A purported casing leak back in March claimed to show what was referenced as iPhone 7 ‘Pro’ and featured dual iSight cameras and three dots resembling the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector. A separate leak appeared to show schematics for the same iPhone 7 Pro design from a previously reliable magazine late last month. Macotakara reports now, however, that Apple’s Smart Connector technology likely won’t be featured on any of the next generation iPhones.
Apple’s Smart Connector, which can be seen above, first appeared on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro last fall and later made its way to the 9.7-inch tablet with the smaller iPad Pro earlier this year. Smart Connector provides a secondary input method for data and power for external accessories.
Currently only available on the two iPad Pro models, Apple’s Smart Keyboard utilizes the connection to allow Apple’s keyboard cover to work without Bluetooth or a separate battery to charge. Logitech similarly offers a Smart Connector-compatible iPad Pro keyboard as well as a charging stand for the iPad Pro tablets.
Smart Connector hasn’t appeared on iPhones before, however, which in part added skepticism to the original claimed hardware leak earlier this spring. The purported iPhone 7 Pro showed off the rumored dual rear camera and redesigned antenna lines, but marked one of the first sightings of the three dotted Smart Connector.
Exactly what Apple could do with a Smart Connector on an iPhone isn’t exactly clear, either, as the placement according to the sketchy leak suggests keeping an attached accessory in place would require effort. Still, future battery packs (or even keyboard cases) could potentially use the Smart Connector for power and data passthrough. Bringing the iPad Pro’s connector to the iPhone could also further justify a so-called ‘Pro’ tier of iPhone 7.
Despite Macotakara’s latest reporting that the iPhone 7 likely won’t be gaining a Smart Connector this year, there is a fair amount that we do expect with the next generation iPhones. For example, the iPhone 7 is expected to feature cleaner back design, a dual lens camera on at least one model, and drop the headphone jack in favor of Lightning or Bluetooth headphones. Read our iPhone 7 Roundup to catch up on the latest.