Let the iPhone 7 speculation begin

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus went on sale less than a month ago, so, of course, it’s time for the rumors and speculation about the iPhone 7 to begin. 

According to Apple Daily, a Hong Kong-based web portal, Mark Li, an analyst at Bernstein Research, says Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) will start mass production of integrated fan-out (InFO) technology in 2016. Apple will use it to make a thinner and lighter iPhone 7. TSMC is the world's largest dedicated independent  semiconductor foundry, with its headquarters and main operations located in the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Compared with the current flip chip package-on-package (FC-POP) technology, InFO reduces the thickness of a mobile SOC (system on a chip) and enables faster heat dissipation, according to Li. SOC is an integrated circuit (IC) that integrates all components of a computer or other electronic system into a single chip. TSMC placed orders to equipment vendor Ultratech to raise the output capacity of InFO, a kind of fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP), according to Apple Daily (as noted by BrightWire.com, a global investment newswire).

Okay, that’s some pretty technical stuff. What about other iPhone 7 rumors?

Macworld UK says that the iPhone 7 is likely to get a substantial physical redesign after the largely identical iPhone 6/6s generations. The article says it's too early to know what direction Apple will pick, but it's likely to be thinner than ever. Macworld UK also predicts that:

  • Battery life in the iPhone 7 may be a little better than in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
  • Higher screen resolution is a possibility.
  • A harder screen material is likely, “whether Apple manages to resurrect the sapphire situation or goes with Corning's new Project Phire.”
  • 16GB will surely be phased out as the lowest storage offering. 
  • The iPhone 7 could get a USB-C port, like the new 12-inch MacBook.

Apple’s next iPhone chip may come with up to six cores, up from the two cores in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, according to the  Chinese social networking site Weibo. More processor cores should make it easier for the Apple smartphone to handle more data and commands simultaneously.

One rumor out of the Asian supply chain has said Apple will switch to glass-on-glass touch panels for the iPhone 7, potentially allowing for an edge-to-edge display. Other rumors predict a waterproof design, wireless charging, elimination of the Home button, a 3D screen, and/or a curved display.

(The fanciful iPhone mock-ups in this article are courtesy of Web Design Co.)