Each newly numbered iPhone model tends to feature a significant design shift: that's been visible from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6, of course. So it's no surprise that we should expect something new for the iPhone 7.
But are we talking another minimal, metal-and-glass pocket masterpiece, or perhaps something better able to withstand wear and tear? The latter has been hinted at for years, and a new report suggests that the iPhone 7 will be the first to truly embrace a waterproof design after Apple's smart tweaks to the iPhone 6s.
DigiTimes brings word of a report out of the Chinese-language Commercial Times, which cites a research firm report claiming that Taiwanese maker Catcher Technology is likely to provide about 30-35% of the chassis components for the iPhone 7. And that phone, it claims, may be waterproof - and interestingly, it may feature "new compound materials to hide the antenna," which could be an aesthetic boost more than anything.
Of course, the iPhone 6s already started down the path of water resistance, adding an adhesive lining inside the casing, along with seals on the logic board protectors. That won't save every phone from being dunked in water, but it's already a big step up from earlier models.
And just this month, an Apple patent was uncovered that detailed weatherproof, auto-closing ports that have a "self-healing" elastomer inside that closes when not in use. Plug in a headphone jack or Lightning cable, however, and the rubber splits open to accommodate the demand. That could be a crucial next step towards making the iPhone 7 truly waterproof.
It's something to hope for, at least, although we'd be surprised if Apple really abandons the design philosophies that have made iPhones so massively successful.