For the iPhone 8, Apple is planning to move away from the aluminum body that it's been using since 2012 in an effort to differentiate the new iPhone from the devices that have come before it. Apple is expected to instead re-adopt the glass-backed body last used for the iPhone 4s. Glass is more fragile and heavier than aluminum, but many advances have been made in glass technology and materials like Gorilla Glass are sturdier than ever, which may help prevent breakage.
Multiple rumors have suggested there will be three versions of the iPhone: a "premium" OLED model and two standard LCD devices, with sizes that may include 4.7, 5.8 inches (OLED), and 5.5 inches. While one model (the high-end OLED device) will feature a glass body, rumors disagree on what the other two models will be made from.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has shared several accurate rumors about Apple's design plans in the past, all three iPhones will feature the same glass-bodied design, with glass instead of aluminum used for the body of the device. Kuo also believes a stainless steel frame will be used in the higher-end iPhone, while less expensive models may get an aluminum frame. , a site that often has knowledge of Apple's plans, has confirmed Apple's plans to use steel-framed glass for the OLED iPhone.
Japanese site also believes Apple will use glass for all three of the iPhones that are in development, but other sources have suggested only one -- the OLED model -- will have a glass body, while others continue to use an aluminum body.
The CEO of Apple supplier Catcher Technology, Allen Horng, has said "only one model" will adopt a glass casing in 2017, suggesting other non-glass iPhones are in the works, but Apple supplier Wistron has implied all three will feature wireless charging, necessitating glass bodies. Japanese site has suggested Apple will sell a 4.7 and 5.5-inch aluminum "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7 Plus" with a design that's largely unchanged from the iPhone 7 with the exception of a new red color option, and DigiTimes predicts a 4.7-inch "iPhone 7s" with an aluminum body to be sold alongside a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone with a glass body and a 5.5-inch model of an unspecified material.
There are two possible outcomes based on the rumors we're hearing: Either we get three iPhones with glass bodies and wireless charging, with extra features to set the OLED model apart from the standard models, or we get a single OLED model with a glass body sold alongside two standard aluminum devices, which may or may not have wireless charging. Most rumors point towards the first scenario.
Size wise, while the OLED iPhone will use a larger display panel because it includes no bezels, it may be similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone, so it's reasonable to picture the iPhone 8 as an iPhone 7 with a screen that spans from edge to edge.
Rumors have varied on what we can expect as far as color options go. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often reliably predicts Apple's plans, all three of the new iPhones -- the 5.8-inch "iPhone 8" and the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus -- will come in just three colors: gold, silver, and black. An iPhone 8 dummy image has also been circulating on Chinese social networks depicting the device in three colors, but the gold is more of a copper shade so it's not entirely clear if this is an accurate representation of the colors we can expect to see when Apple's new devices launch.
According to a Foxconn insider, this copper gold shade is officially known as "Blush Gold" and will be one of the three colors available for the iPhone 8.
The iPhone 8 may feature an IP68 water resistance rating, an improvement over the IP67 certification earned by the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Like the Galaxy S7, which is also IP68 certified, the iPhone 8 might be able to withstand 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes while also offering full dust protection.
That means it will continue to hold up to splashes and brief immersion in water, but customers should still make an effort to avoid water as Apple's iPhone 7 warranty does not cover water damage and it's likely the iPhone 8 warranty will also exclude water damage.
Apple supplier Wistron accidentally leaked information on the iPhone's water resistance. In an interview, a Wistron executive implied that at least one iPhone model would be "waterproof" and would support wireless charging. Because Wistron is manufacturing the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus rather than the iPhone 8, the exec was likely referring to the iPhone 7 Plus, but a feature coming to the iPhone 7 Plus will undoubtedly extend to the other two iPhone models expected in 2017.
No Home Button
There will be no physical Home button on the iPhone 8 because it has an edge-to-edge display, but there may also be no virtual Home button, with Apple moving away from the single button concept all together.
Instead, the iPhone 8 might rely entirely on touch-based gesture controls for navigating to the Home screen and activating the App Switcher. iPhone 8 users may need to drag up a "thin bar" from the bottom of the screen to open the device to the Home screen and to get to features like the App Switcher and the Control Center. Inside an app, a swipe upwards brings up the multitasking interface for switching apps and closing the current app.
The multitasking interface itself has been redesigned to look like a series of standalone cards rather than a stacked deck of cards as on other iPhones. Mockups of the concept have been shared by graphic designer Olivier Charavel, with a dock and a thin line below it displayed on the iPhone's screen.
This control method is similar to how the Dock works on the iPad. A single swipe brings up the dock and a longer swipe opens up an App Switcher.