iPhone 8 could be the biggest Apple smartphone launched to date
iPhone 8 could be the biggest Apple smartphone yet, new rumours have suggested.
Apple will reportedly launch three separate smartphone models in September 2017.
The Cupertino-based company will debut two new iPhones with LCD displays and one with a 5.8-inch OLED panel.
If the rumour proves true, it will be the biggest display shipped on an Apple smartphone to date.
The new report come courtesy of Nikkei Asian Review, which corrected its previous report, first published back in October 2016, that claimed Apple would release three iPhone models with 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch displays.
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The corrected report now aligns with other whispers about the upcoming iPhone model, which has been coined iPhone Pro, iPhone X and iPhone 8 in honour of the phone's tenth anniversary this year.
Renown analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a solid track record with iPhone rumours, also believes the iPhone 8 will ship with a 5.8-inch OLED panel.
However the primary touchscreen area will be 5.15 inches, while the rest of the display – which will reportedly bleed to the very edge of the chassis – is set to be reserved for a row of virtual on-screen buttons.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the overall footprint of the smartphone will be similar to that of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, which all have a 4.7-inch LED display.
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Dropping the chunky bezels would allow Apple to squeeze a bigger screen into a smaller body
Apple purportedly plans to debut an edge-to-edge display in an effort to keep the physical size of the device down, while simultaneously increasing the size of the display.
Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is reportedly designing the phone so that it resembles "a single sheet of glass".
Apple is hotly-tipped to ditch the physical Home Button from the front of the smartphone, so that it can reduce the bezels around the display.
But the dramatic changes planned for the next iPhone will not just be surface-deep.
According to a new research note from UBS, Apple has put together a team of more than 1,000 engineers working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology ready for the iPhone.
Augmented Reality sees artificial elements – like video footage, CGI animation or GPS data – placed on-top of real-world elements.
iPhone 7 Plus is the first Apple device with dual-cameras – a feature that could be used for AR
Pokémon Go is probably the best known example, which lets players use the camera to search for CGI monsters within the world around them.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is very interested in AR and has spoken at length about the potential for the technology.
“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone," Mr Cook said in an interview earlier this year.
"The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge."
According to Business Insider, Apple now "may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR".
The same UBS research note claims Apple will include Augmented Reality technology inside its best-selling smartphone as early as the iPhone 8.
If Apple keeps to the same schedule as previous years, iPhone 8 will be launched in September.
Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple will incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, usually located in physical Home Button, beneath the glass display in the next iPhone.
According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition functionality will not allow for its revolutionary all-glass design.
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The iPhone 8 is widely-tipped to include a new edge-to-edge display
Instead, Mr Kuo claims, the new fingerprint sensor will require optical sensors to read the print resting on the display.
The complicated new display set-up, which presumably will still need to incorporate the pressure-sensitivity debuted with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will require a number of new, custom solutions from the panel manufacturers.
However the KGI Securities research report states that Apple has enough clout within the industry to get the system built ready for the new iPhone.
Alongside the new fingerprint recognition technology, the iPhone 8 could also see Apple introduce facial tracking sensors into its flagship smartphone, Mr Kuo has claimed.
These could be used to scan users' faces to help verify identification.
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Mr Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will "ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system" in an effort to make the iPhone even more secure.
"However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution," he writes.
Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly looking to distance itself from the curved aluminium design language it has used for the past three generations of iPhone, first introduced with iPhone 6.
With the Home Button gone, Apple can extended the display to the bottom of the phone – reducing the chunky bezels around the screen, and shrinking the overall footprint of the device.
The new 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone is also expected to be modelled with an all-glass design, similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Apple is expected to debut its new industrial design language early next year with a refresh of its iPad range.