The next version of the iPhone1 is almost certainly in the pipeline. And after last year’s iPhone 6s2 upgrade, it’s likely the technology giant will reveal a brand new design for this year’s iPhone 7. Even though the hot new gadget is unlikely to be announced before the autumn, plenty of rumours are already circulating online. These include predictions and comments from analysts and even several leaked pictures that allegedly show early prototypes of the phone itself.
But whatever Apple is building will have to work hard to keep pace with brand new phones from the likes of Samsung3 and LG. We’ve gathered together all the latest news surrounding the phone into one place and will continue to update this as we learn more.
Dropping the headphone socket
Fans have been infuriated by new which claim to show a drastic change in one of the key features of the iPhone. Pictures were obtained by the Taiwanese site Apple Club , which previously published the first schematics showing the protuding iPhone 6 camera lens, before being republished by 9to5Mac.1819
They appear to confirm rumours that Apple is set to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone 7.
If true, this will probably mean anyone who buys the next version of Apple’s iPhone will have to use wireless headphones or fork out for a pricey converter.
In January, the usual shadowy “supply chain sources” told a Chinese website20 that the 3.5 inch headphone jack will not be included on Apple’s next mobile. Recently, these rumours have been fuelled by images of a case for the new phone21 that apparently show no hole for the headphone wires. The pictures, spotted by Nowhereelse.fr22 after they were published on Twitter, seem to support the rumour that Apple will ditch the headphone socket. There’s no hole in the case for where a headphone socket should be – instead there are just spaces for the charging port and speakers.
Of course, there’s no way of confirming the legitimacy of the case – but it serves as an interesting indicator for a potentially big design change. Tech experts reckon that by removing the headphone socket, Apple engineers will be able to shave 1mm off the thickness of the phone.
The iPhone 7 will likely come in different colours – including a gold version
Because the new iPhone will likely arrive with Apple’s yet-to-be-confirmed iOS 10 software and an upgraded processor, it will offer even more power and better efficiency. Likely to be boasting a processor called the A10 chip, the iPhone 7 will surely boast more power – although it’s anyone’s guess as to how much this will translate into actual usage.
Apple will pack the very latest technology into its new flagship handset
At the moment, we don’t know what kind of battery the iPhone 7 will use – but at least there’s now a Low Power Mode built into iOS 9 to help it last even longer. We expect this will continue into an updated version of iOS. According to Korean site ETNews23, Apple is currently in discussion with arch-rival Samsung over supplying OLED screens for its next phone.
This would shift the display over from the current LED model to a much more vibrant OLED screen. Such a move would likely make for better colour reproduction for videos and games, but might hamper battery life. Elsewhere, a leak Italian website from HDblog24 suggests that Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which is expected to launch alongside the iPhone 7 this September, will feature a whopping 256GB of storage. That’s double the storage of an entry-level Macbook Air, and would make the iPhone 7 Plus Apple’s most high-capacity smartphone yet. The site shows pictures of a 256GB SanDisk NAND flash memory chip that “could be appropriate for the next generation smartphone”, according to MacRumours25.
SanDisk’s 256GB NAND flash chip (top) and older 64GB chip (bottom)
Apple has used SanDisk flash memory chips in a number of previous iPhone models – including the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus – so it wouldn’t be surprising if the two companies decided to link up again for the iPhone 7. However, one change could be a huge boon for Apple fans.
A photo claiming to be of the iPhone 7 Plus has surfaced on Chinese website Bastille Post26, adding fuel to rumours that the smartphone will feature a dual-lens camera. The picture shows a protruding, pill-shaped enclosure – which differs from the two separate circular camera openings depicted in some other online renderings. Meanwhile, a video claiming to show the flagship iPhone 7’s transparent case has been uploaded to YouTube27 by Unbox Therapy, showing a large cut out for the rear camera.
The advantage of a dual camera is that it could allow iPhone users to snap SLR quality photos and 3D images on a smartphone. Last year, Apple bought an Israeli smart camera company called LinX Computational Imaging, which builds smartphone and tablet cameras with sensors that provide depths of field. The technology also allows for high quality images to be captured in low-light conditions.
Constructed using liquidmetal, the iPhone 7 could be completely waterproof
The misery of dropping your iPhone28 down the toilet could soon be over as the latest rumours suggest Apple’s next iPhone could be completely waterproof. According to a report in the China-based Commercial Times 29, Apple is working on a new “compound material” that repels water for use in its forthcoming smartphone, which it is thought will be called the iPhone 7.
This new material will also reportedly remove the need for the two strips of plastic that run across the back of the current generation of iPhones to allow mobile signals to reach the antennas. This suggests that the body of the next iPhone may not be made from metal at all, but some other kind of material that allows radio waves to pass through it. Industrial designer Herman Haidin30 has taken a stab at predicting the next version of Apple’s handset31 and reckons the American tech giant could use a material known as ‘liquidmetal’. Apple acquired a patent for liquidmetal back in 2010 and uses it to make the small SIM ejector tool that comes in each iPhone box.
The material itself is a type of alloy that’s tougher and more water-resistant than typical aluminium. In the concept, Haidin envisions the iPhone 7 as a mere 3mm thick with a body formed of glass and liquidmetal. There has also been some suggestion that the iPhone 7 could include a cutting-edge technology known as LiFi32, that is capable of transmitting information at 100 times the speed of WiFi. However, this is unlikely, given that LiFi is still in the early stages of development, and researchers don’t expect it to be ready for commercial use before the end of the decade.
It’s unlikely that Apple’s main iPhone 7 will be any easier on the wallet than past variants.
If true, we could expect other models with larger storage – 64GB and 128GB most likely – to stick with the 619 and 699 prices.
Life hacks for your iPhone
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It is available on most Android devices, and Google Play comes pre-installed on devices that support it.
Google Play is available on most Android devices. Google Play is the primary application store for the Android operating system. It is available on most Android devices, and Google Play comes pre-installed on devices that support it. An exhaustive list1 of supported devices is available on Google’s website, but it includes most major Android smartphones.
Many tablets also work with the Google Play store when they use Android as the operating system, such as Samsung’s Galaxy tab. This means that the majority of devices overall support Google Play; Android has an 80.7 percent market share in operating systems, according to Gartner’s latest figures examining the market and the closest contender as an operating system is iOS. Devices that won’t work with the Google Play store include Apple and Windows devices, and BlackBerry devices apart from the Priv. Unlike with iOS, here are several other major app stores for Android including the Amazon app store and Slide ME and F-Droid.
Google announced recently that it was expanding access to the Google Play store to its Chrome devices, so that applications designed for Android can now appear on these cheaper laptops. Google Play was first launched by Google in 2012, and between Q1 2012 and Q1 2016 downloads rose by 3.8 times, according to figures by App Annie. In the same period, global revenue for Google Play increased by 35.7 times. The recent App Annie report on Google Play found that games were the most popular apps in terms of downloads from the store. They account for 40 percent of all-time downloads and 90 percent of all-time revenue. The most popular games by number of downloads are Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga, Pou, Temple Run 2 and Hill Climb Racing.
Apart from games, communications and social apps are highly downloaded.
The top 5 apps by all-time downloads are Facebook, Whatsapp Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Clean Master.
Meanwhile, the top 5 apps by all-time revenue are LINE, LINE PLAY, Line Manga, Pandora Radio and KakaoTalk.
BROOKLYN, New York I m sitting on the floor at The Academy of Talented Scholars (PS 682) in Bensonhurst, watching kindergarteners create robots on an iPad. It s one of the cutest things I ve ever seen, and I don t even like children. The exercise is part of the curriculum led by co-teachers Stacy Butsikares and Allison Bookbinder, focused on helping the 5- and 6-year-old students come up with ways to solve problems. The first step is to identify a problem happening in the school. The kindergarteners come up with ideas like kids horsing around in the lunch line, or not throwing trash away properly, or making too much noise at recess. Students are instructed to create a robot that could solve the problem, and draw the robot on a piece of paper.
Once the robot is sketched out, the real fun begins. Using the app The Robot Factory1, these pint-sized problem-solvers bring their robot ideas to life. Kids aren t throwing trash away? That s OK, a robot with long, winding arms can pick up the trash with its claw and store it in its stomach. Kids are too loud at recess? A robot with a booming voice can say Be quiet as it hovers around the students. The kids can design their robots to their hearts’ content adding wings, propellers and jetpacks to make them fly, and adding features like a camera (to take photos of interlopers) or voice recordings to make them more fun.
Image: christina warren/mashable
It s clear the kids are having fun and they’re learning, too.
The Robot Factory was named Apple s 2015 iPad App of the Year. It s from the team at Tinybop2, a software development shop based in Brooklyn. Founded in 2013, Tinybop has 11 apps, all aimed at the education market. Founder and CEO Raul Gutierrez thinks a lot about how kids play and their play patterns. Tinybop s office in Downtown Brooklyn is replete with classic education posters. It even has a library full of old books from the 60s and 70s.
A kindergarten student at The Academy of Talented Scholars in Bensonhurst designs a robot on an iPad. Image: christina warren/mashable
You get the sense that Gutierrez is trying to re-create some of that educational magic from an earlier, pre-connected time, on the iPad.
Although Tinybop s apps with titles like The Human Body (which explores the human body), Plants (a focus on nature) and Simple Machines (physics) are aimed at education, they aren t teaching a specific curriculum. Instead, Gutierrez is hoping to create a model that gets kids to create and answer questions.
Which is why The Robot Factory is being used in a kindergarten classroom. Rather than simply using the iPad to do rote memorization of numbers and letters, the kids use the tool to solve a problem. Moreover, the iPad isn t even the sole focus of the lesson. Before the students could even create their robot, they had to identify and write out the problem and then sketch the solution. Unlike a lot of apps aimed at kids, Tinybop s apps are designed for quiet. Gutierrez says that a lot of children s media gamifies the experience with Pavlovian bells and whistles, but he thinks this distracts from the play and learning potential. Instead, in apps like The Robot Factory, sounds are limited to effects like the whirring of propellers or added voice input.
Tinybop s apps are also developed in a way that encourages exploration, without hand-holding to let kids know what happens. This was evident watching the kindergarten students play with the app. Faces exploded with glee when they realized they could add a new attachment or make a robot move in a certain way that wasn t expected.
It s okay to slightly disorient kids, Gutierrez said. Tinybop s business model is interesting because all of its apps are paid. When I spoke to Gutierrez last month3, he explained that it was important to make content worth paying for. Apps sell for ?3.99 or are available in collections. But Tinybop sees a tremendous amount of sales to educators who (like the teachers at PS 682) use the apps in the classroom.
Teaching the next generation of coders
The iPad is used for older students as well. At the Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope, every student in grades 3 through 12 gets an iPad that is integrated into their curriculum. In the Digital Essentials class, fifth and sixth grade students learn the fundamentals of programming using Hopscotch4, a visual programming language that lets kids build apps entirely on the iPhone and iPad. Watching 11-year-olds build their own versions of Subway Surfers using the iPad and Hopscotch was a riveting experience. The students were building real, functional games and doing it on the iPad.
Middle school students at The Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope code their own games using the programming language Hopscotch. Image: christina warren/mashable
Hopscotch was launched in 2013 by Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John. It was founded, in part, to help get young girls interested in programming. Leavitt is a former teacher who had an interest in technology; John was one of the only female engineers at her company.
In talking to a lot of our friends who are a lot of good hackers who all look demographically really similar, we found the same story coming up over and over again,” Leavitt said. “They got interested in programming at 11 or 12 because they played video games and wanted to learn to make their own.”
The original goal was to build a tool that young girls would want. Understanding that there are essential building blocks and ideas that are key to all programming languages, the idea for Hopscotch was to be a visual coding language that would allow kids to code apps directly on the iPad. Similar to MIT Media Labs Scratch5, the idea behind Hopscotch is that kids can build programs using a visual interface, dragging and dropping blocks rather than having to type out commands.
The problem with typing code is it’s really prone to error, Leavitt said. What we re trying to do is figure out a better interface for programming.
It turned out that the iPad was the perfect device for Hopscotch because it s tailor-made for the visual, touch-centric nature of a drag-and-drop programming interface. And tablets along with smartphones are the computers kids interact with the most. Leavitt says that for their product, the iPad is actually better than a traditional computer. Not only is it the computer kids use the most, these devices aren t intimidating in the same way programming on a regular computer could be.
Leavitt says that although schools weren t the specific target for Hopscotch, it was clear early on that the classroom was a perfect fit for the product. The Hopscotch team offers up free curriculum to schools and teachers to help them get the most out of the platform. This is in part because most computer science teachers at schools across the United States are not trained with programming. Because of this, Leavitt a former teacher felt it was even more important to help offer lessons and curriculum so that instructors could be up to speed too.
On its YouTube channel, Hopscotch posts tutorials for various projects. Check out this video that shows how to re-create Flappy Bird6 in Hopscotch. This is the case at Berkeley Carroll, where the class I audited was taught by a teacher who doesn t have a background in programming but has gone on to successfully teach the Digital Essentials. Still, that didn t prevent the teacher from actively helping students and teaching the curriculum.
The open-ended nature of Hopscotch there isn t just one way to solve a problem also allows kids (and teachers) with different interests to express themselves through code. Liza Conrad, who heads up community and partnerships at Hopscotch, says that more since Hopscotch launched in 2013, more than 6 million projects have been published to the platform using only the iPad. So what happens after kids master Hopscotch? Do they continue coding? Conrad says that the team receives fan mail all the time (something she calls really gratifying ) from kids who have parlayed their experience with Hopscotch into learning other languages too. Conrad even said that one of their most prolific users who started using Hopscotch at age 12, has now parlayed those skills into a high school programming internship.
For more than just consumption
Educational apps like The Robot Factory and programming languages like Hopscotch go a long way towards dispelling the myth that the iPad is just for consumption. Although that meme has dissipated quite a bit since the device s release in 2010, there is still often an idea the device is best-suited for consuming, not creating. And that s just not true. Watching kindergarten and middle school students alike use the iPad, it was clear that to these kids this is their primary computer. Which isn t to say there isn t competition. Google is pushing Chromebooks7 hard especially in education.
With iPad sales continuing to stagnate, focusing on education makes a lot of sense. After all, it s clear the kids love using them in the classroom.