Apple iPhone 8 could bring a drastic new design, new technologies – and a higher price tag
iPhone 8 could be the smartphone fans have been clamouring for, if the latest whispers from Cupertino are to be believed.
The next-generation iPhone will mark the 10th anniversary of the Apple smartphone range.
The Cupertino company is also expected to drop the physical Home Button from the front of the device.
According to renown analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has accurately predicted a number of Apple products ahead of their launch, the death of this iconic button will allow Apple to use an uninterrupted, single sheet of glass for the front of the device.
This dramatic new look would represent the first facelift for the iPhone in more than two years, since the iPhone 6, 6S and iPhone 7 share a very similar design.
The 10th anniversary iPhone could really reinvigorate interest – not to mention, sales – of the Apple iPhone.
And Apple could take advantage of its upcoming anniversary launch to increase the price of its flagship smartphone, analysts have claimed.
Apple iPhone 8 – Leaked photos, concept images, and renders Sun, January 1, 2017
iPhone 8 is shaping up to be one of the most impressive Apple smartphones to date, with glass panels on the front and rear of the device, a curved borderless OLED display and no Home Button
Play slideshow VENIAMIN GESKIN • TWITTER • CONCEPT IMAGES 1 of 15
Apple iPhone 8 will debut a brand-new all-glass look, with a curved OLED display and no physical Home Button
That's because the latest Apple financial results, which include numbers for the crucial December quarter, show a dramatic increase in the number of iPhone customers opting for the larger Plus variant.
After speaking to a number of analysts, The Wall Street Journal concluded that Apple’s strategy to differentiate the iPhone 7 Plus from the iPhone 7 more than it did with their predecessors has really helped the company's bottom line.
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As well as sporting a larger 5.5inch display and bigger battery (something both the iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6S Plus also benefited from), the iPhone 7 Plus outranks the iPhone 7 in two key aspects – camera quality and RAM.
Customers were no longer choosing between screen sizes – they were also deciding whether they wanted a phone with higher specs, and a vastly improved rear camera with features like optical zoom, and Portrait Mode.
With the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple introduced a number of differentiating features – like the camera
Emphasising these differences, Apple decided to bump-up the price of the Phone 7 Plus price, compared to the iPhone 6S Plus before it.
Whereas the entry-level model of the iPhone 6S Plus went on-sale for £619, the base model iPhone 7 Plus retails at £719.
According to financial services company Cowen & Co, the pricier iPhone 7 Plus accounted for 40 per cent of the 58.5 million iPhone 7 units reportedly sold in the December quarter.
The iPhone base wants a new, cooler iPhone. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for a product with newer, cooler features
That’s 17 per cent more than iPhone 6S Plus sales accounted for last year.
The increase in Plus sales is believed to have increased the average selling price of iPhones to $693 for the last financial quarter – up $2 from one year ago, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin told The Wall Street Journal: "The market is saying, ‘We still value what Apple is doing and value it enough to even spend more on it'."
Differentiating between iPhone models – and charging more for phones with unique features, or increased specs – could be a winning strategy for Apple at the launch of the iPhone 8.
Cowen & Co Managing Director Timothy Arcuri said: "The iPhone base wants a new, cooler iPhone.
"There’s a lot of pent-up demand for a product with newer, cooler features."
Apple iPhone 8 is expected to launch an entirely-new all-glass design
Analyst Mr Arcuri believes Apple "pulled that [pricing] lever like never before" with the pricier iPhone 7 Plus.
He estimates that there is now "even more room" for Apple to pull the same trick again – and increase prices on future iPhone releases.
Apple will reportedly unveil two iterative iPhone updates this September, dubbed iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, with a next-generation processor capable of faster speeds – as well as a new red case colour.
The crimson aluminium finish would join the existing Black, Jet Black, Rose Gold, Silver and Gold options.
Sources speaking to Macotakara have claimed the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will not boast new features like wireless charging or an all-glass design.
Concept artwork imagines the display curving around the device, like the Apple Watch
Instead, it will be a straightforward internal upgrade – moving from the current A10 chip to, presumably, the A11 chip – alongside a never-before-seen red colour option. But that's about it.
This will leave the most exciting new features – including the new design, technologies and camera improvements – to the 10th anniversary iPhone 8.
As a result, the new flagship smartphone would be priced higher than previous iPhone releases.
With the iPhone 8, Apple is purportedly looking to incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor from the physical Home Button beneath the glass display.
According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition will not work through an all-glass design.
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.
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 this year with a refresh of its iPad range.
Alongside the new look, Apple could include wireless charging in the new flagship phone.
But unlike rival devices from the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei, which predominantly use the Qi open interface standard for inductive charging – Apple's technology sounds like a more complete solution.
REDDIT • FLOCKMANN • CONCEPTSiPHONE
Concept images reflect Apple's rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home Button
REDDIT • FLOCKMANN • CONCEPTSiPHONE
This would allow Apple to shave the bulky bezels from previous generation iPhones
Devices using the Qi standard, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, are only capable of wireless charging over distances of up to four centimetres (1.6 inches).
According to the latest whispers from Cupertino, Apple has something much more ambitious planned.
Apple has reportedly struck a deal with wireless charging company Energous, which developed a wire-free charging solution dubbed WattUp RF capable of charging devices from up to four metres away (15-feet).
WattUp RF technology can be included in a wide variety of electronics, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, cameras, wireless keyboard, computer mice, remote controls, and more, according to the company.
As long as any of these devices are within four metres of the transmitter, the device will charge its battery – as if it was plugged into the wall socket.
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One Night Campaign shot on iPhone
The Radio Frequency (RF) system uses a similar system to wifi to deliver the safe wire-free charging solution.
Unlike the Qi charging pads used for phones like the Galaxy S7 Edge, WattUp RF will continue to charge your phone while it is in motion – as long as it never moves further than four metres away from the transmitter, of course.
According to Energous, up to 12 different receiver devices can be juggled by the system simultaneously.
So in theory, your Apple Watch, Apple Magic Keyboard and Mouse, iPhone 8 and iPad Pro could all be simultaneously charging whenever they are in the same room as a WattUp RF transmitter. In early 2016, Energous teased it was working with a “tier one” consumer electronics company to implement the WattUp technology into consumer devices.
According to a new report from Fast Company, Apple supplier Dialog has partnered with Energous.
As part of the new deal, Energous received a staggering $10 million investment from chipset maker Dialog Semiconductor last month.
That's not confirmation that Energous will be supplying technology to Apple, but given that "as much as three-quarters of Dialog’s business is with Apple," it's a strong indicator.
In a statement, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone confirmed the company would be transferring all its silicon operations to Dialog.
Mr Rizzone said: "We’re actually transferring all of our silicon operations to Dialog. All the Energous technology will be sold under the Dialog branding and all sales orders will be going through Dialog. It’ll take us about 90 days to do all that."
Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive wants the iPhone 8 "to appear like a single sheet of glass," according to The Wall Street Journal.