The rumored iPhone 8/iPhone X may be getting most of the attention at the moment, but Apple is also likely to announce the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus before the end of 2017. There’s even a chance all three new phones could be joined by the Apple Watch 3.
Due to the iPhone 8’s expected high price and limited supply, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will still be big sellers; but rumors regarding the pair haven’t been plentiful. We’ve put together everything we know so far about the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus models here, and don’t forget to read our iPhone 7 review to see how Apple’s current phone stacks up against the competition.
It’s official — Apple’s next event is happening Tuesday, September 12, at 10 a.m. PT. The keynote will be the first held at the Steve Jobs Theater, on the grounds of Apple’s new facility in Cupertino, California. It’s here the company is expected to unveil the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, iPhone 8, the third-generation Apple Watch, and a 4K-capable version of its Apple TV set top box.
A previous rumor published by French site Mac4Ever said the company will have the iPhone 7S, 7S Plus, and 8 ready for sale on September 22, 10 days following the announcement. It quotes several anonymous sources with the news, including many local carriers.
Apple doesn’t typically change the design of its hardware drastically for an “S” model, but for the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, we may see a return to the glass back panel from the older iPhone 4 and iPhone 5-series hardware. Additionally, and perhaps due to the manufacturing process glass demands, a leaked schematic hints the rear camera bump will be smaller on the iPhone 7S, while the device itself will be fractions of a millimeter larger than the iPhone 7. A similar minimal size change also happened with the change from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 6S.
If the camera bump does get smaller, it may end up encased in metal, much like the camera on the new iPad Pro 10.5-inch tablet. The schematic comes from a case manufacturer, which doesn’t guarantee authenticity as much as you might think; some of those companies work off the same rumors we gather. The source supplied an iPhone 8 dummy device to the German site in the past, however, suggesting it has a reliable source itself.
Before this, Apple tipster Sonny Dickinson sent out photos of what looks like a dummy model of the 7S Plus, that shows new glass backs and no antenna bands. With glass, antenna signals can freely pass through, as opposed to aluminum, which blocks most of the signals.
Original device manufacturer and Apple partner Wistron said the iPhone 7S will have wireless charging — this would be made possible with a glass rear panel, fitting in with other rumors — and waterproofing. Wireless charging would be a new feature that has been previously linked to the iPhone X, but not so much the refreshed 7S line. The system would work similarly to conventional devices that charge wirelessly, through contact with a pad. Some older rumors said the iPhone 7S would receive an aluminum unibody like its predecessor, which would put wireless charging out of the question.
The iPhone 7 was the first device in the family that could be submerged up to a meter underwater for 30 minutes. But Apple could take it a step further with the next iPhones, ramping up the IP rating from IP67 to IP68 and putting it on par with the Samsung Galaxy S8. That rumor comes from the Korea Herald, which cites “multiple sources.” Most people will hardly notice a difference. The IP68-rating allows submersion up to about 5 feet for 30 minutes, a minor improvement over the 3.3 feet depth against which IP67-certified devices are protected.
The iPhone 7S models may feature a familiar design. According to Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri, the mid-range iPhones will serve as upgrades to the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They’ll likely sport LCD screens instead of the OLED technology rumored for the iPhone 8, Arcuri says. Nikkei Asia, citing “two industry sources,” stated Apple is planning to use advanced OLED displays in iPhone models from the second half of 2018. But it says that suppliers might not be able to meet demand if Apple opted to use the displays across its new iPhone lineup.
Every year, Apple upgrades the processor in its new iPhone. The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will likely get the new A11 chip, which DigiTimes reports will use a 10nm manufacturing process. The chip should be even faster than the A10 Fusion processor. It’s safe to assume that we’ll see 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options for the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus.
Analyst Timothy Arcuri from Cowen and Company speculates the iPhone 7S, the iPhone 7S Plus, and the mysterious iPhone X will all feature 3GB of RAM. The iPhone 7 Plus is the only iPhone model at the moment with this amount of RAM, meaning the smaller model may get a bump to match the performance level of its larger sister phone. Yet a previous report from TrendForce disagrees, saying the iPhone 7S will retain the current 2GB of RAM configuration.
The camera on the iPhone is always a standout feature, so how will it be improved on the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus? Early rumors said the next iPhones will feature dual-lens, vertically mounted cameras, likely with functionality similar to the cameras on the existing iPhone 7 Plus. Japanese blog Mac Otakara, citing an unnamed Taiwanese supplier, suggests dual cameras will be a part of the upcoming iPhone lineup.
According to a report from The Korea Economic Daily, Apple is collaborating with LG to create a dual-camera module that will take 3D photographs. This would certainly make sense, as LG is already the company behind the iPhone 7 Plus camera. While Apple previously patented 3D-object recognition and gesture recognition, it’s unclear whether the upcoming iPhone will bring these patents to life.
Rumors indicate the iPhone 7S will have a 4.7-inch screen, and the iPhone 7S Plus a 5.5-inch screen. The mystery iPhone X is different, and you can read all about the iPhone X here.
Noted KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo agrees with many of the rumors. He writes that Apple’s iPhone 7S lineup will feature iPhones with screens measuring 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches diagonally. He also suggests that Apple may experiment with either glass, ceramic, or plastic backs on the iPhone 7S.
In his latest report, Kuo suggested that the 4.7-inch iPhone 7S will serve as a mid-range or perhaps even low-end iPhone. And he said that the iPhone 7S models could account for between 30 and 35 percent of new iPhone shipments in 2017.
Update: Added news that Apple will hold its next keynote on September 12.