After all of the rumors, speculation, leaks, and gossip; we are one big step closer to having an iPhone 8 in our hands. Noted leaker, OnLeaks, Tweeted that iPhone 8 mass-production has begun. This is right on time for a regular iPhone launch which means that the delay rumors we have been hearing are unfounded. Of course, as I always mention in these rumor articles, nothing is official until Apple makes it official.
One of the most exciting things about the iPhone 8 mass-production beginning is that we will likely see a flurry of component leaks as different manufacturers begin working on individual parts for the iPhone 8. This is just like keeping a secret… The more people that know, the more chance your secret gets out. Brace yourselves for some component leaks coming in the next few weeks as the iPhone 8 launch date grows closer and closer.
This news of the iPhone 8 mass-production kicking off should help to dispel some of the rumors that the iPhone 8 was going to be delayed. With that said, we still don’t know how many iPhone 8 smartphones are being produced. A lot of industry analysts have said that Apple was having trouble getting enough OLED screens manufactured. There was speculation that Apple would either delay the launch or launch with limited devices available. At this point, with production underway, I would say it’s safe to assume Apple won’t be delaying the biggest iPhone launch since the original. It is, however, much more likely that we see very limited numbers of iPhone 8 handsets available when the device does finally launch this fall.
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So, what do we know about the upcoming iPhone 8? Quite a bit. Apple let the cat out of the bag with their own major leak courtesy of the HomePod firmware. Of course, the HomePod isn’t coming to an Apple Store near you until sometime in December but Apple wanted developers to begin working with the device’s firmware to ensure plenty of app support once the launch date finally arrives. Since HomePod runs iOS just like the iPhone, there is a lot of code inside the HomePod firmware that doesn’t necessarily relate to the HomePod at all. Apple failed to scrub mention of unannounced features and models from the HomePod firmware before developers were able to dig through the code and pull out some juicy nuggets of information.
For example, thanks to the HomePod firmware, we know what the iPhone 8 will look like. There was an icon for the D22 (iPhone 8 internal model name) inside the HomePod firmware that confirmed the design we have all been expecting. The iPhone 8 will feature a nearly bezel-less display. The new OLED screen will stretch from edge to edge with only a small cutout at the top for an earpiece and front-facing sensors. In addition, the home button is confirmed to be dead and gone. This will surely make for a very sleek iPhone 8 and mark the biggest design change for Apple in the history of the iPhone. Pretty fitting for a 10 year anniversary.
We also got confirmation of Apple’s 3D face scanning feature which is going to be referred to as PearlID. Using an infrared camera, PearlID will scan and map points on a user’s face in order to perform a variety of security tasks. PearlID is expected to be able to do everything that TouchID can do. So, using their face, users will be able to unlock their device, authorize Apple Pay purchases, and access secure apps. I’m very interested to see how well PearlID works in the real world. A lot of smartphone manufacturers have attempted to try things like face unlock and iris scanning with mixed results. There was a rumor a few weeks back that Apple was having trouble with the PearlID software. We can probably assume the feature will be working at launch but how well the feature works remains to be seen.
As iPhone 8 mass-production ramps up, perhaps we will get a closer look at what the camera sensor looks like. Renders that have been shown over the last few weeks that suggest a vertically aligned dual camera sensor. The iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera sensor so that part shouldn’t be too surprising. The vertical alignment is very interesting, though. If accurate, this shows that Apple is going to be taking augmented reality (AR) very seriously with their upcoming smartphone launch. In fact, iOS 11 has an ARKit included and Tim Cook even led the last earnings call with talk about AR. Because AR works best in a landscape environment, vertically aligning the dual camera sensors makes them more effective for AR when the device is turned on its side. In addition to hardware, Apple has some software tricks up its sleeve for the camera. In the HomePod code there was mention of a SmartCamera. This camera would be able to analyze the composition of the photo and determine the best settings for that specific shot. It will be very interesting to see this new SmartCamera in action.
Those are just a few of the big new features expected in the iPhone 8. With the iPhone 8 mass-production now underway, it shouldn’t be long until we have a few component leaks to look at. Of course, for their big launch, Apple may be pulling out all the stops to keep things under wraps. If that does prove to be true then at least we won’t have to wait long to see the iPhone 8. Everything appears to be on-track for a September reveal date.