Trade Resources Industry Views Apple iPhone 8: All The Rumors on Specs, Release Date, Design and Price

Apple iPhone 8: All The Rumors on Specs, Release Date, Design and Price

The iPhone 7 is easily one of the best phones of 2016. It delivers peppy performance, more storage capacity than its predecessors, water resistance, a resilient battery, exceptional cameras (especially the iPhone 7 Plus model) and a host of other terrific features. But despite CEO Tim Cook's prerelease promise that it would provide "things we can't live without," Apple's iPhone 7 is an incremental upgrade. The 2016 phone is more of an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary leap. In fact, with the omission of a headphone jack, one could argue that the iPhone 7 lacks a thing some of us can't live without.

Still, this is just small fries compared to the early rumors that point to next year's iPhone -- the one marking the 10th anniversary of the very first iPhone ever -- as the revolutionary, no-holds-barred model that will once again push the boundaries of what your phone can do for you. Expect the big reveal in the fall of 2017 (early September, if Apple sticks to its usual cycle). Until then, we'll keep track of the rumor frenzy below.

Announcement and release dates
For years, Apple stuck to a pretty regular schedule, reserving major design changes for even-numbered years and leaving lesser "S phone" refreshes for odd-numbered years. So we were due for a total redesign in 2016 but instead we got the iPhone SE -- a minor, midcycle update with particularly modest refinements on the iPhone 5S design -- and the iPhone 7 -- a meaty update under the hood, but with no real redesign.

Except for the missing headphone jack, the iPhone 7 looks identical to an iPhone 6 and 6S. All of this has fueled widespread expectation that Apple will forgo the midcycle "S" refresh in 2017, and offer up a major update -- the "iPhone 8," presumably -- in September 2017. Japanese Apple blog Macotakara reports the 10th anniversary iPhone will in fact be called the iPhone 7S, however, which would be consistent with Apple's convention for models introduced in odd-numbered years.

In fact, the company could release both -- an iPhone 7S, an iPhone 8, and perhaps even a third model, according to veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo suggests that Apple will introduce a 4.7-inch phone with a single-lens camera; a 5.5-inch model with a dual-lens camera; and a high-end model with an OLED display and dual-lens camera in 2017.

There have been rumors about the possibility of an edge-to-edge display since the run up to the iPhone 7, too. And in November 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that the next generation could include a curved OLED screen -- a possibility now echoed by Kuo.

What's in store
After a series of new iPhone devices featuring only minor external tweaks, it's reasonable to wonder if Apple's designers have hit a wall. Have we reached the boundaries of smartphone design, with future innovations confined to bumps in processor speed and battery efficiency? Or do the designers in Cupertino have a dramatic redesign up their collective sleeve for the iPhone 8?

Other companies have taken their phones in some novel directions. Apple's archrival, Samsung, which builds its phones around Google's Android mobile software, has started using curved glass in its designs, giving users an "Edge" where they can read quick notifications. Motorola's Moto Z and Moto Z Force phones have magnetic connections for attachable back plates, cases and modules. LG has toyed with a modular phone concept; its G5 features add-on modules that boost audio and extend battery life.

The WSJ has reported that Apple is considering multiple variations of the next model, so anything is possible. Case in point: there have been rumors about a ceramic body, already seen on the premium Apple Watch Series 2.

Business Insider has reported that Apple is already developing hardware for the iPhone 8 at an office in Israel, with the focus on a design that's "different." One easy way to deliver difference would be to tweak the color, and Japanese Apple blog Macotakara reports that Apple may depart from its recent palette of white, black and mellow metallics to introduce red to the lineup, echoing the iPhone 5C's rainbow of options. Apple is known for its affinity for the color due to its involvement with the (RED) charity, which raises money to combat AIDS, and the partnership has borne out red products in the past.

Home button

Apple made changes to its signature home button with the iPhone 7's solid-state version that doesn't click down. Now, when you rest your finger on top, the phone shivers with haptic feedback to let you know the button's working. (If it stops working, iOS 10 surfaces a temporary on-screen Home button.)

The company could go even further in the future. There are rumors reported by Japanese Mac blog Macotakara and others that Apple's new iPad could ditch the home button altogether and go bezel-less when they hit, possibly in early 2017.

It's also worth noting that Synaptics, which has supplied Apple with LCD technology in the past, has debuted a new optical sensor that can scan a fingerprint through one millimeter of glass. The new sensors, which eliminate the need for cutouts on the display of a device, are scratchproof, waterproof, and respond to wet fingers.

Perhaps the button could become invisible. In 2015, Apple filed a patent for a transparent fingerprint sensor embedded into a smartphone display. With the iPhone 7's new solid-state button, that pressure-sensitive screen and more Siri skills, Apple could decide we just don't need a physical home button anymore. Removing it would also let Apple slim down the top and bottom bezels as well as squeeze a larger screen into the same size body -- so long as it could integrate that Touch ID sensor.

Wireless charging?
Samsung does it, and Apple is starting to, too. The wireless AirPods headphones may have been just the beginning. Next year's iPhone could do away with the last physical wire: the Lightning cable needed for charging. Earlier this year, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz predicted that Apple would reserve this innovation for the iPhone 8; The Verge reported that Apple has been staffing up on wireless-charging experts; and in November, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Foxconn, one of Apple's main manufacturing partners, is making wireless charging modules for the 2017 iPhone. Most recently, veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that the forthcoming 4.7-inch iPhone will come equipped with wireless charging.

The Apple Watch already uses a form of wireless charging. And the Qi standard, embraced by the likes of Samsung, already drives wireless charging stations in thousands of public spaces and 50 models of cars. Those stations are just waiting for an iPhone.


Dual-lens cameras like the one found in the iPhone 7 Plus and other phones aren't just for zoom photos. Two cameras mean depth sensing, 3D and a lot more -- like enabling cool things with augmented reality.

Apple CEO Tim Cook keeps talking up the feature, which can place virtual things in your real-world view, saying it's more important than virtual reality, which immerses you completely in a digital world. It's possible that the next iPhone (or maybe an "iPhone 8 Plus") might have a dual-lens camera that could scan the world and overlay 3D objects onto it with high accuracy.

For a long time, rumors suggested that Apple would give the iPhone a sapphire display, which would offer a higher degree of scratch- and shatter-resistance than the current models' Gorilla Glass. Makes sense, since Apple already uses the material on the higher-end Apple Watch. Sapphire is expensive, though, and Apple won't want to tremendously raise prices in its base model phone. There's definitely a question mark hanging over this one.

There are also murmurs that the next iPhone will be curved. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities has predicted that Apple will introduce a new convex AMOLED display in 2017. That'd be a big change from the LCD screens in today's iPhones -- AMOLED is thinner, lighter, more flexible, and more power efficient. In November 2016, Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu mentioned that the next iPhone would have an OLED screen; of course, Apple hasn't confirmed it.

And in December 2016, South Korean Website ETNews reported that LG might provide foldable displays for Apple (and Google and Microsoft as well). LG has produced unconventional displays -- including prototypes that are curved and ones that fold, both of which leverage flexible OLED technology.

With months to go before an official announcement, we'll keep an eye on how the iPhone 7's static "button," dual-lens Plus camera and absent headphone jack may have set the stage for even bigger changes ahead.

Contribute Copyright Policy