In many ways, the most talked about smartphone which Apple has yet to release at the moment is not the forthcoming iPhone something, but the iPhone 8. It is rare for an Apple handset not to generate a huge amount of buzz, but the general feeling about the iPhone 7 is that it will be somewhat more of the same from the California-based corporation, and that consumers will need to wait for the iPhone 8 for a revolution in the iPhone series.
Apple sales forecast
Apple has almost confirmed this impression itself by predicting that sales of the iPhone range will diminish in 2016 as compared to the previous calendar year, suggesting that Apple will not hugely upgrade the iPhone device this year. Surely the consumer electronics giant would not make such a gloomy prediction regarding sales if it intended to produce a jaw-dropping iPhone 7?
So what can we expect from the iPhone 8? There have already been several new features linked with this truly next generation smartphone, but another emerged in the last couple of weeks. On May 17, 2016, Apple filed a patent for a bezel-free device, and this certainly seems far too late for this technology to be included in the iPhone 7. This suggests that this bezel-less technology will debut in the iPhone 8, which suggests that the smartphone will benefit from an edge-to-edge display.
An image render and concept by Marek Weidlich has already given one impression of how the iPhone 8 may appear without bezels. This conceptual notion is certainly a striking image, and one that indicates that Apple could indeed innovate significantly in 2017.
iPhone 8 with AMOLED screen predicted
The edge-to-edge display is not the only way that the screen of the iPhone 8 is expected to significantly differ from the previous iPhone releases. Apple has reportedly been negotiating with Samsung with a view to including AMOLED technology in the iPhone range for the first time when the iPhone 8 is released.
There seems to be two primary motivations for this decision. Firstly, the super AMOLED displays that are utilized in the Samsung Galaxy range have been particularly critically acclaimed, and Apple may believe that it has fallen behind its Korean rival to a certain extent in this department.
Secondly, it is known that AMOLED technology utilizes significantly less power than LCD screens, and this has been a major difficulty for Apple in recent iPhone releases. Apple has been criticised for delivering iPhone units with less-than-ideal battery lifecycles, so switching to AMOLED could play a major role in solving this problem.
Other information has supported the idea that Apple will opt for AMOLED with the iPhone 8. Applied Materials, the company already known for working closely with Apple, has dropped very strong hints that it will increase display demands towards 2017. While the company itself has not discussed the motivation for this, it has been generally assumed that the iPhone 8 is the reason behind it, with Applied Materials needing to increase production due to the iPhone 8 incorporating an OLED screen.
Bloomberg has already reported on this potential prospect of the iPhone 8, quoting the Applied Materials CEO Gary Dickerson, who hinted strongly at Apple being behind what he described as the sustainable growth of the company.
Unique waterproofing patent
Apple has also filed another patent back in November of last year which suggests that the iPhone 8 could include some rather unique and innovative waterproofing technology. Patent application 20150326959 goes by the rather memorable title of “Liquid expulsion from an orifice”! It seems that this particular innovation is effectively a mechanism which enables the iPhone to dry itself by pumping liquid out through the speaker grilles. “The embodiments described herein are directed to an acoustic module that is configured to remove all or a portion of a liquid that has accumulated within a cavity of the acoustic modules,” the patent summary notes.
A pretty spectacular piece of technology, and one that Apple will seemingly look to implement in both the iPhone and Apple Watch range in the foreseeable future. Considering the ethos that Apple seems to have in mind for the iPhone 7, it seems likely that this amusingly titled patent will ultimately see the light of day for the first time in the iPhone 8 generation.
Another possible suggestion for the display in the iPhone 8 is that it could embrace 3D technology, with reports in the Economic Daily News indicating that the Apple supply chain partner TBK is currently working on a relevant project. The so-called “naked eye 3D screen” wouldn’t require glasses in order to convey three-dimensional images, and this would be a massive breakthrough for the iPhone if it could indeed be included in the iPhone 8.
Even holographic technology has been linked with the Apple smartphone in some quarters, although it seems unlikely that such an extreme form of technology could be included in the iPhone range next year.
Flexible or curved screen
Far more likely in the iPhone 8 generation is that Apple will produce a curved screen variant of the iPhone 8, and possibly a device with a flexible display. This is particularly mooted owing to the success of Samsung with this technology, and especially predicted as Apple has indeed patented such technology already.
Apple’s patent 9,146,590 refers to an “electronic device with wraparound display”, indicating that the Californian corporation has already strongly considered this technology. A wraparound screen has also been anticipated by some analysts, and it seems very possible that Apple could produce an accompanying curved screen device alongside the usual flatscreen iPhone 8.
Aside from the more revolutionary aspects of the iPhone 8, Apple is also expected to boost the specs of the smartphone significantly. This should mean a quad HD custom version of the handset, while RAM could be boosted up to 4GB by 2017, with Apple also including a more powerful A11 processor. Wireless charging, new biometrics, a DSLR camera, and lithium-air batteries have all also been linked with what promises to be a revolutionary smartphone.