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Want to see Apple's next iPhone? Just cover the headphone jack on an iPhone 6s

Those expecting Apple's next iPhone to be the major upgrade that it's always delivered every second year may be in for a disappointment.

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Will the next iPhones look substantially different from 2015's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus?

Image: Apple

The next iPhone due to be unveiled this September is unlikely to look substantially different from the models introduced over the past two years.

That's according to The Wall Street Journal, whose sources say Apple will break with its custom of overhauling the design of the iPhone every second year, and releasing a minor upgrade in the years between.

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A minor upgrade in September may confirm recent suggestions that Apple is switching its "tick-tock" refresh cycle to a "tick-tock-tock", meaning a major upgrade only occurs every third year. The reason suggested for this shift is that smartphone functions are difficult to improve on, and the market is slowing down.

According to the WSJ's report, the newest iPhones will have the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus from 2015, which had the same dimensions as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from 2014.

The biggest change expected, according to the paper, is that Apple will remove the headphone jack and have the Lightning connector double up for charging and headphones.

The WSJ says Apple is planning on a bigger redesign for in 2017, the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone, which could include an edge-to-edge OLED screen with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the display, removing the need for a home button.

Speculation surfaced earlier this year that Apple would remove the headphone jack, with some suggesting that this would allow Apple to create more display space by enabling it to move TouchID to the display.

More recent speculation suggests the 2017 iPhone will be an all-glass device.

According to the WSJ's sources, Apple is focusing on designs that remove the bezel in the 2017 model, but this year's planned features, such as curved screens, weren't ready.

Without a major redesign for its ninth generation iPhone, it also raises the question of whether Apple will hold off on naming its next smartphone the iPhone 7.

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