iPhone 7: Seriously, this phone sounds boring to you?

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The lead-up to this year’s iPhone launch has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. New iPhones are typically preceded by months of excitement as fans drool over each successive leak. The excitement continues to build until September, when Apple finally unveils its next-generation iPhones. Then it’s a mad dash to preorder them and sales soar into the tens of millions of units in no time.

This year, it doesn’t feel the same at all. Analysts are unsure, investors are uneasy, and fans seem unhappy with the leaks they’ve seen so far. The iPhone 7 — or whatever Apple ends up calling it — has been widely branded as “boring,” due entirely to a leaked design that looks strikingly similar to Apple’s current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

But let me ask you a serious question: Does this phone really sound boring?

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Yes, the iPhone 7 is going to look a whole lot like the iPhone 6.

I’m not here to make excuses. I’m also not particularly happy about it. I’ve been carrying an iPhone with this design for nearly two years now and when I buy a new iPhone this coming September, I’d like it to feature a nice new look. This isn’t a car we’re talking about here, where a refresh every 3-4 years and a redesign every 7 years is fine. People buy new smartphones far more frequently than they buy cars, and they want phones that actually look new.

But it’s happening. Apple hasn’t made its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus designs official yet, of course, but the company practically confirmed that everything we’ve seen so far is accurate when it planted the same story with multiple news sites at the same time. This year’s iPhones are going to look a lot like last year’s iPhones, and then a big redesign is coming in 2017 for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary.

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Visually, the iPhone 7 could certainly be more exciting. A recently leaked photo of a fully assembled iPhone 7 showed us exactly what the finished phone is going to look like. It’s an iPhone 6 with modified antenna lines, new cameras, no headphone jack and a slightly thinner housing. That’s it… but it’s hardly the whole story.

Leaks and rumors have flowed constantly over the past few months, but things have really been picking up steam lately. With the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus reportedly in production, we now have what seems like a near-complete picture of Apple’s next-generation hardware. And to be frank, it sounds pretty damn exciting.

In my in-depth review of the iPhone 6s last year, I explained why it was the biggest iPhone update Apple had ever released despite the fact that the phone looked exactly the same as the previous year’s model. That’s right, it was an even bigger jump than the one we saw when Apple moved from the tiny iPhone 5s to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Call me crazy, but the iPhone 7 is shaping up to be a leap that may be even more impressive than the one 2015’s 6s and 6s Plus made.

This past week alone, we’ve seen a flurry of leaks that point to some exciting new features. In fact, one leak in particular revealed two hot new features we never saw coming. Then a report from The Wall Street Journal firmed up earlier leaks suggesting that the iPhone 7 will offer twice as much storage as previous iPhones, with the base model starting at 32GB.

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So let’s take a step back for a moment and look at where we are right now:

  • Faster, more powerful next-generation Apple processor
  • Thinner housing
  • More attractive antenna lines
  • New 3D Touch home button
  • At least one new color (Space Black or deep blue)
  • New 12-megapixel camera on the iPhone 7
  • New dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus/Pro
  • Smart Connector for accessories on iPhone 7 Plus/Pro
  • Double the storage — 32GB, 128GB and 256GB options
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 water- and dust-resistance

Boring, huh? I’m not so sure. To me, that sounds like a pretty massive upgrade. More power, twice the storage, another new color option, two different upgraded cameras, a new connector technology for nifty accessories, wireless charging, waterproofing… I mean,come on.

Nothing has been confirmed at this point and some of those rumored features come from more solid sources than others. But it might be time to stop thinking of the iPhone 7 as a “boring” update and start realizing that it’s likely anything but boring.

If all goes according to plan, the iPhone 7 will be the best and most powerful iPhone ever and it’ll address a number of huge and ongoing pain points like water resistance and storage. Oh, and let’s not forget that it will go on sale just as millions upon millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus buyers come off of their two-year contracts.