Apple’s iPhone 7S isn’t due until September, meaning the next top-of-the-line iPhone — reportedly called the iPhone 8 — isn’t supposed to arrive until 2017. But that hasn’t stopped legions of fans from fervently speculating.
It’ll reportedly launch alongside two cheaper, smaller iPhone models called the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus. However, it’s unclear if all three models will actually launch in September 2017, or what the naming conventions will be.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the iPhone 8.
Design: No more bezels or home button
The Wall Street Journal said in mid-June that the iPhone 8 will be radically different. New information from sources speaking to Bloomberg also reiterate that the iPhone 8 may “appear like a single sheet of glass.” That would eliminate much of the bezel around the display as well as the home button. There are mockups of the possible design all over the internet.
Although going back to glass may seem like an odd retro move for Apple, it would also open up possibilities like wireless charging, which is nearly impossible to achieve with an all-metal device.
Moreover, Kuo suggests that higher-end models of future iPhones will likely use stainless steel in their cases — so look out, world. We’re about to get real fancy.
Here’s a concept video made by Ran Avni at ConceptsiPhone, which shows what a borderless iPhone could look like. The design in the video is based on Marek Weidlich’s design on Behance.
BGR is intimating that the top bezel will also be removed. That would be a tricky move, as the top bezel houses the ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, the front speaker, and the front-facing camera. However, the iPhone 8 may feature a touchscreen with embedded sensors.
A recent report from market research firm Cowen and Company suggests that the iPhone 8’s earpiece, FaceTime camera, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be embedded into the screen, allowing for a seamless edge-to-edge front panel. And it claims that Apple may switch to Synaptic’s optical-based fingerprint reader for the new Touch ID, citing it as “currently the only workable solution” for detecting a fingerprint through a smartphone screen.
A patent discovered by Apple Insider suggests that Apple has considered moving the front-facing sensors to underneath the display. For a closer look, you can check out U.S. patent No. 9,466,653, titled “Electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors.”
These reports corroborate rumors brought to light by Apple insider John Gruber, who was among the first to say that the iPhone 8 also may not have a single bezel — that plays well with the idea of a single sheet of glass. The entire front of the device could be one giant display, and the Touch ID sensor would be embedded in the screen itself. This has been reiterated in The New York Times.
As for the size of the devices, Gruber says he doesn’t know whether Apple is “going to shrink the actual thing in your hand to fit the screen sizes we already have, or whether they’re going to grow the screens to fit the devices we’re already used to holding.”