As far back as May 2016, rumors about an edge-to-edge display claim a new iPhone will ditch the bezels and provide a truly immersive full-screen experience. When iPhone 7 lacked these features, as it retained the same two-year-old form factor as iPhone 6, analysts have been rushing to determine credence to the display claims. With Apple rumors, there is often smoke that eventually proves the fire.
The strongest rumor about the upcoming iPhone 8 is a new screen, most likely OLED and, most likely, edge-to-edge. What continues to be the source of rumor-anxiety is the size and the Home button. Rarely-wrong Apple analyst Min-Chi Kuo believes he has the answers and a graphic to explain.
Kuo believes the device will have a 5.8-inch physical display, but it will be limited to only 5.15-inch of usable screen space. Kuo confirms the display will be edge-to-edge, eliminating side and top bezels, and still leaving the question of facial recognition or behind-the-screen Touch ID authentication options.
Continuing, Kuo claims, even with a 5.8-imch display panel, the form factor will be much closer to the 4.7-inch iPhone, allowing a more comfortable one-handed interaction. Without the extra bezel edges, the screen can expand across the entire front space, preventing the need for a hardware margin. Looking for an existing comparison, it would be like having the current 5.5-inch iPhone screen on the 4.7-inch iPhone chassis.
Although a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone 8 will be approximately the size of the current 4.7-inch device, Kuo feels Apple will continue to offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD models, but what other features these LCD versions will adopt from the new flagship, remains to be seen. While Kuo has rumored all 2017 iPhone devices to have a full glass back and front with, most likely, stainless sides, and wireless charging, the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD versions may very well be the ‘s’ models of 2017. Kuo continues in the report to claim the OLED version to be the only flagship of the 2017 lineup.
An interesting addition to the 5.8-inch OLED version is the designated “function area,” dedicated for user input on the screen bottom. All previous iPhone generations use this space for the Touch ID. However, the diagram gives an Android impression. Many older Android devices have similar function buttons along the screen bottom, but they are not dynamic. Often, they are built into the hardware an illumine when useful. More recently, lower screen buttons are dynamic in the Android system, which could be a cue Apple is taking.
This function area could still include an embedded Touch ID technology, which does not require a physical button or immediate contact with the fingerprint. Apple has patented technology to allow for that type of interaction and even the current Touch ID generation is solid state, just not buried under pixels.
iPhone 8 is not set to be revealed until fall 2017, with updates to the iPad and operating systems coming in between. Look for rumors to continue spiraling for the rest of the year until all is revealed. It is interesting to note, in the past, when rumors have swirled too far out of control, Apple will leak information to an organization like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Bloomberg. We are yet to see anything appearing to be a corrective-controlled leak. Therefore, the rumors may be spot on or not crazy enough for Apple to intervene. Ultimately, it might just be too far from release for Apple to care.