The iPhone 8 will undoubtedly be the most important smartphone release of 2017, as indeed the iPhone series is in any calendar year. But the iPhone 8 will be particularly significant for Apple for two reasons. Firstly, there is evidence that its core smartphone business has receded slightly in the last year or so. And, secondly, the iPhone 8 will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone range; something that Apple is likely to mark with an outstanding release.
Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha has already made bullish predictions regarding Apple in the next couple of years, suggesting that the corporation will indeed achieve the $150 share target that he set for the Californian company some time ago. Garcha also suggested that iPhone sales will be healthy in the next couple of years, with 215 million units sold predicted for this year, and a whopping 250 million units expected by the analyst in 2018.
iPhone 8 release date
In previous years, Apple has fluctuated between releasing a new generation of the iPhone smartphone and an S range update. The latter is usually a more incremental upgrade of the mainstream smartphone, but the smart money is on Apple veering away from this with the iPhone 8, possibly indefinitely.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that this tenth anniversary device is massive for Apple, also being the first release in the incredible new headquarters of the corporation, the likelihood is that Apple will stick to the release schedule of previous devices. This would mean that we should expect the iPhone 8 to surface at some point in September.
More and more individuals in the Apple-following community are suggesting that Apple will significantly redesign the iPhone 8 ahead of its release. And one of the increasingly common suggestions about this process is that it will involve a prominently glass-based design. Prominent tech blogger Robert Scoble has suggested precisely this, indicating that the next generation smartphone will effectively be a huge shard of clear glass.
Scoble also predicts that the battery and antennas in the device will be hidden around the edges of the screen, marking another major design change after the elimination of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7.
Meanwhile, the ever reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities suggests that Apple will upgrade the scratch-proof qualities of the iPhone 8, with the device featuring a more durable glass front and rear; a suggestion which fits in with the opinion of Scoble.
Many rumors are already circulating suggesting that Apple will offer new color choices when the iPhone 8 is released. Two radical possibilities have been particularly touched on by the media, with dark blue and red both being floated as mooted colour choices.
Another suggestion which has emerged in the last few weeks is the idea that Apple will include a digital crown, akin to the one included with the Apple Watch, when the iPhone 8 is released. While this may seem an unlikely prospect, a patent describing precisely this technology has recently emerged.
The patent in question suggested that a rotating control in Apple devices could be utilized in order to adjust volume, resize text and access other functions. The patent cites an iPad as an example, but it could equally easily be applied to the iPhone 8 as well.
TouchID built into screen
Apple may also dispense with the Home button when the iPhone 8 is released, and instead build TouchID into the display of the smartphone. This has been suggested for quite some time, but Apple has clearly been investigating these prospects internally.
Again, Apple has been granted a patent for this possibility, with the document in question referring to a touch-sensitive fingerprint sensor which intriguingly has the ability to work through a physical display. Patent 9,460,332 describes a “capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens”, and the text goes to describe that “one or more other device components, such as a display stack and/or a touchscreen may be interposed between the contact surface of dielectric structure 202 and array 206 of capacitive sensing elements”.
The Korea Herald has already reported on this technology, citing sources close to the Apple supply chain, and it does seem that the Cupertino-based company could be ready to introduce this new TouchID system in the 2017 iPhone 8. Changes to the Home button could also be made, with Apple having been linked with a revolutionary joystick system to attract gamers.
Curved wraparound display
The aforementioned Kuo also believes that the iPhone 8 will feature a curved display for the first time. This would not be hugely surprising, with Apple taking its cue from the successful example set by Samsung. Kuo suggests that Apple will also switch to OLED technology for the first time.
Interestingly, though, the KGI analyst also believes that the forthcoming iPhone 8 will feature a 5.8-inch display. This would be a significant increase in size over existing iPhone units, and would undoubtedly garner attention and excitement.
Apple patent 9,146,590 has already made reference to an “electronic device with wraparound display”, and it is clear that Apple is ready to unveil this technology.
Aside from the more radical alterations that Apple will enact with the iPhone 8, specs in the smartphone are also likely to benefit from significant upgrades. This could mean that a quad HD screen is fitted in the iPhone 8 Plus for the first time, with the smartphone models shifting up to full HD.
Analysts also suggest that that will be a dual-camera in all models of the iPhone 8, while we may see the iPhone range embrace octa-core processing for the first time. Apple will also boost the RAM of the device up to 3GB, although storage is likely to remain flat at a maximum of 256GB. Finally, Apple is beavering away behind the scenes to ensure that a larger battery can be included in the iPhone 8; addressing a bugbear of the series for several years.