Details of Apple’s upcoming smartphones are some of the most prized and best-kept secrets in tech. The 2017 release will be a special one, falling on the 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone. The world will be watching to see if the company can revive the industry it helped build and reestablish its innovative edge after last year’s mostly underwhelming MacBook Pro launch.
Rumors and leaks for the upcoming iPhone—casually referred to as the iPhone X or iPhone 8—started months ago. Here’s everything we know so far.
iPhone 8 rumors
We still don’t know for sure what the next iPhone will be called. If Apple continues its naming conventions, we should see the 7s and 7s Plus. But the general consensus among tech publications and leakers is that Apple will skip its s-variant for the 10th anniversary iPhone and go straight to iPhone 8.
The biggest indicator of that change is a report from Business Insider that says Apple is creating its next phone in Israel. The report claims workers there used the term “iPhone 8” unprompted when speaking to the publication.
Adding to the complexity, Apple will likely offer a number of different iPhone versions with varying screen sizes and specifications, as it has done in the past. MacRumors says 10 prototypes are being tested currently, so the waters are still a bit murky when it comes to confirming anything about the devices.
Forbes says Apple will release three phones: a premium edition 10th anniversary iPhone 8 and two modestly upgraded iPhone 7s and 7s Plus versions.
The latest predictions published on Mac Rumors agree that Apple will release three phones in the fall, to the tune of 80 million units across all three lines. According to one suggestion, the updated LCD models will ship first, with the new OLED model to follow in October and November, just in time for the holidays. Furthermore, the OLED model might be sold in fewer colors than its LCD counterparts.
iPhone 8 display
A report from TrendForce says the upcoming iPhone will feature a large 5.8-inch display in a frame the size of an iPhone 7. The same report says the company is preparing two smaller versions, which will feature 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens. There are also reports of another 5-inch device launching later this year.
iPhone 8 rendering shows bezel free display covering the entire device
Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities (considered the best Apple analyst on the planet by some) says the “iPhone 8” will have a pixel density of 521 PPI, and a screen resolution of 2436×1125 for the home screen area. That would make the iPhone X’s raw pixel count twice that of the iPhone 6, 6s, or 7.
Kuo predicted in July that the full-screen design of the iPhone X will eschew the familiar home button for a virtual one, perhaps favoring facial-recognition technology over the Touch ID system.
Kuo’s forecast checks out with details discovered in the HomePod firmware leak. The code suggests Apple could do away with Touch ID entirely and instead rely on 3D face-scanning, or what’s nicknamed “Pearl ID” in the firmware. The new feature will reportedly be able to accurately scan someone’s face even when the phone is lying flat on a table and will work as payment verification for Apple Pay.
In March, JPMorgan distributed an analysis of the iPhone 8 (which it calls the “iPhone Pro”) to its clients. The firm said the phone will feature an edge-to-edge OLED display in a compact form factor. Rod Hall of JPMorgan wrote that the”iPhone Pro” would feature a 5.85-inch display in a frame the size of most 5.5-inch devices. Apple reportedly looked into making the rumored 5.1-inch display the same size as a 4.7-inch phone but decided against it.
In April, iDrop News claimed a source at Foxconn (the Chinese company that makes Apple’s iPhones) confirmed several of the above details. The anonymous employee said the phone would feature 4mm bezels around the entire edge of the device, a contoured front and back glass panel, and a 5.8-inch OLED display in the frame of an iPhone 7.
Here is a concept image of the described iPhone 8:
Other reports echo that the new device will feature a curved OLED display supplied by either Sharp or Samsung. That would mean every pixel in the screen receives its own illumination for deeper black levels, higher contrast ratios, and greater viewing angles, among other benefits.
In May, BGR claimed to have obtained the “world’s first look at Apple’s final iPhone 8 design,” which it says are based on final schematics leaked from the factories that will build the iPhone 8. The mockup device has glass panels on both its front and back. Its sides are made of stainless steel.
The back features an oversized camera bump with a vertical lens orientation, and there are no signs of either a headphone jack or fingerprint sensor.
A video claiming to show a non-functional “dummy” version of the iPhone 8 was posted to YouTube in May. It received more than 1 million views after just two days online. The phone shown in the 10-second clip contains a number of rumored design elements, including a vertical camera bump.
Benjamin Geskin, the mobile leaker who posted the video, said in the comments that the upcoming device will be made of glass and stainless steel. He also claims the iPhone 8 will support wireless charging, and feature 3D-sensing cameras with face scan.
Rumors and renders continue to flood the internet as we move closer to Apple’s official unveiling. In July, Forbes posted renders it claims are based on CAD files for the iPhone 8 obtained through the Apple supply chain. It worked with Nodus, a smartphone accessory company that sells iPhone cases, to retrieve the files.
The renderings show a device with several rumored features, including a vertically oriented dual-lens camera setup, edge-to-edge screen, and 5.8-inch OLED display. Like the Galaxy S8, the top of the display will allegedly feature cutouts for the front-facing camera and multiple sensors. On the back, Forbes claims the shift to a new vertical camera setup is to support Apple’s “big drive” into augmented reality.
The biggest revelation in the iPhone 8 images is the oversized home button found on the right side of the device. Several reports claim Apple is having a tough time integrating Touch ID into the iPhone 8’s display. It may choose to copy Sony and put the fingerprint sensor into the side power button instead. As Forbes notes, Apple has already been granted a patent for that setup.
Other details are not so surprising. Forbes says the lightning port will remain on the iPhone 8, with no plans from Apple to switch to USB-C. It will also not include a headphone jack.
According to Forbes, fears that Apple would shift its iPhone 8 development to a “plan B” because of setbacks are “unfounded.”
A few weeks later, another iPhone 8 design tease was leaked after an iOS developer got hold of firmware for the HomePod, Apple’s Siri-enabled smart speaker. The iOS 10.0.2 firmware included an image of what many analysts believe is the iPhone 8.
The image looks more like a Twitter icon than anything, but the actual shape of the phone is similar to the one in the Forbes render. Gone is the home button, and in its place appears to be an edge-to-edge display.
A video surfaced allegedly showing an iPhone 8 in action a week before Apple’s official unveiling.
It’s difficult to make out the device because of the poor lighting, and some users cast doubt on its validity due to the blurriness, but the unsightly notch at the top of the screen suggests an edge-to-edge display similar to what’s found on the Essential Phone.
iPhone 8 speakers
Audiophiles already took issue with Apple for ditching the headphone jack, and current rumors won’t make them any happier.
TechRadar found a patent filed back in November 2014 for a “mechanically actuated panel acoustic system.” The name isn’t as relevant as its purpose: to shrink down the size of the speakers.
There are a couple of red flags here. First, Apple files hundreds of patents every year, many of which never see the light of day. Second, even if the feature ends up making it to the next iPhone, a smaller speaker doesn’t necessarily mean worse sound. It more likely means less output, but even that is dependent on a number of components.
Another rumor is that the iPhone 8’s speakers will be “invisible.” We can’t think of a single phone with speakers that visible, but a new patent, titled “Electronic devices having displays with openings,” describes a phone with electronic components like the speakers placed underneath the screen instead of on the corners of the device.
Kuo’s July predictions suggested that Apple will tweak the output power of the speakers to improve the stereo quality of the phone.
iPhone 8 headphone jack
Don’t expect Apple to reintroduce the headphone jack. If current rumors are to be believed, Apple is doing all it can to shrink down the size of its phone and offer a favorable screen-to-body ratio. Smartphones from other manufacturers are already following Apple’s lead by nixing the 3.5mm input and optimizing for wireless audio.
iPhone 8 specs and processor
The iPhone X will almost certainly feature a new Apple-designed processor, perhaps the A10X or A11. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the independent foundry that manufactured Apple’s A9 and A10 chips, are said to be producing new 10nm chips for the next release, according to Digitimes.
We haven’t seen any benchmark leaks, but expect the new processor to be more powerful and efficient than the previous—and among the fastest in the world.
When it comes to memory and storage, the upcoming smartphone is rumored to feature 3GB of RAM and two storage sizes of 64GB and 256GB. It’s important we emphasize these specs have not been confirmed by Apple, but we certainly hope the strange omission of a 128GB version wouldn’t be to force people to shell out for the max storage amount.
We agree with TechRadar’s prediction that the “iPhone 8” should pack either 3 or 4GB of RAM. Anything less would be a disappointment, while anything more would be surprising (and probably restrictively expensive).
Illustration by Jason Reed (Fair Use)
iPhone 8 software
The iPhone X launch will likely coincide with the introduction of iOS 11. According to Israel-based technology blog, the Verifier, Apple is reportedly going to introduce group video chat for FaceTime in its next software update.
The new operating system is also rumored to feature a dark mode and a new video application that will be similar to Snapchat and focus more on social networking.
iPhone 8 cameras
The front-facing camera is said to include three modules to create 3D sensing capabilities, which would allow it to determine the depth of objects in front of it, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The technology could be used for multi-factor verification via iris or retina scanning, as well as 3D face-scanning for augmented and virtual reality purposes. Apple hasn’t been shy showing off the iPhone 7’s Portrait Mode, and this rumored feature could help enable similar functionality on the front snapper.
Rumors of an IR sensor for facial recognition got a boost in late July when firmware for Apple’s HomePod smart speaker leaked. The documents reference infrared facial recognition technology for an upcoming Apple smartphone.
The firmware points to a “Pearl” infrared capture on the front-facing camera, which could theoretically enable more reliable authentication compared to the traditional method of relying on light through a camera lens.
Not much is being said about the main camera, except that the 12-megapixel dual lenses will reappear. This time both will feature optical image stabilization, which should help wide-angle, low-light photography and video quality. Speaking of video quality, the August HomePod firmware leak suggests the iPhone 8 will record in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, twice that of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The camera could also include a depth sensor for better selfies and augmented reality content creation. And then there’s a feature called “SmartCam,” which will reportedly adjust camera settings based on a scene it detects.
The rear camera may also come with 3D effects software. It may also come with 3D effects software for facial recognition and added camera functionality. The analysis by JPMorgan strengthens the 3D-scanning rumors and says the phone will also include a “structured-light augmented” main camera that will allow for re-focusing of an image after a photo has been taken.
Apple is reportedly working on a 3D laser system for the rear camera of its iPhone 8, a “source with knowledge of the situation” told Fast Company.
The source claims the anniversary flagship phone will use a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) to give its camera better depth detection. This would help it produce higher-quality content for ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality framework.
The specialized system can calculate the distance light travels from the source of the laser to the target and back to the sensor. It could theoretically make AR feel more lifelike by capturing more detailed, accurate information about the depth of an environment.
The laser system would also theoretically provide more accurate autofocus for taking pictures. The report says the feature will be added to either the upcoming iPhone 8 this year or a 2018 iPhone, depending on the progress made by Apple engineers. Fast Company’s source says the entire laser unit would cost around $2 per phone. If the report is true, the laser could provide the foundation for the phone’s headline feature.
CEO Tim Cook spoke to Bloomberg in June about his vision for AR: “We’re building it into iOS 11, opening it to developers—and unleashing the creativity of millions of people. Even we can’t predict what’s going to come out. I am so excited about it, I just want to yell out and scream.”
iPhone 8 features
The Touch ID fingerprint sensor—if it’s included at all—will reportedly be built into the display itself. A similar rumor has been surrounding the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8, but latest reports say it didn’t prove reliable enough to ship in time.
While most renders leading up to Apple’s announcement point to the fingerprint sensor being either integrated into the display or on an oversized side power button, an alleged leak of the iPhone 8 shell has Apple users worried.
Posted on Chinese social media site Baidu and discovered by Slashleaks in July, an image of an alleged iPhone 8 implies its Touch ID sensor will be on the back of the device. We’re pretty skeptical on this one, but there is reason to be worried if Apple can’t figure out how to embed the sensor into its display.
iDrop News’s alleged Foxconn source said Apple is prototyping two iPhone 8s: one with the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device, and a fancier version with it hiding under the screen.
One of the standout features said to be included in the new iPhone is wireless charging, a technology used by competitors since 2012. The traditional wireless method requires you to place your phone on top of a wired charging pad, but rumors suggest Apple wants wireless charging.
For that, the company would turn to Energous, a company that uses radio frequencies to transmit “energy packets” to any wireless device up to 15 feet away. It’s a similar idea to this incredible room Disney Researchers created.
Energous recently announced a deal to develop components for Dialog Semiconductor, an Apple chip supplier. Interesting, yes, but best not to get ahead of ourselves.
We’ve also seen from an analyst note, obtained by 9to5Mac, that all models of the iPhone X may come with the more traditional method of wireless charging. Other rumors suggest Apple is testing a virtual reality headset, and a separate report says it may come with augmented reality features.
BGR also said the iPhone will come with traditional wireless charging support, according to “multiple independent reports from sources with solid track records,” and therefore allow you to charge your phone and play music at the same time (though I’d argue it’s a pretty terrible solution, if one at all).
A user of Chinese social giant Weibo claiming to be a Foxconn employee leaked images allegedly showing the inside of an iPhone 8.
The photo shows what appears to be a wireless charging component and large L-shaped battery, raising hope for QI compatibility and longer single-charge runtime.
Other rumors suggest Apple is testing a virtual reality headset, and a separate report says it may come with augmented-reality features.
On Aug. 14, a video surfaced showing more than a dozen alleged Foxconn workers cleaning the shell of what uploader Slashleaks claims is the iPhone 8.
As you can see, the device is mounted on a rod that lets workers spin it as they clean. If you pause the video at certain points (0:00, 0:06, and 0:09) you can clearly see a vertical camera cutout similar to what we’ve seen in other iPhone 8 renderings, like the one from Forbes. Unfortunately, the poor video quality and bad lighting make it hard to discern anything else about the phone’s hardware, like if there’s a headphone jack or speaker grills.
iPhone 8 release date
The most important thing you need to know about the upcoming iPhone is also one of the most certain. If Apple follows its reliable timeline, the iPhone 8 will be released in September 2017. The iPhone 6 and 6s were announced on Sept. 9, while the iPhone 7 debuted on Sept. 7. Perhaps this year it will be September 8 for iPhone 8 or September 10 as a nod to its 10th anniversary?
In April, new reports surfaced saying the iPhone 8 would be announced in September and released later in the year. The flagship phone could get pushed back a month or two past its expected September release date due to problems with its curved OLED screen and 3D-sensing technology, according to a Chinese report by . A similar timeline was given by analyst Brian White of investment banking firm Drexel Hamilton.
In June, investment banking firm RBC Capital Markets reported in an investor’s note that supply chain data points suggest the OLED model of the iPhone 8 will be delayed one to two months into the October/November timeframe. The firm still expects Apple to release three phones in September, but it anticipates the OLED versions to either see limited or delayed availability. As a result, RBC lowered Apple’s Q4 earnings by around 2.5 million units each. It does expect that loss to be recuperated in the first quarter of 2018.
Apple is reportedly planning to hold its annual iPhone launch event on Sept. 12, according to a late-August report from the Wall Street Journal. That date sets up nicely with previous releases. The Journal says Apple will release three phones: a pricier iPhone 8 and two other devices more like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
It’s official. In late August, Apple sent out invites for its “special event” on Sept. 12, when it’s expected to unveil the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 and two iPhone 7S models. The reveal will be the first inside the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new “spaceship” campus.
iPhone 8 price
None of the rumored specs above suggest Apple has plans to reduce the price of its flagship products. The new curved OLED screen with fingerprint scanning built-in would be particularly expensive. A number of rather reliable sources, including JPMorgan, have said these features could push the price of the iPhone range to over $1,000 for the first time ever. JPMorgan said Apple may opt for a higher price to control demand given the number of users wanting to upgrade this cycle.
Goldman Sachs echoed those predictions in a research note discovered by Business Insider. “We expect the iPhone 8 to have 128GB and 256GB models priced at $999 and $1,099, respectively,” said Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski.
In August, the New York Times weighed in, saying “people briefed on the product” claim a premium iPhone model will go on sale at around $999.
Those prices would make the iPhone 8 $130 more expensive than the most expensive iPhone.
In early September, notorious leaker Benjamin Geskin posted prices for the upcoming iPhone 8 that seemed to confirm speculation about a big price tag.
As you can see, the 512GB version could cost up to $1,200. However, a day later, analysts at UBS said there will only be two storage options, and that the 64GB model will cost $900 while the 256GB will go for $1,000, according to Business Insider.