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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.

Essentially the concept is this: the Home button on the iPhone 7 would be able to 'pop up' on a little spring and turn into a sort of mini-joystick for playing games. There are plenty of iOS games that would benefit from a hardware controller (this explains the enduring popularity of Bluetooth gaming controller accessories) and this sounds like a lot of fun.

But gamers remain only one section of the iPhone's audience, and it seems like a risky idea to potentially compromise the resilience of everyone's iPhone Home button (which has famously been very prone to breakage in the past) for a feature that would benefit only some users.

A wacky idea that we're not convinced by, then - but one that is backed up by an Apple patent: application 20150015475, originally filed on 9 July 2013 but only published by the US Patent Office on 15 January 2015. So somebody at Cupertino thinks the idea is worth a thought.

iPhone 7 release date rumours: patent for 'joystick' Home button

(Bear in mind, however, that Apple often patents ideas that it doesn't actually build - to cover itself for future changes of plan, to avoid patent trolling, and perhaps even to mislead rivals about its direction.)

iPhone 7 new features: New charger

In August 2014, rumours about a new iPhone charger emerged, suggesting that the USB part of the charger could be reversible, just like the Lightning connector.

A video showing what's believed to be a new charger for a future with a reversible fully reversible USB Lightning cable emerged on the web earlier in 2014. It shows the USB being plugged in to the adapter both ways, in the same way that the Lightning connector itself is reversible.

iPhone 7 new features: iOS 10

iOS 10 is also likely to introduce new features at a software level. Among the features we're hoping to see in iOS 10: improved parental controls and group FaceTime calls.

We should get our first glimpse of iOS 10 complete with plenty of clues about future iPhones and iPads during WWDC 2016 in June, where Apple will show off what it's been working on when it comes to software. You can find out more about what to expect from iOS 10 in our iOS 10 rumour round-up.

Interestingly, Apple has revealed new features in iOS 9.3, which is already available as a public beta and should be released in its final form soon. iOS 9.3 includes new Night Mode, new 3D Touch shortcuts, new tactic feedback and more. Read more in our iOS 9.3 article.


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