Apple released its latest entry to its smartphone family, the iPhone 7, in September last year. That wasn’t very long ago, but the release of a new iPhone is really just an occasion for everyone to start speculating about the next one.
Rumors are already flying about potential features and changes for the iPhone 8, which we hope will arrive in the fall of 2017. Some of these may come true. Some may be way off base, but it’s fun to imagine the possibilities. The iPhone 8 could end up being a very different beast from its brethren. Here are the most intriguing whispers surrounding the upcoming phone:
1. Edge-to-edge display
Bezels, the frame around the display screen, have been a part of the iPhone design since the very first one came out in 2007. This will be the smartphone’s 10th anniversary, and Apple could use it as an occasion to spread out the screen so the touch display reaches all the way to the edges. This would lend the phone a sleeker look and help quell the clamor for a major redesign.
A related murmur suggests that at least one of the new iPhone models will sport the iPhone’s first OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, as opposed to the LCD displays found on previous models. To get an idea of what this might look like, check out the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, a smartphone with a display that curves around onto the side. Would Apple mimic this design or try for something different? That’s one of the big questions surrounding this particular rumor.
2. A new name
While it’s easy to call the upcoming gadget “iPhone 8,” it’s possible that Apple will abandon the numbered naming system (in a way) and go with a new nom de plume: “iPhone X.” If this turns out to be true, then it would be a clever way to allude to the smartphone’s 10th anniversary. If Apple stays the course on the numbers, then we have to wonder: Will we eventually get an iPhone 20 or an iPhone 45? The company may feel the need to ditch the numbers sooner rather than later.
3. Wireless charging
Apple is big into wireless devices, as we’ve seen with the wire-free AirPod headphones. It could extend that philosophy to the iPhone 8’s battery charging system by finally offering built-in wireless charging. Various wireless charging options have been around for a while, but they require add-ons like special cases. It would be a big move to finally bring it on board the phone as a standard feature.
Another hint that the new iPhone could cut the cord comes from the recent news that Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the governing body for the Qi wireless charging standard. The tech giant joins a Qi-backing group of other heavy hitters including LG, Toshiba, Philips and Samsung.
Wireless charging rumors have swirled around previous iPhone announcements. Will this finally be the year it comes true? We’ll have to wait until the fall to find out, but lots of pundits are hot on the idea.
4. Goodbye, home button?
Another consistent feature of iPhone designs has been the home button, a small round physical button that camps out in the bezel at the bottom of the gadget. The most recent iPhone 7 still sports a home button, but it’s a bit different than previous designs. It’s pressure-sensitive and is slightly indented from the surrounding area. It’s more akin to a trackpad on a MacBook than it is to the old-school home buttons. It’s a nice innovation, but it may not last.
Some Apple fans are imagining a brave new world where the next iPhone ditches the home button space entirely. The functionality of the home button could conceivably be worked directly into the display. If this happens, it will be intriguing to see how Apple chooses to handle both the home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensing security system.
5. A high price tag
Apple doesn’t shy away from catering to the premium side of the gadget market. The wireless AirPod headphones cost $159, but they’re still selling. A report from Fast Company cites an unnamed source saying the new phone will cost over $1,000 thanks to the expense of its technology upgrades. That may sound a little nutty, but the current high-end, max-specs iPhone 7 Plus will already cost you $969, so it’s not as outlandish as it might seem.
It’s possible Apple will offer a high-end, high-priced model (an iPhone X) stocked with all the extra features while also debuting some less expensive options (perhaps an iPhone 7S) without as many bells and whistles. That could make the top-end model a very desirable status symbol as well as a powerful piece of communication machinery.
Whether or not these rumors come true, expect Apple to aim for the “wow” factor with the next iPhone. Ten years is a big anniversary and fans will want to feel like this new smartphone is taking a big step into the future.
Bonus: The iPhone 8 may not come at all
Of all of the rumors surrounding the iPhone 8, this one is by far the most frustrating and confusing. Just last week, news began spreading that the iPhone 8 might not actually happen. After all of this hype, Apple may have already changed course.
If this is true, then what can Apple fans expect to see this fall? It's possible that an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus may be released in September while Apple works out the final details on what's being called the "iPhone Edition." This premium model iPhone could be the "iPhone 8" we've all been speculating about, just with a different name. And, since this rumor also suggests that the iPhone Edition won't even begin the testing phase until September, it's likely we won't see it hit the market until the end of the year.
In the meantime, if you'd like to get more out of the iPhone you currently own, click here for everyday essential tricks you need to know.