People have been talking about iPhone 8 even before the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were revealed last September. That’s partly because last year’s iPhones nearly reused the design that Apple first introduced with the iPhone 6 in 2014. The iPhone 7 models had fantastic changes on the inside — the A10 Fusion chip, a dual camera system on the Plus model, IP67 certified water and dust resistance, longer battery life, stereo speakers, and storage options that started at 32GB instead of the anemic 16GB. But excitement for 2017’s iPhone reached fever pitch due to the drastic design change.
So, with only a few days to go before the arrival of the iPhone 8, what do we know about Apple’s tenth anniversary iPhone that’ll make it a worthy upgrade? Read from start to the finish.
Note: There are many names floating around that the newly-designed iPhone may be called — the iPhone Pro, iPhone X, or iPhone Edition. Until we know for sure on 12th September 2017, I’m going continue referring to this yet-unannounced phone as the iPhone 8, like the whole world has been for over a year now.
Like I mentioned in the intro, the iPhone 8 is going to do away with the aluminium-and-glass construction of iPhones that have prevailed for the past three years. Near-production-quality dummy units that typically are used by case manufacturers to design their accessories suggest a return of the glass back first seen on the iPhone 4 from 2010. Glass may be not as durable as aluminium as it can shatter after a fall, but it sure looks nicer and is crucial in enabling the wireless charging feature. Meaning, it’ll support induction-based Qi wireless charging like many Android phones have over the years. The iPhone 8 is also said to be IP68 rated for water and dust tolerance, which increases the phone’s resistance when submerged than the iPhone 7’s IP67 standard.
The front of the device will almost-entirely be covered by the screen, except for a visible cut-out up top, which typically has been referred to as “the notch”. This notch will house the earpiece, one of the two loudspeakers, front-facing camera and sensors related to face recognition. As you may have realised, the iPhone 8 will be the first iPhone in a decade to ditch the dedicated Home button.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Facial Recognition Test: pic.twitter.com/dVooMPMgfh
— Mel Tajon (@MelTajon) September 2, 2017
The same Home button has also accommodated Touch ID since the iPhone 5s — Apple’s fingerprint authentication feature. Due to the Home button removal, Touch ID is said to be replaced by Face ID on the iPhone 8 — a 3D, infrared-based, depth-sensing facial recognition system that is more foolproof than the easy-to-scam systems available today. It works apparently even when the phone is kept on a desk, and even in pitch darkness. And it’s said to be really fast.
The dummy units have been spotted in three color options — black, silver and “copper gold”. The white-colored front of the latter two models makes the notch very prominent than the black model, on which a black front subtly blends it in. But Apple seems to have embraced the notch as part of the iPhone 8’s aesthetic, with engineers internally referring to the two display cutouts as “ears”. Moving on, the borders of these iPhones are reportedly made out of highly-glossy stainless steel.
The iPhone 8 will house an edge-to-edge display measuring 5.8 inches diagonally. That’s a little bigger than the 5.5-inch display of the iPhone 7 Plus, contained in a form factor that’s roughly the size of the smaller iPhone 7. The display is also said to bear a 2436 x 1125 pixel resolution, making it the most pixel dense iOS device to date (at 462 PPI). This will also be Apple’s first OLED panel used on an iPhone (Apple Watch has had OLED displays for a few years now).
There are two other display technology improvements that are expected with the iPhone 8 — one is True Tone display, which employs additional ambient light sensors to adjust the color of the display depending on the surrounding lighting. The other is ProMotion — first introduced in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the display refresh rate dynamically shifts up to 120Hz, resulting in a noticeably fluid user interface.
3D Touch will be retained, as the pressure-sensing technology has been tightly integrated into iOS and many apps by now. Interestingly, in order to build 3D Touch technology into the new iPhone 8 OLED display, it’s going to cost Apple 150 percent more than previous LCD displays. No wonder the price of this device has been repeatedly said to be higher than typical iPhones (more on that below).
The Apple iPhone 8 expectedly will be powered by the Apple A11 chip. This SoC is said to be made from a 10 nanometer fabrication process, which should bring in performance and efficiency improvements from the previous 14-nanometer A10 chip. Considering this will be Apple’s flagship device, it will have 3GB RAM like the bigger iPhone Plus model of 2017 (previously known as iPhone 7s Plus). That 3GB of RAM is said to be critical for the dual rear cameras to work properly.
Speaking of cameras, the iPhone 8’s two camera lenses at the back are positioned vertically. In all likelihood, it will deliver better photo quality than the iPhone 7 Plus, but the combination of a standard lens and a telephoto lens will the same. Only this time, both the lenses is said to have Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) like the Galaxy Note 8. This means 2x zoomed photos or videos shot in less-than-ideal-conditions will not look crappier than ones shot in 1x.
In terms of video, the bumped up performance of the A11 chip will reportedly enable 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. Both the rear and front-facing camera will also make use of depth-sensing abilities discussed above, supposedly with a laser-based focusing system. These improvements will also help with ARKit, Apple’s framework for Augmented Reality in iOS 11, that’s made waves with developers. Lastly, both cameras are also said to improve automatic scene detection (the internal codename for this feature is ‘SmartCamera’).
In terms of internal storage, being priced higher than typical iPhones, the iPhone 8 is said to start with 64GB storage, with a higher 256GB tier and maybe even a 512GB storage option.
The iPhone 8 is rumored to get a huge battery for its size — an L-shaped 2700mAh unit will power the smartphone. For comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus, which is reasonably bigger than the iPhone 8, has a 2900mAh battery. And while 3000mAh batteries on Android phones are commonplace, historically it is known that iPhones deliver comparable battery life with smaller batteries. So, although the bigger display and newer components may eat up the iPhone 8’s increased power reserve, there’s a good chance this reasonably-sized iPhone will have quite a satisfactory battery life.
The iPhone 8 will run iOS 11 similar to other iPhones in the portfolio (even the discontinued iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 will get the update). But since this handset has radical changes like the absence of a physical home button, we can expect some changes. There are two theories to how Apple will deal with these.
The first is by placing a software home button where the physical one used to be. Also, the navigation buttons in apps typically seen on top will be moved below to either sides of this button for easier access and optimal screen use. The idea makes sense — the Home button has been a consistent navigational experience for iPhone users since the past ten years. So, it would make sense to retain as much of that familiarity as possible.
This is also interesting pic.twitter.com/JdYDhZDkev
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 21, 2017
But the other theory that’s gaining momentum is where Apple does away with the home button entirely, and rather employs swipe gestures to invoke things like multitasking. Reports suggest the experience will be similar to the iPad Dock in iOS 11. There are videos found inside Apple’s mistakenly-outed HomePod firmware that show this behavior. The code also points to actions like invoking Siri being reassigned to the power button on the side.
There have been rumors of the iPhone 8 going for as high as $1400, which is more than double the starting price of new iPhones. But going by the most recent news, it may be not as high. Analysts estimate the iPhone 8 to start at $900 for the 64GB model, with the 256GB variant going for a thousand dollars. Still, this is a lot more than the traditional starting price of $649 and $769 for the Plus-sized model. The other two iPhone 8 variants to be launched alongside will occupy those price slots. They will bear some similarities internally to the $900 iPhone 8, with an appearance similar to last year’s iPhones.
So there you have it — the entire bulk of rumors that provide the most concrete information on the iPhone 8. With less than a week to go for Apple’s September 12 iPhone 8 launch event, make the most of it by theorising the missing pieces in the comments — will Apple go with virtual home button or no home button at all? What happens to all those icons (lock rotate switch, DND mode, etc) on top of today’s iPhones after the notch?