Given the momentous occasion, rumour has it that Apple has been holding back some of its most groundbreaking features for this year’s model – which many expect to be called the iPhone 8 .
We’ve rounded up all the latest rumours and leaks, so if you’re unimpressed by the iPhone 7’s features, you’ll know what the next version has in store.
The latest report suggests that one of the iPhone 8’s most highly-anticipated features may fail to materialise.
For months, rumours have been circulating that Apple’s next flagship smartphone will feature a curved OLED display – similar to the one on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
“We anticipate Apple will adopt a flat implementation of OLED design on their special iPhone model, which is analogous to the current 2.5D glass design,” IHS Markit analyst Wayne Lam told MacRumors .
“Much like the recently announced LG G6, we anticipate a touchscreen with a new longer aspect ratio design to take advantage of higher coverage area of the iPhone in its entirety.
“This new design language is expected to become the trend for 2017, as we all anticipate Samsung’s reveal later this month.”
Apple traditionally releases its latest iPhone in the first two weeks of September, in good time for the start of the Christmas shopping season.
However, a new report hints that Apple may break with tradition this year and launch its next flagship smartphone earlier than expected.
According to information gathered by boutique research firm BlueFin Research Partners and shared by Barron’s Tech Trader Daily , there is “some indication” that Apple will start production of the iPhone 8 in June.
If Apple is feeling particularly nostalgic, it may opt for June 29 – the same day the first iPhone was released.
However, others claims that Apple will announce its new phones in the autumn, as usual, and begin selling them soon afterwards, and even BlueFin notes that it’s not clear whether kicking off production early will translate to an earlier release date.
That means we’re more likely to see Apple to unveil its new handset on either the week of September 4 or September 11.
Apple products are not exactly known for being cheap. When the company launched its ‘budget’ iPhone 5c in 2013, it still cost an eye-watering £469.
But the latest reports suggest that Apple’s next device will be its most expensive yet, exceeding the $1,000 (£795) mark for the first time.
The price was reportedly leaked to The Fast Company by “a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans”.
The source said that Apple will be launching three devices this year – a massive 5.8-inch model (likely called the iPhone 8), a 5.5-inch model (called iPhone 7s Plus), and a 4.7-inch model (called iPhone 7s).
The iPhone 8 will reportedly have a new OLED display that will stretch across the whole front of the phone.
This is part of the reason for the high price tag, according to the source, as the OLED display will cost Apple roughly twice as much as the LCD display used in current iPhones.
The new phone is also likely to get a memory upgrade from the current iPhone 7 line, which will add to the cost of manufacturing the device.
Based on Apple’s well-established “tick-tock” cycle, the 2017 model would be called the iPhone 7s.
The tick-tock cycle refers to Apple releasing a new design every two years, and new features within the same casing on alternate years (which are usually known as “s” models).
However, rumour has it that Apple is moving to a three-year cycle on major iPhone refreshes.
This, combined with the fact that next year is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, suggests that Apple’s 2017 model will be a fairly major upgrade.
It seems unlikely, in that case, that Apple will opt for the name iPhone 7s – as that would downplay the upgrade. It’s more likely that it will be called the iPhone 8.
Apple may even decide to go for something completely different – the iPhone 10 perhaps, to mark the anniversary, or even the iPhone Air or iPhone Pro, to reflect the iPad lineup.
Apple is allegedly planning a major design overhaul for the iPhone 8. The company is said to be working on an all-glass version of its iconic iPhone , for release in 2017.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a track record of leaking accurate information on Apple products, published a report in May claiming the American tech firm will completely redesign the iPhone in 2017.
Instead of the aluminium casing used in the iPhone 7 , Apple will move to an all-glass enclosure.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used glass in its iPhones. The iPhone 4 and 4s had glass front and back panels, with a stainless steel band sandwiched between the two.
However, these phones were plagued by durability issues, with many customers claiming their phones cracked too easily when dropped .
Kuo noted that some investors are concerned that glass casing would be too heavy or fail a drop test, but said he believes that a return to glass casing will not be problematic for Apple.
“Apple already uses glass casing for iPhone 4/ 4S, and non-Apple brands have also been using glass casings. We therefore think a drop test will not be problematic for glass casing,” he wrote in his report, according to MacRumours .
“A glass casing may be slightly heavier than an aluminum one of the same thickness, but the difference is so small that the use of the thinner and lighter AMOLED panel will compensate for that.”
The rumour has been backed up by a couple of other leaks. A source reportedly told Japanese website Nikkei that “Foxconn has been trying glass chassis’ since last year.”
The arguments to be made for a glass smartphone include better antenna reception and more options for wireless charging.
Curved OLED display
At least one of the iPhone 8 prototypes is said to feature a new cutting-edge curved OLED display with practically no bezels – similar to that used on Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge.
Although there is no functional reason to have a curved screen, Samsung has been seeing significantly higher sales of the curved versions of its Galaxy smartphones.
In March 2016, Nikkei reported that Apple was planning to ditch LCD displays in favour of OLED screens, with the first OLED iPhone arriving in 2017.
Then in April, The Korea Herald reported that Samsung had managed to bag the $2.59 billion manufacturing contract. The company is reportedly contracted to supply 100 million 5.5-inch OLED panels per year, starting from 2017.
OLED displays are superior to the LCD panels currently used in Apple’s iPhones because, rather than requiring a backlight, an OLED-based screen lights up individual pixels when necessary.
This translates to blacker blacks and brighter whites, lower power consumption and faster response times compared to LED displays.
The iPhone 8 ‘s display could also have a 4K resolution – which would make it more suitable for virtual reality applications.
End of the Home button
Rumours have been swirling for some time that Apple is planning to get rid of the traditional physical Home button and replace it with a touch-sensitive digital button.
This was originally rumoured for the iPhone 7, but it’s now looking more likely that it will be one of the major changes coming with the iPhone 8.
A Chinese website called Storm reports that the virtual home button will have the same haptic feedback motors used in the iPhone 7 to create the illusion of a Home button, even if it’s really just a flat capacitive surface.
Designers around the world have been speculating about what Apple has planned, and one artist, Marek Weidlich , has created an intriguing concept video (see above).
Weidlich has turned the entire front of the futuristic smartphone into a screen – leaving no home button or any visible bezel.
Another concept by industrial designer Herman Haidin envisions an iPhone made from a material known as “liquidmetal”, which is tougher and more water-resistant than typical aluminium.
In the concept, Haidin envisions the new iPhone as a mere 3mm thick with a body formed of glass and liquidmetal.
In order to get to this level of thinness, the concept ditches bulky ports such as the Lightning charging port and the 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as the physical Home button.
Wireless charging has become a common feature of some Android smartphones – including Samsung’s latest family of devices – although it is still a lot slower than wired charging methods.
A report in Bloomberg in January claimed that Apple was working on “cutting edge” wireless technology that would allow future iPhones and iPads to be placed further away from charging mats than current smartphones.
The unnamed sources said Apple was working on overcoming “technical barriers including loss of power over distance,” and that the technology will feature in iPhones coming out in 2017.
Now a report from Chinese-language website MoneyDJ.com , picked up by Digitimes , indicates that Apple may be planning to introduce similar technology with the iPhone 8.
According to the report, a Taiwan-based company called Xintec is to start mass producing iris-recognition chips, some of which will be embedded in the 2017 series of iPhone.
Apple is rumoured to be working on three versions of its next iPhone, including a 5-inch model to sit between its existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets.
Japanese blog Mac Otakara reports that all three models will boast identical specifications , citing sources within Apple’s Taiwanese supply chain.
The 5-inch version is also rumoured to feature a dual-lens camera, with iSight modules arranged vertically instead of horizontally.
While Apple has long been rumoured to be working on three models of its next iPhone , earlier reports have claimed that they will not all have the same specifications.
Meanwhile, a recent report in the Wall Street Journal claimed that Apple is currently testing more than 10 different prototypes for its next smartphone.
The iPhone 8 will, more than likely, feature an A11 chip, built on ARM’s highly-efficient 10nm manufacturing process, and run the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 11.
It will most likely come in 32BB, 128GB and 256GB storage options.
If you were hoping that the next version of Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone was going to feature a dual-lens camera, you may be disappointed.
According to the latest investor note from well-informed KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s dual-camera system will remain exclusive to the larger “Plus” model next year.
“While an attractive addition for avid picture takers and professional photographers, the iPhone 7 Plus dual-camera is not a mass-market killer application yet,” Kuo says in the note seen by Apple Insider and 9to5Mac .
“Along with its high cost (estimated at over US$30-40) and the necessity for Apple to enhance the added value of high-end iPhone models, we expect only high-end new iPhone models (30-40% of them) to have a dual-camera next year.”
However, Kuo thinks that Apple’s next iPhone could come with a “revolutionary” new selfie camera that uses infrared technology to detect the location and depth of objects in its field of vision.
The 3D camera system could be used for facial recognition, iris recognition and 3D selfies. It could also be used in augmented reality mobile games, to accurately replace a character’s head with that of the user, Kuo wrote in a research report seen by 9to5mac .
The 3D system works by sending invisible infrared light signals outwards from the phone and then detecting the signals that bounce back off of objects using the 1.4 megapixel infrared receiver.
Kuo said that, in the future, Apple could add 3D sensing technology to its rear cameras as well, removing the need for large dual camera iris systems.
It therefore makes sense that Apple would carry this through to the iPhone 8.
IP67 means it will survive a dip in the sink or down the loo, and it won’t break if you pour a drink over it, but you probably don’t want to take it swimming.