When is iPhone 8 being released? What will the specs be? Will it have special features? Here's everything we know!
Updated April 24, 2017: KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo (via 9to5Mac) believes the cutting edge components of iPhone 8, including the screen, 3D touch film, 10nm Apple A11 chipset, will prove difficult enough to manufacture that we won't see the device, even in constrained quantities, until October or November 2017.
iPhone 8 — iPhone X — whatever Apple ends up calling the next and "tenth anniversary" iPhone, it's expected next fall, and with a new design and new set of features. But what will they be? This article is continuously updated to include the latest news and rumors. Bookmark it, save it, share it, and check back often!
What will the next iPhone be called?
If Apple sticks to the same pattern the company has been using since 2010, the 2016 iPhone 7 will be followed by the 2017 iPhone 7s, but given that 2017 is the iPhone's 10th anniversary, we may get something entirely different. iPhone 8? iPhone Edition? iPhone X?!
- iPhone: 2007
- iPhone 3G: 2008
- iPhone 3GS: 2009
- iPhone 4: 2010
- iPhone 4s: 2011
- iPhone 5: 2012
- iPhone 5s: 2013
- iPhone 6: 2014
- iPhone 6s: 2015
- iPhone 7: 2016
Any pattern can be broken, of course, and Apple can ultimately call any iPhone anything the company wants — iPhone Pro, Apple Phone, etc.
Because it's rumored to be an all new design, it's possible Apple will skip iPhone 7s and go straight to iPhone 8. Because it'll be 10 years since the first iPhone was introduced, Apple could also call it iPhone X.
According to Macotakara, the phone currently thought of as the iPhone 8 may in fact be given the name of "iPhone Edition". The phone could also be arriving later than the rumored iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, though all three phones would apparently be introduced at the same event.
For the sake of simplicity, iPhone 8 will be used in our rumor roundup until we hear otherwise.
Will there be an iPhone 8 Plus?
Probably not. There was an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
- iPhone 6 Plus: 2014
- iPhone 6s Plus: 2015
- iPhone 7 Plus: 2016
But iPhone 8 is getting a new design where the display can be iPhone Plus sized while the casing around it remains iPhone regular size.
Rumor has it, though, there'll still be iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus alongside iPhone 8 (singular).
When will the iPhone 8 be released?
Since the iPhone 5, Apple has announced every new iPhone during a special event held the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September.
- iPhone 5: September 12, 2012
- iPhone 5s: September 10, 2013
- iPhone 6: September 9, 2014
- iPhone 6s: September 9, 2015
- iPhone 7: September 7, 2016
Likewise, since the iPhone 5, Apple has shipped every new iPhone the second Friday following the event, with the exception of the iPhone 6s in 2015, which shipped the third Friday following the event:
- iPhone 5: September 21, 2012
- iPhone 5S: September 20, 2013
- iPhone 6: September 19, 2014
- iPhone 6s: September 25, 2015
- iPhone 7: September 16, 2016
Past patterns are the best indicator of future events, but they aren't perfect. Apple can and will throw curveballs whenever the company's logistics or strategy demands. So, be aware of the dates but don't be bound to them.
Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White (via MacRumors) claims that while pre-orders for all three of Apple's rumored 2017 iPhones (iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone 8) will all begin in September, the iPhone 8 may not ship until "several weeks" later due to issues with its 3D sensor technology.
Analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company contradicts White's report with his own investigation (as reported by AppleInsider), believing that it's not 3D sensor issues to blame, but low Touch ID yields:
For the 5.8-inch OLED version, the biggest bottleneck remains integrating an under-glass fingerprint sensor into the display— the current yield rate of Apple's in-house AuthenTec solution remains low and AAPL seems unwilling to use other vendors' products.
Arcuri theorizes that Apple could avoid delays entirely by ditching Touch ID entirely in lieu of facial recognition (not likely) or move the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the casing, but Apple will most likely just accept the delay and move forward with small quantities (a la the AirPods and Apple Pencil). This isn't entirely unusual for the high-end iPhone model, either: Apple's Jet Black iPhone 7 was under severe shipping constraints when it first launched, as well.
Update: KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), believes iPhone 8 will prove difficult enough to manufacture that we won't see it, even in constrained quantities, until October or November 2017:
KGI blames several 'significant hardware upgrades' in the iPhone 8 for the delays. This includes a custom OLED display panel, a custom Apple A11 10-nanometer SoC, an all-new designed 3D Touch module and 3D sensing cameras.
What can we expect in the iPhone 8 design?
At any given point in time, Apple is working several years ahead on the iPhone line. Upcoming models may already be in the testing or prototype stages while future models may be little more than components attached to boards. Sometimes multiple versions will also exist, some more conservative, others more audacious. What eventually ships depends on what can reliably be produced given the limits of technology and economics. Since 2008 Apple has also followed a "tick-tock" cycle for iPhones. On the "tick" year the company unveils a new design and on the "tock" year the company takes that same design to its limits. In 2016, though, Apple broke from that pattern and released a second tock — iPhone 7.
- iPhone 3G: 2008 — Plastic shell.
- iPhone 4: 2010 — Antenna band and glass back.
- iPhone 5: 2012 — 16:9 aspect ratio, chamfered edges.
- iPhone 6: 2014 — Bigger screens, rounded edges.
- iPhone 7: 2015 - New finishes.
Rumor has it the next big iPhone redesign will be more dramatic one, with less bezel around the sides and at the top and bottom and virtualized buttons. Other reports also say that the iPhone 8 will feature a glass front and back, with either aluminum or stainless steel around the edges of the phone. Stainless steel is said to be reserved for the more expensive models. ETNews (via MacRumors), in contrast, reports that the iPhone 8 will feature a glass casing and a "water drop design" that will harken back to the original iPhone from 2007.
Noted leaker Sonny Dickson has shown off what appears to be a possible schematic for the iPhone 8, which shows a device with a metal back and a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor. This contradicts a previous report from Bloomberg that the iPhone 8 would feature a glass front and back with a stainless steel frame.
Benjamin Geskin on Twitter (via 9to5Mac), has posted what he claims is a "dummy" mockup of iPhone 8, matching several of the rumors. Specifically, for iPhone 8 with Touch ID remaining on the front, beneath the glass.
Wait, Touch ID on the back of iPhone 8... like... like... Android?
If Apple wants to remove the bottom bezel, there Touch ID sensor will have to be changed or removed to accomplish that. It sounds like Apple wants to keep Touch ID on the front but put it under the display. That would be ideal, given Apple already made the Home button virtual with iPhone 7.
Samsung had similar plans for the Galaxy S8, however, but was forced to change when it couldn't get the technology to work and put it on the back instead.
Apple might well succeed where Samsung failed, or might have to make a similar compromise. That's likely why we keep seeing multiple purported schematics for iPhone 8: the audacious version with Touch ID under the display, and the pragmatic version where it's forced onto the back.
What colors will the iPhone 8 be offered in?
So far Apple has saved the new iPhone finishes for the years absent big redesigns, save for 2017's iPhone 7 Project RED special edition.
- iPhone 5s: 2013 — Gold.
- iPhone 6s: 2015 — Rose gold.
- iPhone 7: 2016 — Black and jet black.
- iPhone 7: 2017 - (Product) RED.
That said, Apple can do anything the company wants, any time the company wants, including introducing new colors with new designs — including new casing material.
Apple Watch Series 2 being released in white ceramics sent the internet atwitter with thoughts of iPhone 8 being made out of the same material. Tougher than stainless steel, it still remains to be seen if it would hold up in a device as big as an iPhone or iPhone Plus.
Notably, Greg Koenig of Luma Labs thinks it unlikely, writing on Atomic Delights:
More bluntly, not only is Apple not using any new ceramics manufacturing technology in the new Watch Edition, they are not even utilizing the primary patent the original Quora article pins most of its extrapolations on - that patent described a vacuum liquid slurry casting process for ceramics. The Edition watch uses a very common pressed powder forming method.
In short, not only does the ceramic Watch quash any hopes of a ceramic iPhone, I think it actually indicates that Apple isn't chasing down ceramics for iPhone production any time on the horizon.
What specs will the iPhone 8 have?
Update: A supposed internal schematic of the iPhone 8 has surfaced (via AppleInsider), which show the placement of components such as the rumored A11 system-on-a-chip, the NAND flash, and the standard removeable SIM card.
Since Apple introduced the company's first branded system-on-a-chip (SoC) in 2010, every new iPhone has come with a new A-series chipset. If Apple sticks to that pattern, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will ship with Apple A11 processors. New SoC typically take advantage of better processes that let them be faster and more powerful but also more energy efficient.
Apple has also been adding coprocessors to handle motion voice activation, and now big.LITTLE fusion. A11 could further build on those capabilities as well, including implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning at the silicon level.
The custom CPUs Apple has been producing have gone from Swift to Cyclone to Typhoon to Twister, so... Tropical Storm next? Hurricane? Rumors also persist that Apple is working on custom GPUs and even modems as well, which would allow the company to take full control of everything from graphics to radios. Recent reports indicate that Intel will be supplying at least some of the modems for this year's iPhone lineup.
What about an iPad Pro-style Smart Connector?
Apple typically introduces a technology in one device and then rolls it out across the lineup. Retina was like that with iPhone 4 and Touch ID with iPhone 5s. The Smart Connector, which debuted with the iPad Pro in the fall of 2015, attaches via a magnet and runs power, data, and ground directly from the device. It currently powers Apple's Smart Keyboard and a similar keyboard from Logitech, with more expected to follow.
Apple could certainly engineer a Smart Connector for iPhone 8, but what it would be used for is a more interesting question. Apple made a smaller Smart Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but would the company make an even smaller one for iPhone 8 Plus? For iPhone 8 standard?
According to The Verifier, the iPhone 8 will feature a Smart Connector, which it will apparently use both for charging and for augmented and virtual reality features.
What about the display? More HD? TrueTone?
Apple hasn't updated the resolution on iPhone or iPhone Plus since 2014. As such, it makes them less than desirable for applications like VR, and less than competitive when it comes to spec comparisons. It does make them more energy efficient, though, given they still use LCD rather than OLED panels.
There have been rumors that we could see a bump to 1920 x 1080 for the 4.7-inch model and 2560 x 1440 for the 5.5-inch model.
There have also been rumors about OLED, but right now the LED component of the LCD system is used to implement the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch system, so would Apple re-engineer that? Or would they simply skip ahead again to something like quantum dot?
According to The Korea Herald, any and all OLED versions will be curved and made of plastic, rather than the glass typically used on flat panels.
Also, while iPhone 7 got the DCI-P3 wide gamut color system of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, it didn't get the True Tone system. True Tone employs two ambient light sensors, with four channels each, to measure the color temperate of the surrounding area and then match the display to that temperature. Investment bank Barclays (via MacRumors) believes that Apple's next iPhone will feature True Tone displays, however.
Will the iPhone 8 be waterproof?
iPhone 7 is water resistant but not water proof. Rated IP67, it can survive accidental splashes, dunks, and floods, but isn't rated as highly as some competing phones from Samsung and others.
Although swimming with an iPhone may not be on everyone's wish-list, those whose jobs or pastimes expose them to the elements, and even those who want to do underwater photography at shallow depths would be thrilled by IP68, and a new report from The Korea Herald claims that the iPhone 8 will feature just that.
Will the iPhone 8 have wireless charging?
Up until mid-2015, it hadn't been possible to do wireless charging—also known as inductive charging—on a phone with a metal back. Since Apple switched from the glass of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s to the aluminum of the iPhone 5 and later models, that effectively meant the company couldn't offer wireless charging as well.
Now methods for induction through metal are being introduced, which means it's possible Apple could keep the aluminum back and offer wireless charging. A report from KGI's Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) claims that all rumored 2017 iPhones will feature wireless charging; the iPhone 8 will also apparently have a thin sheet of graphite to protect its new 3D Touch sensor from the heat generated by wireless charging.
Recent rumors have also suggested Apple is working on resonant inductive coupling, which would let devices charge even at a distance. (The greater the distance, the lower the efficiency.) Such technology is likely a year or more away, though.
Okay, what do we know for sure?
Only that nothing is confirmed until an Apple executive holds an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus up on stage!