With a few months to go until the release of the iPhone 7, it looks increasingly as if the next generation smartphone will be a minor upgrade. Users wanting a revolution in the iPhone concept will probably have to wait until the iPhone 8, with many analysts now suggesting that Apple will skip the iPhone 7S in favour of this branding.
Although the iPhone 7 will definitely be a strong smartphone contender, and one which attracts plenty of consumers, many will now be considering waiting for the iPhone 8 before upgrading. Even Barclays has claimed that Apple will opt to release an iPhone 8 next year, so Apple fans will already be wondering what the corporation intends to release under this moniker.
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The other interesting thing to note about 2017 is that it represents the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone range. The first iPhone hit the stores back in 2007, and Apple may have something special in mind for such a significant birthday.
Recent suggestions for the iPhone 8 indicate that Apple may consider completely redesigning the physical appearance of the handset. This has been particularly prominent in whispers emanating from John Gruber; the notorious Apple blogger and podcaster from Daring Fireball. Gruber believes that the iPhone 8 will feature an all-display front surface, with bezels and borders being completely eliminated from the device. This has been rumored as a possibility for some time, and Apple has indeed already patented technology capable of delivering this.
Another fascinating suggestion regarding the iPhone 8 is that the Home button included in the handset will be completely invisible. There have been a wide variety of suggestions related to the Home button over the last couple of years, with most of them focusing on the notion that Apple will phase it out sooner or later.
While this has yet to come to fruition, it is suggested that the iPhone 8 could be unique in this regard. Gruber again states that the Home button will be embedded within the front glass panel, meaning that it will not be visible to users of the iPhone 8. The Home button would also house the fingerprint sensor in this rejigged design.
Furthermore, rather than the physical button that Apple users have become accustomed to with the existing iPhone series, the Home button in the iPhone 8 will be a capacitive touch-button. This would add extra functionality to the Home button, while it is possible that some of the features currently associated with this physical aspect of the iPhone could migrate to 3D Touch instead.
One area where the iPhone has unquestionably fallen behind some of its competitors in recent years is in the quality of display that Apple includes. While Samsung has standardized quad HD in its range of mobile devices, Apple has yet to produce a smartphone-sized device which is even full HD. There are also question marks regarding the LCD technology which Apple utilizes in the iPhone, and it is increasingly suggested that this could be discarded with the iPhone 8.
Sources close to the Apple supply chain are already suggesting that the iPhone 7 will be the last ever LCD smartphone from the corporation. The Korea Herald has reported that the iPhone 8 will feature an AMOLED display, which will deliver two obvious advantages over the existing LCD technology. Firstly, OLED is generally reckoned to be of superior quality to LCD. And perhaps as importantly, it also offers power saving qualities relative to LCD.
As for the resolution of the iPhone 8, this is certainly not known at the time of writing, but Apple will almost certainly look to upgrade the screen in the smartphone-sized iPhone 8 to full HD, with a quad HD phablet naturally following.
The aforementioned report from Barclays also suggest that the iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging for the first time. This would be extremely welcome, as the iPhone is notoriously greedy when it comes to draining power. Samsung has already integrated wireless charging into some of its Galaxy products, so this would be a natural progression for Apple, and indeed arguably the consumer electronics giant should already have embraced wireless charging in its flagship range.
It has been widely anticipated that Apple will ditch the headphone jack included in the iPhone traditionally when the iPhone 7 is released later this year. Whether or not this ultimately comes to fruition, with Apple expected to place an emphasis on wireless music playing capabilities in the iPhone this year, it is certainly anticipated that this will occur by the time of the iPhone 8. Apple Insider is already predicting that this will be a feature of the iPhone 8, and this certainly seems like a credible opinion.
Another interesting patent filed by Apple related to the iPhone 8 suggests that in the smartphone may features some rather spectacular waterproofing technology. The patent application in question seemingly features a mechanism which enables the iPhone to dry itself by pumping liquid out through grilles in the speakers. “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.
Many analysts also believe that Apple will follow suit from Samsung and release an iPhone 8 featuring a curved display. This technology has proven to be hugely successful for Samsung, and indeed the Korean company is even intrinsically linked with curved screen technology to a certain extent.
It is extremely likely that a curved iPhone 8 would be a niche device, with the flat screen still the mainstream handset aimed at the mass market. But it could be a possibility which Apple explores in the next generation smartphone, particularly as, once again, it is known that the corporation has patented such technology.
Meanwhile, Apple’s patent 9,146,590 refers to an “electronic device with wraparound display”, suggesting that the market-leader is also contemplating a flexible display for future smartphone releases.