4 November 20159to5Mac:
Kuo says that the 4-inch iPhone “resembles an upgraded iPhone 5s” and features an A9 processor. The design of the device is somewhat unclear from Kuo’s report, but he hints that it will feature a metal casing as opposed to the plastic design featured on the iPhone 5c.
Regarding the next major iPhone refresh, Kuo says Apple will keep on track with its normal third-quarter unveil and subsequent release of the device. Kuo anticipates that both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 7 will feature Apple’s A10 chip. The two variants of the device will differ, Kuo believes, when it comes to RAM. The analyst expects the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 to feature 2GB of RAM, like the current-gen devices, while the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will feature 3GB of RAM.
An introduction of a brand-new iPhone model released early next year is really unprecedented. The Verizon iPhone 4 was launched in February but it doesn’t count as a new model of phone. I criticised Apple’s release schedule in the last two years for focusing too much on the latter half of the year, so it’s refreshing to see a major product launch scheduled for the first-half.1
The language of Kuo’s description of the phone is also interesting. Rather than describing it as a smaller iPhone 6, the report speaks of an ‘upgraded’ iPhone 5s. If true, I think Apple wants to clearly separate this device from the premium 6s and 6s Plus in the lineup. Another idea is that given the pattern of the iPhone lineup, the 2016 flagship iPhone 7 is going to have a drastically-different external appearance. As such, if Apple did match 4-inch phone design-wise with the iPhone 6s, it would only really be relevant for a few months anyway.
Kuo mentions the existence of the iPhone 7 for fall 2016, no surprises there. He suggests that the RAM in the SoC will differ between the 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch variants. To date, there has been no such discrepancies with the 6 or the 6s. I think its too far away for the RAM specs to be set in stone, but it just reminded me of something semi-related. I think the iPhone 7 Plus will have a new screen resolution. Specifically, 2208 × 1242 (up from 1920×1080). This eliminates the inelegant downscaling trickery that the Plus GPU currently has to deal with, as it renders the UI at 2208 × 1242 and then scrunches it down to native screen resolution. The additional RAM might be for this purpose; to support the additional pixels.
1 Kuo says early next year. If you account for random delays, the latest it can launch is June so it’s still spaced out from the new product bonanza in the fall.