Apple is separating the new smartphones into its usual low-cost versus high-cost categories, with big differences between the two models coming down to the camera, display, and battery life.
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iPhone 7 Could Have Touch-Sensitive Home Button as Waterproof and Dustproof Rumors Persist
Apple is also reportedly testing a touch-sensitive home button for its upcoming flagship handset, possibly meaning the iPhone 7 could have a flush home button, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes (via I4U News).
DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but at least three previous reports have claimed the iPhone 7 will be waterproof over the past seven months, and dustproofing would be inherently plausible. Comparatively, the iPhone 6s is surprisingly water resistant, but not entirely waterproof.
In September, a source on Chinese microblogging service Weibo said the iPhone 7 will have a strengthened, waterproof frame, backed up by a Fast Company report that also claimed the device will be thinner than the iPhone 6s. Rumors suggest the iPhone 7 could be as thin as 6.1mm like the iPod touch.
Rumors surrounding the home button on future iPhones are less consistent. Back in June 2015, a report claimed that Apple was looking to develop new display technology with "integrated fingerprint sensors," potentially allowing for the company to eventually do away with the iconic home button on iPhones.
Last month, Apple was granted a patent for a pressure-sensitive Liquidmetal home button that deforms slightly when pressed, but returns to its normal shape when the user removes their finger or thumb. Apple has annually renewed its exclusive rights to use the malleable alloy since 2010, but has yet to do so in a major way.
Last week, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz speculated that Apple will skip its traditional "S" upgrade cycle next year and introduce the iPhone 8 without a physical home button. Apple's single-chip solution for touchscreen and display drivers could allow for a Touch ID-enabled screen, eliminating the need for a separate home button.
iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus models are also rumored to feature a Smart Connector, dual-lens cameras, no 3.5mm headphone jack, repositioned antenna bands, stereo speakers, wireless charging, and a larger battery, but Apple may hold off on some features until its next iPhone with OLED in 2017.