iPhone 7 prototypes that are water and dustproof are being produced, Mac Otakara has reported, citing a post from Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
According to Apple Insider, this suggests that Apple is investigating a more rugged handset.
Apple Insider went on to speculate that Apple could be looking at using the waterproofing technology from the Apple Watch in the iPhone 7.
Another option is hinted at in patent filings, which includes applying hydrophobic coatings to sensitive electrical components via a vapour deposition process, or integrating silicone seals at water ingress points.
The Weibo post also claims that the iPhone 7 will move away from the current all-aluminium chassis, though no mention is made as to which materials Apple is looking at for the next iteration of its smartphone.
Mac Otakara went on to state that the iPhone 7 will adopt a flat LCD display, which Apple Insider said is likely a reference to the handset’s glass cover.
The iPhone 6 uses a protective glass cover with curved edges to allow for swipe gestures.