Update: Two different sources have now suggested that wireless charging might not be ready in time for the launch of the iPhone 7S Plus – but that it might be enabled later. We've also heard word of a potential new color scheme.
Apple in 2017 appears to be giving buyers multiple choices, and if it's true that there's an 'S' upgrade, we're looking at a lower-cost iPhone with new features.
That's okay, because we're still expecting Apple's iPhone 7S Plus to be a serious upgrade, one that's faster, has a better screen and a superior dual-lens camera.
Here are the iPhone 7S Plus rumors we've heard and our take on whether or not they sound accurate.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next phablet iPhone
- When is it out? Probably September 2017
- What will it cost? Likely the same as 7 Plus at launch
iPhone 7S Plus release date
For the last few years Apple has announced new iPhones at the start of September and released the phone later in the month, and that’s exactly when we expect the iPhone 7S Plus to launch in 2017.
This is not to be confused with the rumored iPhone 8 Plus which, along with the iPhone 8, is said to be suffering delays due to complications with OLED display production and the fingerprint scanner – which may mean it doesn't appear at the same time as the 7S Plus, if it exists at all.
One source claims the iPhone 7S Plus has entered mass production, which should mean it's on schedule.
TechRadar’s take: We're pretty confident that the iPhone 7S Plus will launch in September, and it would make sense for it to go on sale a couple of weeks later.
- Pre-register for iPhone 7S Plus
- UK: Carphone Warehouse
iPhone 7S Plus screen
- Display likely to stay the same size and resolution
- May feature a brighter, more colorful OLED screen
It terms of the size and resolution of the iPhone 7S Plus display, we expect things to stay the same in this iterative update, with the iPhone 8 Plus more likely to see a bump in quality.
That would mean we're looking at a 5.5-inch screen with a 1080 x 1920 resolution on the 7S Plus, generating a more-than-acceptable pixel density of 401ppi.
Rumor has it Apple wants to upgrade the screen technology to OLED on all of its iPhone models, but demand for the tech is apparently high which may force Apple to stick with an LCD panel for the iPhone 7S Plus.
All hope is not lost though, with more recent rumors suggesting Apple has secured 160 million OLED panels, which could be enough to cater for all planned new iPhone models.
TechRadar's take: It makes sense for Apple to stick to the same size and resolution for the iterative 7S Plus, while the OLED rumor is less certain. But having all models jump to OLED in 2017 would give Apple a VR advantage.
iPhone 7S Plus design
- An iterative update usually means a similar look
One of the biggest criticisms of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus was the fact that neither had a new design, but don't expect any big changes from the iPhone 7S Plus.
Apple handsets from the iPhone 6 Plus onward look largely the same, and while big design changes look set to come with the 10th anniversary iPhone 8, the iPhone 7S Plus probably won't get the same treatment.
The diagram above supposedly shows the phone, and the design is similar to its predecessor, but with slightly different dimensions of 158.38 x 78.1mm, where the iPhone 7 Plus was 158.2 x 77.9mm. Oddly, that would actually make the iPhone 7S Plus marginally larger.
And don't read too much into the all-screen front, as it seems that's just not had the details filled in, as the source claims the design is the same as the iPhone 7 Plus.
It's possible that there will be a new color scheme launched for the iPhone 7S Plus though. Apple added red to the mix for the iPhone 7 and it's rumored that a mirror-like finish is in the works for the iPhone 8.
It could be that this shade will be exclusive to the top-end model (for now known as the iPhone 8), but it's also possible that the iPhone 7S Plus and iPhone 7S will get it as well.
TechRadar's take: Don't expect too much to change on the design front for the iPhone 7S Plus. Apple could make it a hair thinner, or reduce the camera bump on the back a bit, but on the whole we're expecting an almost identical device.
iPhone 7S Plus camera
- Dual-cameras tipped to remain
- Optical image stabilization looks almost certain
The new dual-camera was arguably the biggest upgrade for the iPhone 7 Plus, and it set it apart from the single-camera iPhone 7, so we’d expect to see the same photo smarts on the iPhone 7S Plus.
Respected Chinese analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the dual-lens camera will remain limited to the Plus model, and that both lenses will benefit from optical image stabilization, where currently only the wide-angle lens features OIS on the iPhone 7 Plus.
TechRadar's take: Dual-cameras remain popular in 2017 with the LG G6, Huawei P10, P10 Plus and OnePlus 5 all donning double snappers on the rear and we see no reason why Apple would move away from this on the iPhone 7S Plus.
iPhone 7S Plus battery
- Likely to be the same size, 2,900mAh battery
- Battery life could be improved with newer chipset and software
Moving onto the iPhone 7S Plus battery size, there's currently little word on what to expect.
However, with the design of the 7S Plus likely to be very similar to its predecessor we wouldn't be surprised if Apple stuck with the same 2,900mAh offering and improved efficiency with a newer chipset and software integration.
There have been suggestions that Apple could introduce wireless charging to its iPhones this year, most notably from the CEO of one of Apple's suppliers, who mentioned the tech was coming, and from the presence of a sound hinting at it in the iOS 11 beta, but this is something which it may save for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – or not all.
TechRadar's take: Looking at Apple's previous iPhones, it makes sense for the 7S Plus to sport a similar size battery to the iPhone 7 Plus, with improvements in battery life made on a chipset and software level.
iPhone 7S Plus OS and power
- A new iOS 11 operating system
- More powerful chipset, possibly more RAM too
Features include a new look for the App Store, a focus on augmented reality, improvements to Apple Pay and a whole lot more.
In recent years new iPhone launches coincided with the release of the new version of iOS, and there's no reason to believe things will change in 2017.
The iPhone 7 Plus launched with A10 Fusion chipsets, so we’d expect a new quad-core chip on the iPhone 7S Plus and it's likely to be called the A11 Fusion, or just A11.
The iPhone 7S Plus could pack either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. The 7 Plus has 3GB, while the iPad Pro has 4GB, so there's a chance Apple may up things here.
TechRadar's take: A new A11 chipset is almost certain, while a minimum of 3GB of RAM is also highly likely.
iPhone 7S Plus other features
- A Smart Connector for accessories
- Iris scanner and facial recognition tech
There’s a chance the Smart Connector from the iPad Pro could launch on the iPhone 7S Plus.
The long rumored iPhone 7 Pro was meant to feature the Smart Connector, for accessories such as small keyboards, but Apple may be waiting to launch it on the iPhone 7S Plus instead. Though recent rumors haven't mentioned the connector at all, so we wouldn't count on it.
It’s a technology Samsung has included on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and we wouldn't be surprised if Apple followed suit with it on the iPhone 7S Plus (and iPhone 7S).
TechRadar's take: With Samsung adding more biometrics to its S8 handsets this year, Apple could well offer the same security features with the 7S Plus.
iPhone 7S Plus price
We’d expect a similar price for the iPhone 7S Plus as there was for the iPhone 7 Plus.
The 32GB model costs $769 (£719, AU$1,229), while the 128GB version costs $869 (£819, AU$1,419). If you want an even bigger 256GB version you have to spend $969 (£919, AU$1,569).
TechRadar's take: The iPhone 7S Plus is sure to cost at least as much as the iPhone 7 Plus. This year's price hike is likely coming with the iPhone 8.