TIME Smartphones

Everything We Think We Know About Apple’s Next iPhone So Far

The rumor mill is pointing towards a better screen and a curved design for Apple's next iPhone, which should be unveiled sometime in 2017

The iPhone 7 only just debuted in September, but the rumors are already circulating about what Apple fans should expect from next year’s model. The successor to the iPhone 7, which may be called the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8, could be a more noticeable departure from the current iPhone’s design. Next year’s release will also mark 10 years since the original iPhone launched in 2007.

Here’s a look at what’s been reported about Apple’s next iPhone so far.

Better screen technology

Apple may use an OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen for its next iPhone instead of an LCD display, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. These types of screens offer better contrast than LCD displays, and are often brighter. The blacks in OLED screens are also deeper than those of LCD displays, making colors pop more prominently.

Apple already uses OLED display technology for the Apple Watch, while other tech giants, like Samsung, have been using variants of OLED screens in their smartphones for years. It’s unclear whether or not all new iPhone models will feature an OLED screen or if Apple will reserve them for its high-end variant, as a report from Nikkei Asian Review indicates.

A curved screen

Certain iPhone models may feature a screen that’s curved on both sides similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, according to Nikkei Asian Review. This rounded model will likely be more expensive than the standard edition and may be 5.5-inches or larger, says the report. If Apple indeed decides to give its next iPhone a curved screen, it will likely use an OLED display, as those types of screens are more flexible than their LCD counterparts.

Three models to choose from

The introduction of a curved iPhone could mean that Apple plans to offer its next smartphone in three variants instead of two. Apple may release 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones with flat screens and then an additional model with a rounded display, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

A new design with no home button

Apple hasn’t significantly redesigned its iPhone since it unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. That could change in 2017. The company reportedly plans to overhaul the next iPhone with a new design that includes an edge-to-edge glass screen and no home button, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor, meanwhile, would be built directly into the iPhone’s screen.

These changes would let Apple get rid of the borders around the iPhone’s display, potentially allowing it to make the phone’s screen larger without having to increase the size of the overall device. Further changes could include a glass back similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 4s rather than the aluminum design of Apple’s more recent iPhones, says a note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Wireless charging

Future iPhone owners may not have to plug their phones into a power cord to charge it. Apple is said to be testing wireless charging technology that could appear in iPhones as soon as 2017, according to reports from Bloomberg and Nikkei Asian Review. Wireless charging has existed in certain Android smartphones for years, but Apple could be exploring a method that makes it possible to power iPhones from a distance, Bloomberg reports. It’s unclear how close that technology is to a commercial release, however.

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