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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.

iPhone 7 new features: Apple patents

Looking closer at Apple's patent portfolio, we can come up with some further iPhone 7 features that could well be on the cards for 2015. Face recognition could be used to unlock the device, or the entire display of the iPhone 7 could be a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, eliminating the need for a Home button and making room for a larger display.

iPhone 7 rumours: Specifications

It's time to get a bit more technical. Let's talk iPhone 7 specs.

iPhone 7 specs rumours: Camera

iPhone 6 Plus camera

A financial analyst, Chris Chang, of Nomura Securities, has predicted that the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 will get optical image stabilisation. (In the 6s generation, only the Plus model got OIS.) Read more here.

It's possible that the iPhone 7's cameras will see another bump in megapixel rating, after the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus went from 8Mp to 12Mp (rear-facing) and 1.2Mp to 5Mp (front-facing). But we tend to think that Apple prefers to change the way its iPhone cameras work rather than focusing on their specs. And if a patent published in March (but applied for back in 2011) is any indicator, Apple is pondering a bold new camera miniaturisation technology based on what it calls "a light splitter cube".

"The cube splits the incident light into first, second, and third color components that emerge from the cube through a first face, a second face, and a third face of the cube, respectively," the patent explains. "First, second, and third image sensors are provided, each being positioned to receive a respective one of the color components that emerge from the first, second, and third faces of the cube."

iPhone 7 rumours: New camera patent

iPhone 7 rumours: New camera patent

Above: a selection of the illustrations provided as part of the patent application. That's an interesting placement for the dock connector, isn't it? (Note, too, that it appears to take the form of the old 30-pin connector, since Lightning wasn't introduced until 2012.)

As Business Insider points out, this isn't a wholly new development, but rather a miniaturisation of an existing system (used in video camera, for instance) in order to make it suitable for a smartphone or similar ultraportable device. If this does make an appearance in the iPhone 7, it could lead to improved colour and light capture and reduced blur when the camera moves.


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