The iPhone 7 has only been on sale for a while, but all we seem to be hearing are rumours about the iPhone 8. We think Apple might well be holding back some major updates and improvements for the iPhone 8, which will be launched on the 10th anniverary of the first iPhone. Here we round up the rumours about the iPhone 8 release date, price, features and specifications. See also: Best phones 2016.
Hang on a minute, shouldn't the next iPhone be the iPhone 7s? It still could be. Rumours suggest there will be three new iPhones, two of which are the expected iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models. The third would be the flagship, and 10th anniversary, iPhone '8'. We'd be surprised if Apple goes for that naming convention, and other rumours say it could even be called simply The iPhone, or iPhone Pro, but for now we'll stick to calling the 2017 iPhone the iPhone 8.
Latest updates: Here's a summary of the latest rumours, which could - as ever - turn out to be false:
- There will be three phones, including one codenamed 'Ferrari' (i.e. the anniversary iPhone)
- The main logic board will be in two pieces instead of the traditional one
- Apple may move the SIM tray to the bottom edge (this could be to allow room for other internal components or to include a Smart Connector)
- Wireless charging is very likely to feature, and could even have long range, up to 15ft away
- A glass back may be used instead of metal to facilitate wireless charging
- Quick charging will be supported when using a cable
- New speaker design could make the phone the thinnest ever
- It will have a 'borderless' OLED screen from Samsung - read more.
- The home button won't be physical, but will be under or built into the screen
- Laser sensor for gesture recognition - read more.
Wondering what colours the iPhone 8 will come in? We might have an answer for you - read more.
iPhone 8 release date rumours: When is the iPhone 8 coming out?
iPhone 8 UK release date: September 2017 (TBC)
Although ages away, we can fairly confidently predict the iPhone 8 release date. Assuming the annual September announcement tradition continues, the iPhone 8 release date will be in September 2017. However, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone launch, so we wouldn't be too surprised if Apple mixed things up a bit (it launched the SE - pictured below - in March).
It's not necessarily going to be called the iPhone 8, of course, but that's the name we're using to keep things simple.
iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, iPhone X or something else? What will the iPhone in 2017 be called?
It seems the name may have been confirmed with an Apple employee referring to the new device by the name 'iPhone 8' unprompted when speaking to Business Insider. However, there is another suggestion as Apple Insider claims that Apple could call this year's iPhone the iPhone X.
As we've mentioned, the iPhone for 2017 is slightly harder to predict because it will mark a big anniversary for the smartphone.
The latest rumours are that Apple will release three new iPhone models as part of the main lineup. This could well be the 'S' versions of the 7 and 7 Plus, and the extra 'iPhone 8', an even more premium flagship with 'revolutionary' features.
The Wall Street Journal says: "Apple plans bigger design changes for 2017, the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Those changes could include an edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen and eliminating the home button by building the fingerprint sensor into the display, according to people familiar with the matter.
"At a meeting with an Apple executive, one of the company’s China-based engineers asked why this year’s model [the iPhone 7] lacked a major design change in keeping with Apple’s usual two-year cycle. The answer, one person at the meeting recalled, was that the new technology in the pipeline will take time to implement. People familiar with the matter said some features that Apple hopes to integrate into iPhones, such as curved screens, weren’t ready for this year’s models," it added.
If Apple follows the usual pattern, the iPhone 7 that launched this year will be followed by the iPhone 7S in 2017. The fact that it's 10 years since the original iPhone means this could all go out the window. Apple will want to do something special to celebrate the occasion so an 'S' model, which usually just brings small tweaks, won't suffice.
It's pretty much anyone's guess at the moment, hence, we're calling the 2017 model the iPhone 8 at the moment but it's perfectly plausible that the new phone won't conform to the traditional naming system at all. The iPhone SE (special edition) is already a thing, so perhaps Apple will go with 'iPhone Pro', iPhone Anniversary Edition' or even just 'iPhone' - although naming the iPad 3 as 'the new iPad' didn't go down too well.
A report from Nikkei suggested that in 2017 there would be three new iPhone models. It sounded as though we were in for the usual 4.7- and 5.5in models (the regular and Plus), plus a third new 'Pro' model with a 5.5in or above curved screen. Its source said the screen would be "bent on the two sides" making it sound like a Galaxy Note 7 rival. Of course, this didn't happen with the iPhone 7, though it doesn't mean we won't see a curved-screen iPhone 8.
Vote in our poll to let us know what you think Apple will name the iPhone next year.
iPhone 8 price
We're speculating for now, of course, as the iPhone 7 has only recently gone on sale. Whether Apple will introduce a price increase for the potentially special iPhone 8 is anyone's guess. However, the iPhone 7 price jumped up to £599 in the UK thanks to Brexit and we hope that it will stay the same with next year's anniversary model. However, in light of the latest leaks which suggest there will be three new iPhones, the 'anniversary' model could be an ultra-premium device that could cost more than any iPhone yet. We will just have to wait and see.
Although one analyst predicts the iPhone 8 to be the best selling model ever - with up to 150m sales - another is worried that following the anniversary edition, Apple will see a possible 10 year slump afterwards.
iPhone 8 specs and new features
If Apple does indeed do something special for the iPhone's 10th anniversary, which is ever more likely from all the leaks, the iPhone 8 will be one which fans will no doubt want to upgrade to on launch day. Could we see the biggest queues ever?
A combination of design and hardware changes will make the iPhone 8 the most radical new iPhone to date, if we are to go by the rumours and leaks.
Many reports are suggesting that there could be a third iPhone 8 model beyond the usual two. This more 'premium' option will be even bigger, touted at 5.8in, with a curved OLED screen. However, this may be no bigger than the current iPhone 7 Plus which is 5.5in due to the expected bezel-less design. Via MacRumours. Also, the Korean Herald reported that a source confirmed that Apple has ordered the curved screens from Samsung and that - like the screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge - it will be made from plastic and not glass. Typically glass is only used for flat screens, so this is not too surprising.
There are yet more rumours on the possibility of a 5.8in iPhone with a 'wraparound' OLED screen that has embedded sensors. Apple Insider suggests it could be the iPhone X and feature a laser sensor for things like gesture recognition.
Apple has partnered with LG in the past for iPhone displays, but LG is reportedly working on a foldable screen which it's aiming to provide to Apple in 2018.
Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who collaborated on the above info, has now said the third OLED iPhone will have a screen size of 5.1- or 5.2in rather than something bigger than the normal Plus model.
According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, Apple is asking suppliers to make a screen better than Samsung, telling them to "submit prototype screens with better resolution than ones from Samsung". This means the iPhone 8 will have a resolution higher than Quad HD which is 2560x1440, a big jump from the iPhone 7.
There is yet more weight to the possibility of the iPhone 8 getting an OLED screen. Multinational banking company JP Morgan has come across a purchase order in Apple's most recent Securities and Exchange Commission which is thought to be for OLED panels. The order extends for a year and is valued at around $4bn.
We wanted to bring your attention to a phone which might provide a glimpse of what the iPhone 8. Xiaomi has announced the Mi Mix which is, let's face it, a stunning device. It looks like the first of a new category of phones with it's 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio, according to the firm.
A Facebook post by Robert Scoble - a well-known tech strategist - reveals new details about the next iPhone. In the lengthy post Scoble claims to have been told that it will be "a clear piece of glass... which will put holograms on top of the real world like Microsoft HoloLens does". He also says the phone will have an OLED screen and that Apple has 600 engineers working on a next-generation 3D sensor and that the phone will have eye sensors. These will bring "a new kind of interface". He also says that you'll "pop it into a headset which has eye sensors on it, which enables the next iPhone to have a higher apparent frame rate and polygon count than a PC with a Nvidia 1080 card in it."
Plus, he says that new sources revealed we can "expect battery and antennas to be hidden around the edges of the screen, which explains how Apple will fit in some of the pieces even while most of the chips that make up a phone are in a pack/strip at the bottom of the phone."
These sound like ridiculous predictions, especially the part about the phone being transparent - battery tech is not yet good enough to make one small enough to "hide" - but if true, the iPhone 8 will be a revolution rather than the evolution we've seen with the iPhone 7 this year. We'll continue to update this article as new information appears, but here's how things stand right now.
This concept image via ConceptsiPhone shows what an edge-to-edge OLED display iPhone might look like:
Despite all this talk of OLED screens, BRG suggests that only one of the iPhone 8 modes will use the technology. This is reportedly down to the supply not meeting the huge requirements plus the fact Apple has done decent things with LCD screens.
Jony Ive has wanted to introduce an iPhone which resembles a single sheet of glass for a long time and the 2017 anniversary iPhone could be the one. It's rumoured that at least one iPhone in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology. Glass on the front and back would make it like a hugely updated version of the iPhone 4S.
This, combined with the rumour that the iPhone 8 will sport an edge-to-edge OLED screen makes things rather interesting. And we're not just talking the side edges, as Apple may even go as far as to do away with the top and bottom bezels. The physical home button would be gone and the TouchID fingerprint scanner would be housed within the screen.
A patent filed back in March 2015 states: "The man-machine interface device comprises an electronic display apparatus that is capable of presenting graphic text, images, icons, and other data typically shown on a screen, while further including a transparent finger touch sensor region that is seated above the display apparatus."
A patent has now been awarded for a 'capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens'. This gets around the problem of an all-glass display and no physical home button with capacitive sensing technology working through gaps in space allowing a Touch ID component to operate below the iPhone's screen.
Yet another patent points towards a bezel-free iPhone 8. It details a display technology that uses pixels capable of self-lighting (like OLEDs) arranged on a flexible surface with gaps in between. The gaps mean Apple could integrate things like sensors into the display negating the need for bezels.
The concept video shown below is from DeepMind and shows what an iPhone would look like with an edge-to-edge display. And it looks pretty cool.
No home button
A new patent award to Apple is further indication, some might say proof, that the iPhone 8 will ditch the home button for a system which placed the fingerprint sensing technology underneath the screen. Named a 'capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens', it means Apple is looking into a fingerprint sensor which can work through various layers of the display.
Another patent, via Apple Insider, shows that we the iPhone 8 might actually look like the ambitous concept above. With not only the home button moving to the screen, Apple will also need to tackle the light sensor. Well the below patent called 'Electronic Devices With Display-Integrated Light Sensors' will do exactly that.
The patent explains that having a light sensor can result in an increase in the size and weight of the device so "it would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved electronic devices with light sensors and displays."
As pointed out by Patently Apple, the firm has filed and been granted patents which may well be used on the 2017 iPhone. They suggest a curved-glass design and also that the sides of the phone could be used for virtual active buttons. For example, this could be used for certain controls when the camera app is in use. If true, the phone would rival Samsung's edge screen features.
There were also some rumours we heard about the iPhone 7's screen that never made it to fruition. It's possible that they could see daylight with the iPhone 8.
Economic Daily News speculated that the iPhone 7 could feature a 3D display, and one that doesn't require the use of those annoying 3D glasses. The website claimed at the time that Apple supply chain partner TPK is working on a project that could produce a glasses-free 3D display, though we're not holding out much hope for this as its been done before (remember the LG Optimus 3D?) and has never done well.
There were also some rumours to suggest that the iPhone 7 could have a sidewall display, similar to that found on the Galaxy S7 edge and Note 7. This came from an Apple patent that was published in 2015. The patent hints at a future iPhone with a display that extends onto the sides of the device, providing interactive or touch sensitive portions that give access to slide-to-unlock functionality, music player controls, messaging readout, called ID, system controls and more.
Above concept by Michael Shanks