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Why you shouldn't care what the iPhone 7 looks like

Commentary: Is it important what a phone looks like when most people are going to cover it up anyway?

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

Ever since the last iPhone 6S came out, the internet -- or at least the tech blogosphere -- has been obsessing over what the next iPhone will look like because that's well, what the tech blogosphere does.

Missing headphone jack, dual-lens camera and extra speaker not withstanding, I'm here to argue that the actual design of the phone has become largely irrelevant. That's because most people -- I'm talking more than a simple majority -- will end up covering their iPhone 7s with cases.

There's nothing wrong with that. If you're spending $800 or more on a phone, you should protect your investment, particularly if you're thinking of passing it on to someone else down the road, or want to maximize your return when you sell it later.

From the early iPhone 7 cases I've tested, the iPhone 7 is almost the exact same size as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S (I haven't tested a iPhone 7 Plus case yet, so I don't know where we stand there). There's allegedly a change to the antenna design, but it doesn't change the dimensions of the phone, just its cosmetics.

In fact, you should be able to fit your iPhone 6 or 6S into an iPhone 7 case without a problem -- and vice versa. However, the only issue with using an iPhone 6/6S case for your iPhone 7 is that the cutout for the camera may not be big enough to accommodate the new (rumored) larger cameras: a bigger lens/sensor on the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and a dual-lens system on the 7 Plus, if the leaks are to believed.

Also, cases that cover the bottom of the iPhone 6S risk not being, shall we say, anatomically correct: 6S cases have a longer cylindrical cutout to expose the speaker on the bottom of the phone and a cutout for the headphone jack. All indications point to the The iPhone 7 having a second speaker where the headphone jack once was, so two cylindrical cutouts are required.

Watch this: iPhone 7: All the rumors

The other reason not to care about what the iPhone looks like this go around is that bigger, more significant design changes are rumored to be coming to next year's 10th anniversary iPhone. The good news is that whatever that iPhone is called, and however sleek it is, there will be plenty of cases to cover it.