Every single year, the Apple‘s next generation iPhone will be the spotlight of the whole tech industry. The hype goes through the roof this year with the 10th Anniversary iPhone coming out. There are tons of rumors around the Internet months before the product launch, but what do we actually know about the new iPhone?
iPhone models and their names
According to most of the sources, there will be 3 models of iPhone appearing in September 2017. Two of them will be the updated versions of the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The other one will be the long-waited “iPhone 8” with a overhauled design.
For the names, the two normal versions may stick to calling them iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. However, the new iPhone’s name is still not yet confirmed. It is confusing for Apple to launch both iPhone 7s/7s Plus and 8 at the same year. There are rumors that the new iPhone may be called the iPhone X or iPhone Edition, because of its 10th Anniversary or being a higher end product.
The iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will generally have a same design of its predecessors with some slightly tweaked styling. They will have the same 4.7 and 5.5 inch display. Some rumors may suggest a glass back panel for the 7s and 7s Plus, but there is no other reputable analysts to support this. Also, this will make the design too similar to the iPhone 8.
The iPhone 8 will not use aluminium anymore this year. It will be having two glass panels on both top and bottom with a stainless steel mid-frame. The whole device will be a little thicker than the iPhone 7. The mid-frame will be polished, while the glass will be curved at the edge. This will make the whole phone looks like a single piece of glass. Moreover, there will be no home button at the front, which will be replaced by a edge-to-edge display.
The iPhone 8 will have a giant 5.8 inch OLED display made by Samsung. There will not be any physical button on the front. The OLED display is going to cover to whole front on the phone, while having the cutout at the top for the required sensors. In iOS 11 beta, the status bar shows evidence of this design. Because of the obstruction of the sensors, the original signal indicator occupies too much space. It changes back to a shorter four-line indicator in iOS 11.
Thanks to the edge-to-edge display, the iPhone 8 will have a ridiculously high screen-to-body ratio of over 90%. It will have a similar usable display area of a iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inch display), while maintaining the physical size of a iPhone 7 (4.7 inch display). A online shopping website, MobileFun, has the iPhone 8 full cover screen protector available for pre-order, supporting the above design.
It is also expected to be a True Tone display featuring ProMotion, which adapts to the colour temperature of the environment and can have refresh rates up to 120 Hz.
Sensors and Cameras
Due to the massive display, there is no place to put both the front-facing camera, ambient and proximity sensors, and the Touch ID home button on the front.
iPhone 8 is rumored to have a dual-lens front-facing camera with 3D depth-sensing technology. The camera is paired with an additional laser sensor and a infra-red sensor. This whole camera system may introduce a new form of biometric authentication by 3D modelling the user’s head, similar to facial recognition. All these sensors and cameras will be sitting on the top with a small, wide cutout on the screen.
For the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, it is still not clear on which will be the final design.
- Touch ID sensor embedded under the display (Unlikely)
- Touch ID sensor relocated to other places
- No Touch ID sensor at all
Most sources say Apple would like to embed the Touch ID sensor underneath the display to create a more seamless and futuristic design, but the manufacturing process is difficult to perfect for mass production. Apple is working hard to eliminate the issue. The other option is to put the sensor on the power button or the back.
As more leaked iPhone 8 schematics and mock-ups appear, the power button on the iPhone 8 is surprisingly longer than older iPhone. This may suggest that the Touch ID sensor can be located under the button if the embedded sensor is not performing up to Apple’s standard.
iPhone 8’s main camera is still a dual-lens system. The orientation of the camera is switched to vertical for better depth-of-field detection when in landscape mode. The new camera is expected to be AR-kit compatible, as well as VR capabilities.
Of course, the new iPhone will be the most powerful iPhone ever made. It is believed that the iPhone 8 will be using the new A11 Apple-designed 10 nm SoC, equipped with 3GB of RAM. The A11 chip is reported to be produced by TSMC exclusively. Apple is already using the new 10 nm process on the iPad Pros’ A10X SoC, which is expect to use on the new chip for iPhone 8.
A new “Neural Engine” co-processor may be equipped on the iPhone 8. This dedicated chip is rumored to perform Artificial Intelligence (AI) tasks, such as Siri or facial recognition. Offloading these tasks from the A11 will increase efficiency and improve battery life.
The iPhone 8 is also rumored to use both a stacked motherboard and a L-shaped battery to save space. This will reduce the overall length of the motherboard. The new battery will make use of the extra space. The battery will be manufactured like to multiple-cell battery on normal laptops, which connects two or more batter cells to each other to form a complete package. Pairing the shorter motherboard with the new L-shaped battery, it may outlast the similar-sized iPhone 7 in battery life.
The latest rumor suggests iPhone 8 to have about 2700 mAh for the battery, only 200 mAh less than the iPhone 7 Plus.
Wireless and Fast Charging
The iPhone 8 will finally get wireless charging. It is not possible for previous aluminum iPhones, because wireless charging cannot work through metal. The new iPhone 8 is using a glass back which is suitable for wireless charging. MAKS+ posted a sound track on YouTube that a new unused sound effect is found in iOS 11 beta. This may probably be the activation sound when you are using wireless charging.The iPhone 8 may not be using the full potential of the Qi 1.2 standard (15W of charging power). It can only charge at 7.5W (5V, 1.5A).
Rumors also suggests fast charging through USB-C is supported by the iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 will still use lightning port, but it can support a 10W USB-C wall adapter for charging, similar to those new MacBook chargers.
Updated: The iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus and the iPhone 8 are expected to be announced on 12 September 2017.
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