Can Apple Surprise Us with iPhone 8 to Mark the Tenth Anniversary?


Steve Jobs introduces original iPhone

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. These were Steve Jobs words before introducing the iPhone in 2007 as three revolutionary products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, a breakthrough internet communications device.

Steve Jobs blew us away when he unveiled the iPhone as there was nothing close to it back then which offered a similar experience. It has gone on to become the most successful consumer product in the history of the world.

Since then Apple has been launching a new iPhone every year on a tick tock basis, releasing a redesigned iPhone every two years (though last year was an exception).

What Got Us Excited About Previous Generation iPhones?

There has always been something to be excited about the new iPhone. Here’s a look back at all the iPhone models that were launched after the original iPhone, and what got me excited about them:

  • iPhone 3G featured a redesigned plastic polycarbonate body with tapered edges and metal buttons instead of the aluminium back of the first generation. It also came with new hardware features such as support for 3G networks (the original iPhone only supported Edge) and GPS, and was the first iPhone model to come with color options (the 16GB model was available in black and white colors).
  • iPhone 3GS was 2x faster than the iPhone 3G. It was aptly named “3GS” where “S” stood for Speed. It also included new features such as an improved 3-megapixel camera with video (only VGA) capturing capabilities. Additionally, it was the first iPhone to be powered by a system-on-a-chip, which was designed and manufactured by Samsung.
  • iPhone 4 was perhaps the most iconic and my favorite iPhone. It featured an all-glass casing with a stainless steel rim which also doubled up as the antenna, which was also the reason for the antennagate controversy and forced Apple to launch the iPhone 4 case program. It was also the first model to be powered by Apple’s system-on-chip and come with a front facing camera for Apple’s FaceTime service. It was also the first iPhone to come with Apple’s Retina Display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi).
  • iPhone 4S looked exactly like the iPhone 4 but came with an improved antenna design to avoid the issues that plagued its predecessor and an improved 8MP camera. It also marked the debut of Siri, Apple’s personal voice assistant that captured everyone’s imagination.
  • iPhone 5 looked like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but was thinner, lighter, faster, and came with a taller 4-inch screen with 1136×640 resolution. It also featured a two-tone unibody design made entirely of glass and aluminium. iPhone 5 was the first iPhone model to support 4G LTE networks.
  • iPhone 5s looked very much like the iPhone 5 but came in a new gold color. It was powered by Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip, making it the first smartphone to be powered by a 64-bit chip. It was the first iPhone model to come with a dedicated motion tracking chip called the “M7 motion coprocessor”. It was also the first iPhone to feature Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor that allowed users to unlock their phone without entering the passcode.
  • iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus came with larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays and featured an all-new design. The most exciting thing about the 7th generation iPhone was the larger screens.
  • iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus looked like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus but were the first iPhone models to come with the 3D Touch feature that allowed for pressure-sensitive touch inputs. It also came with reinforced chassis to address the bendgate issue that had plagued iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, along with a faster A9 chip and 2GB RAM.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also looked like the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, but came in new color options like Jet Black, Black and more recently in Red, water and dust resistance, a new capacitive, capacitive Home button, and lacks a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The iPhone 7 Plus includes a secondary 12-megapixel telephoto lens, which can be used to achieve 2× optical zoom, and up to 10× digital zoom. The bigger iPhone also features an exclusive portrait camera mode that is capable of producing a bokeh effect using depth of field analysis.

iPhone 8 Rumors

Design

According to rumors, Apple may launch three models this year, the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, and a flagship 5.8-inch iPhone 8 to celebrate the 10th anniversary. iPhone 8, iPhone Edition, iPhone X or whatever Apple ends up calling it, is widely expected to be completely redesigned, and feature an all-glass design like the iPhone 4, with an edge-to-edge OLED screen with curved edges like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

There are also rumors that the iPhone 8 won’t feature a physical Home button. Apple is planning on implementing what is being called a “Function Area” below the display of the upcoming iPhone 8. The 5.8-inch OLED panel will offer a 5.15-inch display, with the Function Area taking up the remaining space below the display itself. It could work similar to the Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro models, with virtual buttons being the main element of the area, but that it could be used for other actions as well. Additionally, Apple could also embed Touch ID in the function area just like the fingerprint sensor in the Touch Bar of new MacBook Pros.

Camera

There are also rumors that Apple will give the front camera a major upgrade. The OLED iPhone 8 could feature a “revolutionary” camera in the front that will be paired with an infrared module. The combination of the two along with advanced software algorithms will allow the iPhone 8 to capture 2D images and depth information that will be useful for iris and facial recognition, 3D selfies, and more.

There are also rumors that the iPhone 8 may feature groundbreaking new augmented reality experiences. Last year, Robert Scoble, tech evangelist and entrepreneur, made some pretty wild claims about Apple’s next smartphone — all of which, he says, are backed up by reliable sources.

Scoble claimed that iPhone 8 will supposedly be the first iPhone to offer a true augmented/virtual reality experience backed by Apple. It won’t just mirror Google Cardboard functionality, either; the iPhone’s virtual reality experience is expected to rival that offered by the likes of high-end solutions like HTC Vive.

“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,” Scoble wrote.

Once inside this headset, the iPhone will offer HoloLens functionality, projecting holograms onto the real world around you. It will also be able to track your eyes to offer “a new kind of user interface,” Scoble adds.

Wireless Charging

There are also rumors that Apple will finally be supporting Wireless Charging in iPhone 8, thanks probably due to the all-glass casing. It would be a welcome addition as wireless charging has been available in most Android smartphones for quite some time now.

But Why Are People Still Not Excited about the iPhone 8?

Based on the rumors, iPhone 8 is shaping up to be the mother of all upgrades with a completely revamped all-glass design, and features such as MacBook Pro like Touch Bar, Augmented reality, 3D camera, and Wireless Charging. However, based on the comments I have seen so far from our readers, they don’t seem to be impressed.

The problem is that most of the features have already been available in Android smartphones. Unlike the original iPhone, there is nothing that the new iPhone 8 will introduce that will blow us away like the original iPhone did a decade ago.

How can Apple still Surprise Us?

Of course the assumption, we’re making here is if Apple’s implementation of the features is similar to what we’ve seen so far. But Apple could surprise us on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone with the following features.

1. DESIGN

It would be difficult to beat the Samsung Galaxy S8 with its almost bezel-less design, but for someone who is married to the iOS ecosystem of apps and services, Apple could blow us away with the completely revamped all-glass edge-to-edge design.

iPhone 8 AR Concept

2. WIRELESS CHARGING

Apple has long maintained that Wireless Charging in the current form is not very useful as it still needs to be plugged into the wall. Schiller had stated that “it’s not clear how much convenience they add”.

So I am betting that Apple’s implementation of wireless charging would be far superior to what we have seen so far. There have been rumors that Apple has signed a deal with a startup company, Energous, to bring WattUp, its wireless charging technology that “works like Wi-Fi” to the iPhone. It uses radio frequencies (RF) to charge devices at a distance. If Apple can introduce a solution that brings a truly wire-free charging experience that allows us to charge our iPhone within a few feet without needing a charging pad, then it would certainly blow us away.

3. AUGMENTED REALITY PLATFORM

Apple could also impress us with the Augmented Reality or AR features like 360-degree camera, and new sensors. Pokemon Go gave us a glimpse of our augmented reality future, but Apple could help the technology go mainstream by creating an AR layer that makes use of these aforementioned hardware features and releases a software development toolkit for developers to create iPhone apps that can take advantage of these features. I believe that augmented reality can transform our experience by integrating virtual images and information with the real world objects. Though I think the AR features in the next iPhone will just be the stepping stone for Apple’s ultimate objective, which would be to release AR glasses or goggles like Google Glass, which will take things to the whole new level.

iPhone 8 Siri AR concept

4. FUNCTION AREA

There are rumors that the all-glass iPhone 8 with 5.8-inch screen will come with a “FunctionArea” below the 5.15-inch OLED display which could work the same way as the Touch bar in the new MacBook Pros. I am personally quite excited about it, as it will bring a revolutionary new way to use the iPhone. While in the case of the MacBook Pro, I think the Touch Bar is a nice to have, in the case of the iPhone which doesn’t have a pointing device like the mouse and has limited screen real estate, I feel it could add a whole new dimension to how we interact with the iPhone. It would, however, be important for Apple to give developers access to the function area so they can change how we experience third-party apps.

iPhone 8 Function Area Render

I can’t wait to get my hands on the 10th anniversary iPhone. The biggest sore point could be the price, which is rumored to cost more than $1,000.

Would you be impressed with these features? Do you think Apple can surprise us on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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