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iPhone 7 Rumors 2015: Gorilla Glass 4, Extended Edge Display, 3D Augmented Reality Interface

( [email protected] ) Nov 26, 2014 03:06 PM EST

VR iPhone UI
UI concept for VR iPhone case Pinć from Cordon Labs. Photo: 9to5Mac

Although Apple has just released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus back in September, rumors and speculation is already coming to a boil over what we can expect with the iPhone 7. Apple's notorious for launching new products in the fall, so we probably have about 10 months or so before the next iPhone sees the light of day.

But that's never stopped the tech insiders from speculating and compiling wish lists for the next big Apple smartphone.

So what can we expect next fall from the tech giant? We've rounded up the latest facts and rumors about the iPhone 7 to keep you updated.

First off, we know that there were previous rumors about a screen made of sapphire to provide durability and scratch resistance, but there have been some obstacles along the way. GT Advanced Technologies, the original manufacturer that was supposed to be building the sapphire displays for Apple, filed for bankruptcy, giving current iPhone glass producer, Corning, a way back in.

Corning was a bit worried at the sapphire rumors, but has now stepped up its game to announce Gorilla Glass 4, which is supposed to be a more robust product.

"Sapphire demonstrated [that] the market wanted something that was harder than what Corning was putting out," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. "Thus [Corning made] Gorilla Glass 4, a much more robust product with the attributes of glass -- some flex, a much lower manufacturing cost and a much lower probability that [a crack] will cause the entire panel to fail."

So while Corning is trying its best to get back into Apple's favor with this new glass-like product, Apple could also continue its sapphire pursuits with another company. 

As for the name, the next iPhone could just as likely be called the iPhone 6S instead of the iPhone 7, if tradition serves. But despite the usual timeline for S products, it has been rumored this past year that Apple may be dropping the S naming convention altogether because of the negative stigma that made many consumers believe that the S wasn't a new product.

Another rumor revolves around the name "iPhone Air" to keep up with the recent MacBook Air and iPad Air names this year.

As for features, the next iPhone is expected to follow the recent trend of larger screens. Since the iPhone 6 Plus already has a 5.5-inch screen, we're thinking they'll want to one-up the competition and possibly go to 6 inches or more. Either way, Apple is most likely going to take a long look at sales figures between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to see what consumers want and which direction to go with screen size.

Apple has also published a patent for what it calls "sidewall displays," similar to what the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is doing. This could mean that Apple will feature a display that extends to the side(s) of the device with a whole new set of controls and interface.

But perhaps the most exciting rumor to date is that of a 3D and augmented reality display. According to a job listing first shown at 9to5Mac, Apple is looking to hire app engineers experienced with "high performance apps that integrate with Virtual Reality systems for prototyping and user testing."

The listing has since been removed by Apple, but the article also points to an Apple patent that shows an Oculus Rift-style headset that has many Apple fans very excited. Is Apple looking to extend its gaming reach, or is it looking to provide a more engaging experience for those using its existing products? We're hoping that the next iPhone plays a major part of this next generation of augmented reality from Apple, but we'll have to wait and see.

Tags : iphone, 7, rumors, gorilla, glass, 4, extended, edge, display, 3d, virtual, augmented, reality, sapphire, apple