iPhone 8: Here's what we know
iPhone 8 seems to be the name bubbling up to the top the most, along with iPhone 10 and iPhone X. However, I'm going to go with iPhone Pro, not only because it has a better ring to it but also because it would redefine the device as a completely new class of iPhone.
It's been reported that the top-spec version will set buyers back over $1,000. That sounds steep, but bare in mind that the top-spec iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB of storage already costs $969.
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 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.
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.
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 to be displayed on the display, and allow Apple to finally do away with the physical button.
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 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.
It's important to realize 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.
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
- Apple's next-generation A11 processor
- Glass and stainless steel chassis
- Wireless charging
- Dual-lens camera-enabled AR capabilities
- Edge-to-edge display
- Virtual home button
- Improved water resistance (IP68)
- Support for the Apple Pencil
- Iris scanner
- 3GB of RAM
- Storage ranging from 64GB to 256GB
- $1,000+ price tag