Apple fans are looking forward to the iPhone 8 with great anticipation. The iPhone hasn’t received a  major design change in three years. And 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iconic product. Because of these reasons, consumers believe that the new iPhone would have an entirely new design and exciting new features. If rumors coming out of the supply chain in Asia are to be believed, Apple is not going to disappoint them.

iPhone 8 Wireless Charging Energous
Image Credit: Energous Corporation / YouTube video (screenshot)

iPhone 8 to get IP68 waterproofing

Supply chain sources told South Korean publication The Investor that the iPhone 8 would have an IP68 waterproof rating, the highest level of water resistance. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 is also said to be IP68-certified. An IP68 certification means the new iPhone could be submerged in up to five feet of water for about 30 minutes. Sources told The Investor that Apple is likely to use waterproof tapes to protect the phone. Using tapes instead of adhesives makes it easier to repair the handsets.

The current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus come with IP67 rating, which means they can be submerged in up to three feet of water. That’s sufficient to protect the phone in most of the practical scenarios such as rain, shower, or dropping it in a bathtub. The other two phones – the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus – that Apple would launch alongside the iPhone 8 are said to have IP68 rating.

Apple switching to a glass sandwich design for wireless charging

With the iPhone 8, Apple is switching from LED to curved OLED display panels. The device is said to have a glass sandwich design, where an all-glass front and rear would be supported by a stainless steel frame. Apple has placed orders with Foxconn and Jabil for the supply of forged stainless steel frames. Forged steel is 30% to 50% cheaper to manufacture than the CNC milling process Apple currently employs.

Apple had used stainless steel frame on the iPhone 4. The switch from an aluminum unibody chassis to a glass sandwich design would not only give the iPhone 8 a stylish look, but also enable wireless charging. To add true wireless charging, the back of the smartphone needs to be ceramic, plastic or glass. These materials can transmit signals more effectively than metal.

Foxconn testing wireless charging modules

Apple’s manufacturing partner Energous recently indicated that its wireless charging technology could debut with the iPhone 8 later this year. Energous’ technology allows a compatible device to be charged automatically over the air when it is within 15 feet of a transmitter. Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn, which has an agreement with Energous, has been testing wireless charging modules for the upcoming iPhones.

The iPhone 8 is also expected to focus on, or at least lay the groundwork for, Augmented Reality (AR). Apple CEO Tim Cook has suggested on several occasions that the company was exploring opportunities in AR. Cook believes AR would eventually become bigger than virtual reality.