2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple has something major planned to celebrate the occasion. We’ve got several months to go until the launch of the iPhone 8, but because of Apple’s ambitious plans for the device, there are already an abundance of rumors hinting at the impressive features coming in the 2017 iPhone.
Apple is rumored to be testing more than 10 prototype iPhone models, so it’s not entirely clear what we’re going to see, and because there are so many test devices in play, rumors are also conflicting and murky at this time.
Rumors suggest the iPhone 8 will feature a radical redesign, with an edge-to-edge display that does away with the top and bottom bezels where features like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the front-facing camera are housed. Instead, most rumors suggest Touch ID may be built directly into the display, meaning there will be no Home button, but Apple is said to be having trouble implementing Touch ID under the display.
An alleged leaked design schematic has suggested that instead of placing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the glass, it could be located at the back of the iPhone, but it’s not yet clear if this schematic is indicative of the final design of the OLED iPhone as multiple prototypes are being tested.
With an edge-to-edge design, the iPhone 8 may be similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone, but with a display the size of the 5.5-inch iPhone. Rumors suggest it will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable area, with the rest dedicated to virtual buttons that will replace the existing Home button.
The display itself is said to be flexible plastic OLED rather than an LCD, allowing Apple to introduce a thinner device that consumes less power and offers a better display with higher contrast ratio and more true to life colors. It may also feature edges that are curved on both sides like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but rumors are unclear on this point, and it’s looking more like it will have the same slightly curved 2.5D display that’s similar to the display used in the iPhone 7 because Apple suppliers still have difficultyproducing more curved displays.
As for the body, rumors suggest Apple is finally going to move away from the aluminum used in the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6s, 7, and SE, instead re-adopting a glass body that’s similar to the body that was used in the iPhone 4. At least one iPhone model coming in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology, and according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the glass will be built around a polished stainless steel frame that’s similar in design to the Apple Watch.
Inside, the iPhone 8 is expected to have a 10-nanometer A11 chip that will be both faster and more efficient, plus rumors suggest it could also include features like wireless charging and biometric additions like iris, facial, or gesture recognition. In higher-end models with a dual-lens camera, both lenses are expected to feature optical image stabilization.
The iPhone 8’s front-facing camera may include 3D sensing capabilities that use technology by PrimeSense, allowing it to find the location and depth of objects in front of it, perhaps enabling facial and iris recognition. Rumors suggest Apple is exploring both a vertical rear camera for improved pictures and a dual-camera setup for the front-facing FaceTime camera.
Apple is said to be planning to position the OLED iPhone 8 as a ~5-inch “premium” model that will be sold alongside standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone models with traditional LCD screens.
All three models may include faster A11 processors, glass bodies and wireless charging (though rumors disagree on this point), but it is unclear if the two LCD models will feature the same edge-to-edge display rumored for the higher-end device and what differentiating features will be included. Rumors suggest the OLED iPhone is going to be pricy, with multiple rumors referring to it as “premium” and one rumor suggesting it could sell for upwards of $1,000, which is a good deal more expensive than previous iPhones. Other rumors don’t quite agree, though, so it could be closer in price to the iPhone 7 Plus.
Given the radical design changes Apple plans to introduce in the OLED iPhone, rumors have been suggesting there will be serious supply constraints. Apple may introduce the ~5-inch OLED iPhone at a September event alongside the standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices, but there’s a chance it won’t be released until one or two months after its introduction. Alternatively, it may be available in small numbers, with the majority of people unable to get their hands on it until the first quarter of 2018.
Part Leaks and Schematics
Early iPhone 8 design schematics started surfacing in April, but the leaks haven’t exactly cleared up questions about what we can expect from the device. We’re seeing at least two distinct designs depicted in current leaked schematics and renderings, because Apple is said to be testing multiple iPhone 8 prototypes. With early leaks, it’s also often difficult to tell what’s accurate, so take all of the below information with a grain of salt until part leaks and other more reliable information starts to surface.
The device in the first rendering, which appears to be from the Engineering Verification Testing stage of iPhone development, features an almost edge-to-edge display with slim bezels at the top and the bottom, along with a vertical dual camera and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor located at the back of the device. The rendering also suggests the device in the rendering is 8.6mm thick, a good deal thicker than the 7.1mm iPhone 7.
A vertical dual camera and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 8’s casing are rumors that we’ve only heard once before, and Apple was rumored to be testing as many as 12 iPhone 8 prototypes, so it’s possible this is not representative of the final design of the device. Most rumors suggest Apple is planning to put the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under the display of the device, but there have also been hints that Apple is struggling with that particular design, so it’s also possible Apple was forced to relocate the Touch ID sensor to the rear of the iPhone 8.
A second iPhone 8 design schematic features another potential iPhone prototype, which is similar in design to the first leak. The schematic pictures an iPhone rear shell that features a vertical dual camera, an aluminum chassis that is remarkably similar to the chassis of the iPhone 7, and a circular cutout that could potentially be for a Touch ID fingerprint sensor or a contact-based wireless charging module.
It measures in at 149.5mm tall and 72.5mm wide, slightly larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, which measures in at 138.3mm by 67.1mm. Apple’s work on an aluminum iPhone 8 prototype was first outlined by Bloomberg.
A render of a full rear shell based on the design leaks gives a better idea of what the aluminum iPhone prototype might look like should Apple decide to make this the final version of the iPhone 8. It depicts a dual vertical rear camera and a cutout, perhaps for a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
A third design rendering from Weibo leaker KK surfaced just a day after the first design schematic appeared, pointing towards a different design that’s more in line with some of the rumors we’ve heard so far.
The leaked renderings feature a device that measures 137.54mm tall by 67.54mm wide, similar in size to the iPhone 7. Thickness is not shown, but there’s a nearly edge-to-edge display that measures 5.767 inches on the diagonal. A 4mm bezel is pictured around the display, with half of that being the 2.5D curved glass at the edges. All of this is in line with rumors suggesting an iPhone 7-sized device with an iPhone 7 Plus-sized display.
A narrow earpiece is depicted on the front of the device alongside cameras and sensors that appear to be embedded in the display area. There is no Home button and no visible Touch ID sensor.
An image of what’s said to be an iPhone 8 CNC dummy model sourced from Foxconn surfaced in late April, and it is similar in design to the KK leak. It features front and rear panels made from slightly curved 2.5D glass, held together with a stainless steel frame. The steel edges will reportedly be finished a polished “Space Black” color.
It appears to be thicker than existing iPhone models, but it features an edge-to-edge screen, presumably with Touch ID built in, as there is no home button. At the rear of the device, there’s a vertical dual-lens camera with no other markings. There is no rear Touch ID sensor nor an Apple logo.
At the sides, there are volume buttons and a mute switch on the left, with an elongated power button and a SIM tray on the right.
The same leaker has also shared schematics “based on blueprints” that allegedly give a look at the sensors located under the display and inside the device. At the top of the device, there’s an embedded camera, flash, and ambient light sensors.
None of these images can be verified, nor were they shared by someone with a known track record for accurate leaks, so this may or may not be an actual iPhone 8 dummy unit.
A second alleged rear shell schematic, which may or may not be legitimate, depicts a vertical dual-lens rear camera with an LED flash in the middle, and it includes a large circular area, perhaps for some kind of wireless charging functionality. No rear Touch ID button is pictured.
An iPhone case said to be for the iPhone 8 has leaked, showing off a design that’s similar to many of the renderings. It features a cutout for a vertical dual-lens rear camera and because it has no cutout for Touch ID or other features, it suggests it is for a device with no rear-facing Touch ID button.
It continues to have pill-shaped volume buttons, but there is a longer power button located on the left, something we’ve also seen in renderings and other desk leaks.