The Apple iPhone 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 are two of the most anticipated events in the smartphone world this year. As expected, Samsung is planning to steal some thunder from Apple by announcing their Galaxy S8 and the replacement to the 'disastrous' Note 7 some time in August.
My readers know smartphones and their increasingly good cameras are taking sales away from point-n-shoot models. Recent figures show camera sales are still declining and the low end segment are in particular disarray. Is the traditional camera's survival threatened by the smartphone?
Below is an excerpt from TechRadar on what to expect from the iPhone 8 :
iPhone 8 possible specs and release date
- Launch date - early September 2017
- On Sale date - mid September 2017
- Curved AMOLED 5.8 inch screen
- No Home button or Bezel
- Curved glass back instead of aluminum
- Built-in Augmented Reality features
- Wireless charging
- USB-C port
- Built-in Iris scanner
- New sensing technology
- Smart Connector
- Runs on iOS 11 software
- U.S. price will be higher than iPhone 7's $769
The big rumor is that the iPhone 8 is going to sport a curved AMOLED display instead of a the usual flat LCD panel, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
We've all seen curved AMOLED displays before in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and, soon, the Samsung Galaxy S8. iPhone 8's curve may be less dramatic, but still cooler looking than a completely flat phone.
There are other exciting benefits to an AMOLED display replacing the normal IPS LCD. It can deliver better contrast, more vibrant colors and include a battery-saving always-on display. It's also a better suited for VR and AR.
This has also more recently been rumored by sources, claiming that a curved AMOLED display is one of more than ten prototypes that Apple is considering - and that the phone could even have a higher-than-QHD resolution.
Who's going to help Apple push all of those extra pixels? Sharp or Samsung itself could supply the OLED screens. It may depend on who can deliver more in time.
You might not see the fancy, new OLED display on every iPhone 8 model due to supply issues. Thus, Apple may include it on just one iPhone 8 Plus version.
Depending on how it all shakes out with Sharp and Samsung, Apple may reserve the AMOLED display for just the iPhone 8 Plus, or a separate higher-end 8 Plus Edition, luring you into buying the more phone instead of the smaller iPhone 8.
How big will the iPhone 8 screen size be? The rumors for this are all over the place, but everything says it'll be larger at the top end, up to 5.8 inches.
From what we can surmise, there'll be a 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch and 5.8-inch iPhone 8, the latter being the one with a curved AMOLED display. But it won't be too big.
There's been talk of axing the home button and building the TouchID fingerprint sensor into the screen itself. This rumor dates back almost two years.
Doing this would eliminate the otherwise useless bezel around the screen. "The entire face will be the display," claims Apple blogger John Gruber.
"And the Touch ID sensor will be somehow embedded in the display. The front-facing camera will somehow be embedded in the display. The speaker, everything. All the sensors will somehow be behind the display."
An all-screen display is what we've seen from Chinese phone maker Xiaomi and its Mi Max, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus may mimic it.
An unearthed Apple patent shows this idea in action, eliminating the phone's bezels in the process. Another patent has since emerged, showing a similar concept, so it's certainly something Apple's at least thinking about.
If Apple ditches the home button, it could replace it with a 'function area,' with virtual keys, similar to the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, according to one report. Apple tweaked the home button with the iPhone 7, making it no longer physically click when pressed, so this could be the next step.
On the other hand, you could argue that since Apple only just tweaked the button it's unlikely to ditch it so soon. There's also the question of whether it would be able to produce enough of these function area panels.
Apple currently uses Japan Display for many of its screens, and while Japan Display is planning to start building OLED panels they're not expected to arrive before 2018.
No surprise, one rumor suggestions one the higher-end model will have these new screen features, according to the latest supply chain sources.
This third, premium model is currently dubbed "Ferrari", and this model alone may have an embedded fingerprint scanner and an edge-to-edge OLED display.
Looking even further ahead we might see a flexible or even foldable iPhone, as Patently Apple has found a patent for just such a device, and more recently another similar patent has turned up, but this is likely a long way out yet – as in iPhone 10 or iPhone X territory.
TechRadar's take: A move to OLED sooner or later seems inevitable, but Apple might only use the panels for the iPhone 8 Plus in 2017, if it can't source enough. A larger, sharper screen seems likely, but plans to build Touch ID into the screen sound ambitious, and while Apple is seemingly working on this, we're not convinced the tech will be ready for the iPhone 8.
Just when Apple has nearly perfected the aluminum unibody phone with the iPhone 7, it's now expected to be moving onto an all-glass design.
Yes, the tenth anniversary iPhone 8 is heavily rumored to debut a a curved glass back (echoing the front curved display), according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The glass iPhone 8 rumor has since been given more weight, with the CEO of the company behind the iPhone's metal casing claiming one model of the phone "will adopt glass casing next year."
It would still require a metal frame apparently, which makes it sound a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, especially if both panels are curved. That lines up with a claim from a source that's proved reliable in the past that Apple is experimenting with a "glass sandwich design." Delicious, right?
And yet another source also points to a glass back, with a stainless steel frame in place of the aluminum Apple currently uses in its phones.
Here's where the iPhone 8 rumors conflict: Right now, we're unsure if the design is being readied exclusively for the higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone 8 Plus, or if all iPhone 8 models are due for the glass upgrade, like Ming-Chi Kuo suggests.
It could be that the smaller iPhone 8 (or what may be the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus) designs will remain relatively unchanged other a new color.
The last major iPhone 8 design rumor is that the new phone could get a little more waterproof. It may jump from an IP67 to IP68 rating, notes The Investor.
TechRadar's take: Expect a big change to the design of the phone. It's too early to say if every iPhone 8 size will sport the curved glass look and extra waterproof features, but we think the days of an aluminum iPhone are numbered.
It's almost inevitable. Cook, in its quarterly investor calls, has become captivated with the idea of augmented reality (AR), or what Microsoft calls "mixed reality," (so you should fully expect Apple to call it augmented reality instead).
iPhone 7 Plus
What can Apple do with AR? You may be able to point your iPhone 8 at an object and have it recognized, claims one source “familiar with the matter.” The camera app may be able to recognize and manipulate faces in the future, too.
Let's give you a more concrete example (and source). Former Apple analyst Gene Munster thinks you'll be able to find your seats in a crowded stadium or the groceries you need among all of the aisles by looking at your phone.
AR is supposed to map out where you want to go, and combined with Apple Pay, it could be a big winner for the iPhone 8 on forward, according to Munster.
"Your phone slowly going away and being replaced by AR," he said in an interview with Cheddar. "This is beyond Pokemon."
There's also talk from Korea that Apple is working with LG on a "3D photographing" module for the iPhone 8, which could be used to add three-dimensional effects and work with the rumored augmented reality features.
What about your everyday photography? That could be upgraded, too, with the second lens on the dual lens iPhone 8 Plus gaining optical image stabilization.
But don't expect a bump beyond the 12MP sweet spot that Apple and other phone manufacturers have found, and don't look for the dual lens snapper to come to the standard iPhone 8, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. It's likely to once again be limited to the higher-end iPhone 8 Plus and the AMOLED variant.
We don't expect much change from the front-facing camera resolution, as Apple just upped to 7MP iSight camera for the iPhone 7. But as selfie photos become increasingly important, it could include extra camera focusing tricks to make each and every pixel count.
TechRadar's take: Apple is giddy with excitement about the prospects of AR, and that may be the hot new camera feature going forward. We already got a big dual-lens camera upgrade last year. It may get better this year, but not be as dramatic of a change. Instead expect Apple to tout the benefits of augmented reality.
iPhone 8 battery
Apple may have a plan to include extra battery life in the iPhone 8, taking on a stacked mainboard internal design, according to one analyst.
It may fill all of the saved space with additional battery capacity and also finally support wireless charging without that aluminum design blocking the transfer of energy (that's why glass and plastic phones can do wireless charging and metal phones do not).
Foxconn is reportedly looking into the tech for Apple and, after all, without the headphone jack, Apple is one step closer to being free of cables completely. This is surely the next step., even if there are some doubters about these plans.
Apple might go beyond rivals and offer a truly wireless charger that works at up to 15ft, with no contact required between the device and the power source.
There's evidence that Apple has been looking into this tech, with Energous, the company behind it, supposedly working with a "tier 1" smartphone maker. It added that it's "working with one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world" and it will be shipping a product by the end of 2017.
Energous has also received a $10 million investment from Dialog Semiconductor, according to BGR, and Dialog just so happens to be a company that works primarily with Apple.
We've also heard from an analyst note, obtained by 9to5Mac, that all models of the iPhone 8 will have wireless charging - but it sounds like this will be standard rather than long-distance charging. Apple may also not include a wireless charger in the box.
And when you plug the iPhone 8 in, you might not do so via a Lightning connector, with a report suggesting that Apple could swap that for a USB-C connection - though it's not clear whether the report means a USB-C port will be added to the handset, or whether the other end of the charging cable will be USB-C, instead of USB A, which seems more likely.
Wireless charging and improved battery life are likely – but don't count on being able to charge from a distance, at least not on the iPhone 8. Apple may save this truly revolutionary for the iPhone 9 or iPhone 10, aka the iPhone X.
iPhone 8 internal specs and iOS 11
iPhone 8 is almost certainly going to transition us from iOS 10 to iOS 11, and undergo three months of beta testing following WWDC 2017 in June.
The internal iPhone 8 specs are also undoubtedly going to take another step forward with the Apple A11 chipset that's more powerful than the current A10.
What do iOS 11 and the A11 System on a Chip mean for iPhone 8? We may see finally Control Center customizations and Today menu widgets become refined.
iPhone 8 running iOS 11 is also likely to debut always-on screen settings (what will be displayed?) and an improved Mail app (hyperlinking text, finally?).
The new chipset, either called Apple A11 or Apple A11 Fusion, may stick with a quad-core processor since the iPhone 7 just launched with that.
Yes, octa-core processors is all the rage, but Apple has shied away from touting big numbers and instead focused on boosting performance. It's done just fine.
The same goes for RAM. It may stick with 2GB for the iPhone 8 and 3GB for the dual-camera iPhone 8 Plus. Of Apple's products, only the iPad Pro 12.9 has 4GB.
In fact, the iPhone 8 may go for one smaller number: 10 nanometer. The move from the 16nm A10 Fusion to a 10nm A11 Fusion would make significant gains.
Qualcomm's 10nm Snapdragon 835 chip, for example, requires less energy and exhibits a performance boost on 16nm chips. Apple will want to rival this chip.
While Apple doesn't use Qualcomm's processor, it has used the San Diego firm's modem. But, as of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it has dual sourced the modem: some from Intel (GSM-only models [AT&T, T-Mobile and almost every other carrier]) and others from Qualcomm (GSM+CDMA [Verizon and Sprint].
There's an ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Qualcomm for overcharging of standard issue patents, so there's a chance iPhone 8 could ditch Qualcomm altogether.
Couple this with the fact that Intel just announced a CDMA-capable modem that makes it compatible with Verizon and Sprint in the US, and Qualcomm may have just exiled itself from the new iPhone for 2017.
TechRadar's take: The iPhone 8 is naturally going to be faster, but its speed boost may be wrapped in another quad-core processor and coupled with 3GB and 2GB of RAM. A lot of the specs depend on whether or not Apple is ready to show us the power of VR and AR. iOS 11 is almost a given, and we fully expect Apple to continue to harness the power of developers for tools like Siri and menu customizations.
It might not just be the screen you'll be interacting with on the iPhone 8, as Apple is also rumored to be working on a "new sensing technology," which would allow the phone to respond when you touch any side of it. Theoretically that could be used for example to change the screen brightness by swiping along the edge, or take a picture by tapping it.
One other rumored feature of the iPhone 8 is an iris scanner, which wouldn't be much of a surprise given that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had one and the Galaxy S8 is said to get the same.
Facial recognition of some kind is looking ever more likely, as it's been rumored again, and Apple's even acquired a company which works in that area.
The iPhone 8 might tighten up security in other ways too, as an Apple patent details a system that could get a thief's fingerprints and photo, as well as recording audio, video and their location.
We might also see a Smart Connector on the iPhone 8. This was rumored for inclusion on the iPhone 7 Pro – a phone which never launched, but with numerous pictures of a phone sporting the Connector it seems likely that Apple really was considering it, so the feature might be ready by next year.
We've already seen a Smart Connector on the iPad Pro, where it's primarily used to attach accessories, like keyboards.
TechRadar's take: The iPhone 8 might have an iris scanner, but only if Apple can make it fast to use. A Smart Connector is also a possibility, but seems a less useful fit than on an iPad Pro.
iPhone 8 price
The iPhone 8 price may throw us for a curve ball come September since Apple is planning an all-new smartphone design. Here are the price rumors.
The smaller iPhone 8 could cost just as much as the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, running $649 in the US, £599 in the UK and AU$1,079 in Australia. That price really hasn't changed in the US, and it recently went up in the UK (last year) and Australia (two years ago).
The iPhone 8 Plus price is also unexpected to change based on the fact that the iPhone 7 Plus just saw a price hike (even in the US) to $769, £719 and AU$1,269. We don't need another price increase there.
Instead, Apple may launch an iPhone 8 Edition with a curved display with an OLED (instead of LCD panel). That could send the bill of sale (for the parts) up 67%, and that expense may get passed onto you, the consumer.
The iPhone 8 price really depends on three things. Which version of the phone do you want? Is Apple releasing a third, more expensive edition with a fancy OLED display? And which storage capacities remain in 2017? That last question may change dramatically depending on how Apple decides the future of the 32GB iPhone 8.