The rumor mill has revealed almost every detail about the Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. While the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 would have beefed specs, the other two phones would be only minor upgrades over the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, the Apple iPhone 8 would feature a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display. The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would stick to their predecessors’ 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD panels.
iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Edition or Apple Phone?
At this point, the rumor mill is almost certain that the 10th anniversary iPhone would be called iPhone 8, and the other two devices would be named iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. Some other names doing the round are iPhone X (which is 10 in Roman numerals) and iPhone Edition (it will be a 10th-anniversary edition device). Zach Epstein of BGR believes that Apple could finally change the naming pattern for iPhones this year.
Zach’s logic makes sense. If Apple launches iPhone 7S and 7S Plus in 2017, what would 2018 iPhones be called – iPhone 8 and 8 Plus? Probably not, because the iPhone 8 is rumored to launch this year. If Apple indeed goes ahead with this pattern, what would the successor to 2017 iPhone 8 be called? iPhone 8S? Sounds ridiculous. Apple wouldn’t want to release the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8S all in the same year (2018).
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If the Cupertino company chooses to name this year’s iPhones along the same lines as iPad, the 2017 iPhone lineup would look like: iPhone, iPhone Plus, iPhone Pro. Or it could call them: 4.7-inch iPhone, 5.5-inch iPhone, and 5.8-inch iPhone. If Apple follows either of these patterns this year, what would their successors be called? In that case, the company may use year designators on iPhones, similar to what it does with MacBooks.
The names that make the most sense for 2017 lineup are iPhone X for the 10th anniversary model, and iPhone 7S and 7S Plus for the minor upgrades. The 2018 device could be called iPhone X2, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. It means the anniversary edition would get its own range with more powerful specs. According to Japanese blog Mac Otakara, the 10th anniversary model would be called iPhone Edition.
Apple had used the Edition name with the Apple Watch Edition to differentiate it from the standard Apple Watch models. The name iPhone Edition wouldn’t do full justice to its radical design and exciting features. Some in the rumor mill have suggested that Apple could move away from the iPhone brand to call the future smartphones “Apple Phone” along the lines of Apple Watch.
Others argue that Apple should not just drop the name “iPhone” and call it Apple Phone, but do away with the word “Phone” altogether. The 10th anniversary iPhone would be more than just a phone that you use for calling and texting. It is rumored to have numerous augmented reality features that would lead to a major paradigm shift, laying the foundation for the next revolution in computing.
Ming-Chi Kuo’s big predictions for iPhone 8
In a research note to investors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo laid out his top predictions for the Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 7S and 7S Plus (tentative names). Many of the analyst’s predictions are in line with the recent leaks and supply chain rumors. According to the analyst, the Apple iPhone 8 would have the “highest screen-to-body ratio” of any smartphone.
That’s because the 10th anniversary iPhone would have an edge-to-edge OLED display with no side bezels. The top and bottom bezels would also be incredibly slim. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has a screen-to-body ratio of above 80%. The iPhone 8’s ratio may go above 90%. A cutout for the front camera and other sensors would be only noticeable part of the bezel.
The phone would have no physical home button, predicted the analyst. Kuo added that Apple was still facing problems integrating the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into the display. Apparently, the in-display fingerprint solution has reduced the yield rates below satisfactory levels. Kuo said the tech giant could ditch Touch ID altogether, if the issues are not resolved, in favor of another biometric method of security such as facial recognition and iris scanner.
The analyst said the 10th anniversary iPhone would feature “3D sensing for facial recognition and improved selfie quality.” The Apple iPhone 8 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7S Plus would both feature 3GB RAM, while the smaller 4.7-inch model would pack 2GB RAM. All the three iPhones would be available in two storage options: 64GB and 256GB. There will be no 32GB and 128GB storage variants.
Apple would offer the anniversary model in fewer color options than the other two phones to “maintain its boutique image.” KGI Securities said the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus production would ramp up in August/September for September launch. The iPhone 8 production is unlikely to ramp up until October/November. However, the analyst believes all three devices would be unveiled simultaneously in September. The iPhone 8 supply may not improve until early 2018.
Apple to invest in LG Display to secure OLED supply
Separately, Korean site The Korea Herald reports that Apple has agreed to invest in LG Display to secure the supply of OLED panels. It is unclear whether LG would be supplying OLED panels for the iPhone 8 or 2018 models. The Cupertino company will reportedly invest $1.75-$2.62 billion in LG Display’s OLED production lines, which would be dedicated exclusively to Apple.
Just a few days ago, DigiTimes reported that Samsung Display was facing trouble producing OLED panels for the iPhone 8. Samsung was expected to supply 70 million OLED units to Apple by the end of this year. However, sources told DigiTimes that the Korean company would be able to supply only 3-4 million OLED panels by September, which could significantly hurt the iPhone 8 sales.
Apple iPhone 8 to feature wireless charging
The 10th anniversary iPhone would also feature wireless charging, though it’s not clear whether it would support inductive wireless charging or long-distance one. An Apple supplier had already confirmed the feature for the iPhone 8. A few days ago, a developer found references to wireless charging in Apple’s iOS 11 code, which is currently in beta stage.
The iOS 11 has a sound file called “engage_power.caf,” which is different from the “connect_power.caf” sound file in the iOS 10. The newly discovered file has a “longer, more distinct sound” to assure iPhone users that their device is charging properly. The new sound file is said to be linked to iPhone 8 wireless charging. It’s not yet known whether the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would also support the feature.
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