2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple has something major planned to celebrate the occasion. We’ve got several months to go until the launch of the iPhone 8, but because of Apple’s ambitious plans for the device, there are already an abundance of rumors hinting at the impressive features coming in the 2017 iPhone.
Apple is rumored to be testing more than 10 prototype iPhone models, so it’s not entirely clear what we’re going to see, and because there are so many test devices in play, rumors are also conflicting and murky at this time.
Rumors suggest the iPhone 8 will feature a radical redesign, with an edge-to-edge display that does away with the top and bottom bezels where features like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the front-facing camera are housed. Instead, most rumors suggest Touch ID may be built directly into the display, meaning there will be no Home button, but Apple is said to be having trouble implementing Touch ID under the display.
An alleged leaked design schematic has suggested that instead of placing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the glass, it could be located at the back of the iPhone, but it’s not yet clear if this schematic is indicative of the final design of the OLED iPhone as multiple prototypes are being tested.
With an edge-to-edge design, the iPhone 8 may be similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone, but with a display the size of the 5.5-inch iPhone. Rumors suggest it will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable area, with the rest dedicated to virtual buttons that will replace the existing Home button.
The display itself is said to be flexible plastic OLED rather than an LCD, allowing Apple to introduce a thinner device that consumes less power and offers a better display with higher contrast ratio and more true to life colors. It may also feature edges that are curved on both sides like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but rumors are unclear on this point, and it’s looking more like it will have the same slightly curved 2.5D display that’s similar to the display used in the iPhone 7 because Apple suppliers still have difficulty producing more curved displays.
As for the body, rumors suggest Apple is finally going to move away from the aluminum used in the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6s, 7, and SE, instead re-adopting a glass body that’s similar to the body that was used in the iPhone 4. At least one iPhone model coming in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology, and according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the glass will be built around a polished stainless steel frame that’s similar in design to the Apple Watch.
iPhone 8 concept based on alleged leaked design renderings
Like the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 is expected to be water resistant, but it may have an improved IP68 water resistance rating. It will continue to be able to hold up to rain, splashes, and brief submersion in water. One rumor suggested the iPhone 8 could adopt a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port, but later information suggests Apple will stick with the Lightning port in 2017.
Inside, the iPhone 8 is expected to have a 10-nanometer A11 chip that will be both faster and more efficient, plus rumors suggest it could also include features like wireless charging and biometric additions like iris, facial, or gesture recognition. In higher-end models with a dual-lens camera, both lenses are expected to feature optical image stabilization.
The iPhone 8’s front-facing camera may include 3D sensing capabilities that use technology by PrimeSense, allowing it to find the location and depth of objects in front of it, perhaps enabling facial and iris recognition. Rumors suggest Apple is exploring both a vertical rear camera for improved pictures and a dual-camera setup for the front-facing FaceTime camera.
Apple is said to be planning to position the OLED iPhone 8 as a ~5-inch “premium” model that will be sold alongside standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone models with traditional LCD screens.
All three models may include faster A11 processors, glass bodies and wireless charging (though rumors disagree on this point), but it is unclear if the two LCD models will feature the same edge-to-edge display rumored for the higher-end device and what differentiating features will be included. Rumors suggest the OLED iPhone is going to be pricy, with multiple rumors referring to it as “premium” and one rumor suggesting it could sell for upwards of $1,000, which is a good deal more expensive than previous iPhones. Other rumors don’t quite agree, though, so it could be closer in price to the iPhone 7 Plus.
Given the radical design changes Apple plans to introduce in the OLED iPhone, rumors have been suggesting there will be serious supply constraints. Apple may introduce the ~5-inch OLED iPhone at a September event alongside the standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices, but there’s a chance it won’t be released until one or two months after its introduction. Alternatively, it may be available in small numbers, with the majority of people unable to get their hands on it until the first quarter of 2018.