The iPhone X is probably Apple’s worst-kept secret right now, just as all iPhones are every year, and investors are banking on it being the best thing since, well, last year’s iPhone, just as they do nearly every year. A weekend leak of some unreleased iOS 11 code may have spoiled all the surprises Apple had in store for tech fiends at tomorrow’s big iPhone event, with John Gruber of Daring Fireball calling the leaker “the least-popular person in Cupertino.”
Lots of articles are still referring to Apple’s tenth anniversary iPhone as the iPhone 8, although it looks like the phone’s real name will end up being the iPhone X, and let’s face it. The Apple iPhone X would be a cooler name and one befitting a special edition model that marks ten years of the iPhone.
iPhone X to arrive with iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
Previously, it was expected that Apple would launch the iPhone 8 or possible iPhone X with the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, as the “7s” names were basically set in stone as far as the rumor mill was concerned. However, 9to5 Mac reported that iOS 11 has revealed the names of all three new iPhones.
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The blog was able to download an unreleased iOS 11 build over the weekend, and it listed the names of the phones as the iPhone X, which presumably is the special tenth anniversary edition model, and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The Apple iPhone X name has been batted around as a possible name for the special edition model, but the iPhone 8 tagline was reserved as the other potential name for it.
As a result, the fact that the two standard iPhone models are getting the number 8 may be somewhat of a surprise. However, some companies that make iPhone cases said a couple weeks ago that they had heard Apple was using the names iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone Edition for this year’s lineup, so it’s not a total surprise.
OLED screen expected in the iPhone X
It sounds like the code that was leaked to 9to5 Mac, Mac Rumors and a few other tech news outlets could be genuine, as the BBC independently verified that an anonymous source at Apple leaked it to them. Thus, the tech community has been able to glean lots of details about the Apple iPhone X early, as developers have been picking it apart to pull out various details.
For example, 9to5 Mac also said the unreleased iOS 11 build revealed a lot of features that have long been expected in the tenth anniversary iPhone model, like the OLED screen, which is expected to take up almost all of the phone’s front. The physical Home button is believed to have been swapped out for a virtual button, as has been the trend for flagship smartphones all year. Wireless charging and a better camera have also been expected in the special edition iPhone, and the code seems to confirm that they will be included. It appears the camera for all three of this year’s models will feature 4K and 1080p support.
Interestingly, it looks like the Apple iPhone X will also have a special edition processor to go along with the other ultra-high-end features. The unreleased iOS 11 code reveals what looks like a six-core A11 Fusion chip, according to the tech blog. Four of those cores are high-performance cores, while two are battery life efficient cores. It sounds like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will get the same chip, making them much more powerful than last year’s models as well.
iPhone X will have Face ID instead of Touch ID
The unreleased iOS 11 build also revealed something called Face ID, which is apparently a replacement for the Touch ID fingerprint reader. This makes sense because of everything we’ve heard about the fingerprint reader all year. Apple’s suppliers were supposedly having trouble with it for months until Apple was said to have ditched the fingerprint reader entirely for the iPhone X. The result is expected to be low yields in the early days and possibly a delay in the release date for the iPhone X.
The Face ID that was observed in the unreleased iOS 11 build is actually a face reader that reportedly allows the iPhone X to take a 3D image of the user’s face. After that image is recorded, the user can supposedly just look at their iPhone to unlock it. If this feature ends up being real, it could go a long way toward convincing people to pay more than $1,000 for a new iPhone.
One thing we don’t know about the Apple iPhone X yet
Although the leaked iOS 11 build has revealed almost everything Apple is planning to reveal tomorrow, there is one thing that is yet undetermined where the iPhone X is concerned. According to CNBC, the question of Gigabit LTE is up in the air because of one huge problem. Apple usually buys its iPhone modems from both Qualcomm and Intel, but the latter hasn’t released its Gigabit LTE modems yet, while the former has.
Thus, either Apple will only use Qualcomm modems this year so that it can offer Gigabit LTE, or it won’t support this faster download speed because it will continue to buy from both Qualcomm and Intel. Another possibility is that Apple has designed its own modems, although that seems unlikely. CNBC describes Gigabit LTE as similar to the shift from 3G to 4G LTE because download speeds get a dramatic upshift with Gigabit LTE.
One possibility that isn’t mentioned is that the Apple iPhone X will get Qualcomm modems, while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus modems will be split between Qualcomm and Intel.
Price of more than $1,000 appears likely
Another thing that can’t be deduced from the leaked iOS 11 code is the price of the Apple iPhone X, but a price point of more than $1,000 is looking increasingly likely. The Face ID sensor alone could boost the phone’s price dramatically, but there are other reasons to expect a hefty price tag, with the simplest answer being that Apple can charge that much and get away with it.
Another factor is the fact that the price of components has gone up significantly this year, and if you look across brands, you’ll see higher prices nearly across the board. Samsung’s Note 8 is priced near $1,000; thus, with so many premium features, a price tag of over $1,000 for the iPhone X wouldn’t be a surprise.