More rumors about Apple’s newest iPhone 8 models are being posited and confirmed as we speed into 2017. The device, which is expected to launch in September this year, has been the subject of considerable speculation as Samsung continues to pull further ahead of Apple in terms of global market share: Samsung now holds almost twice as much as Apple. Coupled with a lackluster launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September 2016, and a poor reception for the devices which suffered numerous issues and featured outdated technology, many are concerned that Apple can no longer live up to its own hype.
If the rumors are true, and many have been more-or-less confirmed, Apple intends to put themselves back on the map with the iPhone 8 (or, possibly, the iPhone X, say some rumors.) The consensus is that the device will represent a considerable leap forward for the iPhone. Here’s what we know, and what we think that we know, thus far.
One of the longest-standing rumors is that the iPhone 8 will feature Apple’s new A11 processor, which, according to The Motley Fool, is likely to be marketed as the A11 Fusion. Allegedly, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) had already begun taping out the processor in the middle of last year, but it wasn’t featured in any of the iPhone 7 models, making it a near-certainty that it will be in the iPhone 8. The A11 uses a 10nm FinFET process and will, according to TSMC, represent a 20 percent boost in performance and a 40 percent reduction in battery usage over current Apple devices.
The iPhone 7 features an 8-core processor and a 6-core GPU. While nothing is known about the iPhone 8 GPU, it will likely be similar, if not the same.
RAM is a bit of an oddity in Apple devices; while nothing is known about the iPhone 8’s RAM capacity, the iPhone 7 featured 2 GB, and the Plus featured 3 GB, which was well below industry standards for flagship devices: the Samsung Galaxy s7 featured a cool 4 GB on both the regular and Edge models. Hopefully, Apple will be bringing the iPhone’s RAM up to at least 4 GB. Internal storage is also up in the air at this point, but expect fairly typical iPhone tiers.
As for charging, the iPhone 8 will reportedly come equipped for wireless charging, as most current Samsung devices do.
According to a report from DigiTimes citing industry sources, the device will feature OLED panels, the same as current Samsung devices; the iPhone 7 models used a somewhat-outdated LED display. In fact, these OLED panels are so much the same as the Samsung OLEDs that Apple has apparently already ordered them from Samsung Display. The Galaxy s7 runs at 1440 x 2560 pixels over a 5.5″ screen, so expect to see similar specs on the iPhone 8.
As per TechRadar India, a recent report suggests that the iPhone 8 will feature a camera developed in concert with LG Innotek which incorporates 3D imaging technology. Adding substance to the rumor, Apple recently acquired an Israeli startup, LinX, specializing in 3D imaging. We can’t say at this point exactly how good that camera will be, but expect some impressive specs if its features are anything like LG’s current dual-lens offerings.
Apple is finally doing away with their aluminum backing and replacing it with a stainless steel frame holding dual panes of reinforced glass, according to DigiTimes. The new frame will allegedly reduce the cost of producing the device significantly, and be stronger overall. Interestingly, they also recently filed a design patent for what amounts to a display with holes in it allowing for specialized Augmented Reality (AR) applications, which may or may not make it into the iPhone 8.
Other rumors suggest that the iPhone 8 will feature a bezel-less design with curved edges, allowing for larger screen sizes and that the device will max out at 5.8″.
The iPhone 8 is also rumored to feature iris-scanning technology, and IP68-certified water resistance – meaning that the device can survive half an hour in 1.5-meter-deep water; a blessing to anyone who has ever been refused service from Apple due to “water damage.”
The price is where all of this gets a bit shocking. Apple is, by all accounts, essentially bringing their devices up to the standard set by 2016’s Samsung devices. According to a report from FastCompany citing industry sources, the new iPhone 8 will cost over $1,000.
That’s not as startling as it seems at first, considering that the iPhone 7 Plus carries a price tag of $969. By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge runs for around $800; and most people buying new flagship devices are either unconcerned with the price or are buying with contract discounts and financing – the iPhone 7 Plus costs $29 per month from AT&T on an installment plan – and most vendors offer significant discounts depending on contract terms.
It’s still a fairly hefty chunk of change for a company whose market share is falling and who seem to be consistently trailing behind the industry standards in technology. That said, it’s doubtful that Apple is going away anytime soon – but as cheaper options such as ASUS become more competitive, they may find themselves challenged to maintain their position.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]