Less than one year after the launch of the iPhone 6S, software company and smartphone juggernaut Apple seems poised for the release of a new iPhone 7 model by the end of the third quarter.
CNBC reports that Apple’s top manufacturing and supply plants in Southeast Asia have already begun recruiting workers in preparation for the high-volume assembly season, including Foxconn in Zhengzhou, China, and Pegatron and Wistron in Taiwan.
Apple traditionally releases new products at the end of September — as it did with the iPhone 6S in 2015 and the iPhone 5 in 2012 — and the 2016 schedule for the iPhone 7 seems no different. It is, however, the earliest that supply companies have ever begun recruiting workers in the calendar year.
The urgency in hiring raises speculations that the new iPhone 7 features will be significantly more complex than previous models, therefore requiring more time to build and manufacture. Rumors have long circulated that Apple plans to forego the traditional headphone jack design, which, at 3.5 millimeters, prevents the implementation of ever-thinner body case technologies.
Leaked intelligence also suggests that larger versions of the iPhone 7 will employ a dual camera system, higher resolution displays, 3GB of RAM, and an A10 processor.
It may also be possible that some models will include a magnetic Smart Connector cover, a feature widely implemented with the latest Apple iPad Pro design that allows devices to power and hold charge without being plugged in or battery-powered. This would be a substantial upgrade from the iPhone 6, which generally takes one hour and 50 minutes to charge via typical 12-watt USB power adapters.
Apple itself has not yet detailed specific plans for the launch or design of the iPhone 7. The company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference showcasing new technologies is scheduled for June 13 to 17 in San Francisco, at which time it is likely formal announcements will be made.