Apple is preparing to unveil the latest iterations of its perennially popular iPhone next month – and it is hard to believe nearly a full year has passed since the launch of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
As ever, the past 12 months have been full of rumour and speculation as to what upgraded new features will be present on the latest version of the device.
One of the upgrades will be a re-engineered, pressure-sensitive home button that responds to touch with a vibrating sensation, rather than a true physical click, Bloomberg reports. The handset's 3.5mm headphone jack – an industry standard – is also expected to be removed completely.
This represents a significant shift away from the traditional home button, which has been the same on all versions of the iPhone since the launch of the very first model back in 2007.
While current home buttons are switches that can be physically depressed into the phone, the new models will have a pressure-sensitive button that employs haptic feedback. This is similar to the technology behind the trackpads on the latest MacBook line.
A new dual-camera system is set to be another marquee feature. If the rumours of this that come from an insider who has used a prototype version of the device and have been reported by Bloomberg are accurate, then they could be able to produce brighter photos with more detail than an iPhone has ever been capable of before.
The advantage of using two sensors is that they can each capture colour differently, take simultaneous pictures and produce a single, merged photograph on the device. This can sharpen images captured in low-light environments – and the digital zoom function will also be able to retain more clarity.
Digital zoom is one of the key factors in smartphones not being able to match the standard of professional cameras, which can incorporate an optical zoom that does not degrade the quality of the image captured.
However, dual lenses are not expected to be incorporated into the smaller version of the new phones, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The iPhone remains the major source of revenue for Apple, despite the fact that demand has started to wane in some parts of the world, where users hang onto one version of the device for longer before trading it in for the latest model.
Sales could be propped up by the new versions, which may be the last of their kind, as a major product overhaul is anticipated in 2017 – the tenth anniversary of the device.
This year's iPhone is set to look similar to the 6 and 6S, retaining the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes as their predecessors, but removing the two innermost antenna lines that run across the back of the current devices.
The new models will run iOS 10, the latest version of Apple's proprietary mobile operating system, which is coming in autumn.