Rumors continue to mount at a dizzying pace for the upcoming 2017 iPhone. The newest flagship device is going by “iPhone 8,” “iPhone X,” or “the 10th anniversary iPhone,” but most commonly the iPhone 8. All of the excitement is not only caused by the device being a decade celebration of Apple’s revolution for the mobile industry, but also the expectations for revolutionary, instead of evolutionary, change in features and form factor. iPhone 8 may be the first Apple handset to have a completely edge-to-edge screen and the mock ups are beautiful.
The edge-to-edge iPhone 8 concept
A completely bezel-less and uninterrupted screen poses particular difficulties, when considering the current iPhone design. On the iPhone front, a TouchID button, speaker, camera, and ambient light sensor would need to be hidden or relocated elsewhere. Most rumor attention is rightly focusing on the TouchID Home button, as it is the largest screen obstruction and is an integral part of iOS operation and the most secure way to interact with the device, including ApplePay credit card approval.
Consequently, allowing the user to interact with the device and authenticate is the most important concern of the edge-to-edge screen. Several rumors and even an Apple patent show the technology may be buried below the pixels of the rumored OLED display. The technology would be an advancement of the AuthenTec technology Apple originally acquired for the first and second generation TouchID implementations.
The iPhone 8’s larger display, could also allow for fingerprint authentication anywhere on the screen or, on the screen sides, if a side panel is added. Some more far fetched rumors claim the TouchID system could be expanded across the entire screen, meaning there is no specific location your finger needs to be placed, for the print to be read. If that is the case, and 3D Touch could act as a Home button depression, then, the Home button could be dead. Although, some argue all authentication will simply shift to facial recognition instead.
The concept images in this article by Thadeu Brandão, imagine an iPhone 8 with a Home button, but it would be able to display content. Much like the TouchBar of the new MacBook Pro, these concepts exemplify the rumors that claim a function button area may be added to the larger screen’s chin. Swiping through buttons or tools, when necessary, or simply showing content, like a movie or picture, otherwise. The mock ups are very elegant and do take into consideration all of the very credible current rumors.
Popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the larger display panel could be accommodated on the current 4.7″ size device. Given his measurements, a 5.5″ screen could almost fit on the current 4.7″ iPhone 6/s/7 form factor. Therefore an iPhone 8 device may just come in one form factor size, with a 5.5-5.8″ screen crammed on a relatively small device body. If this is the case, many expect iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus to also be offered to scoop up lower price point buyers. The newly redesigned iPhone 8 is expected to launch in excess of $1,000, which is seemingly likely, especially if Apple still offers incremental bumps for the current 7 generation. This would give a pricing range for iPhones from $500, to $1,000+.
Until the device is actually announced, sometime in the fall, everything is completely speculation. Between now and the iPhone 8 launch, expect to see updates to the iPad Pro line this spring and the developer conference this summer to highlight iOS 11.