iPhone 8 Rumor Roundup—Here's the Latest on Apple's 10th Anniversary Smartphone
Apple might have something big in store for consumers in 2017 to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. There's a growing consensus that the next iteration of Apple's flagship smartphone will be named the iPhone 8, so it must be a pretty significant upgrade if they're skipping the traditional odd-year "s" model altogether. That means there might not be any iPhone 7s or iPhone 7s Plus.
With the iPhone 8's tentative release a little less than a year away, we rounded up some of the most noteworthy rumors surrounding Apple's golden egg-laying goose, and we'll update this guide as new rumors and developments occur.
The iPhone 8's release date is still very much up in the air. Some reports indicate that Apple will release the iPhone 8 around September 2017, which is consistent with the recent alternating release schedule for their main smartphones and "s" versions since 2011. However, the announcement could come as early as June 2017 (during Apple's annual WWDC) to coincide with the iPhone's 10th anniversary (the first four iPhones were all announced in June).
All models will feature an almost all glass design. The 8 and 8 Plus will supposedly come with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch standard LCDs, respectively. The 10th Anniversary Exclusive iPhone 8 will sport a curved edge-to-edge 5.8 OLED screen, similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge.
According to AppleInsider, the upcoming iPhone 8 will be using an OLED screen, which should make the next iPhone's display much more vivid than past models. In addition to sharper visuals and improved power consumption, OLED screens are a lot thinner and significantly more flexible than current LCD displays.
Using OLED gives Apple more room for designing a thinner (and potentially curved) device. If the above rumors are to be believed, the curved OLED screen would only be available on the 10th Anniversary Exclusive iPhone 8, with the other two models sporting traditional LCD panels.
Bloomberg reports that Apple is currently in talks with several manufacturers, most notably Sharp, for supplying OLED screens for its 2017 model. Sharp has already invested $566 million in its facilities specializing in OLED production, with official production starting in June 2017.
The extra headroom afforded by the addition of an OLED display might very well have some practical usage itself. Reports indicate that the iPhone 8's screen will basically be a miniaturized pane of bulletproof glass, comprised of alternating layers of glass and polycarbonate for significantly improved shatter resistance and durability.
Another report states that the iPhone 8 could use a polycarbonate plastic screen to ensure that a minor drop won't shatter your display. Either way, the days of broken iPhone screens could very well be numbered.
If this is true, this means that owners might be less likely to pay for AppleCare+ protection, which could potentially be lots of lost revenue for Apple, not counting the replacement cost for each broken screen. So we're not entirely sure on this one just yet.
There's also news that TSMC will be Apple's sole supplier of its upcoming A11 processor. The successor to the iPhone 7's A10 Fusion chip will reportedly feature a 10 nanometer die size, with significantly higher speeds than its predecessor. It's reported that the upcoming A11 chip will have an increase of 20% in processing muscle while consuming 40% less power over iPhone 7's A10 fusion chip.
For the first time since the iPhone 4s, Apple might possibly go back a glass-centric design. According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a reputable source for Apple predictions, the 2017 iPhone will sport an all-glass enclosure in addition to a curved OLED screen. Kuo also speculates that the new handset will drop aluminum for stainless steel.
Kuo's speculation seems to be gaining traction. A recent report from Digitimes indicates that Apple has come up with a new stainless steel forging process that's 30%-50% cheaper than traditional CNC machining and plans to incorporate it into its upcoming flagship. The move away from machined aluminum to forged stainless steel will give the upcoming glass-encased iPhone added structural rigidity, enhancing its resistance to shock and bending. Steel also costs significantly less than aluminum, giving Apple the ability to potentially cut costs without cutting corners.
Jony Ives himself famously envisioned the iPhone to ultimately resemble a smooth, single sheet of glass. Apple's upcoming flagship handset may very well be the closest iPhone yet to realizing Ives' dream.
Wireless charging may finally be realized in the upcoming iPhone 8. Back in November, Kuo claimed that there would be multiple manufacturers making the wireless charging modules for the 2017 iPhone models. Apple has already perfected wireless charging with Apple Watch, so incorporating some form of it in their 2017 handset makes logical sense, especially if they go for the all-glass design.
According to a report by DigiTimes, Xintec, an affiliate of TSMC, will start mass production of iris recognition chips in 2017. If the timing is right, these iris scanners could be implemented on the iPhone 8.
An iris scanner would complement Apple's already proven Touch ID scanner, and could be used in various ways—from unlocking phones to paying bills online. Like a fingerprint, irises are unique to each individual, so the added security could go a long way towards locking down a device that is already incredibly secure.
Robert Scoble, tech guru currently at UploadVR, posits that Apple's upcoming flagship device will come optimized for augmented reality.
The next iPhone will be, I am told, a clear piece of glass (er, Gorilla Glass sandwich with other polycarbonates for being pretty shatter resistant if dropped) with a next-generation OLED screen (I have several sources confirming this). You pop it into a headset which has eye sensors on it, which enables the next iPhone to have a higher apparent frame rate and polygon count than a PC with a Nvidia 1080 card in it. Thanks to foveated rendering. The clear iPhone will put holograms on top of the real world like Microsoft HoloLens does.
The phone itself has a next-generation 3D sensor from Primesense, which Apple bought. Apple has 600 engineers working in Israel on just the sensor. It's the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. It's the first product introduction in Apple's new amazing headquarters.
If this rumor proves to be true, Apple's iPhone 8 can possibly revolutionize and bring AR more towards mainstream acceptance than any other handset before it.
Unfortunately, Apple's upcoming 10th anniversary iPhone 8 might come with a very hefty price tag. Forbes reports that the new OLED-equipped handset could cost as much as $1,000-$1,200, depending on storage. Price ranges for the lower-tier iPhones are currently unknown.
That's all the important rumors regarding Apple's upcoming handset as of now. As exciting as these rumors are, they are just that, so take them with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, we will keep you posted as more newsworthy snippets bubble up to the surface. So make sure to bookmark this page and come back when you need your iPhone 8 rumor fix.