2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple has something major planned to celebrate the occasion. With less than a month to go until the launch of the iPhone 8, we’ve already heard an abundance of rumours about the device, so we know what to expect when it comes to design and features.
Given the major changes Apple plans to introduce the iPhone in 2017, it seems unlikely the device will receive an “S” name, so there’s a good chance Apple may decide to skip directly to the next full number, naming the 2017 iPhone the iPhone 8.
2007 – iPhone
2008 – iPhone 3G
2009 – iPhone 3GS
2010 – iPhone 4 (new design)
2011 – iPhone 4s
2012 – iPhone 5 (new design)
2013 – iPhone 5s
2014 – iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (new design)
2015 – iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
2016 – iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
2017 – iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
For the iPhone 8, Apple is planning to move away from the aluminium body that it’s been using since 2012 in an effort to differentiate the new iPhone from the devices that have come before it. Apple is expected to instead re-adopt the glass-backed body last used for the iPhone 4s. Glass is more fragile and heavier than aluminium, but many advances have been made in glass technology and materials like Gorilla Glass are sturdier than ever, which may help prevent breakage.
Multiple rumours have suggested there will be three versions of the iPhone: a “premium” OLED model and two standard LCD devices, with sizes that may include 4.7, 5.8 inches (OLED), and 5.5 inches. While one model (the high-end OLED device) will feature a glass body, rumours disagree on what the other two models will be made from.
The iPhone 8 may feature an IP68 water resistance rating, an improvement over the IP67 certification earned by the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Like the Galaxy S7, which is also IP68 certified, the iPhone 8 might be able to withstand 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes while also offering full dust protection.
There will be no physical Home button on the iPhone 8 because it has an edge-to-edge display, but there may also be no virtual Home button, with Apple moving away from the single button concept altogether. They might have to some software-level modification(ios) for this to work.
Instead, the iPhone 8 might rely entirely on touch-based gesture controls for navigating to the Home screen and activating the App Switcher. iPhone 8 users may need to drag up a “thin bar” from the bottom of the screen to open the device to the Home screen and to get to features like the App Switcher and the Control Center. Inside an app, a swipe upwards brings up the multitasking interface for switching apps and closing the current app.
This control method is similar to how the Dock works on the iPad. A single swipe brings up the dock and a longer swipe opens up an App Switcher.
Facial Recognition vs. Touch ID
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is planning on eliminating Touch ID entirely in the iPhone 8 and replacing it with a new security system that’s based on facial recognition. Facial recognition capabilities powered by new 3D sensors have long been rumoured for the iPhone 8, but it wasn’t suggested until recently that the functionality would replace Touch ID entirely.
All iPhone models coming in 2017 are expected to use Apple’s A11 chip, including the OLED iPhone 8 and the more modest 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones (which could be called the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus)
TSMC initially wanted to start production in April, but production was reportedly delayed due to issues with the 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process. The A11 chip is expected to be both faster and more power efficient than the current A10, manufactured on a 16-nanometer process. It could introduce speedier performance and better battery life.
Early iPhone 8 rumors suggested Apple was working on long-range wireless charging technology that could be implemented as soon as 2017, but more recent information and speculation suggests that instead of long-range wireless charging techniques, Apple will instead use an inductive-style wireless charging solution (similar to the Apple Watch) for the device, and Apple supplier Wistron has accidentally confirmed that wireless charging is planned for at least one iPhone model.
The iPhone 8 is expected to include NAND flash memory from Samsung, but it is not clear what improvements it might bring. With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple introduced a 256GB storage option, and it’s possible additional increases could be included in the iPhone 8.
Information sourced from Weibo has suggested the iPhone 8 will be available in 64, 256, and 512GB storage capacities supplied by SanDisk, Toshiba, Samsung, and SK Hynix. It’s not clear how accurate this information is, or if all colors will be available in all capacities.
Storage options for the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus are also unknown.
Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 is rumoured to include 3GB RAM. The larger iPhone 7s Plus is expected to include 3GB RAM, while the smaller iPhone 7s will continue to offer 2GB RAM. The DRAM transfer speed of the three new models is expected to be faster than the iPhone 7 by 10 to 15 percent for better AR performance.
With Apple implementing glass bodies for the iPhone and introducing at least one OLED display, new 3D Touch technology may be required. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will need to use a new 3D Touch module with “additional graphite sheet lamination” for heat reduction.
Fast Company said it’s not sure the camera system will make it into the iPhone 8, but given past rumours of a 3D system and the vertical dual-lens camera redesign, it seems likely Apple has something big planned for the iPhone 8’s rear camera.
The camera in the iPhone 8 may support new “SmartCamera” features, based on code found in a recent firmware leak. The camera app may be able to detect different types of scenes, photo conditions, and photography subjects like pets and children.
Apple sent out invites for an event that’s going to take place on Tuesday, September 12 at its Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. Members of the media will attend the event at the Steve Jobs Theater, the auditorium on the campus that was named after Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.
Multiple rumours have suggested the iPhone 8 could be the most expensive iPhone Apple’s produced yet, with several analysts predicting prices upwards of $1,000 and labelling the device as “premium.”
Factors like the OLED display, wireless charging, new biometric features, and camera improvements are believed to drive up the price, causing Apple to need to charge more. The 3D Touch components, for example, are said to be 150 percent higher than the 3D Touch components used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The New York Times believes Apple is planning to sell the entry-level 64GB iPhone 8 for $999, coming in just under $1,000 price estimates.