With the iPhone 7 already in the can, Apple is making big plans for the next generation iPhone 8. The 2017 iPhone release will mark the tenth anniversary of the iconic smartphone range, and it is expected that the consumer electronics giant will have something special up its sleeve to acknowledge this landmark.

iPhone 8 Concept
Image source: iVenyaWay / YouTube Video Screenshot

Israel leaks

The latest news on the iPhone 8 comes from Israel, where reports have outlined some of the hardware that the Californian corporation may choose to include in this important smartphone release. An unnamed employee at an Apple site in Herzliya, Israel has provided these latest leaks, and they are certainly interesting and worthy of note, considering that the hardware for the iPhone 8 is being developed in the Middle Eastern nation.

Reports from Israel indicate that the iPhone 8 will feature a completely different appearance to recent iPhone releases, and will also be fitted with superior cameras. This would imply an outstanding photographic capability, as the existing iPhone 7 was already considered an improvement in this department.

Liquidmetal

It is particularly suggested that the iPhone 8 will be cased in curved glass made from Liquidmetal (a brandname for a technology developed by a California Institute of Technology research team), creating an entirely new visage for the world’s most popular handset. Artist Martin Hajek had already created a prototype concept image of this nature ahead of the launch of the iPhone 6, but it seems that these rumors could finally come to fruition with the release of the iPhone 8.

Apple has indeed already filed a patent, back in 2013, for a curved glass phone case constructed from Liquidmetal. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that it will see the light of day in the iPhone 8 generation – Apple has any number of patents that it has yet to put into practice. But it does seem likely that Apple has been planning to include this technology in the iPhone range for some time, and the landmark nature of this iPhone 8 release may tempt the Cupertino-based company to finally unveil it.

Liquidmetal comprises a mixture of titanium, nickel, copper and zirconium among other metals, ensuring that any product instructed via this technique is particularly scratch resistant. Constructing the iPhone 8 from the Liquidmetal would ensure that it is robust, while the substance is also relatively light considering its toughness. Liquidmetal also has the property of a feeling as smooth as glass, potentially bringing a whole new feel to the iPhone range.

Patents leaked some time ago outline a process involving injection moulding and 3D printing using bulk metallic glasses (BMG) powder. This is simply another name for Liquidmetal, and it is believed that layers of BMG could be produced via 3D printing to create casing for phones, tablets and even potentially Apple TVs.

iPhone 8 – New look

Speaking to Business Insider, the Israeli employee indicated that the iPhone 8 would be significantly different from previous releases. This was seen as being essential inside the company, with Apple attracting criticism recently for releasing smartphones too similar to previous generations. Indeed, the premiership of Tim Cook has often been derided for being too conservative; focused on the piling things high and selling them in large numbers, rather than innovating.

Curved screen

Meanwhile, another source in Asia suggest that Apple will break its curved screen virginity with the iPhone 8, by producing a smartphone with a curved display. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Apple will follow the technological blueprint laid down by Samsung, and release an iPhone 8 model featuring this curved screen technology. This has, of course, been hugely popular in the Samsung Galaxy range, and it seems that there could be direct competition now between a curved iPhone 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge; likely to be released in February 2017.

Corroborating the reports from Israel is the omnipresent KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, by now considered by far the most reliable Apple analyst in the world. His latest report suggests that the iPhone 8 will indeed feature a glass and metal design, which will make the smartphone somewhat reminiscent of the now largely forgotten iPhone 4 and 4S.

Kuo also believes that there will be higher end models produced by Apple for the iPhone 8 generation, and that these will feature stainless steel frames as opposed to the standard aluminum. This was also a feature of the iPhone 4 generation, but Kuo Believes that Apple will retain aluminum frames for more affordable variants of the iPhone 8.

Display resolution

What many Apple fans will be waiting to hear from the corporation is whether or not Apple will choose to improve the resolution of the iPhone 8 in comparison to previous releases. This is surely overdue considering about Apple has yet to release a full HD smartphone-sized variant of the iPhone series, although the reluctance of Samsung to upgrade its Galaxy range to 4K resolution has perhaps let Apple off the hook to some extent.

Early rumors have suggested that the phablet-sized variant of the iPhone 8 will feature quad HD resolution, which would certainly please Apple devotees. With Apple expected to freeze the screen size of both the smartphone and phablet models of the iPhone 8, this would mean that the pixel density of the iPhone 8 Plus would be increased significantly. A quad HD resolution would ensure a pixel density of 534ppi, compared to the 401ppi of the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple would also likely bump up the resolution of the smaller smartphone version of the iPhone 8 to full HD.

OLED linked

Meanwhile, it is possible that Apple will choose to make the switch to OLED technology in the iPhone 8 generation, with a Wall Street Journal report particularly pointing to this possibility. If Apple were to fundamentally change the display technology in this way, and a couple it with a potential edge-to-edge screen and curved display variant, it would certainly represent a significant shift in the iPhone ethos.

All in all, it seems as if Apple is ready to make a big changes when the iPhone 8 releases next year.