Now that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has gone on to break Apple's own records, the dust has finally settled and the smartphone industry has moved on to speculating about the next big thing to come out Cupertino's doors — the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The two smartphones are not expected to arrive soon, but the rumor mill nonetheless churns to provide a good idea of what the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may have in store next year.

All of these, of course, are mere speculation, and some of them may be more likely to materialize than others. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, but don't let your doubts get the best of you.

Features

Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are expected to run on the upcoming A10 chip, believed to be the most powerful chip to run on Apple's devices. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, famed for his eerily accurate predictions about Apple, believes the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 will have 2 GB of RAM, while the bigger iPhone 7 Plus will get a bump up to 3 GB.

The A10 chip will unsurprisingly be more powerful than its predecessor, the A9X chip running on the iPad Pro. Word has it that the next Apple SoC will have six cores and will be manufactured solely by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) using its 16nm FinFET technology. Sources claim the A10 will be a system-in-package chip, where the RAM, storage and other components are put together into a single chipset to free up space for the phone's internals.

The new iPhones are also rumored to have sapphire OLED displays, a big change from the strengthened glass LCD displays in the current flagships. The rumor isn't without merit, since Apple already tried (and failed) to use sapphire displays for the previous iPhones. The Apple Watch also already uses OLED displays, so an OLED display iPhone isn't a far stretch.

It is also possible that the iPhone 7 could ditch the home button, an iconic design element that dates back to the very first iPhone. The rumor stems from an Apple patent for an application that incorporates Touch ID straight into the display. If Apple applies this patent, then there wouldn't be any use for a home button. However, other reports claim Apple has already put up an order for LCD components, citing delays in Apple's in-house touch and display driver integration as the cause. If this is true, the home button-less iPhone may not be the iPhone 7 after all.

The iPhone 7 is also expected to be waterproof. The iPhone 6s is already water-resistant, a feature that Apple did not advertise, but a couple of patents show how Apple plans to make its smartphones waterproof. One patent reveals speakers that can expel liquid from inside the iPhone using sound. A newer patent shows electronic shutting ports to keep liquid outside.

Lastly, we can expect Apple to keep on with its obsession for thinner, slimmer iPhones, as another patent for a new kind of headphone jack shows Apple wants to get rid of the 3.5mm standard jack in favor of a D-jack, one that uses a Lightning port. If this is true, the iPhone 7 is going to be a much sleeker phone, but its users will have to compromise by buying new accessories to listen to music, unless Apple decides to ship the phones with its own headphones.

Release Date

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are not expected until the second half of 2016, which is in line with Apple's usual release date of September. However, earlier reports claim Apple could out its new iPhones as early as summer of next year, though we have yet to see evidence backing that claim. Also, earlier during the year, Apple is expected to unveil a third iPhone, believed by some to be the iPhone 6c and others the iPhone 7 Mini. The device is said to have a 4-inch display and smaller form factor and will cater to people who have not caught on with the "bigger is better" trend.

Price

Not much is known about the price of the iPhone 7, but we can definitely say it's not going to be cheap. Apple is known for charging premium prices for its smartphones. The iPhone 6s, for instance, is available for $649 at the lowest configuration, and the higher-end variants won't go any cheaper than that. Expect the iPhone 7 to run up at least the same price as the iPhone 6s at launch, if not more.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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