Apple's new iPhone, due in September, won't be the dramatic refresh many hoped for, but it will include some much-needed upgrades. Here are some of the things we expect to see in Apple's improved smartphone.
To start, let's talk about storage. A new report suggests the iPhone 7 (or whatever Apple decides to call it) will offer a minimum of 32GB of internal storage. That's an upgrade from the previous minimum, which has been 16GB for years.
The jump from 16GB to 32GB is way, way past due. Modern smartphones often have high-megapixel cameras. They can capture HD images that need storage. Modern smartphone owners often have libraries of music and video content. The users often run apps or play games that take up hundreds of megabytes of space.
If the improved storage story sounds familiar to you, that's because we've seen it before. In late May, a supply chain analysis provided by IHS Technology said much the same thing. IHS based its information on the types of components being ordered overseas, which sometimes portends things to come.
This week's report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which adds a significant amount of weight to the notion of improved storage. Apple didn't confirm the Journal's report, but writer Joanna Stern cited "a person familiar with Apple's iPhone plans." Such reports from the Journal are generally on point.
The iPhone's chief competitors -- such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, Moto Z Droid, HTC 10, and others -- all sport 32GB of storage at minimum. Moreover, many go on to include expandable memory up to 200GB via microSD cards. So, yes, it's time Apple stopped bilking its customers quite so much.
What else is on deck for the iPhone 7?
Multiple reports say the chassis and overall appearance of the phone will be unchanged. The screen sizes and resolutions, too, will be carried over from the 2014 and 2015 iPhones.
Perhaps the biggest departure will be Apple's decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of its Lightning port. The move is supposed to help Apple make the phone thinner and improve its resistance to water damage.
I don't think anyone truly needs a thinner iPhone, but a waterproof iPhone would be nice. The Galaxy S7 from Samsung is fully waterproof. Even so, there's plenty of reason to dislike Apple's choice here.
The 3.5mm headphone jack has been an industry standard for decades. Removing it will make the iPhone 7 incompatible with thousands upon thousands of other products.
Another big change may impact the camera. At the moment, various reports suggest the camera of the smaller iPhone 7 will be a single lens, as in the iPhone 6 and 6s. The larger iPhone 7, however, may include a second sensor to improve depth-of-field, focus, and other details.
Of course, there's absolutely no word on whether or not Apple will improve the one feature everyone complains about -- battery life. Will the A10 processor deliver huge power efficiency gains? Will the battery itself be bigger? Will Apple add rapid charging, or wireless charging?
We'll have to wait until September to find out the answers to these and other questions about Apple's next iPhone.