iPhone 7 release date 2015: U2 Product RED, A9 chip, NFC 2.0, 256GB

iPhone 7 preparations are already underway within Apple, as the Cupertino company can’t afford to bask in the success of the iPhone 6 launch for fear of losing marketshare to Android. The specs and features for the next generation smartphone range from a faster A9 microprocessor to other new technologies, as well as a twist – a Product RED model after eight years of waiting. There’s also the lingering issue of the iPhone 7 release date. We look at all of the above.

A9 chip: Although the average user isn’t familiar with the vernacular, the reason why each new iPhone is faster than the last is the rapid development of Apple’s own in-house microprocessor technology. The iPhone 7 will be powered by the A9, which is faster than the current A8 by leaps and bounds as well as continuing the company’s efforts at lower-power chips. This in turn will allow for longer battery life as well as a new era of apps with more advanced functionality.

NFC 2.0: After years of the industry collectively trying to get NFC payments off the ground, Apple Pay is an instant hit. The iPhone 7 will continue that with next generation NFC technology which allows for faster payments at a wider variety of venues which go beyond cash registers.

Capacity: Storage continues to be the chief differentiator between the low end and high end iPhone models, and the iPhone 7 may be the first to breach the 256GB capacity mark. This would bring an end to the era of iPhones starting out at the 16GB mark, with the baseline becoming 32 or 64.

Product RED: Apple continues to face criticism of its insistence on offering the iPhone 6 (and the 5S and 5 before it) in colors like white, black, grey and gold, while only offering a more colorful lineup on undesirable models like the iPhone 5C. That could change with the iPhone 7 as Apple revisits the metallic red of the iPod nano for a charity-backed Product RED iPhone 7 model.

Release date: This continues to be the trickiest matter relating to the next generation. Apple may accelerate its launch schedule with an iPhone 6S in the spring followed by an iPhone 7 in the fall. But if it sticks to its longtime pattern, the iPhone 7 release date won’t come until the second half of 2016.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.