Jeepers, that didn’t take long at all. Apple’s new waterproof iPhone 7 is barely on-shelf and it hasn’t hit any local stores at all and already there’s talk of the iPhone 8. Or the iPhone 7S, but we’re almost certain that Apple has something special in mind for their ten-year iPhone anniversary and it’s not going to be an incremental update.
No, Apple is widely thought to be considering a radical design change for their ten-year-old phone. Just how radical is something that we’ll see in the coming months but we’re already seeing the outlines in early rumours.
Some of Apple’s 2017 rumours are less of a prediction and more a tradition. We’ll almost certainly see the iPhone 8, officially, for the first time in early September with an on-sale date two weeks later. You just need a calendar to figure that one out. For the rest of it, though? We’ll start here:
New phone, old rumour
The first rumour to hit us in the face concerns the Home Button. The thing is, the rumour is a holdover from the last batch of iPhone rumours. That Home Button and its new Taptic Engine innards? Those are supposedly still going away for the new edition iPhone in favour of a software key covered by an OLED panel (see below). This so-called “virtual button” hasn’t got much explanation behind it but Apple are reportedly considering it because of the other changes that they’re considering, screen-wise.
Wireless is the way to go
Will the Apple iPhone 8 support wireless charging? It can swim now so there’s no reason to expect that it won’t. But it could also be a bit of wishful thinking. VentureBeat did a spot of investigative work and dug up references to Apple-specific compliance testing in a company called Energous’ 2014 SEC filings. Energous works in wireless charging, in case the connection wasn’t obvious. The wireless technology, called WattUp, is something unusual in that it doesn’t require that a smartphone be placed on a dock or charging pad. Imagine a world where your iPhone can be wirelessly charged just by being in the same room as a charger. Both Apple and Energous have little to say on the possible partnership but if there was going to be a major charging change in the iPhone 8 it’ll likely happen next year.
Even so, we’re going to be filing this one in the skeptics drawer until a little more evidence surfaces. Magically-charging iPhones, while awesome, might not happen.
OLED to lead the way
We’ve been ready for OLED for the iPhone for a long, long time. Next year’s iPhone 8 could be when we finally get it. Another rumour-that-will-not-die, Apple is thought to be switching back to a front-and-back glass handset for 2017. That’s the word according to Catcher Technology, one of Apple’s suppliers. The company may not make such a large switch with both of their handsets, at least, perhaps opting to retain their current design on one of their phones.
The iPhone 8 is also thought to be using a curved OLED display, which may go so far as to consume the area where the bezels (used to) live. Such a display could lead to better battery life and would also play host to that Touch ID button/fingerprint sensor that lives under the OLED skin.
Just how accurate these very early rumours are remains to be seen. The coming year is a big one for Apple so attempting to predict what they will do is going to be even harder than usual. As usual, we’re going to have eyes-on the front lines of Apple rumours for the next… twelve months or so. Stay tuned.