The clock is ticking to September and one of the biggest tech industry events of the year: the annual iPhone event held by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). With this year being the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and AAPL facing pressure to light a fire under slowing sales, the iPhone 8 launch takes on even greater importance than usual.
With AAPL looking to impress consumers, re-assure investors and outdo the competition with a statement device, iPhone 8 rumors have been flying for months.
But we’re close enough to production that there are definite patterns emerging, giving real hints about what to expect.
Here’s everything we think we know about Apple’s new iPhone.
iPhone 8 Rumors: OLED Display
One of the key features of the new iPhone is expected to be an OLED display that virtually eliminates bezels. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) and other smartphone manufacturers already use OLED panels, which are brighter, thinner, more power efficient and more flexible than LCD, but this would be an iPhone first.
Samsung also beat Apple to the punch with the minimal bezel look expected with the iPhone 8, but the big question will be whether AAPL is able to place a Touch ID sensor beneath that display. Samsung gave up and had to move its fingerprint reader to the back of the Galaxy S8. If Apple engineers can pull it off, that would be a real win.
iPhone 8 Rumors: All-Glass Design
To distinguish the new iPhone from the models it has released over the last three years — the 6, 6s, SE and 7 — AAPL is expected to move to an all-glass design. That would mean no more metal back, just a stainless steel band holding the OLED display to the glass back.
Kind of like the iPhone 4, but bigger, a lot less chunky and no more Home button taking up space on the front.
iPhone 8 Rumors: One Size Fits All
Starting with the iPhone 6 model year, AAPL released two different sized versions of its iPhones, adding a bigger “Plus” option.
It doesn’t look like AAPL will go that route with the iPhone 8. Because the OLED display will cover most of the new iPhone’s front, it’s estimated there will be a 5.8-inch display (larger than the iPhone 7 Plus) in a smartphone that’s physically the size of the iPhone 7. So expect AAPL to offer just the single model of iPhone 8.
iPhone 8 Rumors: Wireless Charging
Wireless charging is expected to be another key feature that sets the new iPhone apart from previous models. In fact, it could be one of the factors behind that glass back on the iPhone 8, since the technology is more effective with glass than metal.
Android manufacturers have offered wireless charging for years, and AAPL always dismissed the feature as being too slow. However, it adopted that method for the Apple Watch, so the precedent has now been set. Glass would mean faster charging, making it practical for a device with a bigger battery, like the new iPhone.
And wireless charging technology is becoming mainstream — Ikea is even incorporating wireless chargers into its furniture these days.
iPhone 8 Rumors: Vertical Dual-Camera System
AAPL introduced a dual-camera system as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 7 Plus. It uses two rear-facing cameras. One is the standard wide angle lens, but the second is a telephoto.
This gives the iPhone 7 Plus the ability to optically zoom in on a subject instead of relying on digital zoom (that degrades the photo quality). Used together, the two cameras offer a “Portrait Mode” that takes photos with a blurred background, an effect that’s usually only available with expensive (and bulky) DSLRs.
The dual camera feature has proved incredibly popular and other manufacturers are starting to copy it. The iPhone 8 is expected to offer a similar dual camera setup, although based on early release protective cases, it looks like AAPL will change to a vertical configuration with the two cameras stacked instead of side-by-side.
The cameras will also likely receive spec bumps — not just to stay on top in terms of photo quality, but also to better support ARKit and Apple’s augmented reality ambitions.
iPhone 8 Rumors: 3D Technology
For the past several years, AAPL has been acquiring companies like PrimeSense, building an extensive in-house 3D technology expertise along the way. And with the iPhone 8, it looks like the company finally has the pieces in place for an innovative leap.
The iPhone 8 is rumored to include advanced 3D scanning capabilities, with integrated IR sensors and a front facing camera that work together to support features like AR, iris scanning and facial recognition.
There has been speculation that AAPL may even drop the Touch ID fingerprint scanner from its new iPhone altogether and instead use the advanced facial recognition technology as its new form of biometric security.
iPhone 8 Rumors: A11 CPU
If there’s a safe bet when it comes to every new iPhone Apple releases, that would be the inclusion of the next generation of AAPL’s AX CPU.
Most smartphone manufacturers rely on Snapdragon mobile processors from Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM). Not Apple. It uses its own custom chips that it’s able to tweak to boost iPhone performance and optimize to support features that standard CPUs struggle with.
Last year’s iPhone 7 came equipped with the A10 Fusion chip that AAPL says makes it twice as fast as an iPhone 6, while offering better battery life. It’s a no brainer that the iPhone 8 will be powered by the A11, and that it will bring extensive performance gains.
iPhone 8 Rumors: It Will be Expensive
AAPL has been consistent with its iPhone pricing. There was a blip last year when it raised the price of the iPhone 7 Plus by $20 compared to the iPhone 6s Plus, but the company has been sticking to $649 for it’s entry-level flagship and $749 (now $769) for the Plus version.
That price model has been fairly consistent across the industry for flagship smartphones, although Samsung decided to risk slapping a $720 sticker on this year’s Galaxy S8.
It has long been rumored that Apple is looking to price the iPhone 8 as an ultra-premium smartphone. Earlier this year, it started to look as though Apple fans might be facing a record $1,000 starting price. Recently, discussions have heated up about the possibility that AAPL might push that starting price to as high as $1,200.
iPhone 8 Rumors: It May be Delayed…
The most frustrating rumor for Apple fans — outside of that possible wallet-punching price tag — is the persistent reports that the iPhone 8 launch may be delayed. With features like Touch ID potentially up in the air, apparent issues with the software driving advanced technology including its 3D sensors, and a short supply of OLED panels, Apple may not make the usual September launch date for its new flagship smartphone. At least not in large quantities.
Expect the company to be working hard to prevent this scenario. Long line-ups for the latest iPhone would be a welcome sight for AAPL investors, but potential buyers walking away with their $1,200 in hand would not be.
Stay tuned for the latest updates as the iPhone 8 launch date continues to get closer.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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