14 new features of iPhone 7 for business users

14 new features of iPhone 7 for business users
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iPhone 7 have a lot of roles to play in the Apple Industry.
The iPhone may have done more than any other device to break down the divide between business and personal smartphones, and the iPhone 7 is likely to bring new benefits to both personal and professional customers.
Since the launch of the first iPhone, Blackberry-wielding business people have been keen to make the switch, and while corporate IT departments were initially reluctant to accommodate them, most now encourage their employees to bring in their own phones – and Apple has worked to ensure that its products meet the needs of corporate customers too.
Reports of the next upgrade, likely to arrive in September and to be called either the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, are already leaking out, and it seems likely that a series of small but significant tweaks to the software and hardware will add up to a significant change to Apple's core business customers.


What business users can expect from the iPhone 7

Force touch
The biggest new feature believed to be in the pipeline for the iPhone 7 is the introduction of Force Touch, which is likely to have particular benefits for business users. First developed for the Apple Watch, Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive touchscreen that can distinguish between a light touch and a longer, heavier press, and react differently to each. For example, a light tap on an email will open it for reading, while heavier pressure will launch the reply screen. When this is applied across the operating system, and in productivity apps, it is likely that business users will be able to accomplish many of their regular tasks more quickly and with fewer steps. Bloomberg reports that an iPhone 7 equipped with Force Touch entered "early production" at the beginning of July.
Built-in electronic Sim
The timing of this development is less certain, but Apple is known to be working on an electronic version of the Sim card to replace the removable slivers of plastic and foil that have been standard on smartphones since their inception. An electronic Sim, which would allow people to switch easily between networks and payment plans, could have particular benefits for business users, who could set up separate accounts for professional and personal calls – and avoid costly roaming charges by switching to local network providers while overseas. According to the Financial Times, 3 Mobile, Vodafon and Orange are prepared to switch to electronic Sim cards in the UK, as is AT&T in the US. Its report suggests that although the technology will not be ready this autumn, it should be available for Apple to deploy on the iPhone 7 in little more than a year.
Better sound quality
Perhaps the most neglected of smartphone features is, ironically, the ability to make phone calls. Apple, in particular, has been accused of failing to pay sufficient attention to this essential function, with many users logging complaints about sound quality during calls. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities with a good track record of publishing pre-launch information about Apple products, the iPhone 7 will attempt to redress these complaints by adding another microphone at the bottom of the handset, near the speaker. That will improve the sound quality of Facetime and Skype sessions as well as voice calls.
iPhone 7 battery life
Battery life remains an Apple weak spot, and early reports about the iPhone 7 bring mixed news. Business users in particular tend to hammer their batteries, often while travelling and with unpredictable access to power sources. For them, the improved power efficiency that comes with the A9 chip won't go amiss, but nor will it provide the step change that many will have been hoping for. That would require an increase in battery capacity, which Apple seems unlikely to provide. In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this year, Ive all but ruled out compromising the aesthetics of the iPhone 6S or 7 in order to accommodate a bigger power pack. "When the issue of the frequent need to recharge the iPhone is raised," the FT says, "[Ive] answers that it's because it's so light and thin that we use it so much and therefore deplete the battery. With a bigger battery it would be heavier, more cumbersome, less 'compelling'." Business users might retort that it’s the pressing nature of their work rather than the beguiling slimness of the iPhone that leads them to check their emails, but it seems that their protests will not be heard.
Battery life, part two
Wired suggests one possible solution to the power vs size conundrum. This year's MacBooks included a new battery technology that packs more power-holding capacity into the same space – 35 per cent more, in fact. Add that to the 35 per cent efficiency boost supposedly provided by the new operating system and you have a battery that should make it through the working day. There's no guarantee that it will make its debut on the iPhone 7, but Wired says "it’s not a stretch that this year’s [iPhone] model could include the new battery tech".
Dynamic home button
The first iPhone transformed the way we interacted with smartphones, introducing the now-standard pinch to zoom and swipe to unlock gestures. According to Business Insider, the iPhone 7 could add more gestures to its arsenal, further increasing efficiency and multi-tasking capabilities. It examines a patent filed by Apple which "details an iOS home button capable of detecting various gestures along with the force of each touch. In other words, imagine Force Touch, albeit applied to the home button as opposed to the device's display."
Better front-facing camera
Although it is often dismisses as a selfie-cam, a phone's front-facing camera can be a useful business tool too – and clues embedded deep in Apple's new operating system suggest that it will get a big upgrade on the iPhone 7. Macworld reports that camera resolution will increase from 1280x960 to 1920x1080, which means that Skype and Facetime conversations with colleagues and clients will be sharper and smoother. The same source suggests that it will also be capable of recording slow-motion video, and come with a flash, but those new features are perhaps of less interest to business users.
iPhone 7 performance upgrade
The iPhone 7 will come with a new processor, likely to be called the A9, which will bring improved performance. TechRadar says the new chip will be "15 per cent smaller, 20 per cent more powerful and 35 per cent more power efficient than the Apple A8 processor found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus". The increased speed will, as ever, be welcome, but for many the improved power-management will be the more useful development.
Software upgrade
Apple has already released a test version of its next operating system, iOS 9, which is expected to go live when the iPhone 7 is released this autumn. It will bring with it a range of improvements likely to make the lives of power users a little bit easier, including, significant improvement to its Maps app, smarter implementation of shortcuts and a major overhaul for Notes (see below). It is also intended to improve power management and therefore battery life – another sign that Apple is attempting to solve this problem through better use of available power rather than increased batter capacity.
Improvements in Maps
Apple's first attempt at a mapping app was widely mocked, and since Google Maps was allowed back into the App Store many people have switched back to the tried and tested version. With the coming of iOS 9 and the iPhone 7, it might be worth another look at Apple's version, especially if you travel regularly for business or leisure – particularly if you're planning a trip to China. The embarrassing errors that plagued the original iPhone Maps app are long gone, and the new edition introduces highly detailed public transport directions, which will, for example, tell you which Tube station entrance will get you to your train most quickly. This feature is available in six US cities (including New York and San Francisco), as well as London, Berlin, Toronto, Mexico City and, oddly, 300 cities in China.
New Notes app
Apple's Notes app has, until now, been a pretty basic affair, and most serious business users will have opted to use Evernote or something similar to compile jottings, task lists and other crucial information. With iOS 9, Apple is hoping to woo back those business users with "a redesigned Notes app [that] provides great new ways to capture ideas" – according to Apple's head of software engineering. The warm words seem to be backed up with new functionality too: iPhone 7 users will be able to convert lists into interactive to-do lists, on which you can cross off items as you go, and you can also sketch with your finger to link up areas of text or add visual reminders. Web links and maps include graphical previews, and you will be able to add photos to notes without having to close the app and fire up the camera. Other Apple tools will also be better integrated with the app, so that you can use it as a repository for a range of media, rather than simply text memos. "Notes is now a destination in iOS 9’s Share sheets so you can compile webpages from Safari, directions from Maps, or attachments from another app right into your Notesm," says MacWorld.
Passbook becomes Wallet
Apple's Passbook app, the main use of which for frequent travellers is as a place to store electronic boarding passes, as well as other loyalty cards and tickets, will be replaced with the Wallet app within iOS 9. The existing functionality is largely unchanged, but there will be a significant addition: Wallet will also be the home of Apple Pay, the company's electronic payment system, which allows you to buy high-street goods and services by tapping your phone against a sensor at the till. Wallet will allow you to store several debit and credit cards – for example, different cards for business and personal expenses – and select which one you wish to use to complete each transaction.
iPad upgrade
iOS 9 will also been pushed to the iPad, on which it will enable some potentially significant productivity gains. As well as improvements to the mapping app, it will also enable split screen multi-tasking, allowing you to run more than one app at once and switch seamlessly between the two in a range of different ways. The most obvious multi-tasking mode is Split View, in which each app takes up half the screen, but there are two other modes too: Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture. The former enables you to pin one app to the right-hand side of the screen as a sort of toolbar, while the latter lets you hold a FaceTime conversation while keeping another app running in the background – handy for keeping track of data or other prompts while on a conference call. The new operating system will also introduce a new keypad for the iPhone, designed to make long-form text input more efficient.
New QuickType shortcuts
The iPad version of iOS 9 also introduces a range of keyboard shortcuts, which for some users could make Apple's tablet a viable alternative to a laptop. One small but useful addition is a set of shortcut buttons for copying and pasting text, but the more significant feature is the iPad's new trackpad mode. If you place two fingers on the keyboard, it will start to behave like a laptop trackpad, letting you control the cursor with your fingertips. "This allows you to move the cursor around in a way that feels natural from years of experience with a computer," says TechCrunch, "when cursor movements on the iPad used to be truly painful." You will also be able to use conventional shortcuts if you're typing on an external plug-in keyboard.

More iPhone 7 rumours

There's nothing like a new Apple product to fire up the rumour mill. Here's what tech insiders think we can expect from the iPhone 7:
Few high-profile design changes: Having come up with an all-new aesthetic for the iPhone 6, Apple is unlikely to alter the overall look and feel of the handset for the next update. Until recently, the assumption was that the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 would look all but identical to its predecessor, but the latest reports suggest that the new phone may be slightly thicker, taller and wider (see above). Most analysts still believe that there will be no dramatic redesign, with most physical changes imperceptible at first glance.
New aluminium frame: Although the design is unlikely to change substantially, it may be built from a new material. According to Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple is planning to make use of the "Series 7000" aluminium alloy it developed for the Apple Watch on its smartphones too. The metal is "designed to be 60 per cent stronger than most aluminum, and one-third the density of stainless steel, while still maintaining a light weight", MacRumors says.
Higher-resolution screen: When Apple launched the iPhone 4 in June 2010, it said the "Retina" screen provided the maximum resolution perceptible to the human eye. Nevertheless, it stepped up resolution for the iPhone 6 Plus, boosting pixels per inch from 326 to 401 for its supersized smartphone and describing the new screen as a "Retina HD Display". The 4.7-inch model retained the 326ppi screen, but reports from China quoting supply chain sources suggest that the smaller version of the iPhone 7 may get a screen that's slightly larger and significantly sharper. "The iPhone 7 could very well sport a five-inch screen with 400ppi resolution," says IT Pro. Changing the size of the screen would be an unusual step for the first upgrade following a major redesign, but it would tally with the claim that the frame of the new handset will also be slightly larger than the one it replaces.
No more plastic strips: From the front, the iPhone 6 is a handsome device, but for many the flipside is spoiled by the translucent plastic strips that interrupt the smooth aluminium frame. They're necessary because they allow radio waves to penetrate the casing and reach the antenna inside, but Apple is clearly keen to find a more elegant solution. TechRadar reports that the company has filed a patent that describes a material made from a blend of metal oxides that "looks and feels like metal, but will still allow radio frequencies to pass through". The result, it says, would be an iPhone 7 that "could retain a premium all-metal look and feel without compromising wireless strength".
Four-inch iPhone 6C or 7C: The rumour that refuses to die… Perhaps more in hope than expectation, a range of Apple-watchers have been predicting that the company will supplement its iPhone range with a high-spec four-inch-screen iPhone mini. Apple used to specialise in small-screened phones, but since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, fans of four-inchers have had to make do with the 5S which is beginning to show its age. Leaks suggest that Apple will keep building a four-inch phone, but it remains unclear whether it will be an all-new iPhone Mini or an updated version of the 5S.

Read: Wow!! iPhone 7 to be SIM-less? Specs, Features, Release Date

iPhone 7 'could kill off the Sim card'

20 July
Apple is working with other smartphone makers to render the plastic Sim card obsolete, replacing it with a built-in electronic Sim – which could mean that iPhone 7 users will be able to switch easily between mobile networks.
The iPad already makes use of a built-in Sim in British and American models, but industry analysts have previously suggested that mobile networks would resist their introduction on smartphones. The iPhone 6, like its rivals, uses a standard removable Sim.
Plastic Sim cards tie phone users to a particular network, making it harder for them to switch call providers even when they are out of contract.
Now, though, the Financial Times says that Orange, Vodafone and 3 Mobile are among the networks expected to support the electronic Sim cards. US network AT&T and Germany's Deutsche Telekom are also said to have signed up to the international agreement.
"The GSMA, the industry association which represents mobile operators worldwide, is close to announcing an agreement to produce a standardised embedded Sim for consumer devices that would include the smartphone makers," the paper reports.
It says that the first smartphones with electronic Sim cards are likely to go on sale in a little over a year – that is, in the next iPhone upgrade but one. If Apple sticks to its usual naming conventions, that would mean that this year's iPhone 6S would have a physical Sim, and the new e-Sim would be ready in time for next year's iPhone 7.
Even after the introduction of electronic Sim cards, it is likely that phone networks will impose restrictions on how easily, and how often, customers can switch networks – either with tighter contracts or technical restrictions. But a built-in Sim would shift the balance of power in favour of the phone manufacturer.
"The e-SIM would make it technically possible for customers to sign up for, switch and transfer plans from the handset itself," says the Sydney Morning Herald. "If regulators approved, this could allow device-makers like Apple to decide which providers and plans could be used on its phones.
"It remains to be seen how keen local telcos will be to support an Apple SIM in an iPhone given how much control they stand to lose, although if Apple eventually plans to do away with physical SIM cards with its 2016 iPhone 7 telcos will have little choice."

Read: iPhone 6S Plus to be made of very strong case

iPhone 7 to get bulkier, leaked design suggests

14 July
A schematic drawing purporting to show the next iPhone – likely to be called either the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 – suggests that the new handset will be thicker than the one it replaces, but will include few significant structural changes.
According to the diagram, published by Engadget Japan, Apple's new phone will be 7.1mm thick, an increase from the iPhone 6's 6.9mm frame.
"The slight 0.2mm increase in thickness could be the result of Apple adding pressure-sensing Force Touch technology to the next iPhone," MacRumors suggests.
Force Touch, which is already in use on the Apple Watch and MacBook Pro, enables a touchscreen to detect how hard it is being pressed, and to respond in one way to a soft tap and in another to harder, more sustained pressure.
For example, on the Apple Watch, a light touch on a message opens it for reading, while a harder tap brings up a reply screen.
Reports last month suggested that the standard sized iPhone 7 would be slightly longer and wider, as well as thicker, as a result of design tweaks required by Force Touch.
According to Bloomberg the new feature is crucial if Apple is to "stay ahead of rivals such as Samsung", but it is likely that the company fought hard to minimise the size increase. Apple usually likes to be able to say that any new product is lighter, slimmer and more powerful than the one it replaces.
Engadget says that the leaked designs, if accurate suggest that the next iPhone will be very similar in appearance to the model it replaces. "The Lightning connector, speakers, microphones, headphone jack, volume rocker, mute button, sleep/wake button, SIM card slot, antenna lines and cutout for the rear-facing camera and LED flash are all identical to the iPhone 6."
So too is the home button, which some had predicted might be dropped from the new device – although most analysts had always thought that the demise of the mechanical button is at least two years away (see below for full details).
Even so, the leak may lend weight to the argument that the new handset will be called the iPhone 6S rather than the iPhone 7. In recent years Apple has alternated each year between adding an S to the model number and increasing it by one. After last year's iPhone 6, it would be natural to expect an iPhone 6S to follow it – but influential analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Research has insisted that the changes will be significant enough to justify naming the new model the iPhone 7.
Other commentators have pointed out that "iPhone 6S Plus" is a clumsy-sounding name, and have suggested that Apple will wish to avoid using it.
iPhone 7 launch date
Whatever the new iPhone is called, it is expected to launch this autumn – and for some commentators that's too soon.
Although there's little doubt that fans will be queueing up to buy the new device, Douglas A McIntyre of 24/7 Wall St suggests that Apple might have little to gain from launching a new device just to meet an arbitrary annual launch schedule.
Writing for Yahoo Finance, McIntyre says: "The iPhone 7 may change very little from the iPhone 6, which raises the issue of whether the iPhone 7 will be released too soon, given the ongoing demand for the current version."
The conventional wisdom is that smartphones must be updated at least every year in order to fight off competition from new models.
"However," McIntyre asks, "what does Apple need to defend itself against? Samsung, Apple's multiyear rival, released its Galaxy S6 later than Apple did the iPhone 6. It has not sold well enough to challenge the iPhone 6's dominant position. Samsung has lost its momentum in the smartphone sector."
All the same, enthusiastic consumers are not the only people who would be disappointed if Apple failed to launch an iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S) during 2015. Financial analysts and investors have also come to expect an annual upgrade cycle for Apple's most lucrative product, and any deviation from that pattern would be seen as a signal that something was wrong – and that would have consequences for the company's share price.
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