The iPhone 8: what will it look like?
Next month, Tim Cook and his team at Apple will finally be unveiling the latest incarnation of its smartphone, the iPhone 8. As always, the geekosphere has been rife with speculation about specifications and details; but this year, rumours about the new iPhone reached a fever pitch, swirling their way onto non-tech news sites.
What’s so special about this latest version? Well, for starters, it’s the 10th-anniversary edition of the now-mythical smartphone, first launched in the fall of 2008.
And this time, the rumour mill was ratcheted up by a first-hand information leak from Apple, when part of the firmware for the upcoming HomePod, the new “smart speaker” developed by Apple, was accidentally uploaded to a public server. And since the HomePod firmware is based on a complete iOS stack, the leak revealed many interesting tidbits about both the speaker and the upcoming iPhone.
So what will the iPhone 8 look like? Here are a few details.
According to various sources, the new iPhone will only come in 3 colours: black, silver and gold. This is also the prediction of KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, a very credible Taiwanese analyst who is rarely mistaken in his hunches about Apple products.
This pared-down palette is somewhat surprising, given that the iPhone 7 comes in no less than five colours. But most shocking is the phasing out of the famous “Rose Gold” (also known as “Millennial Pink”), a trendy hue that was a surprise hit with the iPhone7.
As predicted by Kuo, and confirmed by the recent leak, the new iPhone will have a “notch” (a term coined by Ming-Chi Kuo in his report) on the upper edge of the display to accommodate two cameras, a speaker and sensors. The notch is both an odd and aesthetically questionable choice, especially given the minimalism and elegance we’ve become accustomed to from Apple. On either side of the notch will be information icons such as the battery level indicator and network status bars.
The virtual Home button
Countless developers have pored over the leaked HomePod firmware to find out what the new features will be. One of those developers was Steven Stoughton-Smith, who was able to confirm the rumour that the new phone will lose the physical Home button. It will be replaced with a virtual button on the display itself that users will be able to resize and even hide.
The end of Touch ID?
The leak also seems to show that Apple is giving up Touch ID, i.e. fingerprint identification, in favour of another biometric technology: facial recognition, which is a new means of identification based on infrared technology.
The iPhone 8 will have a depth sensor for improved photo quality and, also, enhanced augmented reality.
Video recording will come in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, a significant improvement over the previous 30 frames/second provided by the iPhone 7 Plus.
Thanks to biometric sensors for facial recognition, the phone will know when the user is looking straight at it, and will be able to adjust its responses accordingly, for example by withholding sound notifications.
Another specification that is predicted by analysts, and would be welcomed by users, is wireless charging.
Forbes thinks that the iPhone 8 could be the most expensive to date, with an entry-level price of “around US$1,100 to 1,200”. The hefty price tag is partly due to its storage capacity, which, according to Forbes, will come only in 128GB or 256GB.
Sources agree: the iPhone 8 will only be available in “limited quantities” at first. And though the phone will most probably be launched in September, analysts believe that it will not be commercially available until 2018. Kuo cited “production difficulty”, while Deutsche Bank recently mused that “Report suggests no new iPhone 8 this calendar year… several supply chain reports have suggested that key component shortages and technical challenges could delay the release of a high-end iPhone 8 device this fall”.
Can Apple still surprise us with its latest version of the iPhone? Time will tell… but it’s looking good!