Apple’s next iPhone isn’t supposed to arrive until much later in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped legions of fans from fervently speculating about it. This year, things may be a little different as it’s the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Rumors suggest we may see three models — the iPhone 7S, the 7S Plus, and the iPhone X (iPhone 8). The latter is expected to be an expensive, technical showcase phone released as celebration model.
If you want to learn more about the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, head over here. A lot of this information is up in the air, but what we’re hearing about it keeps us interested. Very interested. Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the iPhone X — also referred to as the iPhone 8.
Bezel-less screen, no home button
For some time now, we’ve been hearing rumors the iPhone X will have an edge-to-edge or bezel-less screen, potentially with OLED technology.
A report from market research firm Cowen and Company suggests that the iPhone X’s earpiece, FaceTime camera, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be embedded into the screen, allowing for a seamless edge-to-edge front panel. It said 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.
But the prototypical design is posing a challenge for Apple’s suppliers. According to Apple Insider, yields of the under-screen Touch ID sensor are low — so low that Apple may consider alternative designs if the production problems can’t be solved.
Other rumors and reports continue to spread and reiterate that the iPhone X will have a home button integrated into the screen. An image created by designer Benjamin Geskin on Twitter shows how the phone may look with this type of design and is based on sketches apparently made by a factory employee with knowledge of the iPhone X’s design. The screen stretches all the way to the bottom of the phone’s front panel, and a bezel at the top contains several sensors and a dual-lens front camera. On the rear is another dual-lens camera, but this time it’s mounted vertically.
Before this, many reports suggested Apple is still finalizing the design for the new iPhone, such as this one from Mac Otakara which states that while there was a prototype built without a home button, it may not end up being a part of the final design.
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 Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who was among the first to say the iPhone X 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, which sourced two anonymous Apple employees.
The Wall Street Journal corroborated other rumblings about the iPhone X’s display, home button, and more. The iPhone X will reportedly feature a curved OLED screen similar to those on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 devices and it will also do away with the physical home button. And it will launch alongside two other smartphones. Analyst Ming-Chi Kou agreed, saying the iPhone X could see the elimination of the iconic home button and Touch ID sensor in favor of “virtual buttons” at the bottom of the screen.
The screen size of the new iPhone has been the subject of some debate, but it seems as though most reports agree to the size of 5.8 inches (like the Galaxy S8). Previously, Nikkei Asian Review suggested that the display would instead be 5 inches, however, the outlet, which is known for iPhone leaks, has since changed its tune in a revised report.
Kuo reports that the virtual buttons will take up part of the iPhone X’s screen, a rumored 5.8-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2,800 x 1,242 pixels — a figure now agreed upon by Nikkei. And he believes the phone “will come with other biometric technologies that replace the current fingerprint recognition technology.” Kuo notes the overall footprint would be comparable to the 4.7-inch TFT-LED iPhone, though with a measurably larger display size and battery life.
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.