrade cycle, save features for iPhone 8 | iPhone 7 headphone jack 'safe for now' according to reports.

For those who are interested in materials sciences, here's what Apple's application has to say about the self-healing elastomer:

"[0039] Self-healing elastomer 315 may be a polymer with elastic properties such as a low Young's modulus and a high failure strain. In further embodiments, self-healing elastomer 315 may comprise a silicone material, also known as a polymerized siloxane. In some embodiments, the polymerized siloxane may be mixed inorganic-organic polymers with the chemical formula [R2SiO]n, where R is an organic group such as methyl, ethyl, or phenyl. In these embodiments the silicone material may comprise an inorganic silicon-oxygen backbone with organic side groups attached to the silicon atoms. In further embodiments self-healing elastomer 315 may include one or more materials that change its color. In some embodiments self-healing elastomer 315 may approximately match a color of housing 150. Other formulations may be used without departing from the invention."

iPhone 7 new features: Wireless charging

It's a perennial rumour for upcoming Apple devices, but wireless charging could be a reality this time around: it didn't arrive with the iPhone 6s as some had predicted, but was introduced to the Apple Watch as inductive charging.

As iMore's Rene Ritchie points out, inductive charging hasn't been practical for the iPhone in previous years because the technology available at the time didn't work through an aluminium backplate (the Apple Watch, which does offer wireless charging, has a ceramic back). But this could all be about to change in the near(ish) future. In July Qualcomm announced a wireless charging breakthrough that does work through metal. This came too late for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but the technology may appear in a subsequent generation of Apple smartphone.

It has to be said that, whatever the reasoning behind it, Apple is behind a lot its rivals in this respect. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both offer wireless charging, as does the Google Nexus 6 and the Motoroloa Droid Turbo, but the tech has been available in a handful of phones since around 2010. (Electric toothbrushes have had it since the 1990s.)

Indeed, there have been inductive charging cases available for the iPhone for some time, and nearly two years ago we were talking about the technology appearing in what we were then referring to as the iPad 5: iPad 5 patent: inductive Smart Cover contains battery.

Wireless charging sounds amazing, but we should stress that at the moment inductive charging has a very short range; so you wouldn't be able to just sit at your desk and have your iPhone (in your pocket) charge from the plug several feet away. Rather, you'd place the device on a wired mat. Convenient, but not quite as space-age as it might have sounded when we talked about 'wireless charging'.


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