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, rumors suggest Touch ID will either be built into the display or eliminated entirely in favor of facial recognition technology. Either way, there will be no physical Home button on the iPhone 8 and no bezels aside from a small area for the front-facing camera.
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 will feature a slightly curved 2.5D display that’s similar to the display used in the iPhone 7.
As for the body, rumors suggest Apple is finally moving away from the aluminum used in the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6s, 7, and SE, and will instead adopt 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.
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, and that water resistance has been confirmed by an Apple supplier and may extend to all iPhone models being released 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 induction-based wireless charging and biometric additions like facial recognition that would be used for device security, perhaps to replace Touch ID. 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 will include advanced 3D sensing capabilities that use technology by PrimeSense, allowing it to find the location and depth of objects in front of it, enabling facial and iris recognition. Rumors suggest Apple will use a vertical rear camera for improved pictures and better AR functionality, along with 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. To mark its status as an elite model, the iPhone 8 may be available in a limited number of colors. The iPhone 8 is expected to cost as much as $1,000, which is a good deal more expensive than previous iPhones.
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.