This year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and everyone is predicting Apple will release a phone too awesome to be called simply '7s' (though it is expected to additionally launch an iterative 7s and 7s Plus).
The anniversary phone, though, has been widely dubbed the iPhone 8 and could be the 'revolutionary' handset we've all been waiting for. One thing is almost certain: it will have a tall OLED display, probably made by Samsung which has been using these displays ever since it launched the Galaxy range. See also: Best phones 2017.
Here's a summary of what to expect from the iPhone 8, which could well look like this:
- iOS 11 software
- 5.8in edge-to-edge screen with no bezels
- Integrated Touch ID under display or in new, larger power button
- Long-range wireless charging - may not come until 2018
- Apple A11 processor
- 64- or 256GB with 3GB RAM
- Latest Intel LTE modem
- Possible change in case material to glass or ceramic - or just glass back
That's the main specs covered, but here are the other key rumours:
- The main logic board will be in two pieces instead of the traditional one
- Apple may move the SIM tray to the bottom edge (this could be to allow room for other internal components or to include a Smart Connector)
- Quick charging will be supported when using a cable
- New speaker design could make the phone the thinnest ever
- It will use an OLED screen - now 5.8in - from Samsung - read more
- Facial recognition in addition to fingerprint scanner
- Laser sensor for gesture recognition
- Will support wireless charging and waterproofing
When is the iPhone 8 release date?
iPhone 8 launch date: September 2017
There have been plenty of rumours about how manufacturing delays could take the iPhone 8 launch date back a couple of months further than we expected, and potentially even into early 2018, but we still expect to see a September 2017 announcement.
Most recently, the Korean Herald has said that Apple spent "tens of millions of dollars" buying its own machinery to produce circuit boards for the iPhone 8 after "one of three suppliers decided to back out".
There has also been reported production delays with the OLED screen.
What this all means is that it could be tricky to get hold of an iPhone 8 this year, and you may have to be patient if you want a specific colour and storage combination.
According to analysts at Deutsche Bank, "several supply chain reports have suggested that key component shortages and technical challenges could delay the release of a high-end iPhone 8 device this fall".
A leaked memo shows AppleCare staff can't take holiday from 17 September to 4 November, a massive period that covers 'new product announcements and launches'. The start date suggests the rough iPhone launch day.
If the much-hyped phone does launch in September as expected, there is a real possibility that it will come with certain new features disabled.
What will the 2017 iPhone be called?
Although we're calling it the iPhone 8, there are a number of other possibilities. Following tradition it should actually be the iPhone 7s, but other sources have speculated on simply 'iPhone' and 'iPhone X' or 'iPhone Edition'.
Originally there was talk that the 'iPhone Edition' could be a special anniversary edition announced alongside the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, but now it seems fairly obvious only two iPhones will be announced.
How much will the iPhone 8 cost in the UK?
The iPhone 7 price jumped up to £599 in the UK - thanks to Brexit - and if Apple launches an iPhone 7S, we think it will stay the same for the updated model. However, the 'anniversary' model's bill of materials (or BOM as it's called) will be a lot higher because of the OLED screen and supposed 3D camera system.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich reckons even the 64GB model could cost $850, and the step-up 256GB version will be the first iPhone to cost four figures at $1000. At least one other report claims it will be $1,000 (or more) in the US.
Since UK prices are generally the same as US prices (bearing in mind the US figures don't include tax) we would expect those to translate to £849 and £999.
iPhone 8 new features
A combination of design and hardware changes will make the iPhone 8 the most radical new iPhone to date, if the rumours and leaks are true.
Instead of listing every leak here, we're going to stick to the biggest and most important ones and point out what's been leaked multiple times.
As well as all the below, we now have a render of the iPhone 8 reportedly showing the 'finalised hardware design' via Forbes. It shows that Apple is going for a larger screen with tiny bezels, 4mm on all sides, supposedly to avoid accidental input.
The report also says that Apple no longer needs 'Plan B' which would see the phone being a lot bigger. There will be no headphone jack, a larger power button and it's still not confirmed whether Touch ID will be integrated into the screen or not. The latest iOS 11 beta shows that the feature will stay, in some form.
The latest image of the iPhone 8 doing the rounds is this one, shared by OnLeaks, which reveals a rather ugly camera bump on the rear. We now have even better in the form of this impressive video showing the mock-up, which was made in partnership with Tiger Mobiles.
It seems renders and mock-ups are the new thing as EverythingApplePro has also got one, as well as a case and screen protector. Check it out.
Fortunately it is just a 'CNC-made iPhone 8 dummy', according to Benjamin Geskin. We're hoping it's not a design feature of the actual upcoming iPhone.
Often the best way to get an early glimpse at an upcoming smartphone is through the renders leaked by case makers. Olixar, via Mobile Fun, has a number of designs. Here's one, which reveals an almost full-screen display, as well as the absence of the home button.
These shots are in line with the various images and videos leaked of iPhone 8 screen protectors, too:
Matching up with the below shots from BGR, is this video of a dummy iPhone 8 with the vertical camera. However, it doesn't show where the fingerprint scanner will be on the device.
Here's is yet another look at what the iPhone 8 design might be like in real life.
This render via 9to5Mac does give an idea of what the iPhone 8 will look like if the fingerprint sensor is on the back. It looks a lot like the Google Pixel phones. These also show a vertical dual-camera module with a seemingly 18.5:9 aspect ratio similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8.
BGR claims to have the world exclusive on what the iPhone 8 will look like in real life. The photos are, however, a mockup rather than the real thing. See what you make of a couple of the shots.
Yet another analyst has weighed in on the situation and predicts that the iPhone 8 will have an edge-to-edge display, dual-lens cameras, better waterproofing, enhanced speakers and a free pair of AirPods. When it comes to the 7S models, they will reportedly use glass rear covers.
The iPhone 8 is tipped to have a mirror-like finish you'll be able to see your face in. As well as this shiny option, we expect to see white, black and rose gold models of the iPhone 8, and have also heard talk of red, grey and gold.
- 2800x1242 pixels
- OLED technology
- Potentially 18.5:9 aspect ratio
A key element that's been leaked over and over again is that Apple will switch to OLED technology for the 2017 iPhone - like the Samsung Galaxy S7 - rather than the traditional IPS tech Apple has used previously. This would primarily mean better contrast and colours.
Probably more interesting, and more obvious, is that the iPhone 8 will have a larger 5.8in display. It will be 'edge-to-edge' and slightly curved so Apple's comparatively chunky bezels might soon be history. It could even push the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 18.5:9.
Note the 'slightly' in that description: we're not about to see a curved screen in the same sense as that on the Galaxy S8. However, the patent below suggests we might. It also points towards an integrated home button.
The OLED screen looks like a dead cert as Apple has reportedly ordered 70m panels from Samsung. However, it also says that the OLED model will be 5.2in with the 4.7- and 5.5-in using existing LCD technology without curves.
However, the below images claims the screen with be 5.66in with rounded corners, equating to 5.8in in full.
The touted resolution is 2800x1242 which is a lot higher than any previous iPhone. Apparently, a deal for Samsung to produces the screens has been reached.
It more unclear whether the screen will be curved at the sides in a similar way to the Galaxy S7 edge, with conflicting reports on the subject. The most likely outcome seems to be a subtle curve that doesn't add any extra functionality.
This concept image via ConceptsiPhone shows what an edge-to-edge OLED display iPhone might look like if it has literally no bezels.
A more recent video from the same source seems much more believable, however, showing a very slim bezel top and bottom. This video is in line with other reports of what is said to be Apple's final design.
A huge change needs to be made to the 2017 iPhone in order for the screen to get a lot bigger without the size of the handset increasing. While others put fingerprint scanners on the back or even the side, Apple has another solution.
If rumours are true, the iPhone 8 will have the Touch ID sensor embedded into the screen. It's possible there will be a 'function area' at the bottom of the screen where this is housed and acts slightly like the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.
However, the latest leak from iDrop News claims that a source who spoke with a Foxconn employee (the company which manufactures the iPhone for Apple) said that the Touch ID will be moved to the back, just like Huawei's phones. Apple has reportedly been having difficulty with this integrated fingerprint scanner, so this may be a workaround for now.
Here's a concept image, which also shows a vertical dual-camera arrangement.
The follow render from Engadget also shows a very similar design making use of a glass back and the same virtical camera arrangement.
If you're thinking this sounds a bit far fetched then we have some proof that it can be done via a company called Goodix. It's biometric technology is already being used in numbers of devices from the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, Asus and LG.
We met up with the Chinese company at MWC 2017 where it showed off a working example of a fingerprint sensor integrated into an AMOLED display - a world first and it seemed to operate very well, just like a dedicated sensor (see below).
Goodix wasn't able to share any clients with us but did say we could expect to see devices with this technology this year.
There's even more good news when it comes to the fingerprint scanner has Qualcomm has announced its 'Advanced Fingerprint and Authentication Technology' that can detect through displays, glass or even metal.
Devices with the tech aren't expected to arrive until the first half of 2018 though so that rules out the iPhone 8.
Although there has been almost endless talk of where the Touch ID fingerprint scanner will be, it might not feature on the iPhone 8 at all. Well-known KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that there will be a virtual home button but it won't support fingerprint scanning.
There might be technology available to have it under the screen, as above, but Apple might not be happy with its performance enough. He also tips that the new iPhone will be available in fewer colour options than previously as well as a number of other things about the device which are detailed in this article.
iPhone 8 USB-C
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo refutes other reports saying Apple will use USB-C instead of Lightning on the iPhone 8 in order to introduce fast charging. Via TechTimes, he says that Apple will make a few power-management tweaks to enable the battery to be charged faster when using a Lightning cable.
Jony Ive has wanted to introduce an iPhone which resembles a single sheet of glass for a long time and the 2017 anniversary iPhone could be the one. It's rumoured that at least one iPhone in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology. Glass on the front and back would make it like a hugely updated version of the iPhone 4S.
This, combined with the rumour that the iPhone 8 will sport an edge-to-edge OLED screen makes things rather interesting.
Allen Horng, chairman and chief executive of Catcher Technology, a key supplier said: "As far as I know, only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year."
However, don't get your hopes up. Although Foxconn - the manufacturer of iPhones in China - has been experimenting with building a glass chassis for around a year, it is likely too early to put it into mass production.
Current tooling is all for aluminium chassis and that's where the expertise and investment is. A switch to glass - or ceramic or some other material - would be such a massive change that there would be far more leaks backing up these rumours.
Put simply, we don't believe that the iPhone 8 will be an all-glass machine, and iDrop News's report also refers to this: "Our inside source also reported that the many rumours stating Apple’s iPhone Edition would feature a glass back are now incorrect. Apple’s current iPhone Edition prototype features a ‘metal’ back plate. Apple’s decision to switch to metal over glass was authorised due to the tendency glass has to shatter when dropped."
The latest video from ConceptsiPhone does a decent job of showing what the iPhone 8 might look like with a visual look at how the bottom of part the display might be used.
Will the iPhone 8 feature a 3D camera?
In regards to the Touch ID sensor, Macrumours says that a JP Morgan analyst claims there will be no fingerprint recognition at all, and that Apple will instead embed a front-facing 3D laser scanner that will be able to accurately recognise your face.
This will avoid the problem where Touch ID doesn't work if you have wet fingers - or the sensor has water on it. He says it will also be more secure, which could lead to more companies - including banks - supporting Apple Pay.
This theory is backed up by Kuo of KGI Securities whose latest report, via 9to5Mac, says Apple will put an enhanced front camera and an IR sensor in order to build up a 3D model of the user's face.
A patent filed by Apple shows that the firm is looking into depth maps for smart facial detection. It's based on infrared tracking and can detect how close or distant someone is. Whether or not it will be part of the iPhone 8 remains to be seen but it seems unlikely with the focus on the 3D camera mentioned above, but that's not to say this can't be a feature as well.
The report also says that Apple's 3D algorithms are "years ahead" of Android, and such a feature could be an iPhone exclusive for a couple of years before Android phone makers catch up.
If you're wondering what colours the iPhone 8 will come in then we might have an answer via Macotakara. The Japanese site claims the smartphone will come in an additional red colour which will join the existing Black, Jet Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold options.
We now know that a red version of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was announced in March 2017 to celebrate Apple's 10-year partnership with AIDs charity (RED). It is not known whether this colour will be a permanent feature in Apple's iPhone line-up, or whether the source had simply got the wrong iPhone model.
iPhone 8 specs
A research firm, TrendForce, issued a report saying the new iPhone will offer just two capacities: 64GB and 256GB. The firm also said it will have 3GB of RAM.
We expect Apple to continue to offer a dual-lens setup, although whether it's in the same form as the iPhone 7 Plus is another matter.
A source has told Business Insider that Apple is planning on integrating augmented reality into the camera app. Sony has offered an AR feature for a long time but Apple's will supposedly be around object and face detection. The source also added that Apple will make its AR tech available to developers with an SDK.
Prior to the iPhone 7 launch we heard rumours that its camera would be flush against the back of the phone rather than protruding as it is currently on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. This wasn't the case, however, so it's a design change that could make its way to the iPhone 8.
iPhone 8 processor
The iPhone 8 is thought to include an Apple A11 processor built on a 10nm process - matching the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
Some leaked documents, posted on Chinese blog cnBeta suggest the processor may be on one of two mainboard parts, necessitated by the bigger screen and thinner bezels, which means less room inside.
It's thought that just one of the three iPhones for 2017 will feature wireless charging for the first time.
Mactokara says that you won't be able to charge your iPhone 8 wirelessly straight out of the box, but will need to purchase a wireless charging adapter separately. Apple has joined the Wireless Power Consortium, bolstering the rumours.
Although there are plenty of rumours about how this wireless charging will work, it's likely is that the phone will use a similar system to current phones that support Qi wireless charging.
This means you'll have to put the phone on a charger, just as with the Apple Watch, despite rumours such as a long-range wireless charging system or a proprietary method.
The iPhone 8 could capture the fingerprint and possibly photos of a thief who stole it. AppleInsider has reported on a patent filed back in April which describes a way of storing biometric data when an unauthorised user is detected.
It could be used to identify the person responsible and in turn lead to information which could be used to recover the stolen device. It's unclear exactly how Apple could use the technology, but the patent also talks about machine learning, so it could be intelligent enough to figure out that it's simply your child attempting to unlock your phone and play a game.
Another touted feature for the latest iPhone that didn't see daylight and may be reserved for the iPhone 8 is that it will have an e-SIM. Recent reports suggest that it could be the end of days for the traditional SIM card, with a possible introduction of a simpler option.
An e-SIM is an electronic SIM card which would replace the physical SIMs used today and instead will opt for a virtual embedded equivalent. Rumours suggest that both Apple and Samsung are in talk with the GSMA (organisation that represents the interest of mobile operators) to use a standardised e-SIM in future handsets.
What are the benefits of having an e-SIM? First things first, it'll make switching carriers easy and should allow for more flexible roaming. The idea is that with a standardised e-SIM, you'll be able to make a call and switch operators without having to insert a specific SIM card.
This idea translates to roaming too, as it'll be much easier to switch to a local network if you're looking to spend a long period of time in a particular country.
You can also wave goodbye to SIM adaptors! If you've ever had to go from a nano-SIM device to a micro-SIM device, you'll know exactly what we mean.
There's a long way to go yet so stay tuned for more iPhone 8 details and rumours. For now, check out the best new phones coming in 2017.