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iPhone 7 (and iPhone 7 Plus) release date rumours, new features, patents | iPhone 7 could be buttonl

The iPhone 7 rumours are already flying, even though the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are only a couple of months old: Apple has applied for patents that give us hints about new features that could appear in the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus, from wireless charging to a touchscreen with built-in Touch ID. Here are the latest clues about Apple's next iPhone for 2016.

iPhone7

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus launched a couple of months ago and we're already thinking about next year's iPhone 7 - the tech world has a short attention span, I guess. The web is full of speculation about new iPhone(s) that Apple will launch in 2016, so in this article we're going to gather all the rumours about the iPhone 7 (and iPhone 7 Plus): its release date, design, specs and features, from wireless charging to a touchscreen display with built-in Touch ID. Not to mention any leaked photos of iPhone 7 components we get hold of, and all the cool iPhone 7 concept illustrations that designers have come up with.

We're sure to see a next-generation iPhone in 2016, but what will the new iPhone 7 look like? (Traditionally Apple alternates between internal upgrades for the 'S' update, then a physical redesign for the full-number update, so a radically redesigned chassis could be on the cards.) What new features can we expect? And when will the iPhone 7 come out? We round up the evidence to bring you everything there is to know about the iPhone 7 so far.

Bookmark this page for a regularly updated summary of all the information currently available - and all the rumours doing the rounds - related to the iPhone 7: details, clues, hints and rumours, as well as any leaked photos of the iPhone 7 that emerge. We'll update the article whenever we hear worthwhile new information (or scurrilous but interesting gossip) on the subject of the next iPhone.

4) Battery life in the iPhone 7 may be a little better than in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but Jony Ive's comments have made it plain that Apple doesn't consider a higher battery life to be worth significant sacrifices in other areas (we suspect that, if they're honest, most smartphone buyers would agree) and Apple's larger-screen iPhones have decent batteries already. 

5) Higher screen resolution is a possibility - Apple exploded the 'Retina is as sharp as your eyes can see' myth with the iPhone 6 Plus, and the company is playing catchup against many of its rivals in this department. Apple may well apply the pixel density of the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus to all the models in the next generation; it could go even higher. And a harder screen material would play well, whether Apple manages to resurrect the sapphire situation or goes with Corning's new Project Phire.

6) 16GB will surely be phased out as the lowest storage offering. It's nowhere near enough in this day and age. We hope and expect the iPhone 7 to start at 32GB, with 64GB and 128GB options.

7) The iPhone 7 could get a USB-C port, like the new 12-inch MacBook, but we think this is unlikely. The change from 30-pin to Lightning is recent enough (and was painful enough for many users) that to switch again now would be highly controversial.

8) And as for the other out-there rumours? 3D screen: no. Curved display: probably not. Flexible display: nope. Edge-to-edge screen: yes, quite possibly. Spring-out gaming joystick in the Home button: definitely not. Wireless charging: quite possibly.

iPhone 7 rumours: What is the iPhone 7?

Sorry if that sounds obvious, but it's not as simple a question as it sounds. The iPhone 7 isn't the seventh iPhone (the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were the 11th and 12th iPhones respectively, in the product's ninth generation, so that ship sailed a long time ago) but it's what we have been for convenience calling Apple's next iPhone launch.

At the moment Apple sells iPhones in three sizes: with 4-inch screens (the iPhone 5s); with a 4.7-inch screen (the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s) and with a 5.5-inch screen (the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus). We're currently working on the basis that Apple will make at least one new model in the latter two sizes, and for now we're choosing to call those theoretical devices iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. There could be another 4-inch iPhone, though - which we like to call the iPhone 7 mini but could be called almost anything at this point.