20 rumored specs and features of the next iPhone

If you're like me, then the last few iterations of the iPhone failed to tickle your fancy the same way the “Steve Jobs iPhones” did. This is not to say they were bad or ugly, but you can't help but feel that they were modifications of a tried-and-true formula at best, and a half-hearted attempt at innovation at worst.

 At any rate, this year promises a redesign of the iconic iPhone we all love—and hate—what with the iPhone celebrating a decade of hits and misses packaged into a design philosophy we've all become familiar with. (READ: Huawei overtakes Apple in global smartphone market for the first time)

With a reveal date set on September 12, US time, what can we expect from that “fruit company” in Cupertino? Straight from the grapevine, here are some: 

1) It may launch together with two other models

The 10th anniversary iPhone – or for our purposes, the iPhone 8 – will be launched together with the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which are all tentative names. Apple's release of three iPhone models further confuses the naming scheme, but rumor suggest that, aside from the iPhone 8, the company will release two other models similar in style to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

2) Bye physical home button

From information gleaned by developers, the HomePod firmware code seems to point to information about a dynamic “on-screen home button.” HomePod is Apple's take on smart speakers. This new home button can be resized, or even hidden, depending on user preference and what app is currently in use. Gesture controls are said to be taking the place of the iconic control interface. 

3) Facial recognition in lieu of Touch ID

Without a physical home button, Apple's alternatives are to go the Android way, by placing the TouchID sensor on the back of the iPhone 8, or by incorporating it into the screen itself – under the dynamic on-screen home button.

For a time, rumors seemed to point to the latter, but, according to iPhone developer Steven Troughton-Smith, new features in ARKit and Photos suggest that Apple is leaning toward a face recognition technology codenamed “Pearl ID.”

4) An edge-to-edge display 

Image leaks and mock-ups feature an iPhone 8 with ultra-thin, almost non-existent, bezels that put the glass display in center stage. It's interrupted only by a small bar on top that houses the sensors, front camera, and earpiece. In one video leak, it appears that it will have an 18:9 aspect ratio. 

5) True Tone color to finally debut in an iPhone? 

The iPhone 7 may have inherited the brilliant display of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but the absence of the True Tone system is a notable omission that had us scratching our heads at the time of its release. True Tone uses two ambient light sensors, with four channels each, to measure the color temperature of the surrounding area so that it can match the display temperature accordingly.

According to a note from investment bank Barclays, there is a strong possibility that the iPhone 8 will come equipped with this feature.

6) The display will be a 5.8” OLED

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests a 5.8-inch OLED display, with the "highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone currently available worldwide." This edge-to-edge display will only have 5.15 inches of active screen space, however, as the remaining space will be dedicated to the virtual buttons or “function area” that replaces the physical home button.

7) It may go back to that sexy and shiny glass body

If you loved the design of the iPhone 4s, the upcoming 2017 iPhones may have been worth the wait. All three upcoming models of the iPhone are rumored to sport reinforced glass bodies with aluminum frames, with the iPhone 8 featuring a stainless steel frame. 

Here's one conceptual take on it posted on YouTube channel "ConceptsiPhone": 

Again, it's highly unofficial, so gawk at it, but don't believe it 100%. 

8) We might see a never-before-seen mirror-like finish

Leaker Benjamin Geskin surmises four color options for the upcoming iPhone 8. Among these options is a never-before seen mirror-like finish that he believes will come in black and white variants.

9) Rumored dimensions: 71 x 143 x 7.4mm

Although most phone manufacturers are “going big” nowadays, Apple is taking the middle ground by designing an iPhone that's rumored to be slightly taller than the iPhone 7 but not quite as tall as the iPhone 7 Plus,

10) It may finally make your wireless charging dreams come true

Early rumors talked about a long-range wireless charger for the iPhone 8, but recent information instead points to an inductive wireless charger similar to the one used by the Apple Watch. Apple supplier Wistron has also confirmed, although inadvertently, that at least one of the new iPhones will come with this wireless charging technology.

11) A smaller yet better battery

A Forbes report claims that the iPhone 8 will come with battery life that's “significantly improved” compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. A new L-shaped configuration also promises more power in a significantly smaller battery chassis.

12) Goodbye lightning connector?

Apple is rumored to be engineering a Smart Connector for the iPhone 8 that's similar to the one found on the iPad Pro. This connector attaches using a magnet and will supposedly be used for both charging and augmented reality features.

13) Highly expected: The faster A11 processor 

All 2017 iPhone models are expected to use Apple's faster and core efficient A11 chip. The chip is also designed to be more power efficient, helping give the new iPhones better battery life.

BIG EXPECTATIONS. Will the 10th anniversary iPhone make iPhones exciting again?


Will the 10th anniversary iPhone make iPhones exciting again?

14) Wake it up with your taps

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has conjectured the existence of a tap-to-wake feature based on bits of the iPhone 8 firmware. 

15) Front and back 4k-video-capable cameras?

Some code within the iPhone 8 firmware hint at front and back cameras that can both record video in 4K at 60 frames per second.

16) It will feature its own take on augmented reality

A rear-facing 3D laser system is also expected from the iPhone 8, which will enable better depth detection and improve augmented reality (AR) features. It will also aid in providing a more accurate type of autofocus for photography.

17) An iPhone you could swim with 

The Korea Herald claims that the iPhone 8 will come with IP68 dust and water protection, a bump up from the iPhone 7's IP67 rating. This means it can be underwater for 30 minutes at depths of up to 1.5 meters.  

18) A more health-conscious iPhone

A new patent granted to Apple shows how the iPhone 8 front camera, light sensor, and proximity sensor can be used to measure a variety of fitness metrics, including pulse, oxygen saturation, and more.  

19) We may be looking at the most expensive iPhone ever

Analysts are predicting prices starting from US$1,100 to US$1,200, with only the top two storage options (128GB and 256GB) being offered.

20) And it's going to make you wait a bit longer...

Although news of delays may have been contradicted by Apple itself, there's a high possibility that supply may be severely limited. The iPhone 4S was the only device to miss the “iPhone September launch period.” This year, the iPhone 8 will be launched in September but in limited supply due to the lack of OLED displays.

All that said, Apple will be Apple and can do whatever they want. Although past patterns are the best determinant of future events, they're far from perfect. Take these rumors with a pinch of salt and hope for the best while expecting the worst. At best, we'll get an iPhone that will knock our socks off; at worst, we'll get a beautiful phone that used to be great. It's a win any way you look at it. – Rappler.com

Alexis has been a professional writer and editor since 2007 and has worked with website developers, online retailers, and medical and healthcare professionals. On the side, he dabbles in photography.