Apple’s newest iPhone is coming soon, and whether it ends up being called the iPhone 8, iPhone Pro, iPhone Edition, or something else, one thing is clear: this is shaping up to be one of the biggest updates Apple has ever made to its smartphone line.
If you haven’t been following all the rumors swirling around the iPhone 8 over the last few months, don’t worry — we’ve rounded up all the biggest ones here, along with our best guess as to how likely they are to actually show up
The biggest change to the iPhone is the one we know is most likely to happen: a major redesign. It seems that Apple will be dramatically transforming the phone’s front with a bezel-free OLED display that’s much more in line with what’s expected from a modern flagship in 2017. That means it’ll look more along the lines of the Galaxy S8 or LG V30, rather than sticking with Apple’s current, dated design.
How likely? Practically confirmed, thanks to a leaked image in the HomePod firmware.
The other big update to the iPhone 8 that seems almost guaranteed to happen is a new front-facing camera, said to be located in an oblong cutout at the top of the otherwise bezel-free screen. The main focus of the camera is said to be 3D face-scanning technology, which will be used to unlock the phone simply by looking at it, instead of relying on the fingerprint-based Touch ID sensor on current iPhones. But Apple could be leveraging the tech for other uses as well, including automatically silencing notifications, augmented reality, and payments.
The recent leak of Apple’s iOS 11 Golden Master has revealed a whole lot more about how the face-scanning tech will work. Touch ID seems to be getting replaced with a new system called Face ID, that will allow for unlocking the phone and authenticating payment.
How likely? Very likely, but the extent of what it can do is still a question mark.
Apple hasn’t dramatically changed the prices of its main line of phones in years. Currently, you’ve got a choice between the smaller iPhone 7 for $649, $749, or $849 (depending on whether you want 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage), and the larger iPhone 7 Plus, which adds $120 to the comparable iPhone 7, topping out at the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus for $969. Assuming that the 7S and 7S Plus stick at roughly those price points, and the iPhone 8 is positioned as a step up from those models, it starts to look a lot like the next iPhone be the first to break a four figure price tag.
How likely? Might want to start saving up.
Along with the new design, the iPhone 8 is rumored to come in three colors — a black, a silver/white, and a new brown/copper/gold-ish hue. While there isn’t actually a ton of hard evidence that actually confirms that it’ll happen, it does seem likely that Apple would offer a third, gold-hued color for the iPhone 8. Whether it ends up being as weird looking as some of the various mockups suggest remains to be seen.
How likely? Maybe.
This one applies to the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus as well as the iPhone 8, but after years of standing on the sidelines, Apple is said to be finally adding wireless charging to its entire line of phones. There is a possible downside, though: rumors suggest that Apple will be using an older, slower version of the Qi charging specification, and that the company may be restricting charging to charging pads approved through the company’s MFi accessory program (which Apple charges licensing fees for), which could shatter the dream of a single wireless charging method for all your devices.
The recent Golden Master leak seems to confirm wireless charging, but we still don’t know how Apple will be implementing the system.
How likely? Seems to be happening, but we’ll see if Apple decides to play nice with others here.
With the new screen design, it seems that Apple’s iconic home button won’t be on the iPhone 8. That leaves us with one of the biggest questions — what’s happening to Touch ID? As it stands now, there are three options that have been bandied about:
- Apple builds Touch ID directly into the display.
- Apple moves the sensor to the back of the device, possibly camouflaged into the Apple logo.
- Touch ID is gone completely on the iPhone 8, which will instead rely on the new face scanning tech for biometric authorization.
At this stage in the game, the winds seem to be blowing toward options two or three — so I wouldn’t get your hopes up that Apple has succeeded in embedding the sensor directly into the screen, at least on this year’s model. And a recent Wall Street Journal report has indicated that the company is just eliminating the sensor entirely due to production issues, which would seem to put more weight toward option three.
How likely? Something is changing about Touch ID, but it’s a toss-up as to what Apple actually goes with.
The last major unanswered question about the iPhone 8 is when you’ll be able to buy it. Past history would indicate that Apple would be selling the next iPhone roughly a week and a half after the announcement on Tuesday, but there are rumors that the supply issues with the iPhone 8 are so great that the company won’t be shipping devices until sometime later in the fall after the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are out.
How likely? Depends on Apple’s supply chain, but certainly possible.
Update September 11th, 8:55am: Added more information due to the leak of the iOS 11 GM.