Updated: iPhone 7 Plus release date, news and rumors

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Update: The iPhone 7 Plus is arriving today, as Apple has invited the press to a big reveal on September 7. And it should be worth tuning in for, with recent rumors of a True Tone screen, an optical camera zoom, a bigger battery, a waterproof body and loads of power.

We’re now just hours away from the launch of the various iPhone 7 models and rumors have been flying in at a breakneck pace.

But the exact iPhone 7 Plus features remain uncertain, with multiple rumors saying that we’re in for a new camera, more RAM and maybe a Smart Connector, but likely no 3.5mm headphone jack.

The new 5.5-inch iPhone for 2016 could take more cues from the iPad Pro than its possible Smart Connector port. There’s an off-chance it could assume the more advanced-sounding name with an iPhone 7 Pro moniker, or even that there could be a third phone with that name. In fact, it seems the iPhone 7 Pro may have been delayed, but the iPhone 7 Plus could get its features.

Whatever the iPhone 7 Plus ends up being called, there’s reason to believe it’ll include enough power and design tweaks to get you to upgrade from the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s next phablet
  • When is it out? September 7 launch event – that’s today!
  • What will it cost? Expect it to be just as much as an iPhone 6S Plus, meaning $749 / £649 / AU$1229

iPhone 7 Plus release date

It’s today! September 7 is the not-so-randomly set launch date for iPhone 7S Plus, according to Apple’s press conference invite that clearly reads: “See you on the 7th.” All of the rumors were true after all.

The real iPhone 7S release date is estimated to be September 16, with all pre-orders happening on September 9. Both are Fridays.

The iPhone 7 Plus launch is timed perfectly with the iOS 10 release date, currently set for autumn. In our view, that’ll happen right between the pre-order date and release date, on or around September 14.

TechRadar’s take: There you have it. The iPhone 7 launch, pre-order and release dates are pretty much confirmed. We’re just waiting for Tim Cook to hold up the phone today to kick things off.

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iPhone 7 Plus cost

Hottest leaks:

  • Similar prices to iPhone 6S Plus
  • Double the storage for your money

Both Weibo and WeChat have revealed rumored pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus and the two sources agree on what it will cost, but unfortunately they list it in Chinese yuan.

However, the prices for the smallest two sizes (rumored to be 32GB and 128GB) match up with the Chinese pricing for the 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6S Plus, so assuming it’s accurate you can expect to pay US$749/£619/AU$1,229 for the smallest iPhone 7 Plus and US$849/£699/AU$1,379 for the middle option.

It’s a bit less clear on the largest (apparently 256GB) handset, as the Chinese price for this is higher than the 128GB iPhone 6S Plus, but not by much, so hopefully it won’t be a lot more than the US$949/£789/AU$1,529 that phone costs.

The eagle-eyed among you will also have noticed that in each case you’re getting double the storage offered by the iPhone 6S Plus, so if the prices are right you’re actually getting a decent amount for your money.

These storage capacities have been echoed by most rumors, so it seems likely that Apple is finally ditching the 16GB size.

TechRadar’s take: These prices make sense as the iPhone 6S Plus is already one of the most expensive phones around, while offering double the storage for similar money would give the iPhone 7 Plus a major selling point.

iPhone 7 Plus design

Hottest leaks:

  • No headphone port
  • Water resistance
  • A Smart Connector

Aside from possibly differing dimensions the iPhone 7 Plus is likely to look very similar to the iPhone 6S Plus.

That means you can expect a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, but one with a slightly slimmer design – maybe so thin that the headphone port will be removed. There’s a chance Apple won’t go that far, but most evidence at this point suggests its days are very numbered.

The good news is that in the port’s place we might get a second speaker with an audio amplifier, plus Lightning EarPods and a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter in the box, to cushion the blow.

A recent video from Unboxed Therapy shows the larger phone in full (well, the chassis anyway) in a rather natty blue – a colour that’s been ‘leaked’ by a Chinese network.

However, the model shown by Unbox Therapy is a model based on designs by wireless headphone manufacturer Besound – which means it could easily be a very good fake. We’ll leave it to you to decide:

iPhone 7 Plus
Credit: Unbox Therapy

Water-ready

The removal of the headphone jack may sadden some, but the changes aren’t all set to be controversial, as the iPhone 7 Plus might sport water and dust resistance.

iPhone 7 Plus slide

That water resistance rumor has popped up again recently, courtesy of a slide supposedly snapped at an internal Foxconn meeting. The text states that the iPhone 7 Plus is IP68 certified water and dust resistant, as well as supporting wireless charging and having a dual-lens camera, though this could easily have been faked.

But analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reckons the upcoming handset will be ready for a splash, while more evidence for its water resistance comes from an Apple patent detailing waterproof speakers for use in phones.

There’s no specific mention in the patent of any iPhone 7 model though, so this could just be something it’s looking to do in the future, and recent reports have cast aspersions on the possibility of the phone being IP68 rated (water and dust resistant) and merely ‘splashproof’.

Caught on camera

As of today, one of the clearest looks we’ve had at the phone comes from a leaked dummy unit shared by Nowhereelse.fr. It shows both a dual-lens camera and redesigned antenna bands, which have been moved to the top and bottom edges of the phone where they’re less visible.

The shot also includes a Smart Connector (the three dots at the bottom), which could be used for connecting accessories to the phone, much like on the iPad Pro and iPad Pro 9.7. Though not all sources agree on whether we’ll see that and Apple might reserve it for a third handset – the iPhone 7 Pro.

iPhone 7 Plus dummy unit

The shot could also be a fake of course, especially as the space between the flash and the camera is wider than we’ve seen on other leaks. However a blueprint has also emerged and this looks similar.

iPhone 7 Plus blueprint

We’ve also seen the iPhone 7 Plus alongside the iPhone 7, in both a short video and some leaked photos, with the design echoing previous leaks.

iPhone 7 Plus leak

More proof of the iPhone 7 Plus’ much-debated design may have materialized by way of some high-quality renders nabbed by Stuff.tv. In the video, which travels around the supposed build of Apple’s upcoming, grande-sized iPhone 7 Plus, there are some telling clues about what we might see come September when the phone is slated to be announced.

First off, as with most other leaks it lacks a headphone jack here. Next up, there’s a slight camera bump near the top of the device where there’s rumored to be a dual-camera setup. Nothing new here. We also get another look at the rumored Smart Connector.

Another leak suggests the iPhone 7 Plus will come in a deep blue color for the very first time, though it’s now looking more likely that we’ll see a ‘Space Black’ version instead, which isn’t entirely new but hasn’t appeared on an iPhone since 2012.

iPhone 7 stickers

Or we might even get two black shades, with recent rumors, including stickers supposedly taken from prototype handsets, listing both ‘Dark Black’ and ‘Piano Black’ shades. But if we do get two blacks the Piano Black may apparently be in short supply, while the Space Gray option may be up for the chop to make way for them.

iPhone 7 Plus case leak

We’ve also now seen some leaked cases, thanks to 9to5Mac, which match up with earlier rumors, including a dual-lens camera and a Smart Connector, but with no headphone port.

However, recent case leaks from Phone Arena don’t include a cut-out for a Smart Connector, so the iPhone 7 Plus may not have one after all. We wouldn’t put too much faith in a case leak, but as we’re now close to the likely launch date there’s a fair chance that the case manufacturers have accurate information.

TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 7 Plus will likely look a lot like the iPhone 6S Plus, but without the 3.5mm headphone jack. Believable evidence is also growing for waterproofing, as it’s a feature Apple’s resisted so far but it would help an otherwise conservative design upgrade stand out.

iPhone 7 Plus screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 2K screen
  • A bezel-less display
  • True Tone tech

The screen will likely stay at 5.5 inches but could get a resolution boost, since the iPhone 6S Plus is trailing Android rivals in that area. In fact, a recent rumor points to a 2K display, which would bring it in line with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7.

The phone will probably have True Tone tech added to it, as has been rumored. This has been seen on the iPad Pro 9.7 and would allow the display to dynamically adjust the white balance based on your environment.

In less likely news the iPhone 7 Plus could also have a bezel-less screen, as shown in the diagram below, shared by MyDrivers, which shows a phone that’s got identical dimensions to the iPhone 6S Plus, as well as a similar shape.

iPhone 7 Plus diagram

It’s been rumored that Apple is working on an edge-to-edge display, potentially with the fingerprint scanner and front-facing camera built in, but we’d be surprised if we see that in the iPhone 7 Plus, so this is likely a mistake and calls the whole diagram into question.

TechRadar’s take: The screen will almost certainly stay at 5.5 inches but Apple is sure to improve it in some way, probably through the addition of True Tone. An edge-to-edge display is unlikely but a resolution boost is possible – especially if VR is on the cards.

iPhone 7 Plus camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens snapper
  • A bigger battery
  • Optical zoom

The camera could be one of the biggest changes on the iPhone 7 Plus, as it’s heavily rumored to be dual-lens.

Almost every leaked shot we’ve seen of the phone has shown a dual-lens camera and for a closer look at that alleged camera you can check out the image below, obtained by Nowhereelse.fr.

iPhone 7 Plus camera leak

As we’ve got closer to launch more camera details have emerged, including claims that both lenses will be 12MP, but that one will be wide-angle while the other is telephoto, which sounds a bit like the LG G5’s approach.

Apparently the iPhone 7 Plus will also have optical zoom, an ambient light sensor and light field camera applications, the last of which may allow you to choose the focus of a shot after taking it.

The flash could be improved too, with four LEDs in place of two. Apparently there will be a pair of warm color ones and a pair of cooler colors, while another leaker claims the camera will have an f/1.9 aperture, allowing more light in than the snapper on the iPhone 6S Plus, while the sensor will supposedly be 1/3-inch.

Beefier battery

The battery in the iPhone 7 Plus could grow even if the phone shrinks thanks to Fan-Out technology, which could be used to reduce the size of components. In fact we’ve now heard that the iPhone 7 Plus could have a 2910mAh juice pack, up from 2750mAh in the iPhone 6S Plus.

There’s also talk of fast charging support in the iPhone 7 family, which is a long overdue feature, so hopefully the iPhone 7 Plus will get it.

TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera is looking almost certain and the battery might grow, but probably not by much.

iPhone 7 Plus OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-core A10 processor
  • Up to 3GB of RAM

While the outside might look similar the iPhone 7 Plus could be a big change on the inside from its predecessor, as according to CNBC, the Economic Daily News has reported that it (along with the standard iPhone 7) will be “more complex” to build than previous models.

If nothing else there’s likely to be a whole lot of power under the hood, with talk of a hexa-core A10 processor, likely coupled with 2GB or maybe even 3GB of RAM and iOS 10.

A leaked benchmark shows the phone with 3GB of RAM, along with an iPad Pro-beating score, but it could easily have been faked. More recently another benchmark has shown just 2GB of RAM and just a dual-core processor, but still a very impressive score, well above the iPhone 6S Plus.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo for his part has waded in claiming that he expects 3GB of RAM, along with an A10 processor clocked at up to 2.45GHz.

TechRadar’s take: The A10 isn’t likely to be more than quad-core, but it’s sure to be powerful. There’s a chance RAM will hit 3GB but 2GB is more likely, with optimizations in place to ensure it still offers slick performance.

iPhone 7 Plus other features

Hottest leaks:

  • A revamped home button
  • A Smart Connector

Other than a Smart Connector like we’ve seen on the iPad Pro for connecting accessories, another new feature we might see on the iPhone 7 Plus is a pressure-sensitive home button, building on the 3D Touch technology that’s already found in the screen.

iPhone 6S Plus

That was first rumored back in April but the rumor has popped up again via Macotakara, which claims that you won’t be able to press the button and instead it will vibrate when pressure is applied to it. Several other sources have also recently mentioned a pressure-sensitive button.

TechRadar’s take: The Smart Connector has appeared on numerous leaked pictures, so there’s a chance we’ll see that, but it’s sounding like it might have been meant for the iPhone 7 Pro. A redesigned home button seemed less likely as it’s never an area Apple has felt the need to change before other than to add Touch ID, but the evidence for it is growing.

iPhone 7 Plus rivals

The chief rivals to the iPhone 7 Plus could be other Apple handsets like the iPhone 7, which is expected to offer similar performance in a smaller size and at a lower price. Then there’s the iPhone 7 Pro, which, if it exists, could be an even more powerful 5.5-inch phone.

Away from Apple the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is sure to be its biggest competitor. This is has a larger 5.7-inch screen, plenty of power, plus a stylus to set it apart.

S7 Edge

Of course assuming it’s 5.5 inches the iPhone 7 Plus won’t actually be any bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, so that too could be a major rival. It’s cheaper than the 7 Plus is likely to be and has a stylish curved screen, along with a top camera and oodles of power.

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