The iPhone 7 isn't expected until September 2016, but that hasn't stopped the rumour mills from putting in the overtime.
No headphone jack
Let us get the big one out of the way. Apple is said to be getting rid of the ubiquitous 3.5mm headphone jack for the iPhone 7. This means a number of things. Firstly, those who use wireless Bluetooth headphones will not mourn this loss, because they will carry on listening to music as before.
Next, for those who use wired headphones (that's the majority of us), it is likely Apple will send audio out through the Lightning port and sell an adapter to plug your regular headphones into it. This may well mean no charging and listening to music at the same time, although point two below could put an end to this concern.
In short, this isn't as big of a deal as it first seems. You can either buy wireless headphones, buy an adaptor, or use the new wireless earphones Apple will likely sell with the iPhone 7.
As for that problem with charging and listening to music through the Lightning port at the same time, consider this – the iPhone 7 could have wireless charging. Not a new technology by any means, this will at least be new to the iPhone range. It will also mean headphones can be plugged into the Lightning port while the handset is charged. Expect to see a huge range of third-party accessories, household items and furniture with 'Made for iPhone' charging plates at the tail-end of 2016.
Thinner and lighter design
Apple's 'tick-tock' update cycle means when the iPhone's number charges we see a physical change, and during the S cycle it's the internals that get a refresh. This means the iPhone 7 is very likely to look different to the iPhone 6 and 6S.
Apple loves making its products thinner and lighter with each update, so you should expect the iPhone 7 to be the thinnest and lightest yet, measuring less than 6.9mm thick and weighing under 129g. This might stop Apple giving its customers the battery life they crave, but if the last few generations of iPhone are to go by, the company puts design and slimness above extending battery life all day.
A smaller sibling
A rumour circling towards the end of 2015 was that Apple is working on a successor to the iPhone 5c and that it could become a stablemate for the iPhone 7. The handset would be smaller, with a 4in screen – the same as the iPhone 5 – and a design similar to the iPhone 6 or 7, but with a lower price. The iPhone 5c was a good handset, but drew criticism for not being much cheaper than the iPhone 5 and for having a body made of plastic instead of aluminium or glass. Will Apple give its next pint-sized phone a more premium feel, or will it truly aim a handset at the mid-range? We should find out later in 2016.
This must surely be the year that Apple gets rid of the 16GB storage option on the iPhone? We have been saying this for two years now, and each time the 16GB model fails to die we grow increasingly impatient with Apple. We hope the iPhone 7 will start at 32GB and include 64GB and 128GB options. Perhaps 16GB can be kept for the rumoured smaller iPhone 7, providing it has a lower price.
Although Apple has never listed it as a feature, the iPhone 6s has proved to be remarkably water-resistant. Where previous models would die within seconds of being dropped into water/your pint/the toilet, the latest phone has survived in some cases for over an hour.
The iPhone 7 Apple could be ready to make waterproofing an official feature – after all, if the iPhone 6s is anything to go by, then the company has already cracked it.
When will the iPhone 7 arrive?
Not for quite a while. If the schedule of recent years is anything to go by, then Apple will reveal the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at a press event in California in September 2016. The phones will then go on sale a couple of weeks later, in late September or early October.