iPhone 8 specs, news and release date: Is Apple set to release an ‘iPhone Edition’?

 

10th anniversary phone could be launched at this year’s event

Rumours suggest that the iPhone 8 will herald some significant changes when it arrives in September, as Apple prepares to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.

The biggest of these will likely be the inclusion of an all-glass display and a revamped home button, as well as beefier hardware and larger base storage.

We’re also expecting this year’s flagship to be the most expensive smartphone ever made by Apple, likely to exceed the $1000 mark.

Picture above is of 2016’s iPhone 7

Latest news

09/03/2017: Is Apple set to release an ‘iPhone Edition’?

Apple could be set to release a premium smartphone, the iPhone Edition, according to Macotakara, to celebrate the device’s tenth anniversary.

The website claimed the iPhone Edition would be a special celebration device launched alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which would be just a small update to the current iPhone 7, as is normal for an ‘s’ series iPhone.

Apple already has a product called using the ‘Edition’ suffix – the Apple Watch Edition, which was a special 18-karat gold version of its smart watch. The watch cost $10,000 (£8,200), so if a special smartphone edition was launched, it wouldn’t be surprising if it did have a price tag of $1000 (£822) as previously rumoured.

However, don’t expect a solid gold phone – Apple is reportedly looking to test various versions of the iPhone Edition with glass, ceramic, and aluminum chassis finishes, rather than the rather more weighty gold.

“Last year we published the article about additional iPhone 7s & iPhone 7s Plus model and the article about the 5 inch model equipped with the iSight Duo camera, but this 5 inch model would highly possibly be the ‘iPhone Edition’ which is the premium model,” Macotokara said.

“Multiple prototype models exist for this model and the development continues to be carried out in parallel with EVT. The production level of development on various models are being done such as the models with IPS TFT, AMOLED, the model with or without home button, in addition to the models with a new glass, aluminum chassis, white ceramics etc.”

Because Apple’s still testing these versions out, it’s likely that while the iPhone Edition will be revealed at the same time as the 7s and 7s Plus, it won’t be commercially available until much later, the site added.

06/03/2017: iPhone to be price in $1,000 range

We may now finally have an idea of the sort of price Apple will demand for the upcoming iPhone 8, which features a revamped design and an OLED screen.

Apple is expected to raise the average iPhone price to well over $1,000, making it the most expensive smartphone the company has ever released – and one of the most expensive on the market.

Some configurations of the current iPhone 7 Plus are already setting back customers over $950.

According to financial newspaper Nikkei, the latest price hike comes as Apple plans to make the iPhone 8 smaller than its previous generation, by shaving off the top and bottom bezels found on the iPhone 7 Plus for the new model’s casing.

It also appears that Apple plans to launch the iPhone 8 in three different configurations, most likely due to a shortage in the number of OLED screens able to be manufactured in time for release. Apple is currently reliant on rival Samsung to mass manufacture OLED screens, but as the South Korean firm has its own plans for the technology, the supply is extremely limited.

An 5.8in OLED version will appear alongside two models using cheaper LCD screens, which is likely to be reflected in the final price. These two cheaper versions are also likely to be slightly smaller, if we are to believe current rumours.

We are also expecting to see a new connector type for iPhone accessories and devices made through its ‘Made-for-iPhone’ programme. The ‘Ultra Accessory Connector’ (UAC) will be an eight-pin connection that promises to be smaller and thinner than USB-C and Lightning.

Given a recent partnership with Broadcom, it is also highly likely that the chip manufacturer will be developing wireless charging capabilities for the iPhone 8.

24/02/2017: The iPhone 8 storage variants will be limited compared to the iPhone 7

Fresh iPhone 8 rumours have suggested the next flagship iPhone will only be available in 64GB and 256GB versions, making them more expensive than previous versions and potentially alienating those with lower budgets.

Although it will come as a treat for those who need to store countless videos, photos and storage-intense apps, those who want to keep costs down may be a little disappointed.

TrendForce said it had received the information from someone involved in the supply chain of the iPhone 8, who also said both iterations will ship with 3GB RAM.

Although there could be some truth behind these rumours, because Apple started paring down its storage selection with the launch of the iPhone 7 when it scrapped a 16GB version of the device. However, removing the 32GB option now seems a little silly, because it means the iPhone 8 will start with a much higher price tag than its predecessors.

Other suggestions from TrendForce’s source include a new 5.8-inch version that will launch alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus and the removal of a physical home button.

“The disappearance of the home button will make the device more compact without sacrificing the display area,” the market intelligence firm said. “Therefore, the display aspect ratio of the next high-end iPhone could exceed 2:1, while the phone’s overall body size could be similar to that of the next 4.7-inch model.”

20/02/2017: Apple partner ‘will embed wireless charging system in future iPhone’

Apple’s plans to embed wireless charging in a future iPhone have leaped forward thanks to an existing tech partnership, according to an analyst quoted by CNBC.

Chip manufacturer Broadcom will build a wireless charging system for a future iPhone model, said the JPMorgan analyst.

The firms have worked together for two years, JPMorgan’s Harlan Sur wrote in a research note, released last Friday. However, it may not feature in the iPhone 8, owing to concerns around Samsung’s Note 7 battery explosions, he added

Nevertheless, the note adds strength to rumours that the iPhone 8 might feature wireless charging, after Apple joined the Wireless Charging Consortium last week. The organisation features a technology standard called Qi, that enables phones to rest on wireless charging pads, or even rest up to 4.5cm away from the pad and still charge.

Apple declined to comment on CNBC’s article, but the publication refers to other Apple analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the next iPhone will feature the technology.

16/02/2017: Apple patent ‘shows fingerprint sensor under display

A patent filed by Apple has suggested the iPhone 8 will have its fingerprint sensor underneath the display rather than integrated into the Home button.

The iPhone 8’s display is rumoured to stretch the entire way across the handset, meaning there won’t be space for a Home button at all, but hiding the tech in the screen will mean security conscious users can still protect their device with the tap of a finger.

The filing describes the technology would “use a micro light emitting diode (LED) in an active matrix display to emit light and a sensing IR diode to sense light,” allowing it to sense a finger is about to press it by blocking out the light.

When the finger comes into contact with the display, it will be able to read the digit in exactly the same way as the fingerprint reader does now. If it’s not the registered fingerprint, the device simply won’t work.

The patent said Apple’s technology will work in smaller spaces than previous technologies that rely on omitting light and realising when that light is blocked by a finger, making it pretty unique.

According to the Independent, the filing is similar to another one filed by LuxVue in 2014, although this newer patent replaces the original filing, presumably because Apple bought it.

14/02/2017: Apple fuels rumours of wireless charging

Apple has joined the Wireless Power Consortium, strengthening rumours that the iPhone 8 will feature cordless charging.

Eagle-eyed observers spotted that the tech giant is now listed as one of 213 members of the consortium, though it is not a member of the steering group.

Rumours that Apple wants to build in wireless charging to its new flagship phone have been flying around for a while, but this news adds weight to the suggestion.

The Wireless Power Consortium centres around a standard called Qi, which the organisation claims is embedded in 1,343 products now available.

Instead of relying on power cords, Qi is “truly wireless”, incorporating both inductive charging, where a device sits on a transmitter, through which the charge is passed to receiving coils built into the device, as well as resonant charging, which allows the transmitter to charge a device up to 45mm away.

Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi technology

While Apple was purportedly working on building long range wireless charging into the iPhone 8, through a possible partnership with a company called Energous, a probable September release date may make achieving that unlikely. However, it is still likely to include a less ambitious version of the technology, according to multiple reports. That may or may not be based on Qi.

IHS Technology analyst Vicky Yussuff suggested (via 9to5Mac) that consumer appetite for wireless charging in the iPhone 8 is high, saying: “The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple’s competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore. IHS Technology consumer survey data shows over 90% of consumers want wireless charging on their next device.”

An Apple spokesperson told Business Insider: “Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor. Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together with the WPC and its members.”

08/02/2017: Apple ‘ramping up’ iPhone 8 production

Production of the iPhone 8 might begin sooner than predicted, with Apple suppliers due to start building it in June, according to research.

However, this may not lead to an earlier release date than Apple’s usual September slot, BlueFin Research Partners said, in data reported in Tech Trader Daily.

The group said: “The most intriguing data points that we have uncovered suggests that AAPL is ramping the next generation iPhones earlier than historical norms, although we have no indication that there has been any change in release plans for the iPhone 8.”

BlueFin’s sources in Apple’s supply chain said the “focus remains on the tremendous anticipation for a iPhone 8/X super cycle intertwined with some mid-year transition hurdles.”

Its data points to a 300% increase in iPhone 8 builds this June, expected to amount to nine million units.

Apple might be trying to build on the success of the iPhone 7, which boosted iPhone sales to a record high, by meeting anticipated higher demand for the new model.

18/11/2016: iPhone 8 rumoured to have ‘all-glass’ OLED display

Though the iPhone 7 is only a couple months old, rumours about Apple’s next offering have already surfaced, which is set to launch on the iPhone’s tenth anniversary.

The next device, which is almost certainly called the iPhone 8, will feature a vibrant “all-glass” OLED display according to reports by Bloomberg. The new design will extend the glass to the edges of the screen, and will remove the physical home button in favour of a ‘virtual’ embedded button, according to sources close to the matter. This change will mark a significant shift away from the classic iPhone look towards a style favoured by major rival Samsung.

However OLED displays, which have pixels that produce their own light rather than relying on a backlight, are much more difficult to produce and will likely be short in supply for the launch of the iPhone 8.

Samsung Display, LG Display, Sharp and Japan Display are currently the largest producers of OLED displays. It appears that Samsung will be the sole supplier of the displays for next year but may struggle to produce enough to meet increasing demands by Apple. The shortage could result in an ‘OLED version’ or a delay in the launch of the new device.

“Apple has already figured in there will be high demand for the OLED model and they’ve also figured out there will be constraints to these panels,” said Dan Panzica, supply chain analyst at IHS Markit, speaking to Bloomberg.

Apple has already made an order for Samsung to produce 100 million units over one year, however it is likely the South Korean firm will only be able to deliver a small portion of that target, according to Bloomberg sources.

The California based company ran into similar supply problems during the launch of the iPhone 6, when sole supplier GT Advanced Technologies failed to provide enough high quality ‘sapphire glass’ for the new display, forcing the design to be scrapped.

Release date

Apple has always stuck to a September release for its new smartphone flagships, and we have no reason to believe the iPhone 8 will not follow suit. This means we are likely to see a release of the device early in the month, going on sale to the public in late September.

Price

Given that some models of the iPhone 7 Plus can cost up to £920, it is no surprise that the industry is expecting a $1000+ price point for the iPhone 8. Rumours have suggested that Apple are planning to raise the average prices of the new iPhone range, which would make it the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever made.

Rumours also point to three different configurations for the next flagship phone, two of which feature a cheaper to produce LCD screen over the costly OLED variant. This will almost certainly have an affect on final prices.

Specs & hardware

It’s highly likely that the iPhone 8 will launch with iOS 11, but as iOS 10 has only been out a few months, its unclear what features a brand new OS would include.

Apple used a quad-core A10 processor in the iPhone 7 range and the company may stick with a quad-core A11 for its next phone. Samsung’s activities will not go unnoticed however, as rumours suggest they are planning for an Exynos octa-core chip built using 10nm technology. If true, Apple is unlikely to let itself be out-gunned.

While the iPhone 7 was limited to just 2GB RAM, it is very likely that Apple will want to beef up the iPhone 8 to either 3GB or 4GB.

Apple may also be about to phase out the 32GB storage option for this generation, according to a recent report by TrendForce, in favour of 64GB and 256GB configurations.

Display

One of the first rumours to circulate about the iPhone 8 was the inclusion of an all-glass OLED display. What is uncertain is whether this screen will be curved, as one report from the Wall Street Journal claimed it would be, only to be contradicted by the research report by TrendForce citing poor production yield and failed drop test results.

What we can say is that this model will be its premium version, and it is very likely that two other models will hit the market at the same time offering cheaper LCD screens. On the face of things this could be seen as a move by Apple to offer greater variety and pricing options for its customers, although what is more probable is that Apple is suffering from a severe supply shortage of OLED screens.

The iPhone 8 is also likely to be closer to the iPhone 7 Plus in terms of size, and although the new design will shave off some inches by removing the top and bottom bezels, the actual phone size will remain relatively the same.

A number of scanners are set to feature with the new display, including a built in finger print scanner and a new iris scanner for facial recognition.

Battery

Apple may finally add support for wireless charging with the iPhone 8, following news that Foxconn is researching the technology for Apple devices.

What this will look like is unclear, as Apple could build on the technology to provide true wireless charging with 15ft of contactless support. Although there have been no official statements, Energous, the company behind the technology, has stated it is working alongside a larger consumer electronic company planning to release a new product at the end of 2017. The research group itself has received $10 million in investments from Dialog Semiconductor, a company largely affiliated with Apple, according to BGR.

‘Ultimate Accessory Connector’ (UAC)

A new connector type is rumoured to be making its way to iPhone 8 accessories. The UAC, which will feature on all accessories and devices made through Apple’s ‘Made-for-iPhone’ programme, and promises to be an eight-pin connection that is smaller and thinner than USB-C and Lightning.

Colours

A Chinese supplier recently revealed that the new range of iPhones will feature the same colours as the current models, including Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold, according to a report by Macotakara. Although simply an uncorroborated report at this stage, the typically reliable source also pointed to a replacement to the current Space Grey option, potentially with a Deep Blue, Space Black, or a Deep Red.

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