Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple was looking into the concept of completely eliminating a physical input for headphones on the next-generation iPhone. And perhaps unsurprisingly this news was greeted with widespread consternation among customers who would have had to buy a brand new wireless set come September.
Thankfully, the latest leaks suggest that this unpopular decision has been overturned and that the iPhone 7 will indeed feature a 3.5mm socket, according to Pocket Lint.
Interestingly the first smartphone to arrive without a headphone socket has already been announced, with Chinese manufacturer, LeEco, debuting just such a device.
The iPhone 7’s alleged elimination of the headphone socket was thought to be a two-pronged strategy designed to both reduce the thickness of the device and also convince people to either purchase wireless headphones or a new wired set, which would plug into the Lightning port on the bottom of the handset.
Apple is not against taking design decisions which rub customers up the wrong way, but hopefully this will prove a step too far for a company which has seen iPhone sales fall for the first time this year.
South Korean smartphone maker, Samsung, sold more phones in the first quarter of 2016 than any other company, allowing it to maintain its position at the top of the market and stave off competition from second place Apple, which actually suffered its first sales slide in years.
Third place went to Chinese firm, Huawei, which has gradually been increasing its grip on the market in the UK with a string of affordably priced, impressively built devices.
Meanwhile the world’s fourth biggest manufacturer was found to be Oppo, another company originating in China which is still just building up its profile as a brand in Britain.
Oppo saw sales increase by 153 per cent in Q1, compared with Apple’s 16 per cent decline. The iPhone still shifted 51 million units during this period, but there are clearly plenty of buyers who are holding out for the arrival of the iPhone 7 in the autumn.
The top five companies, three of which are Chinese, account for 58 per cent of all mobile sales. This means that many well known companies, including Sony and LG, are currently having to fight it out over a much smaller share.
Samsung has been at the forefront of display technology for some time, introducing boundary-pushing models like the Galaxy Edge, which feature curved screens. And now industry sources believe that the South Korean manufacturer could be gearing up to introduce its first truly flexible handset next year, according to SamMobile.
The ability to actively bend and even completely fold a phone is something that Samsung and others have been working towards in recent years, not only because this will make devices far more durable but also because it will introduce new ways to interact with software.
Leaks suggest that the first foldable Samsung phone will go by the name of the Galaxy X and will be capable not just of responding to mild physical manipulation, but of completely folding in on itself.
Samsung’s domestic rival LG has introduced pseudo-flexible phones already, with the G Flex range showing that the technology is already in place to make this a possibility. But the Galaxy X sounds all the more ambitious.
While it is unlikely that the next flagship Galaxy S handset ends up emerging as the Galaxy X, it could be that Samsung enters this new niche with a stand-alone phone in 2017.
On the 30th of April the cost of calling, texting and using data services while visiting other countries within the EU will fall significantly, hopefully putting an end to painfully high bills being levied against continental travellers.
While in the past it was possible for network providers to place extortionate charges on roaming overseas, new legislation means that the maximum cost of calls has been set to 3p per minute, with each text costing just 1p and the cost of data falling to only 3p for each megabyte downloaded.
TechRadar points out that most companies will still charge UK mobile users VAT on top of these standard prices, adding a minimal amount to the total.
This is a step in the right direction, meaning holidaymakers can happily pull out their smartphones and stay in touch with friends and family back home without incurring serious costs for roaming. Next June the abolition of roaming charges across the EU will be introduced, allowing people to eat into their inclusive minutes, texts and data and avoid additional expenses altogether.
With the EU vote looming, customers in the UK will be pleased to hear that, irrespective of the outcome, the abolition of roaming charges is almost certainly going to stick.
The fragile nature of certain smartphones makes them unsuitable for people whose jobs could put their handset at regular risk of damage, or for owners who are simply a little clumsy.
Now a new model announced by toolmaker, DeWalt, is setting out to address this issue head-on and compete with other hardwearing rivals, such as those produced by Caterpillar.
In terms of toughness, the MD501 is impressively sturdy, being able to survive a two metre tumble onto solid surfaces and work effectively in freezing temperatures as well as in desert-like conditions of up to 60 degrees Celsius.
Internally, it features a 1.3GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM, allowing it to run Android 5.1 effectively. It also has a pair of SIM card slots, making it ideal for business and personal use, along with wireless charging capabilities meaning people who wear gloves to work do not need to fumble around with charging cables.
Water and dust-proofing completes the list of DeWalt’s first mobile’s capabilities. And because it runs on the Android operating system, it will be fully compatible with a wide range of apps and services that will make it useful in a number of environments.