Word on the street suggests there’s three iPhone handsets coming in 2017. Now, depending on who you speak to there are a couple of theories as to what’s going on.
The most likely is that Apple will release two iPhone 7s handsets – these handsets that will look and feel like the current iPhone 7 – alongside a brand new model that will be called the iPhone 8.
Why would Apple do this? Simple: OLED panels – or rather, a lack of them, to be precise. The other reason is that Apple will be able to retail this handset as an ULTRA-PREMIUM handset – and that means $1000+ per unit, probably.
Apple simply cannot source enough OLED panels from its suppliers to satisfy demands. This is why OLED will only appear on one handset in 2017. In 2018 and beyond, all models should feature OLED panels, as Apple’s supplier ramp up production.
The upshot to this approach is that Apple can use OLED panels as a big USP on its bigger and more expensive iPhone.
“Apple ordered 100 million OLED panels from Samsung Display for use in the iPhone 8. However, it is now thought that order has been increased to 160 million, which is worth an additional $4.3 billion to Samsung,” notes PC Mag.
OLED displays serve up richer colours, deeper blacks and have faster refresh rates. They’re also flexible, opening up a myriad of options and potential for design – things like curved aspects and truly flexible handsets.
The iPhone 8 – AKA The Mac Daddy – will have all the new, flagship features: so, improved imaging, improved display technology, the all-screen frontage, masses of storage. Basically, all the cool stuff you’ve been reading about for the last 12 months.
This will be Apple’s NEW flagship, just as the iPad Pro is its new (and more costly) iPad flagship.
iPhone 7s vs iPhone 8: Expect BIG Differences – And Not Just In Price
The iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will likely retail for the same price as the current models. Though there will be some parity with the larger, more impressive iPhone 8 – wireless charging, for one.
“Only the 5.8-inch 2017 iPhone will feature a glass and stainless steel design,” reports BGR, “while the 4.7-inch iPhone will have an aluminium housing just like this year’s iPhones.”
The report added: “The 5.8-inch iPhone is believed to be the iPhone 8, which is expected to feature a steel frame that will hold the internal components, covered by glass front and rear panels. Apple used similar designs in the past for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.”
Leaks Confirm Key Aspects of Apple’s Incoming iPhone
Multiple leaks have shown off some of Apple’s upcoming iPhone’s key new design elements. Chief among them is the vertically stacked dual-camera lens system, as you can see below:
The ALL-FRONT display also looks stunning, though with the release of the LG G6 and Galaxy S8 occurring months before the iPhone one, the prospect of all-screen frontages, come Q4, won’t be all that new.
Still, the two leaks schematics show off a relatively robust looking handset that, importantly, packs in wireless charging – a thing sorely missing for all iPhones up to now.
The wireless charging element was confirmed by PowerMat’s CEO as well, so you can 100% expect the next generation iPhones to pack this feature among other things.
“With the recent announcement by Apple that wireless charging will become a standard feature in the next iPhone, we are finally at the threshold of mainstream adoption,” said Mr. Dubzinski.
“Dan Stone has a proven track record of success and is uniquely qualified to help guide Powermat to the next level of service delivery. Under his guidance, CompuCom has enjoyed a reputation for delivering unparalleled IT support for enterprise clients and their end users. We look forward to benefitting from his experience and guidance.”
The iPhone 8 model will be dramatically more expensive; I’ve heard talk of the handset costing more than $1000/£1000 which is insanely expensive for a phone – even if it is one that packs in a lot of new stuff.
“Kuo says Apple will remove the home button completely and replace it on the iPhone 8 with a ‘function area’ akin to the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro line. The function area will be contextual, adapting to whatever users need depending on what they are doing,” notes Forbes.
It added: “Interestingly Kuo says the end result is the iPhone 8 will be almost bezel-less with a mammoth 5.8-inch display squeezed into a chassis no larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Exclude the function area, however, and the actual usable size of the display will be 5.15-inches – which is roughly in line with upcoming rivals like the Galaxy S8 (also tipped for a 5.8-inch display and onscreen controls).”
iPhone 7s Design?
All rumours currently point to the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus sharing the same design as last year’s models. The upshot to this is that Apple will be able to, maybe, reduce the price to entice user adoption.
The logic here is simple:
- If you’re bored and want something new, get the iPhone 8.
- If you’re happy enough with the iPhone 7s and its price, go with that.
- Apple is basically giving you a choice – but in the end it will win either way.
Personally speaking, I can see A LOT of people going for the iPhone 8. I think Apple knows this which is why it has limited all the big changes to one handset.
Supply chain reports indicate that Apple is struggling to source enough OLED panels for the iPhone 8. Adding OLED to ALL iPhone releases in 2017 would further exasperate this problem. Hence the two model split.
Apple has tasked BOE, a Chinese OLED producer with filling the gap between now and 2018:
“BOE is currently in the process of building two OLED plants in the southwestern province of Sichuan, according to today’s report. The company is investing close to $14.5 billion in the process, building plants in Chengdu and Mianyang,” reports 9to5Mac.
For everything else you need to know about the iPhone 8 (and iPhone 7s) see our iPhone 8 Rumours Hub.