The next-generation iPhone, which is likely to be called either the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, will come with a high-resolution 3D Touch Display – a new way of controlling the device based on the Apple Watch's Force Touch system.
Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone on Wednesday to an audience of 7,000 journalists in California, as well as millions of fans who will follow the event by live webcast. Other new or updated products are also expected, including a thoroughly revamped version of Apple TV, a new iPad, an upgraded iMac desktop computer and the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 9.
However, most eyes will be on the new iPhone. On the eve of the launch, a new leak of information suggests that the iPhone 6S or 7 will come with a significantly sharper screen than its predecessor. Techradar reports a claim originating in China that the smaller of the two new iPhones will have a resolution of 1,125 by 2,000 pixels, or 488 pixels per inch. "That's a massive increase, with last year's iPhone 6 carrying a 750 by 1,334 resolution screen, with 326ppi," the site says.
According to the same source, the larger iPhone 6S Plus's 5.5-inch screen will measure 1242 by 2208 pixels, or 446ppi – another substantial increase on its predecessor's figure of 401ppi. If true,
this will constitute the second significant increase in resolution since Apple introduced the "Retina" screen, which, it claimed, could display the finest detail visible to the human eye.
A series of leaks over the past few weeks have suggested that the iPhone 6S or 7 screen is also likely to include Force Touch, the pressure-sensitive touchscreen technology already in use on the Apple Watch and MacBook Pro. On the watch and laptop, the system can distinguish between a light tap and a longer press, and react differently to each.
Citing anonymous sources, 9to5Mac says that the iPhone 6S or 7 will be able to detect three kinds of touch – "a tap, a press, and a deeper press" – leading Apple to describe the new touchscreen as a 3D Touch Display.
Being able to use three kinds of touchscreen input instead of one is likely to streamline the way in which users control their device, allowing them to skip past some menus. "This opens the door to new user-interface tricks, such as shortcut gestures across the iPhone 6S version of iOS 9," the website says.
Adding Force Touch to the new handset has forced Apple to make some compromises: the iPhone 6S or 7 will be marginally thicker, taller and broader than its predecessor, although only by a fraction of a millimetre.