iPhone 6s vs iPhone 7: A Speculative Look Towards The Future

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 7: A Speculative Look Towards The Future
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We gaze into our crystal ball to see how the 2015 and 2016 iPhones will differ, as we look at the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7. Knowyourmobile

No you didn’t jump a year into the future–and we haven’t lost the plot. But you did read that headline right. In this article we’re going to look at what the next generation iPhone 6s will look like versus next year’s iPhone 7. The image above is an awesome mockup by Computerbild.de of what the iPhone 7 could look like.

Why? Just for kicks, mainly. But also because of two other factors. First, though the official specs for the iPhone 6s won’t be released until next month, rumors have been steady, so we have a pretty good idea of what it will be like. Second, the way Apple’s iPhone product cycles work, it’s relatively easy to predict what a major new iPhone design will feature. You see, Apple historically has released iPhone upgrades on a “tick-tock” basis. Every tick is a major new form-factor upgrade and every tock retains the old form factor but usually introduces a new feature.

This year’s iPhone -- the iPhone 6s -- saw a raft of major improvements in several key areas, though most notably imaging and processing power. Beyond this we saw more RAM included, 2GB to be specific, as well as slightly thicker chassis overall, owing to the inclusion of Force Touch technology in the display panel. So while it might look A LOT like last year’s model it will function quite a bit differently.
Sales have been INSANE, though:

Apple announced it sold more than 13 million new iPhone® 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, a new record, just three days after launch. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in more than 40 additional countries beginning October 9 including Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Taiwan. The new iPhones will be available in over 130 countries by the end of the year.
“Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9.”
Nevertheless: the iPhone 6s is a "Toc" release, which means it is incremental or more a refinement of what came before. Examples of “tick” releases are the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus). These iPhones all featured radical form-factor redesigns over the previous iPhone. The iPhone 4 had the first Retina display and glass and aluminum body. The iPhone 5 had the 4-inch screen. The iPhone 6 had the 4.7-inch screen and so on. Examples of “tock” releases are the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5s. In each case each of these phones retained the same form-factor of its predecessor but added new usability features. The iPhone 4s added Siri; the iPhone 5s added the Touch ID and M7 motion coprocessor. The iPhone 6s major new feature will be the Force Touch display.
So without further ado, let's gaze into our crystal ball to see how the iPhone 7 will compare to this year's iPhone 6s, starting with the specs:

Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Major Specs

Rumored iPhone 6s
  • Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Force Touch, max res of 1920x1080
  • Design: Exactly the same as the iPhone 6
  • Storage: 16, 64, and 128GB
  • CPU and RAM: A9 processor, 2GB RAM
  • Front Camera: 5MP
  • Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording
Likely iPhone 7
  • Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Force Touch, but likely with a QHD display of 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • Design: Completely new design. Thinner body and bezel.
  • Storage: 32, 64, and 128GB
  • CPU and RAM: A10 processor, 3GB RAM
  • Front Camera: 5MP with wide angle lens
  • Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording, optical image stabilization.
The important thing to remember with iPhone upgrades is that the tock “S” cycle upgrade primarily see internal enhancements and the tick prime upgrades see body design changes. That’s why the iPhone 6s focusses on internal changes like new chipsets, more RAM and new features like 3D Touch. That means that the iPhone 7 will almost certainly have an A10 chipset, potentially made by Intel, and 3GB of RAM. Traditionally Apple has kept the amount of RAM the same for more than one year, but by the time the iPhone 7 ships in autumn 2016, most Android phones will have 4GB RAM minimum. Apple will need to keep up, if not match it.
As for storage options, with the iPhone 7 we finally expect Apple to drop the 16GB entry level option for a 32GB entry level model.

Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Design

The iPhone 6s looks exactly like the iPhone 6. That means the iPhone 7 will feature a radically different design. What to expect? A thinner body is guaranteed. But also expect thinner bezels and maybe–maybe–an edge-to-edge screen. There’s also strong hints that Apple is working on doing away with the physical home button and embedding a virtual home button and Touch ID in the screen itself, but that might not come until the iPhone 8.

Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Display

The iPhone 6s features Force Touch display, as well as 3D Touch. The Apple Watch has this and you can bet your ass the iPhone 7 will too. But we also expect the iPhone 7 to get a higher resolution display, specifically a QHD one with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, as many Android handsets have. By autumn of 2016 anything less that 2560 x 1440 will be the equivalent of what standard definition is today.

Rumored iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Camera

The iPhone 6s got a HUGE camera upgrade with its 12MP rear camera (up from the 8MP camera in the iPhone 6) and a new 5MP sensor on the front for FaceTime. But going to the iPhone 7 we expect the camera upgrade to be less pronounced. Apple will probably keep to a 12MP rear camera but add optical image stabilization across the line (right now only the “Plus” models feature it). The iPhone 6s also got 4k video support, so you can expect Apple to expand further on this on next year's iPhone.
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