5 features you might see in the iPhone 7

Although it has been hardly two months since Apple revealed its most recent iPhone, speculations are already beginning to circulate about the next smartphone that will come out of Cupertino. Apple hasn't given any official word on what innovations we can expect to see packed into the iPhone 7, which is unsurprising considering the new phone likely won't even be announced for nearly another year. But, as it goes with Apple products, the rumor mill has been quite active.

Between reports from seemingly-prophetic Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and a myriad of new Apple patents, there is an abundance of information about what Apple could have up its sleeve for next year's iPhone. However, Kuo has been wrong before and Apple files thousands of patents, many of which never see the light of day as completed projects. That being said, here are five relatively realistic iPhone 7 predictions we'd love to see come true:

Wireless charging

After Samsung brought wireless charging to its newer Galaxy models, we knew it was only a matter of time before we saw similar technology make its way to the iPhone. Since late September, Apple has reportedly filed as many as five patents for various wireless charging methods, suggesting it could be a priority for its upcoming devices including the iPhone 7.

Finger-specific shortcuts

In a patent filed earlier this month, Apple outlined its idea that would allow users to secretly put their phone into "panic mode" by unlocking it with a specific, preselected finger. While unlocking the phone, this mode would hide personal data from potential thieves or attackers. Hidden in this patent, however, lies another use for similar technology that we would love to see in future iPhones. This implementation would allow users to register particular actions with specific fingerprints so that, for example, users could unlock their phone with one finger to automatically launch the phone function, another to open a music app, etc.

The end of the home button?

For years, people have speculated that either Apple or Android phones would eliminate the button on the front of their display that brings users back to the home screen. According to Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, Apple's Force Touch technology could finally make that a reality. Debuted in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Force Touch sensors can recognize how hard users press on the screen, allowing the iPhone to take different actions depending on the pressure. Using this technology, Apple could potentially designate a certain area of the display to bring users back tot he home screen with a hard press. Ditching the home button would give Apple to option to extend its display area to all four corners of the device, allowing them to cut down on its size. While this could mean that the iPhone's Touch ID sensor would need to be relocated, Munster believes this could be solved by integrating the sensor on a power/standby button on the side of the device.

3D camera

In this year's "Shot on iPhone 6" campaign, Apple highlighted the importance of the camera to its smartphones. With every iPhone boasting a more powerful camera than the last, with the current 6S Plus model shooting video in 4K, could it be time for Apple to give its cameras the ability to capture images in 3D? Recent patents and acquisitions suggest Apple is working on bringing multispectral imaging to its mobile lineup, and the 7th generation iPhone is slated for release at a time when advancements in 3D imaging and virtual reality will be pushing that technology toward ubiquity.

4-inch model

The "phablet" (hybrid phone/tablet) phase made smartphones with large displays the new norm. However, many still prefer smaller phones, as they are easier to navigate with one hand and fit more comfortably in pants pockets. According to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo (who successfully predicted just about every feature that made its way into the iPhone 6S), Apple has heard the message from its customers and will release a 4-inch version of the iPhone 7 in addition to 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models (the same size of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, respectively).

While it can be impossible to completely predict what Apple has in store for users in its next generation of iPhones, its safe to say they have some exciting projects in the works. For an iOS management program that can bolster your company's mobile strategy, MC Services can help. Our certified IT consultants offer Apple support and training to make sure your environment is running efficiently and effectively. To get started, contact us today.