Before you assume that losing the Home Button and its fingerprint scanner would be unlikely in this era of Apple Pay, Apple has a patent that indicates it's been looking at onscreen fingerprint scanners. Alternatively, there's no reason why the fingerprint reader couldn't be moved to the side of the case or sited by the earpiece, on the opposite side to the front-mounted camera.
Building the iPhone 7 around an AMOLED screen - as used in the Apple Watch - would also make sense on several fronts, as it's less power-hungry than the LCD technology Apple currently uses, can display more colours and is more responsive, but it seems unlikely that Apple will roll it into the iPhone any time soon. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, believes the company will persevere with LCD for several years, and with Apple suppliers building new LCD factories in China to satisfy future demand, it looks like he could well be right.
Some of the other new features you can expect: wireless charging, haptic feedback for the on-screen keyboard, waterproof, better battery life, improved camera, A10 processor and 3GB of RAM in the 5.5in version. Other rumours point to a thinner design, a 3D camera, and the elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack, with the iPhone 7 shipping with wireless headphones. Lightning headphones will be another option.
There are two potential benefits to losing the headphone jack: the iPhone could be slightly thinner (apparently 1mm) and if the headphones were to use the Lightning port that could allow for high-res audio.
We also hope 2016 is the year Apple stops selling the inadequate 16GB version of the iPhone.
Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: iPad Air 3
There was no new iPad Air in 2015 so some Apple fans are expecting an update to that model soon; but we suspect that the 9.7in iPad Pro (yep, Apple has ported the Pro branding to the medium-sized iPads - confusing, right?) has now displaced the Air line. We're not convinced that Apple will release another Air-branded product at all, in fact, with the MacBook Air's tiny update this spring giving the impression that Apple has shifted its focus to the 12-inch MacBook instead.
There are a few updates an iPad Air 3 could benefit from: we expect the iPad Air 3 will have a faster processor, better camera, and 3D Touch (although KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn't think 3D Touch will make an appearance, apparently due to production issues). But our bet would be on the Air 2 being the last of its family line.
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