Two weeks from now, you’ll know what Apple has in mind for its next iPhone. If current media reports hold true, you’ll be able to plan for the slightly thinner case, the improved processor power and the fact that some important business accessories may not work with it.
Of course, we don’t know what the changes are for sure. In fact, we don’t even know whether the new iPhone will be called the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 6SE, but we can make some educated guesses. The name is one of them.
Rumors on the internet are rife with speculation that what we’ve always assumed would be the iPhone 7 will actually be called the iPhone 6SE. The reasoning for that seems to be two-fold. First, the changes from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are relatively minor and thus probably don’t represent a new generation of Apple smartphone.
Another reason is that 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple may want to introduce the new generation model next year.
In addition, there are some photos making the rounds on the Web that seem to show iPhone packages sporting the iPhone 6SE label. But there are a number of questions about the authenticity of the supposed labels, not the least of which are that the photos appear to some observers to be faked. But are they faked or are the product of lousy photography?
Rumors about the absence of a headphone jack are a lot more solid. Leaked photos seem to show two speakers on the bottom of the phone rather than a single speaker and a headphone jack.
Case and accessory makers are reporting that there’s no provision for a headphone jack. There have been consistent reports that the standard 3.5mm headphone jack was preventing the iPhone from being as thin as Apple wants it to be.
In addition, there have been persistent statements from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak protesting the removal of the headphone jack. The general consensus seems to be that by making the change to an analog device in the iPhone, you’re degrading the quality of the music, but in reality that’s a bogus conclusion.
After all, your ears are analog devices, so the change to analog has to take place somewhere and the iPhone’s audio processing is better than most places.
But getting rid of the headphone jack also has serious consequences for companies that use that jack as the port they use for their mobile credit card readers.
New iPhone Sans Headphone Jack Poses Problem for Mobile Payments
If you’ve been at an outdoor market, or ridden in a taxi recently, you may have paid with a credit card that was processed using a small device attached to an iPhone.
That device reads the magnetic stripe on your credit card, converts the data into audio tones that can be passed through the jack, and on to the app that accepts the data and converts it into a transaction.
The company most commonly associated with those card readers is Square, but similar readers are available from other companies including PayPal. These card readers are in very wide use and so far, I haven’t found a similar device that will work through the iPhone’s Lightening port. A change to eliminate the headphone jack will mean that those businesses cannot use the new iPhone.
Of course, those card readers are for magnetic stripes. Other mobile card readers are available for credit cards using EMV chips, and those don’t use the headphone jack, but that would then mean that millions of business users would have to buy new readers if they wanted to use the new iPhones.
Otherwise, the new iPhone will be an improvement over the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. One major difference will be better cameras for both versions with the Plus version apparently getting a dual-lens camera system. What the dual lenses accomplish isn’t clear. But it’s possible that it will be an advantage where highly accurate photography is important.
There’s also a new processor, Apple’s A10, which promises to be really fast, compared to the A9 in the iPhone 6S.
The most noticeable different for the new iPhone is that it will be even thinner than the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It’s also supposed to have glass that’s harder to break, and it might even have some water resistance—something that eliminating the headphone jack would help.
But I still think the new device will be called the iPhone 7. Apple has a long established pattern in regards to its naming in which the full number alternates with the S. So that means it’s time for the full number upgrade.
Perhaps more important, I’ve looked at all of the leaked photos of the new iPhone, and none of them have the letters “SE” on the back in the place where the current model has the “S.” All it says back there is “iPhone” which is what the rear of iPhones with the full number change also say.
But of course, we’ll know for sure on Sept. 7. But I’m betting on the iPhone 7.