A Dual Camera for the iPhone Plus
With the Galaxy S7 overtaking the iPhone as the best phone camera, Apple likely wants to re-establish the iPhone as the top camera smartphone. If reports are right, the company is turning to a dual-camera system to pull that off - at least for some of the new phones.
Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI securities said earlier this year that the iPhone 7 Plus would feature rear cameras with two different lenses to collect more image data. KGI also speculated that the 5.5-inch phone will come with an optical zoom to add 2-3x magnification, as well as optical image stabilization.
More leaked photos posted on NowhereElse.fr claim to show the dual-camera setup on the iPhone Plus, as does a leaked photo, allegedly from a presentation by Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, from the Chinese site MyDrivers.
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KGI believes the new camera setup will integrate with LinX camera technology that Apple acquired last year, which would use the data from both cameras to create much higher-quality photos. LinX is an Israeli company that Apple bought last year, which specializes in creating high-definition images out of smaller multi-lens configurations, according to Apple Insider.
The two-camera setup is not a new idea for smartphones. The LG G5, for example, uses two cameras that allow you to shoot both regular photos and wide-angle shots with the same phone. The Huawei P9also has two cameras, in this case both backed by Leica, where one camera captures info in monochrome and the other focuses on color. The result is supposed to be an image with the pixel size equivalent of 1.76 microns, which is impressive.
The new iPhones are expected to keep the same 12-megapixel sharpness.
As for the lens on the iPhone 7, it's likely to be a single lens, but it will be much bigger than the one on the iPhone 6s. Leaked images of the iPhone 7 show a physically larger lens surrounded by a prominent bump.
A Third iPhone
The working assumption with the iPhone 7 release is that Apple will stick with its current lineup: a 4.7-inch iPhone and a 5.5-inch Plus model. But some leaked photos suggest a third iPhone called the iPhone Pro could be in the works.
Photos from NowhereElse.fr support this rumor, where an iPhone appears alongside two models labeled the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7. The iPhone Pro sports a dual-lens camera on its back and a Smart Connect like the one you'd find on an iPad Pro. An earlier image on on the Chinese social networking site Weibo also showed a Smart Connector port on the back of an alleged iPhone. (The Smart Connector could also be featured on the iPhone 7 Plus, should Apple stick to its two-phone lineup.)
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If it exists, an iPhone Pro figures to have a pro-sized price tag. PocketNow spotted pricing chatter on Weibo that suggests a base model iPhone Pro could cost around $850 once you figure in currency conversion and export fees. That's a hefty premium that will require some standout features to get people interested in buying a pro-level phone.
However, it may well be that Apple sticks with two iPhone models and that the features slated for the iPhone Pro really just wind up in the iPhone 7 Plus, as Apple looks to distinguish the Plus model from the 4.7-inch iPhone.
Home Button Leads Design Changes
Apple added pressure-sensitivity to the iPhone's display with the 3-D Touch feature iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It could pull off the same trick with the iPhone 7's home button, according to a Bloomberg report. Rather than depress, the revamped home button would be able to detect different levels of pressure and provide haptic feedback.
Being able to tell the difference between a tap and a hard press could mean new ways of interacting with your iPhone - think of what 3-D Touch's peak and press features let you do on the current iPhone models. It also lowers the risk that the home button could stop clicking if it's damaged by dust or lint.