The iPhone 7 has only been on store shelves for a little over two months, and rumors of the iPhone 8 are already plentiful. Usually, it takes a bit longer for reliable leaks to develop, but with sales figures for the iPhone 7 estimated to be lower than the 6S, according to AppleInsider, perhaps the industry felt the need to gin up some excitement for things to come.
However, the rumors do not seem to be just speculation disguised as leaks. The sources for some of the information circulating are considered some of the most reliable in the industry.
According to Cult of Mac, Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities is the best Apple analyst in the world, and the blog Macotakara is considered an accurate source for forecasting Apple products. Both have released information regarding the iPhone 8.
Despite Kuo’s and Macotakara’s past accuracy, all unofficial announcements on unreleased products should be taken with a grain of salt. Until Apple gives official word, all bets are off. That said, what could we possibly be seeing in the next iPhone?
One of the most significant changes we will see in the iPhone 8 is the screen. There are several changes to the screen that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo sees coming. First is that Apple will be switching from the current LED screens to flexible OLED screens.
According to MacRumors, Kuo believes Apple will be switching from the current TFT-LED screens to OLED screens. This prediction makes sense and is highly likely since OLED seems to be the direction that the industry is going as a whole. The website OLED-info reports that at least 10 different models of OLED smartphones have been released or are soon to be released.
While this number does not seem that significant considering the variety of handsets currently available, it could indicate a shift toward the more expensive OLED screen. As more phones adopt OLED, the production costs will drop. It is foreseeable that OLED could become the standard in a few years since they are more energy efficient and flexible than the LED screens currently used.
Another iPhone 8 rumor is that Apple will be incorporating a glass chassis into the phone. This speculation has been around for a few months, but now it has some teeth.
Kuo’s research notes state, “the new 4.7-inch iPhone, featuring glass casing and wireless charging, looks well positioned to tap replacement demand at the entry level.”
At first, the rumor of a glass smartphone sounded a bit ridiculous considering that next to car keys, cell phones are probably one of the most dropped objects on the planet. However, the prospect of charging the device without having to connect it directly to the wall or your computer is enticing. The only downside to the wireless charging rumor is that according to MacRumors, it is predicted to be limited to only a few 2017 phones with wider availability in 2018.
Another iPhone 8 rumor that will affect the screen is that Apple may be doing away with the home button. The idea stems from the fact that Macotakara has confirmed that the new iPads will not have home buttons. This move does a couple of things. For one, it will allow for a thinner phone. Since the mechanics of the home button will be gone, and they have already done away with the 3.5-inch headphone jack, nothing is standing in the way of squashing the phone flatter.
Additionally, without the button, there is some extra space at the bottom of the phone to support a larger screen. In fact, since OLED is somewhat flexible, Kuo believes that the screen will be curved and go edge-to-edge.
“The OLED screens in the 2017 iPhones (though possibly only the 5.8-inch model) will be curved with a so-called ‘Edgeless display.’”
If the prediction holds true, the 5.8-inch iPhone will have the same footprint as the current 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
These iPhone 8 rumors are interesting because they carry a certain amount of weight. Aside from the track records of the sources, other indicators suggest that these changes to the iPhone are right around the corner.
For one, LG announced back in May that they had developed a buttonless fingerprint sensor module. AppleInsider reports that Apple has filed patent requests on a screen-based fingerprint scanning technology as well. So it is almost certainly coming soon. Adding the ability to detect fingerprints placed on the screen supports the idea of an iPhone sans home button.
An unenthusiastic customer base is another motivation for Apple to do something different. As mentioned before, sales for the iPhone 7 are projected to be lower than the 6s and according to Forbes, while iPhone sales are up in Europe and Japan, sales are down in the U.S. and have dropped a whopping 30 percent in China. Considering that the last three iterations of the iPhone have not changed much from one another, it seems that Cupertino is overdue for a redesign to reinvigorate the brand.
According to MacRumors, “Apple [is] testing more than 10 prototype iPhone models, including one with curved OLED display.”
The most noticeable thing about the iPhone 7 release was the lack of real excitement. Add to this the fact that the iPhone 8 will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, and it seems evident that Apple is planning something big.
Regardless of whether the rumors pan out to be true in the end, one thing can be assured. For the iPhone’s tenth birthday, Apple would be short-sighted not to make this milestone a focal point for something remarkably unique. Since Apple does not have a track record of being short-sighted, it is almost guaranteed that the iPhone 8 will be unlike any iPhone before it.