Apple’s (AAPL) next iPhone is going to be a huge product for the tech company. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say the 10th-anniversary edition of the handset will be the most important device in the company’s history. In fact, anticipation for the handset may have helped drive the Silicon Valley titan’s stock to an all-time high last week.
In other words, Apple is going to have to overdeliver on its next-generation iPhone. The phone needs to bring new features, an updated look and, above all, offer even iPhone 7 owners a reason to upgrade to the new phone.
The new iPhone will likely launch this September, when Apple traditionally launches its new smartphones. But the iPhone rumor mill is already churning at full speed. And if even some of these rumors prove true, the next iPhone could be Apple’s most compelling handset yet.
What’s in a name?
Here’s how little we know about the next iPhone at this point: We still don’t know its name. The going theory is that Apple will stick to its normal naming convention and call this the iPhone 7s, just like the phone after the iPhone 6 was the iPhone 6s.
Other rumors, though, indicate this iPhone will differ so radically from the iPhone 7 that it will skip the whole “s” moniker and jump right to the iPhone 8. Still other rumblings indicate that Apple will jump on the whole 10th anniversary of the iPhone brouhaha and call the handset the iPhone 10 or iPhone X.
3 different models?
To make things even more confusing, Apple might, in fact, be building three different versions of the next iPhone. According to a 9to5Mac, KGI Securities, which has a track record of accurately predicting Apple’s moves, there will be a 4.7-inch iPhone 7s, a 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus and a 5.5-inch iPhone 8 that will offer premium features not available on the 7s or 7s Plus.
Fast Company, meanwhile, reports the iPhone 8 will pack a massive 5.8-inch display and cost $1,000. That’s a lot of cash for an iPhone, especially when you consider that Apple faces stiff competition from less expensive premium handsets in China.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the iPhone 8 will sport a curved, wraparound OLED display similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge that could be 5.5 inches or larger. There seems to be some consensus among the various leaks and rumors that the iPhone 8 will be the only one to get an OLED screen, while the 7s and 7s Plus will get standard LED screens.
Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal backed up the curved OLED display rumor in their own reports.
Why all the fuss over the type of screen Apple uses for the next iPhone? Because OLED panels are known for their vibrant colors and inky blacks. They’re also more power efficient than more traditional LED screens, which means the OLED-equipped iPhone would offer improved battery life.
Leaving the Home button behind
One of the main themes in the iPhone 8 rumor mill is that Apple’s premium handset will lose not only the bezels on its left and right edges, but its top and bottom bezels, as well. Yes, the iPhone 8 could essentially be one large screen.
But to do that, Apple would have to do away with one of the most iconic features of its smartphone: the Home button. Interestingly, CNET points out that Apple filed a patent for a translucent Home button back in 2015, and Bloomberg says the next iPhone’s Home button will be built into its display. That means Apple might be able to shrink its 5.5-inch iPhone’s footprint to a slightly more manageable size. Or the company could decide to use the same dimensions for the premium version of its next smartphone and make the display larger, giving users more screen real estate.
Wireless charging on the way
Rumors that Apple would bring wireless charging to the iPhone have been circulating for years. But this time around, it appears as though they will finally come true. Not only does Apple already use wireless charging with the Apple Watch and Apple Watch 2, but, as 9to5Mac reports, the company has also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the group behind the Qi wireless inductive charging standard.
Samsung has already been using Qi charging technology in its wireless charging pads for a few years. And while the pad itself still has to be plugged into a wall outlet, it’s nice to be able to just drop your phone on a small plate and have it instantly begin charging.
Augmenting your reality
It’s no secret that Apple CEO Tim Cook is interested in augmented reality, technology that lays digital images over the real world when viewed on a phone or other device. In an interview with The Independent, Cook even went as far as to say that AR is as big an idea as the smartphone.
Following Cook’s comments, Goldman Sachs analyst Simon Jankowski said in a research note that the company is increasingly confident that Apple will bring augmented reality to the next iPhone.
We’re sure to hear more rumors as the iPhone 8’s launch gets closer. So be sure to check back for updates.
More from Dan:
Email Daniel at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.
- Technology & Electronics
- Handheld & Connected Devices