The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are not even three months old at this point, but expectations from its successor — rumored to be called iPhone 8 — are already pretty high. This is largely because Apple managed to get away without a design refresh of the iPhones this year by introducing two new color options. When coupled with the fact that the 2017 iPhone will be launched on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone, it’s no surprise that consumers expect Apple to once again come up with something revolutionary.
Many analysts believe that the iPhone 8 will set a new sales record surpassing the record set by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2014. Considering how smartphone sales have stagnated this clearly shows how high the market and consumer expectations from the iPhone 8 are.
Rumored iPhone 8 Features
While the iPhone 8 is still more than a few months away from even entering into mass production, reports and rumors have given us a good idea of some of the features that it is definitely going to ship with. Let’s have a look at them below.
#5. A11 Chip
With every new iPhone, Apple debuts its new A-series chip thereby setting a new performance benchmark, and the iPhone 8 is not going to be any different. The A11 chip inside the iPhone 8 will be fabricated on TSMC’s 10nm fabrication process, though its other specs remain unknown for now. Apple is likely to continue with its Fusion four-core design that it debuted with the A10 this year, but it’s likely that the company will tweak it further by boosting clock speeds to make it faster and more power efficient thanks to the new fabrication process from TSMC.
The GPU is also going to get a significant performance boost, and we might finally see Apple debut its own custom designed GPU with A11 this year. On paper, the A11’s GPU should offer a similar level of performance as some of the game consoles currently on sale.
#4. New Design
At this point, it’s a given that Apple will be launching the iPhone 8 with an all-new glass design. By the time the iPhone 8 launches in Q3 this year, Apple would have continued using the same design that it first debuted with the iPhone 6 in 2014. Apple usually refreshes the design of the iPhone once every two years, but the company decided to change that cycle last year.
The lack of a new design have already made people excited about the iPhone 8 due to a possible design refresh, and it is among the key reasons as to why expectations from the next iPhone are already pretty high.
It remains to be seen how the iPhone 8 will look, but reports suggest that the handset will come with a bigger screen, no physical home button, and an edge-to-edge display. Since Apple is trying to remove the home button on the iPhone 8, the company is planning to integrate the Touch ID sensor into the display cover glass or the bottom bezel of the handset.
The cumulation of all these changes should lead the iPhone 8 to look very, very different from previous iPhones. In fact, with iPhone 8, Apple is going to give its iPhone lineup a radical design refresh — something like it did with the jump from the iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4.
#3. Wireless Charging
The new glass design on the iPhone 8 is important because it will also allow Apple to offer wireless charging on the iPhone 8. At this point, multiple reports have stated that the iPhone 8 will come with wireless charging. However, it remains to be seen if Apple’s implementation of wireless charging will be truly wireless or not. The company has been working on a long-range wireless charging technology, but it remains to be seen if it is ready for mass production and adoption.
Nonetheless, Apple has already asked its suppliers for wireless charging chips for the next iPhone, with Foxconn reportedly building the charging modules for the handset. It’s unlikely that Apple will bundle the wireless charger with the phone though.
Wireless charging is expected to be available in all the three variants of the iPhone that Apple is planning on launching next year.
#2. OLED Display
While experts have awarded the iPhone 7’s wide color gamut display as the best LCD ever used on a smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7’s AMOLED display is the one that has received the ‘Best Performing Smartphone Display’ award from them.
The problem here is that while Apple wants to use OLED displays on all variants of the iPhone it launches next year, the company might not be able to do so due to supply constraints. Since OLED display manufacturing is relatively new and tough, there are not many suppliers around for it. As things stand right now, Samsung remains the largest OLED display manufacturer, with the company supplying panels to almost every other Android OEM out there. Considering the volume that Apple demands, it is not possible for Samsung alone to fulfil the company’s OLED demand. Additionally, Apple prefers to keep its supply-chain diverse with multiple suppliers so as to avoid any supply constraints. While the company has been looking for OLED suppliers, it has not met with much success as other display makers like LG, Sharp, and JDI are still struggling with poor yield issues in their OLED factories.
#1. Curved OLED display
As mentioned above, the premium Plus model from Apple next year will feature a curved OLED display panel. The panel will be curved on both its edges similar to what we have seen on some of Samsung’s devices like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7. It will be interesting to see if Apple takes advantage of this curved panel to offer some new features or it only uses the curved panel for design purposes. Since OLED panels also have smaller bezels than LCD displays due to the touch controller being integrated into the display, we can possibly see Apple launch the premium Plus iPhone with a larger 5.8-inch screen. However, the touch surface of the display would be smaller at 5.1-5.2-inches — if a note from Kuo is anything to go by, which also hints at the possibility of the next iPhone coming with an all-display front.
The curved OLED panel will automatically set the phone apart from the other two iPhone variants that Apple will launch alongside it. The unique selling point of the handset will also allow Apple to set a higher retail price for the handset thereby translating into fatter profit margins for it.
- While plenty of reports have confirmed that Apple plans on shipping the iPhone 8 with the above features, there are plenty other rumors surrounding the handset that are yet to be confirmed. This includes Apple adding OIS to the secondary telephoto lens on the iPhone 8 for improved performance and a new red color option. Apple is also expected to debut some groundbreaking new AR features on the iPhone 8. However, none of these rumors have been confirmed from credible sources, so until then we should take them with a pinch of salt.
- Since debuting the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, Apple has released two new iPhone models every year. However, the company might change that trend in 2017 and release three new iPhones at once. The first iPhone will be just ‘small’ iPhone 8 that might feature a 5-inch screen instead of a 4.7-inch one. Apple is reported to bring its dual-camera setup to the smaller iPhone next year, though that might not be possible due to space constraints. Then, there will be the Plus variant with a 5.5-inch LCD screen. Finally, there will be a premium Plus model featuring a curved OLED display — similar to Galaxy S7 and Note 7 — that will set it apart from the other two models. The curved panel will allow Apple to use a larger 5.8-inch screen on the device while still keep its dimensions similar to the other iPhones. It is also possible that Apple will keep some other features exclusive to its premium Plus model next year like a new color scheme, but they remain unknown for now.
Apple has always unveiled a new iPhone in the first half of September and followed it up with its release in late September. Until and unless the company hits some major technical snag or supply issues, the iPhone 8 will also be launched in September 2017.
At this point, the iPhone 8 is still in the middle of its development cycle so things are bound to change due to supply or yield issues. Nonetheless, assuming if the iPhone 8 does end up shipping with all the features mentioned above, will you buy the handset? What are your expectations for the iPhone 8? Will a major design upgrade be enough to warrant an update for you? Or are you going to continue using your existing iPhone until Apple launches an iPhone with some truly revolutionary new features?