People are still lining up to snag a brand new iPhone 7, but that won’t stop anyone from speculating about next year’s iPhone. Why so early? Well, 2017 marks the iPhone’s 10th birthday, so Apple is reportedly gearing up to make its anniversary edition extra special.
We’ll keep track of the latest rumors and how plausible they are, and we’ll put them in one spot (this one!) so you can bookmark this link and just pop on over when you want to read the latest.
If you passed on the iPhone 7 to wait for the iPhone 8-or whatever name Apple decides to use-it sounds like next year’s phone could be the design refresh you were waiting for. Just don’t expect the headphone jack to return.
What’s the latest?
The rumor: Apple will launch three models of the iPhone 8 in 2017, according to a new report from KGI Securities analysts. One model will sport a 5.5-inch OLED screen and a dual camera. One will have a 5.5-inch LCD screen, also with a dual camera. The third will be a 4.7-inch iPhone with an LCD screen and a single camera system, much like the current iPhone 7 model.
Plausible? KGI Securities is usually spot-on when it comes to iPhone hardware predictions, and for a while these supply chain analysts have been predicting that Apple will switch to OLED displays in 2017. Apple has already been using OLED displays on the Apple Watch and the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, so using this type of display on the iPhone seems like a logical next step. Previously, Bloomberg reported that Apple is in talks with Sharp to be its OLED display supplier.
OLED offers a lot of benefits over LCD. Besides being more responsive, OLED gives Apple the option to create a bezel-less iPhone with a curved or bendable display, which would certainly boost the iPhone 8’s wow-factor. This time around, the iPhone 8 is rumored to be “revolutionary.”
Wireless charging to the rescue?
The rumor: The iPhone 8 might not need a cable to be plugged in order to charge. Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is reportedly testing wireless charging modules that might end up on next year’s iPhone. Sources close to Foxconn told the Nikkei Asian Review that the forthcoming iPhone will only include wireless charging if the modules return satisfactory yield rates. Apple might kill the feature or only include it in the more-expensive Plus models because of poor yield rates.
Plausible? Yes. Apple has already released a wireless charging product in the form of the Apple Watch. Integrating wireless charging into the iPhone 8 would assuage a few customer concerns. For example, wireless charging will make it possible for you to charge your iPhone 8 and listen to Lightning headphones at the same time now that the 3.5mm jack has gone bye-bye. It will also solve the problem that you can’t charge the iPhone via any of the new MacBooks released in the last few years.
Rumors about the iPhone 8 getting wireless charging actually date back to January. Then, Bloomberg reported that Apple was actually looking to develop the technology for truly-wireless charging, meaning that you could charge your device over distance without having it rest on a charging pad. That technology seems a little bit of a stretch at this point, however.
Return to all-glass?
The rumor: Apple may take a page from its own book and release an iPhone 8 with a glass front and back, similar to the iPhone 4 and 4s. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will, of course, be larger than those models, which were 3.5 inches. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who always has deep insight into Apple’s supply chain, predicted that Apple will make lower-priced models with aluminum casing and more expensive versions with stainless steel. The glass would give the phone a glossy look, like the popular jet black iPhone 7, but be less prone to knicks and scratches than the brushed aluminum.
Plausible? Yes. It’s all about the sourcing: KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo is typically spot-on when it comes to Apple hardware changes. It’s possible that Apple is basing future design decisions on the success of the jet black iPhone 7, which is currently sold out through December. According to the KGI report, 30-35 percent of preorders were for the jet black model worldwide, and in China that percentage was higher-45-50 percent.
An OLED display at last?
The rumor: So far, Apple has held on to LCD displays, which isn’t a bad thing-the LCD display on the iPhone 7 is just as good as the competition’s OLED screens. But Apple is reportedly in talks with Sharp to be one of its main suppliers of OLED displays to use in next year’s iPhones. According to Bloomberg, Apple wants to diversify its OLED sourcing so it has multiple options. Sharp is investing $566 million in OLED production factories which will start churning out displays by next June.
Plausible? Yep. The future is OLED, because the technology is more flexible than LCD and would allow Apple to make the iPhone bezel razor-thin and move the home button to the display itself. There are other applications made possible by switching to OLED screens, and we’re sure Apple is exploring those for a future phone.