Update: New reports suggest Apple might not up the RAM for its next iPhone, while new images and schematics give us a look at the iPhone 8 inside and out, showing a glass back, a wireless charging pad and a vertically stacked dual-lens camera.
Apple’s iPhone 8 release date is expected to be less than six months from now, and we’re already 3D Touch deep into new rumors about its 2017 smartphone.
It’s the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and the design is due for big changes. We haven’t seen a brand new look in three years, so prepare to be wowed.
Every iPhone 8 rumor really gives us a sense that Apple is overhauling its phone with at least one premium design – what we’re calling the iPhone 8 – while also providing a basic specs bump for an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.
We’re sorting through all of the news to deliver the facts and to cut through the fetched speculation, from the release date all the way down to the all-important price.
Slide down to unlock.
- What is it? The 10th anniversary version of Apple’s iPhone
- When is it out? September 2017 or maybe a bit later this year
- What will it cost? More than the normal $649 (£599, AU$1,079)
iPhone 8 release date
- September 2017 launch for iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus
- Slightly later date for the curved, all-screen iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 release date is the routine new iPhone rumor we expect to stay the same every year, but Apple may do something different here, too.
Apple has launched a new iPhone in September every year since the iPhone 5 in 2012. September iPhone launches have a pretty consistent track record.
However, that may be for the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus with a worthy, but ultimately predictable design and feature upgrade.
The iPhone 8 may deviate from this plan by launching a little bit later (still before Christmas) with the biggest changes for Apple’s smartphone in several years.
Another source reckons iPhone 8 production is running two months behind schedule, which could mean delays or stock shortages.
We expect Apple to have an iPhone launch event around September 8 and ship the 7S phones one week after CEO Tim Cook first holds them up in the air.
But you may have to wait – one or two extra months – for that snazzy iPhone 8’s curved AMOLED display due to supply constraints, according to Bloomberg.
We’re skeptical of such a move, but we do keep hearing the disheartening rumor over and over, as there’s evidence that Apple could be having issues with both the OLED display itself, and embedding a fingerprint scanner into it.
TechRadar’s take: We keep hearing the disheartening rumor that Apple won’t have the redesigned iPhone 8 ready at the same time as the still unconfirmed iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus. While we still expect a September launch event, we may not see the the iPhone 8 (the phone you really want) until October or November.
Want the latest iPhone 8 rumors? Check out our video below
iPhone 8 screen
- A curved AMOLED display
- A 5.8-inch edge-to-edge screen
- No home button and no bezel
The big rumor is that the iPhone 8 is going to sport a curved AMOLED display instead of a the usual flat LCD panel, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
We’ve all seen curved AMOLED displays in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the even bigger Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. iPhone 8’s curve may be less dramatic, but still cooler looking than a completely flat phone.
There are other exciting benefits to an AMOLED display replacing the normal IPS LCD. It can deliver better contrast, more vibrant colors and include a battery-saving always-on display. It’s also a better suited for VR and AR.
This has also more recently been rumored by sources, claiming that a curved AMOLED display is one of more than ten prototypes that Apple is considering – and that the phone could even have a higher-than-QHD resolution.
Who’s going to help Apple push all of those extra pixels? Samsung is said to be supplying the OLED screens, beating out Sharp, which was once rumored for the job. Samsung may be able to deliver more curved screen in time, and Apple is said to have just put a curved screen order in with its long-time rival.
Just so it’s clear: you might not see the fancy, new OLED display on every iPhone 2017 model due to supply issues. Thus, Apple may include it on just one iPhone 8 version.
Depending on how it all shakes out with Samsung, Apple is likely to reserve the AMOLED display for just the iPhone 8 Plus, or a separate higher-end 8 Plus Edition, luring you into buying the more phone instead of the smaller iPhone 8.
How big will the iPhone 8 screen size be? Rumors for this are all over the place, but everything says it’ll be larger around 5.8 inches, just like the Galaxy S8.
Don’t worry. We expect a 4.7-inch iPhone 7S and 5.5-inch iPhone 7S Plus, but the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 is the hot new size with the curved AMOLED display.
It won’t be too big. Apple can easily make the display size larger without actually making the phone dimensions any bigger. It’s just a process of elimination.
There’s been talk of axing the psychical home button and building the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into the screen itself, a rumor dates back almost two years.
Doing this would eliminate the otherwise useless bezel around the screen. “The entire face will be the display,” claims Apple blogger John Gruber.
“And the Touch ID sensor will be somehow embedded in the display. The front-facing camera will somehow be embedded in the display. The speaker, everything. All the sensors will somehow be behind the display.”
An ‘all-screen’ display is the hot new trend launched by Chinese phone maker Xiaomi and its Mi Max, and came to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.
An unearthed Apple patent also shows this idea in action, eliminating the phone’s bezels in the process. Another patent has since emerged, showing a similar concept, so it’s certainly something Apple’s at least thinking about.
It’s not far-fetched. Apple tweaked the home button with the iPhone 7, making it no longer physically click when pressed, so this could be the next step.
On the other hand, you could argue that since Apple only just tweaked the button it’s unlikely to ditch it so soon. There’s also the question of whether it would be able to produce enough of these function area panels.
It’s possible that just a higher-end model will have these new screen features, according to the latest supply chain sources.
This third, premium model is currently dubbed “Ferrari”, and this model alone may have an embedded fingerprint scanner and an edge-to-edge OLED display.
Looking even further ahead we might see a flexible or even foldable iPhone, as Patently Apple has found a patent for just such a device, and more recently another similar patent has turned up, but this is likely a long way out yet – as in iPhone 10 or iPhone X territory.
TechRadar’s take: The premium iPhone 8 is heavily favored to get a stunning, new 5.8-inch OLED display – if it can’t source curved screens and glass. If it can build Touch ID right into the screen, that’s ambitious and something Samsung couldn’t pull off in time for the recent Galaxy S8 launch. Just don’t expect these huge feats for the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.
iPhone 8 design
- A curved glass back instead of aluminum
- Smaller models may not change as much
Just when Apple has nearly perfected the aluminum unibody phone with the iPhone 7, it’s now expected to be moving onto an all-glass design.
The glass iPhone 8 rumor has since been given more weight, with the CEO of the company behind the iPhone’s metal casing claiming one model of the phone “will adopt glass casing next year.”
It would still require a metal frame apparently, which makes it sound a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, especially if both panels are curved. That lines up with a claim from a source that’s proved reliable in the past that Apple is experimenting with a “glass sandwich design.” Delicious, right?
And yet another source also points to a glass back, with a stainless steel frame in place of the aluminum Apple currently uses in its phones.
Here’s where the iPhone 8 rumors conflict: Right now, we’re unsure if the design is being readied exclusively for the higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone 8 Plus, or if the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus are also due for the glass upgrade, like Ming-Chi Kuo suggests.
It could be that the smaller iPhones designs will remain relatively unchanged other a new color.
The last major iPhone 8 design rumor is that the new phone could get a little more waterproof. It may jump from an IP67 to IP68 rating, notes The Investor.
TechRadar’s take: Expect a big change to the design of the phone. It’s too early to say if every new iPhone size will sport the curved glass look and extra waterproof features, but we think the days of an aluminum iPhone are numbered.
iPhone 8 camera and AR features
- A vertically-oriented dual-camera lens
- Augmented reality features
- 3D cameras
The iPhone 8 camera “can do extraordinary things,” we fully expect Tim Cook to say on stage come September. “We never thought it possible before today.”
Cook’s ambitiously sounding words are almost inevitable. In his quarterly investor calls, he has become captivated with the idea of augmented reality (AR), or what Microsoft calls “mixed reality,” (so you should fully expect Apple to call it augmented reality instead).
What can Apple do with AR? You may be able to point your iPhone 8 at an object and have it recognized, claims one source “familiar with the matter.” The camera app may be able to recognize and manipulate faces in the future, too.
Let’s give you a more concrete example (and source). Veteran Apple analyst Gene Munster thinks you’ll be able to find your seats in a crowded stadium or the groceries you need among all of the aisles by looking at your phone.
AR is supposed to map out where you want to go, and combined with Apple Pay, it could be a big winner for the iPhone 8 on forward, according to Munster.
“Your phone slowly going away and being replaced by AR,” he said in an interview with Cheddar. “This is beyond Pokemon.”
AR may be the reason why we’ve seen allegedly leaked iPhone 8 schematics with a vertically aligned dual-lens camera on back. That may be AR’s big change, and right now we’re not quite sure why that is.
What about your everyday photography? That could be upgraded, too, with the second lens on the dual-lens iPhone 8 gaining optical image stabilization.
But don’t expect a bump beyond the 12MP sweet spot that Apple and other phone manufacturers have found, and don’t look for the dual-lens snapper to the standard iPhone 7S, according to analyst . It’s likely to once again be limited to this premium iPhone 8 Edition.
We don’t expect much change from the front-facing camera resolution, as Apple just upped to 7MP iSight camera for the iPhone 7. But as selfie photos become increasingly important, it could include extra camera focusing tricks to make each and every pixel count.
TechRadar’s take: Apple is giddy with excitement about the prospects of AR, and that may be the hot new camera feature going forward. We already got a big dual-lens camera upgrade last year. It may get better this year, but not be as dramatic of a change. Instead expect Apple to tout the benefits of augmented reality.
iPhone 8 battery
- Wireless charging – finally
- Fast charging
- Two batteries
Anyone with a smartphone knows one battery just isn’t enough, which could be why Apple is rumored to be sticking two in the iPhone 8 for extended life.
Though that sounds a bit unlikely. What’s more likely is that Apple might take on a stacked mainboard internal design for the iPhone 8, according to one analyst.
It may fill all of the saved space with additional battery capacity and also finally support wireless charging without that aluminum design blocking the transfer of energy (that’s why glass and plastic phones can do wireless charging and metal phones do not).
Foxconn is reportedly for Apple and, after all, without the headphone jack, Apple is one step closer to being free of cables completely. This is surely the next step, even if there are some doubters about these plans.
Apple might go beyond rivals and offer a truly wireless charger that works at up to 15ft, with no contact required between the device and the power source.
There’s evidence that Apple has been looking into this tech, with Energous, the company behind it, supposedly working with a “tier 1” smartphone maker. It added that it’s “working with one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world” and it will be shipping a product by the end of 2017.
Energous has also received a $10 million investment from Dialog Semiconductor, according to BGR, and Dialog just so happens to be a company that works primarily with Apple.
We’ve also heard from an analyst note, obtained by 9to5Mac, that all models of the iPhone 8 will have wireless charging – but it sounds like this will be standard rather than long-distance charging. Apple may also not include a wireless charger in the box.
A leaked schematic also shows a circle on the back of the iPhone 8, which is likely a wireless charging pad.
And when you plug the iPhone 8 in, you might not do so via a Lightning connector, with a report suggesting that Apple could swap that for a USB-C connection – though what’s more likely is that Apple will simply use USB-C Power Delivery technology within a Lightning connector for faster charging.
TechRadar’s take: Wireless charging and improved battery life are likely – but don’t count on being able to charge from a distance, at least not on the iPhone 8. Apple may save this truly revolutionary for the iPhone 9 or iPhone 10, aka the iPhone X.
iPhone 8 internal specs and iOS 11
- 3GB of RAM
- A tiny 10nm A11 Fusion chipset
The internal iPhone 8 specs are also undoubtedly going to take another step forward with the Apple A11 chipset that’s more powerful than the current A10.
What do iOS 11 and the A11 System on a Chip mean for iPhone 8? We may see finally Control Center customizations and Today menu widgets become refined.
iPhone 8 running iOS 11 is also likely to debut always-on screen settings (what will be displayed?) and an improved Mail app (hyperlinking text, finally?).
The new chipset, either called Apple A11 or Apple A11 Fusion, may stick with a quad-core processor since the iPhone 7 just launched with that.
Yes, octa-core processors is all the rage, but Apple has shied away from touting big numbers and instead focused on boosting performance. It’s done just fine.
The same goes for RAM. It may stick with 2GB for the iPhone 8 and 3GB for the dual-camera iPhone 8 Plus. Of Apple’s products, only the iPad Pro 12.9 has 4GB. Though an analyst rumor suggests all iPhone 8 models will have 3GB.
Perhaps the most convincing RAM claims come from another analyst, who argues that due to rising RAM costs the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7S Plus will have 3GB of RAM, while the iPhone 7S will have 2GB.
But the iPhone 8 may go for one smaller number: 10 nanometer. The move from the 16nm A10 Fusion to a 10nm A11 Fusion would make significant gains.
Qualcomm’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 chip, for example, requires less energy and exhibits a performance boost on 16nm chips. Apple will want to rival this chip.
While Apple doesn’t use Qualcomm’s processor, it has used the San Diego firm’s modem. But, as of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it has dual sourced the modem: some from Intel (GSM-only models [AT&T, T-Mobile and almost every other carrier]) and others from Qualcomm (GSM+CDMA [Verizon and Sprint]).
There’s an ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Qualcomm for overcharging of standard issue patents, so there’s a chance iPhone 8 could ditch Qualcomm altogether.
Couple this with the fact that Intel just announced a CDMA-capable modem that makes it compatible with Verizon and Sprint in the US, and Qualcomm may have just exiled itself from the new iPhone for 2017.
Graphic chip partner Imagination Technologies is in the same boat soon. Apple informed the British GPU supplier – an Apple partner since the iPhone 1 – that it’ll drop the firm’s graphics chip from the iPhone and iPad in the next two years. So, it’ll still be in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 9, but maybe not the iPhone X.
TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 8 is naturally going to be faster, but its speed boost may be wrapped in another quad-core processor and coupled with 3GB or 2GB of RAM. A lot of the specs depend on whether or not Apple is ready to show us the power of VR and AR. iOS 11 is almost a given, and we fully expect Apple to continue to harness the power of developers for tools like Siri and menu customizations.
iPhone 8 other features
- An iris scanner
- A Smart Connector
- New sensing technology
It might not just be the screen you’ll be interacting with on the iPhone 8, as Apple is also rumored to be working on a “new sensing technology,” which would allow the phone to respond when you touch any side of it. Theoretically that could be used for example to change the screen brightness by swiping along the edge, or take a picture by tapping it.
One analyst has suggested Apple will bundle some free AirPods in with the premium iPhone 8 – that would be nice, but we’d recommend you don’t hold your breath on that one.
The iPhone 8 might tighten up security in other ways too, as an Apple patent details a system that could get a thief’s fingerprints and photo, as well as recording audio, video and their location.
We might also see a Smart Connector on the iPhone 8. This was rumored for inclusion on the iPhone 7 Pro – a phone which never launched, but with numerous pictures of a phone sporting the Connector it seems likely that Apple really was considering it, so the feature might be ready by next year.
We’ve already seen a Smart Connector on the iPad Pro, where it’s primarily used to attach accessories, like keyboards.
TechRadar’s take: The iPhone 8 might have an iris scanner, but only if Apple can make it fast to use. A Smart Connector is also a possibility, but seems a less useful fit than on an iPad Pro.
iPhone 8 price
The iPhone 8 price may throw us for a curve ball come September since Apple is planning an all-new smartphone design. Here are the price rumors.
The smaller iPhone 7S could cost just as much as the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, running $649 in the US, £599 in the UK and AU$1,079 in Australia. That price really hasn’t changed in the US, and it just recently went up in the UK (last year) and Australia (two years ago).
The iPhone 7S Plus price is also not expected to change based on the fact that the iPhone 7 Plus just saw a price hike (even in the US) to $769, £719 and AU$1,269. We don’t need another price increase there.
Instead, Apple may launch an iPhone 8 Edition with a fancy curved display and an OLED panel (instead of LCD). That could send the bill of sale (for the parts) up 67%, and that expense may get passed onto you, the consumer.
The iPhone 8 price really depends on three things. Which version of the phone do you want? Is Apple releasing a third, more expensive edition with a fancy OLED display? And which storage capacities remain in 2017?
We’ve heard that the OLED model might come in just 64GB and 256GB varieties, but that 32GB isn’t being killed off – the less desirable versions may get 32GB, 128GB and 256GB configurations.
Published at Sun, 07 May 2017 07:00:00 +0000