We already know that Apple has something BIG in the works for this year’s 10th anniversary iPhone event in September. Apple’s next phone will reportedly feature a completely new design with an all-glass enclosure, an OLED display (finally), a revamped Touch ID feature, new augmented-reality capabilities and wireless charging. Here’s the latest roundup of rumors.
iPhone 8 on schedule: After several reports that the newest iPhone might not arrive until October or November, some good news is starting to emerge about the iPhone 8’s launch. Reports out of China suggest that Apple is on track to roll out its new phones in the fall just like it always does.
More $$$: Analysts expect the price of the iPhone 8 to increase from the $649 starting price for the iPhone 7. But at least one report suggests that the high-end iPhone 8 to start at $999. At least Apple might throw in some free AirPods, if one rumor pans out. Right now, expect Apple to stick to its usual release schedule: a September press event.
Fancy new design: After all the leaks and renders, we may finally have a firm idea of what the new device looks like thanks to BGR, which has a photo of what the site says is a physical mockup based on leaked iPhone 8 schematics. iPhone 8 concept by TechconfigurationsApple is expected to release three new iPhone models this year with more modest upgrades to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus coming in September, followed by a feature-rich iPhone 8 later in the year.
Multiple phones: In recent years, Apple has unveiled two iPhones at its fall launch, the regular iPhone alongside a larger Plus model going back to 2014. That seems likely to change this year, based on a November 2016 report by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo and seconded more recently in a very thorough report by Bloomberg on Apple’s iPhone 8 plans. In this scenario, Apple releases the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, which will feature smaller improvements from last year’s models, while also rolling out an iPhone 8 packed with more significant changes.
Let’s assume the three new iPhones rumor is factual. The 7s and 7s Plus would likely feature the same size as the current iPhones — 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively. That leaves the iPhone 8. One theory, led by reports from Barclays Research and Digitimes, suggests Apple will go big with its third iPhone, adding a 5.8-inch display. Recently posted renderings on the Chinese site iFanr, supposedly based on leaked schematics from Apple suppliers, back up the 5.8-inch phone theory.
The most noteworthy spec on the iPhone 8 will be that display, as Apple should finally replace the LCD screens it’s used on recent models with an end to end OLED panel. Reports from the likes of Bloomberg suggest that Apple has lined up suppliers for OLED panels, even as it deals with a display shortage. OLED panels offer richer colors and better viewing angles. They could also allow Apple to go with a curved design for the iPhone 8, which is exactly what the Korea Herald says that Apple will do with its OLED-equipped iPhones.
All-glass design: Rather than rely on a metal casing, the next iPhone could come in an all-glass enclosure, a rumor from a Ming-Chi Kuo research note first picked up by 9to5Mac. The result could be a smartphone with a continuous glass case that adds a level of elegance and design appeal. The move to a glass design — which resurfaced in a Digitimes report — would be a return to form for Apple, which used glass in the iPhone 4 and 4S before transitioning to metal with the iPhone 5 after customers suffered ugly cracks after a spill (hello, iCracked!).
New fingerprint sensor: If the iPhone’s display is going to stretch from one end of the phone to another, Apple’s will have to relocate the Touch ID sensor. Some rumors suggest Apple is running into issues getting an under-the-screen fingerprint reader to work. Arcuri’s research note, published by MacRumors, says that Apple may have to move the sensor to the back of the phone, similar to how the Samsung S8 positions it’s sensor.
Facial recognition technology: Another feature that would allow Apple to ditch a physical TouchID button is the addition of facial recognition features to the iPhone 8. According to a research note from JP Morgan’s Rod Hall that MacRumors obtained, Apple could add a 3D laser scanner to the front of its phone to give you another way to unlock the device.
Wireless charging: Moving to an all-glass design would make it easier for the phone to support wireless charging, which is exactly what Ming-Chi Kuo forecasts will happen. Nikkei Asian Review says that Foxconn, the company that puts the iPhone together has tested out wireless charging modules.