iPhone Rumors: What We Know (And What We Don’t)

August 11, 2017

10:50 am

You may or may not be aware, but Apple is teasing the release of another installment in its heralded iPhone series – iPhone 8. And, unlike the underwhelming ‘upgrade’ from the 6s to the 7, this one looks to be promising some truly revolutionary features that are sure to wrench your hard-earned dollars from your (digital) wallets.

Here’s what we know (and what we don’t) so far…

Augmented Reality System

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Augmented Reality (AR), check out this article by our very own Anastasiia Bobeshko. But for those already up-to-speed, you know what a massive play this is for Apple.

What We Know

Apple is finally making a move into augmented reality, and rumor has it the iPhone 8 will incorporate 3D-scanning lasers to make for one of the best consumer augmented reality platforms available.

What We Don’t Know

It’s unclear as to how augmented reality fits in with the rest of Apple’s ecosystem of hardware and services. In other words, we’re not totally sure how this new tech will be leveraged by Apple. However, the hundreds of thousands of iOS developers out there will be receiving access to this new augmented reality kit, so we’ll surely see some great examples of how AR can enhance every day life. Heck, it’s probably going to make shopping at Ikea even better, which we thought was impossible.

Processor

Your current, soon-to-be-outdated iPhone is likely running on the A10 fusion chip, but the new iPhone 8 will more than likely utilize the new A11 SoC (system-on-a-chip), which is manufactured using a cutting edge 10nm process that makes for more densely packed-in transistors (which means more processing power).

What We Know

The A11 chip has been in production since May of this year and is set to power the iPhone 8. Leaked bench marks show the A11 chipset being a massive leap over not just previous iPhones, but the current handsets of Apple closets rivals as well; a feat only made possible because Apple chose to develop its iOS-powering chips in-house.

What We Don’t Know

It’s hard to say just how fast this chip will be, and how much that will matter. Yes, faster is better, but it’s all relative based on the demands put upon that new A11. Regardless, the added resources implies Apple may have some surprises for us when it comes to functions never before seen in a smart phone.

Cameras

KGI Securities believes Apple will carry over its dual-lens camera from the iPhone 7 Plus, but many analysts are also predicting the iPhone 8 will use a “revolutionary” front camera that features 3D-sensing capabilities, which could be used to determine the depth and location of objects in space (great for things like, say, augmented reality applications). Additionally, “one of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later,” claims a recent report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. “Another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person’s head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees.”

What We Know

We’re getting better cameras. However, the rumor mill isn’t just feeding us mega-pixels fantasies, it’s promising enhanced features such as image stabilization for both lenses and even a new modern HDR function. Perhaps even more exciting, the iPhone 8 will most likely support ultra-slow-mo video capture of 240fps at 1080p (compared to 720p for the iPhone 7).

What We Don’t Know

It’s too soon to tell how this new camera system will be utilized by Apple’s augmented reality kit and the facial recognition functions (see below). We also aren’t sure if these upgrades are found on both front-facing and rear-facing cameras. In the past, rear-facing cameras always enjoyed greater technological leaps between generations, but considering the iPhone 8 is supposed to set a new high water mark anything is possible (also, Apple knows you love your selfies, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the front-facing camera mirrored the specs of the rear-facing one).

Display and Bezel

One of the most glaring upgrades to the iPhone 8 is its impressive screen-to-body ratio (i.e. how much of the phone’s front is occupied by the display vs. how much is occupied by the phone’s body). After getting shown up by LG’s G6 earlier this year, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 soon after that, Apple seems focused on reclaiming its crown as the smartphone with the best-in-class display in terms of performance and physical design.

What We Know

Apple is capitalizing on recent breakthroughs in OLED display technology, though they’re reportedly pushing the envelope so much that manufactures are having issues producing enough usable displays to meet the expected demand, causing some analysts to predict that the iPhone 8 will be in limited supply. One thing is certain though: once you get your hands on an iPhone 8, you should expect to see an OLED display that rivals the best on the market.

What We Don’t Know

We won’t know until launch day just how hard it will be to find the iPhone 8, though we hope Apple learned its lesson from the supply constraints we saw with the iPhone 7 Plus, which was in surprisingly short supply due to an “unexpected” demand over other iPhone models.

Facial Recognition


Facial recognition is the white whale of mobile security: if implemented correctly, it could replace Touch ID as the standard for authenticating with iOS (e.g. locking your phone, purchasing from iTunes, sending money to friends/family via iMessage). But if Apple misses the mark, it could leave users wishing they still had their tried-and-true Touch ID.

What We Know

Facial recognition is coming. We know that. We’ve seen pieces of an actual handset smuggled out of China that show room for new sensors, which can only be for this kind of tech, and we’ve seen code embedded in firmware making direct reference to scanning faces.

What We Don’t Know

Will facial recognition kill Touch ID? Maybe. Will it introduce new uses for authentication? Who knows. The biggest question is whether or not it will work well enough to be the kind of tech you almost forget is there (a.k.a. good tech).

Wireless charging

Fingers crossed, but it appears Apple will (finally) add wireless charging with the iPhone 8. Not only did they recently join the Wireless Power Consortium (which is in charge of developing the Qi wireless charging standard), mock-ups and prototypes show the use of glass and the inclusion of charing coils.

What We Know

Apple needs to catch up to the competition and include wireless charging – this is not a surprise.

What We Don’t Know

It’s unclear if Apple skipped out on including wireless charing until they could perfect it, like they often do with other emerging tech that competitors jump on (and then fail to implement in a way that provides any real value to users). Nevertheless, the biggest questions here will be if it is ‘truly’ wireless (meaning you won’t have to physically touch your phone to some charging mechanism), and whether or not the wireless charging dock will be an added cost to the already expensive iPhone 8

iOS 11

Back in June, at the annual WWDC conference, Apple unveiled iOS11, the latest version of their mobile (and tablet) operating system. As of yet, there’s no proper release date, but the developer preview is already available and a public beta is scheduled for later this year.

What We Know

We’ve already seen iOS 11 in action, and developers have been working with it for months now. For a nearly complete list of what Apple showed off in iOS 11, check out the official site.

What We Don’t Know

What else are we getting? Seriously, there must something else hidden away in iOS11 that hasn’t been announced by Apple. Granted it’s hard to hide features when you need to release beta versions of your OS to app developers, but with this being a massively important update cycle there is reason to believe that the combination of new hardware and software will offer us something we have never seen before.

The countdown to September is on – it’s just a month away.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

Read more about Apple trends at TechCo

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I'm the CTO of TechCo Media. I'm also the founder of Random Nerds. I love writing and talking about, entrepreneurship, technology, and video games. You can follow me on twitter @joecorbett.

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