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The
iPhone 7 is nearly six months old, which means the time is
ripe for speculating about the next iPhone.
After all, 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 pop
on over whenever you want to read the latest.

If you passed on the iPhone 7 to wait for the iPhone 8—or the
iPhone 7s or whatever name Apple decides to use—it sounds like
the next 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: New
reports have surfaced to corroborate earlier rumors that
the iPhone 8 won’t be ready for the usual September launch
date. Japanese news site Macotakara
is reporting that the iPhone 8 will actually be called the
“iPhone Edition,” and even though it will be announced in
September alongside the new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, it won’t
actually be available until much later.

The cause for the delay? Apparently, STMicroelectronics, the
new supplier of the iPhone’s 3D camera sensors needs more time
to ramp up mass production. The 3D camera is expected to be a
major new feature on the iPhone 8/Edition, will the potential
to do facial recognition and augmented reality.

Plausible? It sounds like the iPhone 8/Edition
will most likely be delayed, as several reports have claimed.
First, it was the fingerprint sensor on the OLED display that
was causing hiccups, and now it sounds like there are issues
with the 3D camera, too. Before that, we heard that Apple was
beginning production earlier this year, and now it turns out
production won’t actually start until the fall. So, with all
these rumors pointing to a delay, it seems like Apple is
preparing us to have to wait a little longer for that
revolutionary new iPhone.

Fingerprint sensor causing delays?

The rumor: Apple is working on a proprietary
fingerprint sensor for the new OLED-equipped iPhone 8, which
could delay production past the usual September launch date,
according to Digitimes.
Apple is reportedly developing this feature by combining
technology from two of its acquisitions, sensor firm AuthenTec
and glass identification company Privaris. Digitimes is
reporting that the iPhone 8 will be launched in November this
year.

Plausible? Not really. Since Apple is rumored
to remove the physical Home button on the iPhone 8, it makes
sense that the company is coming up with a creative way to
replace Touch ID and retain biometric identification. This bit
falls in line with recent rumors that Apple is also considering
giving the iPhone 8 facial recognition and iris scanning
technology.

However, it’s very unlikely that Cupertino will push back the
iPhone launch date even by a few weeks. Plus, Digitimes doesn’t
have the best track record when it comes to iPhone rumors. And
considering that we’ve also heard rumors of Apple starting
iPhone 8 production early, our best bet is still September.

USB-C? Not so fast

The rumor: Just a few days after The Wall
Street Journal
revealed new information about the
forthcoming iPhone 8 (full rumor below), a prominent Apple
analyst is denying the intel.
KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo is refuting that the 2017
iPhone will replace the Lightning port for a USB-C connector.
In fact, Apple is allegedly adding fast-charging capabilities
to its proprietary Lightning connector for “type C power
delivery” without having to change the port and cables.

According to Kuo, Apple doesn’t have enough incentive to use
USB-C. First of all, USB-C takes up more space inside the
iPhone, which would change the form factor. In addition, since
USB-C is universal, switching to it would remove the MFi
royalties that Apple gets from licensing its property Lightning
technology to third-party iOS accessory-makers.

Plausible? Highly. Switching connectors is not
a decision Apple usually takes lightly, so the benefits would
have to drastically outweigh the current technology. And
Lightning seems to be working for the iPhone and iPad, despite
the fact that they’re incompatible with even the new MacBooks.
Plus, Kuo is a reliable source when it comes from reports from
the Apple’s assembly line.

However, we can’t totally dismiss the WSJ report. Perhaps Apple
has considered switching to USB-C. It would make its iOS
products more compatible with third-party accessories and
peripherals, a benefit now that the iPad Pro is being
advertised as a PC replacement. The switch to USB-C would
certainly be more user-friendly, but it might also counter
Apple’s closed ecosystem strategy, which doesn’t seem to be a
drawback for iPhone and iPad sales.

Could it be USB-C?

The rumor: Each new report about the
iPhone 8’s features reinforces the ones before it, but the
latest rumor from the Wall
Street Journal 
is one we haven’t heard before.
The WSJ says Apple will replace the iPhone
Lightning port with a USB-C connector.

This is huge. Apple just did away with the iPhone’s headphone
jack and included Lightning EarPods in the box instead of the
3.5mm earphones it has shipped with previous generations of
iPhones. Now it appears that those Lightning earphones are
already being phased out.

Plausible? Certainly. Apple has no qualms
about ditching old technology, even its own. Remember the
30-pin connector that it sacrificed for the proprietary
Lightning port? A move to USB-C would actually be a positive
one, at least in terms of compatibility. USB-C is a standard
that tech companies are quickly adopting, so the iPhone would
finally play nice with peripherals and accessories that aren’t
made or licensed by Apple. The new MacBooks are also all-in
with USB-C, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the iPhone
made the move.

Curved display or no curved display?

The rumor: Early reports about the iPhone 8’s
OLED display indicated that Apple was aiming to make a curved
screen. The WSJ reports that plan is still in the
works, though Chinese
research firm TrendForce said earlier in February that
early prototypes weren’t up to Apple’s standards. Apparently
that’s no longer the case: Apple “has ordered sufficient
components to enable mass production,”
the Journal’s sources said.

Apple is getting its curved OLED displays from Samsung, who
started producing those displays for its own phones back in
2014 and is the only manufacturer who can make enough of the
curved OLED panels to supply Apple.

The iPhone 8 is also reportedly ditching the physical home
button, though it’s unclear if Apple is ready to make the move
to iris recognition for phone unlocking or if the company will
find a way to embed the Touch ID sensor in the display itself.

Plausible? A curved OLED display would be
a significant departure in design for Apple and a compelling
reason to snag the iPhone 8, which is rumored to be priced at
north of $1,000. Apple was rumored to be running into
constraints finding OLED display suppliers who can make enough
panels to build the next-gen iPhone, but
the WSJ is reliable when it comes to Apple
rumors. Expect a curved OLED screen to set the iPhone 8 apart.

Facial recognition?

The rumor: The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus got a
rear-facing camera overhaul, the 7 Plus with an extra lens for
telephoto shots. Apple is turning its attention to the
front-facing camera in the iPhone 8 with facial recognition, a
3D sensor, and infrared transmitter and receiver. The rumor
comes from
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and a research note from
investment banking firm Cowen and Company published by
Business Insider. Apple purchased the facial
recognition startup RealFace earlier in February,
making it even more likely that the company is experimenting
with alternative biometric tools, including iris recognition.
That could replace Touch ID as a phone unlocking mechanism.

The front-facing camera’s new features would have big
implications for games. Players would no longer need
avatars—instead, the new camera system would generate a
three-dimensional selfie.

Kuo noted that Apple is planning to put a 3D sensor in the
iPhone’s rear-facing camera next year, which would negate the
need for a dual-lens system.

Plausible? This is the first time we’ve
heard about Apple incorporating new laser technology and facial
recognition, but it wouldn’t come out of nowhere. Apple
acquired Primesense and their infrared sensor technology in
2013, and the company just recently integrated facial
recognition software in Photos for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. So
it makes sense that the next evolution of this feature is for
Apple to develop a camera with sensors that can perform facial
recognition in real-time to create augmented reality
experiences, similar to Snapchat’s selfie filters.

A $1,000 iPhone?

The rumor: Apple is
reportedly making a 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone with
all the bells and whistles. According to Fast
Company
, this very-special iPhone could be called
either the iPhone 8 or the iPhone X and will cost more than
$1,000. The higher price tag is due to the fact that this new
iPhone will boast an OLED display that will cost Apple twice as
much as an LCD to manufacture.

The forthcoming iPhone 8/X will also be massive, measuring 5.8
inches, and come with a memory upgrade and a virtual Home
button. In addition, Fast
Company
 corroborates previous reports that Apple will
release two less-fancy iPhones, the 7s and 7s Plus, with LCDs.

Plausible? Let’s just say that you should
start saving up. Considering that Apple is planning to
make the iPhone 8/X standout with a bunch of new features, we
can definitely see it commanding a higher price tag. And
costing more than $1,000 is actually not so ridiculous—the
256GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus is already $969. The iPhone
8/X will reportedly be bigger and have a more expensive OLED
display, as well as more memory. So, it makes sense that it
will be the most expensive iPhone ever made.

Stainless steel chassis?

The rumor: Apple is returning to a stainless
steel chassis for the next iPhone with two glass panes on the
front and the back, according to DigiTimes.
In addition, Apple is moving to a new forging process for the
metal bezel and frame that is expected to reduce manufacturing
cost and time. The forging process will reportedly be 30 to 50
percent cheaper than the current unibody machine-precision
process. The stainless steel frame will be provided by Foxconn
and Jabil, the manufacturers who supplied the same part on the
iPhone 4.

Plausible: Yes. This rumor corroborates
an earlier report predicting the return of the glass iPhone.
Not only that, but we’re also under the impression that Apple
is looking to launch several models of the iPhone 8 with
different prices and using different materials. And it makes
sense that the higher-end iPhone 8 would rely on stainless
steel to hold the front-and-back glass panels together, while a
cheaper version uses aluminum—that’s the same pattern we see
with the Apple Watch.

Curved OLED display?

The rumor: Apple’s revolutionary new iPhone 8
will sport a plastic OLED display that “curves all over,”
according to a report published in the Korea
Herald
and picked up by
9to5Mac. The report corroborates the rumor that Apple will
release three iPhone models next year, a premium model with
curved OLED display and two with flat LCDs. Furthermore, Apple
is hoping to incorporate new “sensing technology” in the curved
display to help differentiate the iPhone 8 from other OLED
smartphones. According to the Korea Herald, Apple has
tapped Samsung Display to make an estimated 70 to 100 million
plastic OLED units to use in the iPhone 8.

Plausible? If Apple is considering releasing
an iPhone 8 with a curved display, then plastic OLED is the way
to go, as glass OLED works best for flat displays. And now that
we’ve seen Apple reserving certain features like a dual-camera
for the more expensive iPhone models, we wouldn’t be surprised
if the curved iPhone 8 comes at a premium, too. Next year, we
could very well see an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus with LCDs, as well
as a brand-new iPhone 8 with OLED. 

New red color?

The rumor: Reports that Apple has three
new iPhones in the works for 2017: iterative iPhone 7s and 7s
Plus updates and a completely redesigned all-glass iPhone 8.
Conflicting rumors have different features in each phone, but
here’s a new one: The 7s and 7s Plus will come in a brand new
crimson color. According to Japanese Apple-centric site
Macotakara,
the S-model phones will be available in red in addition to the
standard black, jet black, rose gold, gold, and silver.

Plausible? Could be. Macotakara has a
decent track record with Apple product rumors, predicting the
phase-out of the iPhone headphone jack ahead of the pack. The
blog cites Taiwanese suppliers who also say the 7s and 7s Plus
will look the same as the 7 and 7 Plus, though KGI Securities
says the opposite: that each of the 2017 models will be
all-glass and have wireless charging.

Wireless charging?

The rumor: We’re beginning to hear
corroborations of earlier rumors. KGI Securities
analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is doubling-down
on his prediction that the 2017 iPhone will have
all-glass casing. According to Kuo, Apple is switching to glass
in order to facilitate wireless charging. Even though some
metal and plastic smartphones have wireless charging, using
glass is faster and there are fewer frequency disruptions.

Good news: Kuo now expects Apple to put
wireless charging in all of its 2017 iPhones, including the
next-generation 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the 7 and 7
Plus. Apple could decide to limit the feature to its
anticipated 5.8-inch bezel-less iPhone 8, but with the 7s and
7s Plus expected to be remade with all-glass casing, the
addition of wireless charging might encourage more people to
upgrade.

Kuo is counting on it. According to supply chain rumors, more
iPhones are expected to be produced in the latter half of 2017
than ever before. Suppliers are reportedly getting ready to
churn out 120-150 million iPhones, beating out the 110-120
million iPhone 6 models produced in late 2014.

Plausible? Yes. The addition of wireless
charging was one of the first reliable rumors we heard about
the forthcoming iPhone 8, and we’ll undoubtedly keep hearing
about it until the device is released next year. If Apple is
really committed to wireless charging, then switching to an
all-glass casing also makes sense. It explains why Apple would
choose to switch to glass in the first place. While the smaller
iPhones might lack OLED due to production constraints, putting
wireless charging in each model would go a long way toward
making the next iPhone a must-buy.

Folds like a book?

The rumor: You may be able to bend the next
iPhone, similar to how you fold to close a book. Apple has just
been
granted a patent for a book-like iPhone design that used an
OLED display that can fold in half.

USPTO

Plausible? Just because Apple has the patent
for this, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will become a real
product. Besides, Apple is already running into issues with
OLED display supply, so there may not be enough time or
resources to incorporate a bendable, foldable display on the
iPhone 8.

3 new models?

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.”

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.

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