iPhone 7 Rumors Postmortem: Which Sources Got it Right and When

iphone 7 has been officially launched on September 7.

Apple rumors generally follow the same pattern

For those who aren’t familiar with the Apple product rumor cycle, here’s how it works:

A few years out from a product’s launch, sketchy supply chain reports will begin to surface. These are usually based on general industry trends or efforts to read into patent filings or Apple’s corporate acquisitions.

About a year before the product’s launch, the picture starts to become much clearer — and more accurate. There is occasional noise or misinformation, but numerous reports begin to agree on the larger points.

Parts for new products then begin to leak in the months leading up to launch — at first they trickle slowly, but as Apple ramps up production, they become common. In the few months before an iPhone launch, the design of the product is all but confirmed.

Why does this happen? Though Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook vowed to “double down” on secrecy back in 2012, the truth is Apple’s supply chain is so massive, and the number of products the company must produce is so mind bogglingly large, that leaks are seemingly impossible to stop.There is no way Apple could put 75-million-plus iPhones in the hands of consumers in a single quarter without involving all kinds of outside partners and suppliers.

There is no way Apple could put 75-million-plus iPhones in the hands of consumers in a single quarter without involving all kinds of outside partners and suppliers.

For this reason, Apple’s Sept. 7 event lacked any major surprises — at least, not for those who read AppleInsider. Here’s quick rundown of how we knew almost everything ahead of time, and who got it right.

Nailed it: Ming-Chi Kuo

What they got right: The dual-lens camera system, based on acquired LinX technology, is exclusive to the larger iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 7 Plus also has 3 gigabytes of RAM while the iPhone 7 has 2 gigabytes. The new lineup has a wide color display, and capacities range from 32 gigabytes to 256 gigabytes. Finally, the Apple Watch Series 2 is a largely internal upgrade, with the device looking essentially the same on the outside.

When they got it right: Kuo accurately weighed in on the iPhone 7 Plus A10 processor in November of 2015. He followed up with details on Apple’s new dual-camera system for the iPhone 7 Plus in January of 2016 He also nailed the details of the second-generation Apple Watch in April while exact capacity options were reported earlier this month.

Nailed it: Macotakara

What they got right: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ditched the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, and adopted a new pressure sensitive home button that doesn’t click. Apple also introduced two new shades of black color options.

Screenshot of Apple’s Sept. 7 special event showing iPhone 7’s distinct lack of a 3.5mm jack.

Nailed it: Mark Gurman

What they got right: Apple introduced a new pair of truly wireless separate left and right earbuds, dubbed AirPods. The company did not refresh any Macs at its Sept. 7 event.

Nailed it: Apple itself

What they got right: Sometimes Apple is inadvertently the source of their own leaks. Products such as AirPods, the iPhone 7 A10 Fusion Chip, and the iPhone 7 name itself were revealed through international patent filings, while a mistakenly sent Beats promotional email indicated new headphones would be announced Sept. 7.

When they got it right: The AirPods trademark was discovered in July of 2016, while a number of other trademarks and the new Beats products were revealed a few days before the event. And then the day of the keynote, Apple’s own Twitter account published all of the details about the iPhone 7, including pictures of the hardware, before it had been officially unveiled.

The big miss: iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t have a Smart Connector

While no individual publications or people said the iPhone 7 Plus would have a Smart Connector, a number of leaks out of Asia suggest Apple was at least toying with the idea of including the magnetic port on the back of the 5.5-inch model.

Whether the leaks were legitimate and represent scrapped plans, or if they were fake mockups designed to deceive, will likely never be known. But one thing can be said for certain: The iPhone 7 Plus does not include a Smart Connector.

The cycle continues: 2017 iPhone rumors already rampant

Rumors about upcoming updates don’t stop. In fact, expectations for the 2017 iPhone — which some have taken to calling an “iPhone 8” — are already starting to solidify.

Rumors are calling for a radical redesign of the iPhone next year, with an all-glass chassis and OLED display that could conceal the FaceTime camera, earpiece, and home button behind or within the screen. It’s possible that the major changes will be limited to the larger “Plus” series, per some claims.

As the fall of 2017 approaches, the rumor mill will inevitably begin to coalesce around a similar narrative, and it will probably prove accurate on some fateful September day, when Apple holds a keynote and attempts to wow the world with its latest handset.

The truth is, there are too many cogs in the wheel, and Apple cannot possibly stop all of them from squeaking.