Apple returns to glass, skips the S, announces iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus

We’re not quite sure what we were expecting. There was a lot of confusion about what Apple was going to call this year’s handset updates. The official word has gone out, though, and Apple has decided to skip the S. That’s right, meet the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

So right about now, you’re probably wondering what the official word has to say about the phone. Not to worry, we’ve been paying attention.

Built to last

Apple’s new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have gone back to glass for the front and rear. But being Apple, they had to do something a little different — like making the chassis out of aerospace-grade aluminium. Which seems kinda normal (for them), except that the glass that they’ve put into that framework has been steel-reinforced. It’s supposed to be the toughest glass seen in an iPhone yet.

Part of that glass is going to be the display — which is a Retina HD. The 8 will feature a 4.7in screen and the 8 Plus will have a 5.5in screen. No surprises there but the iPad’s True Tone features will be crossing over.. Oh, and there will still be bezels. Here, that is.

The iPhone 8/8 Plus will be available at launch in Silver, Space Grey, and Gold. Nothing too excited in the colour options but we’re expecting some whackier options as we enter 2018. Just a hunch.

And they’re off!

It wouldn’t be the next generation of iPhone without some performance improvements and Apple have gone with a cooler name for their new processor this year. The A10 gives way to the A11 Bionic, which doesn’t have to be implanted in your head despite the way it sounds.

The Bionic chip is a hexa-core offering two high-performance cores — out of its total of six — for high-end applications. If you’re just idling along, the more power efficient quad-core will be handling things. The Bionic has a new, faster GPU tagging along, meaning that games will be prettier, faster, and… you guys do use the iPhone for games, right?

Three new cameras

Apple had a lot to say about the camera but then, they always do. The 8 will be getting a new 12MP sensor, with deeper pixels (that’s good, right?). Oh, and optical image stabilisation to go along with the improvements. The 8 Plus has a pair of new 12MP sensors, f/1.8 and f/2.8 options with OIS. Apple could have just tweaked their existing cameras and they still would have been great but they’re claiming substantial improvement, in the battery and low-light areas — we can’t wait to try those promises out in person.

There’s also a kinda unexpected feature on the cards. Apple are going to be bringing augmented reality (AR) to the iPhone 8 with ARKit. They showed off an AR game running in real-time but we’re going to need some hands-on time with that (when we should be working) before we’re convinced its something to get excited over.

Without wires

The return to the glass back has also allowed Apple to finally, finally bring wireless charging to the iPhone 8. It’ll be using the Qi wireless charging standard, which we’ve had a lot of experience with. At this point, we can’t imagine using a flagship smartphone without it so it’s nice that Apple has finally come to the party.

Sizes and cost

The iPhone 8 will arrive in 64GB and 256GB storage sizes. Looks like they’re trimming down there. The same thing will be happening with the 8 Plus — storage options have been simplified to 64GB and 256GB. The 8 starts at $699 (R9,100), the 8 Plus at $799 (R10,400), and the handset will go up for pre-order overseas from 15 September. Availability? 22 September. Availability in South Africa? We’ll let you know.

Stuff South Africa's online editor and print assistant editor, Brett Venter has churned out more words on more titles than most journalists will in a career. He's kind of shy.

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