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iPhone 8: Everything you need to know

With the unveiling of the new crop of iPhones less than two weeks away, here's a rundown of what we think we know about the iPhone 8 based on rumors, leaks, and supply chain chatter.

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Topic: iPhone
The name
1 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The name

We know a lot about Apple's tenth-anniversary iPhone, but one point that's still hotly debated is the name.

iPhone 8 seems to be the name that most are choosing to use, but right now it also seems the most unlikely given the confusion it might generate down the line.

iPhone 10 and iPhone X or iPhone Edition are some front runners when it comes to names.

However, I'm still sticking to my initial prediction and going with iPhone Pro, not only because it has a better ring to it but because it redefines the device as a completely new class of iPhone, much the same as Apple did with the iPad/iPad Pro split.

First official confirmation from Apple
2 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

First official confirmation from Apple

It's been a long road, but here we have it -- press invites have gone out for an event that will be held September 12 at the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple's Park campus in Cupertino.

As usual the invites are cryptic, but we finally have an unveiling date for the new iPhone.

Yes, Apple will be live streaming the iPhone 8 launch
3 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Yes, Apple will be live streaming the iPhone 8 launch

If you want to watch the launch of the iPhone 8 as it happens, Apple will be live streaming the event on September 12, starting at 10 a.m. PDT

Here's the link.

Apple leaks the design of the next iPhone
4 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple leaks the design of the next iPhone

While digging around in the firmware of the HomePod, Apple's smart speaker, developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo not only came across references to facial unlocking -- which Apple, internally at least, seems to be calling PearlID -- but also this icon which shows a device called the D22.

This is very interesting because it looks very similar to the case leaks we've been seeing over the past few weeks, and is either a mistake on Apple's part, or a deliberate tease or misinformation.

iPhone 8 PCB
5 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 8 PCB

One of the two PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) that will be inside the iPhone 8.

Via VenyaGeskin

iPhone 8 PCB
6 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 8 PCB

One of the two PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) that will be inside the iPhone 8.

Via Weibo

Latest component image leaks
7 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Latest component image leaks
8 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Latest component image leaks
9 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Latest component image leaks
10 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Latest component image leaks
11 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Latest component image leaks
12 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Latest component image leaks

Via Leakspinner/Slashleaks

A reputable leaker who seems to have access to the supply chain when it comes to iPhone and other smartphone components.

Apple HomePod firmware 'leak'
13 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple HomePod firmware 'leak'

Developers such as Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo spent a lot of time going through the firmware of Apple's HomePod smart speaker and surprisingly unearthed a number of interesting things that may relate to the next iPhone:

  • Reference to a new 1125 x 2436 screen resolution (521 pixels per inch density), which would be a considerable increase from the 750 x 1334 and 1080 x 1920 resolutions in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, respectively
  • A number of mentions of a face-unlocking biometric system, but nothing related to TouchID, which may suggest that the days of the fingerprint reader are numbered
  • Reference to 'tap-to-wake' to bring the display to life, as opposed to having to click the Home button
  • References to a software 'Home' button, replacing the physical button
  • Three new iPhones, codenamed D20 and D21, and D22, which are expected to be the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone 8
  • References in the code to SmartCam technology that seems to be able to automatically identify features such as sky, snow, and fireworks and such and tweak the camera's settings to best capture the image
  • References in the code to wireless charging
OLED display
14 of 32 Apple

OLED display

A super-sized 5.8-inch OLED display won't come cheap, especially considering the fact that Apple will have to retrofit the display with a graphite layer to protect the 3D Touch sensor film from the additional heat generated by the wireless charging feature.

If Apple wants OLED displays, the only supplier that can accommodate the demand is Samsung, which means not only that the two biggest smartphone players once again become entwined, but also means that Apple is reliant on a single supplier for a critical component.

The OLED display is also going to be expensive, so expensive that it will be the single most expensive component in the iPhone 8, costing close to $100 per panel.

Mirror finish
15 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Mirror finish

Apple is likely to want to offer iPhone 8 owners a visual cue that they are indeed owners of a $1,000+ smartphone, and the best way to do that would be to offer a distinctive finish.

One such finish that has been rumored is a mirror finish, which would complement the shiny jet black finish found on the existing iPhone lineup.

Price
16 of 32 Apple

Price

It's been reported that the top-spec version will set buyers back well over $1,000, or maybe even as high as $1,200, which would be as much as a MacBook Pro.

That sounds steep, but bear in mind that the top-spec iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB of storage already costs $969.

First alleged iPhone 8 parts leaks
17 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

First alleged iPhone 8 parts leaks

Above is the first alleged parts leak for the iPhone 8, which appeared on Reddit the other day.

The parts fit in with the current crop of rumors, and show a thin screen bezel with a space at the top of the display for front-facing camera, microphone, and speaker.

Also, there's no spot for the Touch ID sensor, suggesting that Apple will build it into the display.

First alleged iPhone 8 parts leaks
18 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

First alleged iPhone 8 parts leaks

Above is the first alleged parts leak for the iPhone 8, which appeared on Reddit the other day.

This photo allegedly shows Phone 8 components along with components for the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus. The backs are glass, which would be required for wireless charging.

2017-06-1415-41-40.jpg
19 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

No Gigabit LTE

Apple isn't planning to include support for next-generation gigabit networks with its new iPhone rumored to be released this fall, according to a recent rumor because Apple is going to switch from Qualcomm models to Intel, and Intel won't have a 5G Gigabit LTE modem ready for the launch.

This gives handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 a potential advantage over the new iPhone, but given that 5G LTE is unlikely to become the norm over the lifespan of the device.

What will the iPhone 8 look like?
20 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

What will the iPhone 8 look like?

It's impossible to tell, but French gadget leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, who goes by the Twitter handle of OnLeaks, put together a video based on a factory CAD drawing he came across, and gives us probably the best look at the next-generation iPhone to date.

The screen on the front is only interrupted by the earpiece hole, while the back features twin cameras in a vertical orientation (this is for better depth sensing for AR). The placement of the physical buttons such as the mute switch, the volume controls, and power button are similar to that of the iPhone 7, but the Touch ID sensor is built into the front display.

2017-06-0118-39-45.jpg
21 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

How many iPhones will Apple unveil?

We've come to expect Apple to release two handsets -- a regular iPhone and a super-sized Plus version. However, this time around it seems that there will be a regular and a Plus (expected to be called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus) and the OLED iPhone 8.

However, some of the more questionable supply chain chatter suggests that Foxconn has only received orders for two handsets, and that the Plus handset will actually feature the OLED display.

When will the iPhone 8 ship?
22 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

When will the iPhone 8 ship?

The usual pattern that Apple has followed as of late is to unveil the new iPhone on the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September, and then ship the iPhone second Friday following the event, or, as was the case with the iPhone 6s in 2015, the third Friday.

However, the current rumormill is suggesting that while the iPhone 8 will go on pre-order in September, it won't be ship until October or perhaps even November.

This would allow Apple to not only get the regular and Plus iPhones out of the door, but also gauge demand for the iPhone 8, as well as catch up on shortages due to low component yields.

Move Touch ID to the back
23 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Touch ID embedded into the display

In order to make the Galaxy S8 bezel-free, Samsung moved the fingerprint reader to the rear of the device.

Think that's crazy (plenty of reviewers think it's a bad idea)? Well, there have been a number of rumors that have suggested Apple will do the same.

However, the rumor that's now gaining the most traction is that Apple will embed the Touch ID sensor into the actual display of the iPhone 8. This means that Apple can simultaneously save on bezel space and keep the position familar for existing users.

Virtual home button
24 of 32 Apple

Virtual home button

A physical Home button has graced the front of the iPhone since it was first released a decade ago, and while the Touch ID sensor has been added, it still remains a physical button taking up space on the bezel.

But a recent patent awarded to Apple outlines how the Touch ID sensor could be embedded into the display, allowing for virtual buttons on the display so Apple could finally do away with the physical button.

Wireless charging
25 of 32 Samsung

Wireless charging

A number of data points suggest that this feature is inbound, from the reports that the aluminum back on the iPhone is being swapped out for a glass back (wireless charging doesn't play well with a metal case), that Foxconn has the contract of making the wireless charging modules, and Apple's joining of the Wireless Power Consortium.

Then there's the fact that this is a feature that's been present on many top-end Android handsets for a few years.

Vertical dual cameras
26 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Vertical dual cameras

The dual-cameras on the iPhone 7 are horizontal, but several rumors suggest that Apple will change this to a vertical layout for the iPhone 8. Why is unclear. Perhaps it helps eliminate parallax issues with zoom, or maybe it's linked to the new built-in AR functionality.

What about a ceramic iPhone 8? Or sapphire display?
27 of 32 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

What about a ceramic iPhone 8? Or sapphire display?

Highly unlikely. First off, it would add to the price significantly, but it is also doubtful that Apple would either want to or even be able to scale up production of either material.

Doubly so after suffering sapphire yield problems for the iPhone 6 Touch ID display a few years back.

Iris scanning
28 of 32 Samsung

Iris scanning

Apple's been working hard to improve the iPhone's camera over the past few years, and reports suggest that the camera will be leveraged to offer owners a new way to unlock their iPhone -- iris scanning. Again, it's nothing new -- Samsung's ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 was one of the first smartphones to feature this technology -- so it's more a case of Apple playing catch-up.

It's also likely that we will see facial recognition finally come to the iPhone (although both iris scanning and facial recognition seem to be far more or a hassle on the new Samsung Galaxy S8 than using a fingerprint reader).

Augmented reality
29 of 32 Niantic

Augmented reality

It's important to know that AR doesn't have to mean glasses or goggles. A heads-up display in a car or holding up a smartphone and having the display show information on your surroundings are both valid examples of AR (Think Pokémon Go).

Apple's ecosystem currently revolves around the iPhone (yes, iPhone, not Mac). A new class of product that sits outside of this would be a distraction unless Apple were almost guaranteed of its success. Strategically, it doesn't make much sense for Apple to crowd the marketplace with a new product. It makes far more sense for Apple to bolt AR onto the iPhone as a new feature than try to carve out a new product line.

Better waterproofing
30 of 32 Apple

Better waterproofing

The current iPhone is rated as water resistant, but Samsung's Galaxy S7 has a higher rating -- IP68 compared with the iPhone's IP67 (an explanation of the IP rating can be found here).

So again, an example of Apple playing catch-up with Samsung.

Apple Pencil support
31 of 32 Apple

Apple Pencil support

While a stylus isn't for everyone, the iPad's Apple Pencil has its fans, and it's a feature I hear people asking for on a regular basis.

And on the plus side, it would allow Apple to sell more $99 accessories.

Likely tech spec
32 of 32 Apple

Possible tech spec

  • Apple's next-generation quad-core A11 processor
  • Glass and stainless steel chassis
  • Wireless charging
  • Dual-lens camera-enabled AR capabilities
  • Edge-to-edge display
  • Virtual home button
  • Touch ID sensor embedded into the display
  • Improved water resistance (IP68)
  • Support for the Apple Pencil
  • Iris scanner
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Storage ranging from 64GB to 256GB
  • $1,000+ price tag

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