The Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8, or whatever the 10th-anniversary iPhone ends up being called, is expected to arrive in late 2017, and legions of fans are feverishly speculating about it. Rumors suggest the iPhone 8/iPhone X may be announced alongside the iPhone 7S and the 7S Plus. It’s likely to be an expensive, technical showcase phone released as a celebratory model.
While likely to be great phones, too, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are expected to be very different. A lot of the information on the iPhone X is up in the air, but what we’re hearing sure keeps us interested. Very interested. Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the iPhone X.
Release date, name, and price
You want to know when the next iPhone is coming, and how much it will cost? Of course you do, but at the moment, there’s no firm answer to either of these questions. However, Apple traditionally launches a new iPhone every year in September or October, so will it follow this pattern in 2017?
There are constant rumors surrounding a delay of the iPhone 8/iPhone X’s release date, mostly due to the technical challenges and component shortages it faces making the device. In mid-July, a JPMorgan investment note said that while the phone would be introduced in in late September, supplies of the phone will be very limited, and production wouldn’t level out until November.
This tracks with previous rumors. In April, an analyst’s research note for investment banking firm Drexel Hamilton speculated the iPhone X may be delayed several weeks after the September reveal due to challenges around its 3D-sensing technology, though it will still be available in time for the December holidays. Pre-orders will open at launch, according to MacRumors, but delivery wouldn’t happen until several weeks later.
Prior to this, and much earlier in the year, rumors spread about the iPhone 8/iPhone X being delayed until the end of the 2017, or later. A report from Economic Daily News said the new iPhone X won’t be delivered until October or November, and it was even possible Apple would announce it this year and start shipping to customers in 2018, according to a report from Business Insider. However, Apple analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo retracted a statement he made claiming the restricted supply of a number of “cutting-edge components” would delay the iPhone to October or November.
Which components are causing a problem? There are several. A shortage in 3D NAND storage chips is one, according to Digitimes, and Apple was receiving 30 percent fewer than it needed, forcing it to seek out additional suppliers. The other is the OLED screen, which is rumored for inclusion on the iPhone 8/iPhone X. The Economic Daily News says normal mass production schedules of new iPhone devices are running one to two months later than previous years, and production of the OLED-version iPhone will be delayed to November or December, when only small volumes will be shipped out at first.
Foxconn apparently has 95 percent of orders for the OLED model secured and small volume orders for 4.7. – and 5.5-inch LCD-versions of the iPhone 7S. Pegatron will produce 65 percent of 4.7-inch iPhone 7S along with a small portion of the OLED version. A third manufacturer — Wistron — will mainly produce the 5.5-inch model. Production of the 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 7S models are expected to begin in August.
Even the name is still unknown. It’s possible the device will be called the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, or even the iPhone Decade Edition, as a leaked screen protector, and Finisar, a laser manufacturer that’s expected to supply the iPhone’s depth-sensing camera component, claim.
Whatever it’s called, it’s probably going to be expensive, with many suggesting it may cost in excess of $1,000. Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski has a slightly more precise prediction, suggesting that the 128GB version of the device will come at $999, while the 256GB version will sit in at $1,099, according to a report from Business Insider. It’s also rumored the phone may come bundled with Apple AirPods wireless earphones, according to JPMorgan.
If the iPhone X is made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, it’s logical to expect Apple to make it look special. Over the last months, the overall design of the phone has been revealed in a series of consistent leaks. It’s not certain the device’s look is final, or even if it’s the version Apple will choose to put on sale. According to well-placed sources within Apple’s supply chain, the upcoming iPhone looks “more like an iPhone 7 with glass,” and key features we’ve seen several times include a vertically orientated rear camera, and a thinner bezel on the Y axis.
On July 17, renders were published of what’s said to be an entirely accurate depiction of the iPhone 8/iPhone X, based around CAD designs used by case manufacturer Nodus to mock-up products for the future device. We think it looks great, retaining the familiar iPhone look while adding very modern design elements. It reflects many of the details we’ve already seen, including a bezel-less screen, a vertical camera array, multiple front cameras, and a large power button. It’s speculated this may contain the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, much like a Sony smartphone, which indicates Apple has solved issues around its placement.
Published by Forbes with permission from Nodus, the report says it’s the final design for the phone. However, it’s still not official, despite the mounting evidence this is what the phone will look like. It comes after various concept videos have been released over the last months, each giving us a better idea of what the iPhone X may look like. The most recent, still based on rumors and speculation, is perhaps the most detailed yet. However, remember that it’s not an official look, and should be treated only as a fan-made concept. Just like all the other videos.
You can see the resemblance of the device in the video and other leaks, in particular the parts pictured below. The photos also show a rear panel with a cutout for a vertical dual camera, which is pretty much in line with other leaks we have seen over the past few months. The leak comes from a Reddit user, and also seem to show what could be the iPhone 7S, which is expected to launch alongside the iPhone 8.
Rumors have long suggested that Apple will be moving its Touch ID sensor into the display of the phone for the iPhone X, but a recent leak indicates that may not be the case. Sources claim that Apple’s produced “test units with fingerprint scanners mounted below the glass, but performance and yield rates were not good.”
In the latest report from Barron’s, Apple is apparently still struggling to place a fingerprint sensor under the glass of the next iPhone and is now crunched for time. If the firm doesn’t solve the issue within the next few weeks, its earnings estimates are at risk.
In the same report, Keybanc Capital Markets analyst Andy Hargreaves claims Apple has until August to either finalize the orders for chips to run a fingerprint sensor or miss the deadline and decide to scrap the fingerprint ID altogether. The company’s only other option would be to place the order later on and delay the release of the iPhone even further.
With all the complications going into the fingerprint sensor, Hargreaves believes the chances Apple will replace Touch ID with facial recognition are very likely, but not the best option. Facial recognition also comes with many challenges especially in regards to Apple Pay.
He goes on to explain that the recognition system has to work in low-light environments, from many different angles, and would not work without being able to clearly see the user’s face. Even if it accounted for as little as 5 percent of login situations, it would still mean the new iPhone would perform worse than older iPhone models in terms of an elemental feature. Apple would therefore risk pushback from consumers who would rather stick with their current iPhone.
Hargreaves also does not believe facial recognition would not qualify as an acceptable verification method for financial transactions, something Samsung has said as well. If Apple agrees, this reduces the chances of a delay in retail availability of the OLED iPhone.
The latest alleged leak is from Weibo — a Chinese microblogging service — about the production glass panel back. Unlike the previous leaks, this panel back has no cutout for a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the OLED model will come with a virtual home button — but due to technical challenges, won’t support fingerprint recognition. The challenges include a requirement for a more complex pixel design and weakened scan-through performance, among others.
It is possible the iPhone X could sport a fingerprint sensor on its back — much like many other Android phones out there. That’s not the best news for those hoping for advances in technology, and suggests that Apple could be having some issues with implementing the Touch ID in the display. The leak comes from iPhoneros and can be seen below.
The iPhone X might be a lot “heftier” than the iPhone 7. That’s according to iDrop News, citing “factory workers with intimate knowledge” of Apple’s plans. According to the publication, the iPhone X will measure 143.59 by 70.49 by 7.57 mm versus the iPhone 7 at 138.3 by 67.1 by 7.1 mm. It will reportedly be thicker than the iPhone 7 Plus, which measures 158.2 by 77.9 by 7.3 mm, but have a smaller overall footprint.
Another look at the iPhone X’s design comes via Slashleaks and leaker Benjamin Geskin. Both sources have shared what look to be CAD drawings of each side of the device. The schematics appeared first on Slashleaks, and then Geskin separately shared them on Twitter, saying he had been holding onto the images “for some time.” They provide a pretty comprehensive look at the iPhone X, if they are indeed true.
At the front, we see that the phone’s screen, represented by a yellow outline, dominates the surface area but doesn’t flow over the curved edges. It also leaves a peculiar gap at the top bezel, where the screen is cut away to store the speaker, front-facing camera, and other sensors. This is not the first time we have seen an iPhone X design with these features, but they have been cropping up with increasing intensity — indicating perhaps that Apple’s ambition of embedding these elements underneath the display will not be realized in its next flagship.
Moving to the back, we see the same vertical dual-camera stack that has become a standout feature in rumors, along with a central circular cutout. Common intuition would suggest that this is a rear-mounted Touch ID fingerprint sensor, but Geskin stated on Twitter that it’s actually placement for the Apple logo. He also said the “entire glass back” would be used for charging.
Geskin’s clarification about the fingerprint sensor corroborates a recent report from China’s Economic Daily News by way of Digitimes. In that report, a representative from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of Apple’s suppliers, reiterates that the device will launch with the fingerprint sensor mounted within the display, rather than on the back. Additionally, the aspect ratio of the screen is claimed to be wider than previous iPhones, at 18:5:9 — similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 or the LG G6.
Additionally, the TSMC source mentioned that the rear camera would be flanked by several infrared sensors designed to improve the phone’s augmented reality functions.
In late May, a video gave us a quick spin around a prototype device that was claimed to be the iPhone X, and it matches the look we’ve seen before.
The dummy device, which doesn’t operate, is highly reminiscent of the phone shown in photos obtained by BGR from earlier in May, which appears to be a design mockup for the phone. Notably, the leaks show the phone from all different angles — so we finally have a look at all the different edges and sides of the phone. We can see what appears to be 2.5D curved glass panels on both the front and the back of the phone, with what seems to be a stainless-steel frame holding those panels together. Check out the images for yourself below.
Previously, we saw a leak that comes in the form of a render created by OnLeaks in partnership with MySmartPrice, and while the render doesn’t come from Apple itself, it is based on previous leaks and alleged factory designs. It’s important to note that while this render does fall in line with previous leaks, some speculation suggests that this is just a prototype design and that the real device may end up being a little different. In any case, check out the render for yourself below.
A Twitter leak showed a transparent case with a large, vertically orientated camera cutout, speaker cutouts that closely resemble the iPhone 7, and an oversize sleep/wake key cover. These aspects all match previous rumors about the phone, but the source of the case isn’t clear. The case could also be a prototype built only on leaked specifications — which may not end up being accurate. For now, it’s an interesting look at how rumors are shaping our perception of the iPhone X, rather than solid proof that this will be the final design.
Before this, photos of a “CNC dummy unit,” were posted on Twitter by @VenyaGeskin1. Geskin has also been responsible for other iPhone X leaks. The source isn’t confirmed, but the dummy phone was apparently obtained from a Foxconn employee. Such a device would be used during the design and development process, but isn’t proof of the final design. Other companies, such as those that make accessories, may also make this type of dummy phone based on rumored dimensions, so don’t take it as final evidence of a future iPhone design.
According to the leak, the screen takes up the front of the phone, but still has 4mm bezels. The images show dual front cameras, glass on the front and back, and a metal frame. On the rear is a vertical camera arrangement, similar to that seen in other rumors, along with a larger power button on the side. It’s speculated the final version will be black, rather than silver as seen here, and this has been visualized in a considerably more attractive concept render created by Instagram user le.pich.
The images are close to previous rumors, but in a report from iDropNews citing a Foxconn employee, Apple was said to be working on two different versions of the iPhone X concurrently, but will ultimately choose just one for release. The primary difference between them appears to be the placement of Touch ID.
Throughout the many months of speculation, this has been one of the biggest question marks regarding the iPhone X’s design at this stage is the location of the phone’s fingerprint sensor. Multiple reports suggest Apple would prefer to launch the phone with Touch ID embedded into the display, but production bottlenecks could make that unfeasible. Furthermore, the edge-to-edge display means Apple has no room to place it within the bottom bezel, like all previous iPhone models.
As a backup plan, the company may opt to move the sensor to the rear of the phone, below the Apple logo — similar to many Android devices, like Google’s Pixel. Sketches of iPhone X models with rear-mounted fingerprint sensors have leaked before, and on May 21 yet another surfaced on Slashleaks. That device, shown above, also features a vertically stacked camera setup with the flash located underneath the housing — a departure from some leaks, which situated the flash sandwiched between the two lenses.
However, there might be a third option in the Touch ID dilemma. According to 9to5Mac, Apple has also tested devices with a longer power button — possibly indicating it may serve double duty as a fingerprint sensor as well. This is a less popular option among smartphones, but a few, like Sony’s Xperia line, have taken this approach. At this point, it’s unknown which solution Apple will use.
The version with Touch ID in the screen is said to have the same dimensions as the iPhone 7, with a 5.8-inch OLED screen that runs over the entire surface of the device and 4mm bezels on every side. The display matches the contours of the phone, with heavily rounded corners, and also conceals the front-facing camera. The report also mentions a large power button with two points of contact, but did not clarify its purpose. The render for that device is shown here.
The curved screen design isn’t absolutely certain to happen, and Apple’s other rumored version of the iPhone X trades those more ambitious features for more conventional ones. The purported schematics for this model have appeared on SlashLeaks, and show a device that actually looks quite similar to the LG G6, at least from the front. This iPhone X would be larger than the other (as well as the iPhone 7) in every dimension, with more pronounced bezels and the top and bottom, and a conventional display that ditches the rounded corners. With the larger bezels, the front-facing camera can return to its current position along the top of the phone. Touch ID, on the other hand, is relegated to the middle rear.
Before this, a report from market research firm Cowen and Company suggested the iPhone X’s earpiece, FaceTime camera, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be embedded into the screen, allowing for a seamless edge-to-edge front panel. It said Apple may switch to Synaptic’s optical-based fingerprint reader for the new Touch ID, citing it as “currently the only workable solution” for detecting a fingerprint through a smartphone screen. But the designs are posing a challenge for Apple’s suppliers. According to Apple Insider, yields of the under-screen Touch ID sensor are low — so low that Apple may consider alternative designs if the production problems can’t be solved.
Better water resistance, and glass, ceramic, steel?
2017 OLED iPhone – four colors. New one – mirror like. pic.twitter.com/BFBBpBQ2Vm
— Benjamin Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) July 8, 2017
Last year’s iPhone 7 added a new finish option — Jet Black — which offered a polished, reflective look compared to the typical matte aluminum found in the product line over the previous several years. While very striking (we still think the 7 Plus is the best smartphone), the almost ultraglossy surface is a magnet for fingerprints and scratches. It seems Apple is looking to go even further with one of the options for the iPhone X.
A tweet from Benjamin Geskin mentions a new “mirrorlike” finish for the upcoming flagship iPhone. Attached to the post is an image of an iPhone 6 or 6S with a mirrored case, to provide an idea of what the final product may resemble.
Geskin admitted he received the news from an unnamed source, but it does fall in line with rumors from several months ago courtesy of KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple was looking to experiment with new material types for the iPhone X’s rear surface.
Kuo previously reported that Apple may employ glass, ceramic, or plastic for the back of the iPhone X. Meanwhile, others have suggested Apple may go with a stainless steel frame instead. If a report from DigiTimes is true, it would mark a return to stainless steel for Apple — which was last used in the iPhone 4S.
Subsequently, a stainless steel chassis with glass front and rear was rumored by MacOtakara, quoting anonymous sources familiar with the project. The metal used may be an evolution of the metal used on the Apple Watch.
The iPhone 7 was the first device in the iPhone family that could be submerged up to a meter underwater for 30 minutes. Naturally, rumor has it that Apple’s going to take it a step further with the next iPhones, ramping up the IP rating from IP67 to IP68 and putting it on par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy S8. That rumor comes from the Korea Herald, which cites “multiple sources.” Most people will hardly notice a difference, to be fair. The IP68-rating allows submersion up to about 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, a minor improvement over the 1-meter depth for IP67-certified devices.
How many iPhones will there be?
There has been some disagreement over whether there will indeed be a total of three iPhone models released this year. A rumor posted on April 20 by Chinese tech blog Micgadget.com claims there will be just two handsets released this year. “Rumors say that Apple will release two iPhone 7s and one iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition) models,” the blog post reads. “Today we can tell you, that it’s not true. This fall, we can see only two models with new technology. Very interesting that rumors leaked new iPhone 8 and big iPhone 8 Plus will have similar dual cameras.”
Take this with a grain of salt, however. Micgadget.com has an inconsistent track record when it comes to Apple and its plans, and this singular report certainly flies in the face of the majority of other reports.
That said, there is another report suggesting we may not see three iPhones this year, though this one claims that it’s the iPhone X that will be late to the party. According to unsubstantiated gossip from iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, Apple won’t be able to release the iPhone X in 2017. Apparently, the leak from within Foxconn claims that Apple has only ordered the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, though packaging material for those handsets are said to arrive in factories as early as June.
Kuo recently predicted that Apple will roll out three iPhone models including an all-new design 5.2-inch or 5.8-inch OLED iPhone and LCD models including 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. “For optimized promotional effect, we think Apple may unveil the three models simultaneously in September, though the launch date of the OLED version may trail that of LCD models, and supply tightness may not improve before 1H18,” StreetInsider reported.
One rumor that constantly crops up is the possible use of an Organic LED (OLED) screen on the iPhone X. OLED screens can offer deeper blacks and are often thinner than LCDs, and Apple has used this technology before with the Apple Watch. AMOLED is a different type of OLED, and Samsung (as well as many other manufacturers) has been using it on Android smartphones for years.
Nikkei Asia, citing “two industry sources,” reports that Apple is planning to use advanced OLED displays in iPhone models from the second half of 2018. But it says that the iPhone maker’s suppliers might not be able to meet demand if Apple opts to use the new displays across its new iPhone lineup. (Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting said shipments of new iPhone models in the second half of 2017 will reach 90 million, half of which will be OLED handsets.)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Samsung is shaping up to be the biggest supplier of OLED displays for the upcoming iPhone. A report from DigiTimes notes that the company is on track to deliver 80 million OLED screens for the phone before the end of the year. DigiTimes argues that Apple will likely only ship around 50 million units before the end of the year, but that does not mean Apple won’t have stocked up on supply for 2018.
While Samsung is considered to be the top manufacturer of the iPhone’s OLED displays, LG seems to be gunning for second place. LG Display is planning on investing a hefty $3.56 billion into constructing new production lines for OLED displays in 2018 — and its focus will largely be on displays for smartphones, not TVs. The report, which comes from ETNews, notes that the investment could be an attempt to become a major supplier for the iPhone.
A rumor regarding the production of 3D Touch components for OLED displays solidifies the chance that the iPhone X’s panel will employ the technology. Apple has once again partnered with TPK to develop the 3D Touch solution for the new flagship iPhone, according to Patently Apple, by way of China’s Economic Daily News. TPK has worked on the 3D Touch setup in previous iPhones, and reportedly quoted a price of $7 to $9 per phone to build it into every iPhone 7.
For the iPhone X, however, the fragility of OLED displays has required TPK to go back to the drawing board. The company will have to bond glass covers to both sides of the iPhone X’s display before attaching the sensors, and this is purported to raise the cost of production quite significantly, up to $18 to $22 per device.
Furthermore, April reports from Nikkei and Bloomberg claimed Apple placed an order for between 70 million and 100 million OLED panels from Samsung. According to the publication, the South Korean company will be the sole producer of screens for the device. Nikkei attributes the news to one of Apple’s suppliers and said Samsung could produce as many as 95 million panels for the new iPhone before the end of 2017. Still, Apple was reported to be testing both OLED and LCD panels, curved and flat, as recently as the beginning of March.
Not only could the display be OLED, but it could also be True Tone, according to a report from MacRumors citing Barclays bank. The only Apple device with a True Tone display is the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. True Tone basically changes the white balance of the display depending on the ambient light. If you’re in a room with an orange light bulb, the screen will change a little to match the scene. It’s very similar to Night Shift, which adjusts the color to cut out blue light at night. Apple’s Touch ID technology could also be revamped to complement the bezel-less device, in that it may be replaced by a facial recognition system. As there are a lot of technical challenges to the technology, the company may use a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition technology.
If the iPhone X does come with an OLED screen, it’ll likely be expensive, possibly beyond $1,000. The Wall Street Journal reports the displays are costly to produce. However, the same report notes that Apple could decide against the OLED model altogether. There’s precedent for such a 180: Last year, a global shortage of sapphire glass forced Apple to abandon the material for the iPhone 7.
Wireless and fast charging
Apple lags behind the Android competition when it comes to charging, but that may change in 2017 with at least one of the new iPhone models. The company may introduce a new power adapter that supplies 10W of power, compared to the 2.5W from its current bundled iPhone charger. It may replace the full-size USB connection with a USB Type-C connector, that will use the Power Delivery fast charging system. This is the same technology used on the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Charging time would be drastically reduced compared to the tablet, due to the iPhone’s smaller-capacity battery.
This follows previous rumors. The Wall Street Journal said in February that Apple is in favor of USB Type-C, the industry standard connector for smartphones, laptops, and chargers. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo most recently predicted the iPhone will have a Lightning Port and an embedded USB-C power delivery IC resulting in higher charging efficiency.
Wired charging may be accompanied by a wireless charging option. According to a note from JPMorgan that was picked up by CNBC, Broadcom will supply the chips for wireless charging — which is somewhat surprising considering previous rumors that Apple was building its own wireless charging tech. It’s possible that Broadcom will simply manufacture chips that will be designed by Apple.
Just because Apple suggested it would use its own tech doesn’t mean third parties won’t develop wireless charging accessories for the iPhone. In fact, after Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium, popular wireless charger manufacturer Powermat said it will work to support whatever wireless charging standard the new iPhone uses. Some reports suggest the device will support Qi charging, while others indicate it may use a modified version that won’t work with standard Qi chargers. Reuters reports that Apple has at least five different groups working on wireless charging technology.
A separate report by Kuo claimed the iPhone X will have a more expensive logic board design, allowing for longer battery life, according to MacRumors. The new logic-board design would allow for the OLED iPhone to have dimensions similar to a 4.7-inch iPhone, but it could offer comparable battery life to a 5.5-inch iPhone.
Kuo also expects the iPhone X to have a 2,700mAh L-shaped two-cell battery pack. The OLED display could allow the device to be more energy efficient, meaning it could have better battery life than previous 5.5-inch iPhones.
For some time now, we’ve been hearing rumors the iPhone X will have a curved edge-to-edge or bezel-less screen, potentially with OLED technology. And in late June 2017, new evidence emerged in the form of an iOS 11 icon.
Apple Insider spotted a new icon while attempting to activate the Do Not Disturb When Driving feature on an iPhone 7 Plus. A different Siri “please wait” graphic appeared in the bottom-center screen, accented with a pulsing icon the same physical size as the iPhone’s home button.
However, this may have changed following the completion of the iPhone X’s early developmental stages.
In reference to recent predictions by Kuo, OLED iPhone will adopt full-screen design — with a screen-to-body ratio that’s the highest of any smartphone currently available worldwide.
A report from JPMorgan by way of 9to5Mac, speculated that the iPhone X will receive an edge-to-edge display somewhat similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The top and bottom bezels would still be fairly prominent, but the screen would wrap around the sides of the device. A sketch provided with the report shows the fingerprint sensor mounted within the display, though an associated spec sheet leaves it as an unknown with a literal question mark.
JPMorgan’s track record when it comes to rumors is spotty at best. Last week, the company claimed out of nowhere that Apple was planning to unveil the iPhone X at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. That would be an unprecedented and shocking move considering all the supposed production troubles the phone has run into, and the threat that it might actually be delayed until next year. Keeping that in mind, it would be wise not to take these rumors at face value.
However, if JPMorgan’s report holds true, it would mean Apple has retired its plan of a display covering the entire front of the device. Back in April, Bloomberg reported the company was testing a screen that measured out to be larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus, but could be contained in a body the size of an iPhone 7.
Having tested various models, Apple decided to adopt a flat OLED screen on the iPhone X, according to anonymous sources talking to MacOtakara. The screen will be underneath a 2.5D piece of glass, and mounted inside a stainless steel chassis, with another piece of glass on the rear.
It might be curved. Bloomberg reports that Apple is testing prototypes with glass that slightly slopes on the front and back (the new OLED screen itself is flat, while the cover glass curves into a steel frame).
The screen may or may not be curved, but it’s likely to still be bezel-less. An image created by designer Benjamin Geskin on Twitter shows how the phone may look with a full-length screen and is based on sketches apparently made by a factory employee with knowledge of the iPhone X’s design. The screen stretches all the way to the bottom of the phone’s front panel, and a bezel at the top contains several sensors and a dual-lens front camera. On the rear is another dual-lens camera, but this time it’s mounted vertically.
Many reports suggested Apple is still finalizing the design for the new iPhone, such as this one from Mac Otakara which states that while there was a prototype built without a home button, it may not end up being a part of the final design. The site subsequently published another rumor on this subject, indicating Apple has chosen the designs which will move forward to the next stage of development.
A patent discovered by Apple Insider suggests that Apple has considered moving the front-facing sensors to underneath the display. For a closer look, you can check out U.S. patent No. 9,466,653, titled “Electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors.” These reports corroborate rumors brought to light by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who was among the first to say the iPhone X also may not have a single bezel — that plays well with the idea of a single sheet of glass. The entire front of the device could be one giant display, and the Touch ID sensor would be embedded in the screen itself. This has been reiterated in The New York Times, which sourced two anonymous Apple employees.
The Wall Street Journal corroborated other rumblings about the iPhone X’s display, home button, and more. The iPhone X will reportedly feature a curved OLED screen similar to those on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 devices and it will also do away with the physical home button. And it will launch alongside two other smartphones. Analyst Ming-Chi Kou agreed, saying the iPhone X could see the elimination of the iconic home button and Touch ID sensor in favor of “virtual buttons” at the bottom of the screen. MacOtakara’s sources have also said the iPhone X will have a software home button, inside a so-called function area along the bottom of the phone.
The screen size of the new iPhone has been the subject of some debate, but it seems as though most reports agree to the size of 5.8 inches (like the Galaxy S8). Previously, Nikkei Asian Review suggested that the display would instead be 5 inches, however, the outlet, which is known for iPhone leaks, has since changed its tune in a revised report.
Kuo reports that the virtual buttons will take up part of the iPhone X’s screen, a rumored 5.8-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2,800 x 1,242 pixels — a figure now agreed upon by Nikkei. And he believes the phone “will come with other biometric technologies that replace the current fingerprint recognition technology.” Kuo notes the overall footprint would be comparable to the 4.7-inch TFT-LED iPhone, though with a measurably larger display size and battery life.
Although going back to glass may seem like an odd retro move for Apple, it would also open up possibilities like wireless charging, which is nearly impossible to achieve with an all-metal device. Moreover, Kuo suggests that higher-end models of future iPhones will likely use stainless steel in their cases — so look out, world. We’re about to get real fancy.
Rear dual camera setup and ‘revolutionary’ 3D front camera
The camera has always been a strong feature on the iPhone, so what have we heard about the iPhone X? This front-camera may also be used to power iris-sensor technology, like Samsung’s Galaxy S8.
Rumors have suggested the iPhone X will have a thing or two in common with Microsoft’s depth-sensing Kinect sensor. According to a report published by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the upcoming iPhone’s front camera boasts a “revolutionary” infrared sensor that can sense the three-dimensional space in front of it. That report has been corroborated by Apple’s 3D camera supplier, Largan Precision, which says it’s on track to deliver 3D sensors for the phone for iris and facial recognition.
It’s also said to be aimed at taking selfies. According to Kuo, the front sensor merges depth information with 2D images for features like facial recognition . It could be used to replace a video game character’s head with that of the user or to generate a 3D selfie that would integrate seamlessly with virtual reality applications. The technology is being developed by PrimeSense, the company behind Microsoft’s Kinect; and Apple is likely to open these 3D scanning capabilities to third-party developers.
For the front camera, Apple’s testing dual lenses. That’s according to Bloomberg, which reports that the company using camera components from Sony.
A dual-lens rear camera is expected on the rear, a la the iPhone 7, but it may shift orientation to a vertical layout. This has been seen in several schematics based on rumor, and according to MacOtakara. In a later rumor, the site says the cameras are likely to have similar functionality to the existing iPhone 7 Plus, but adds the vertical layout may be to enable better use inside a virtual reality headset.
According to a report from The Korea Economic Daily, Apple is collaborating with LG to create a dual-camera module that would allow for 3D photography. While Apple previously patented 3D-object and gesture recognition, it’s unclear whether the upcoming iPhone will bring these patents to life.
No gigabit LTE?
The next iPhone may miss out on the faster gigabit LTE speeds coming soon to many carriers in the United States, according to a report from Bloomberg. Despite its legal battles with Qualcomm, Apple is still using the company’s modems in its hardware. However, in an effort to lessen its dependence on the chip manufacturer, the iPhone maker has also partnered with Intel as a second supplier.
Right now, Qualcomm’s modems are the only ones on the market capable of supporting data transfers up to gigabit speed. But sources tell Bloomberg that Apple doesn’t want to create a discrepancy between similar products, so it will intentionally disable that feature in Qualcomm-powered iPhones to achieve parity with the ones sporting Intel modems.
If this approach sounds familiar, it is more or less what Qualcomm suggested in its countersuit against Apple. The iPhone 7 also featured both Qualcomm and Intel modems — a first for the brand — and Qualcomm believes Apple deliberately capped the performance of its chipsets so they wouldn’t be superior to Intel’s.
Gigabit LTE hasn’t arrived on American carriers yet, but they’re all experimenting with the technology. Many of the newest flagship phones on the market, like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, feature Qualcomm’s X16 modem, enabling them to take advantage of the upgraded infrastructure when it finally rolls out as it is expected to later this year.
Every year, Apple upgrades the processor in its new iPhone. The iPhone X, like the 7S and 7S Plus, will likely get the new A11 chip. DigiTimes reports the chip will use a 10-nanometer manufacturing process, like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 and Samsung’s Exynos 8895. The chip should be even faster than the A10 Fusion processor, which has been heralded by critics as the best mobile phone processor.
New reports indicate that the new A11 chip is set to soon enter production, according to Economic Daily News, which notes that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will begin production of the new A11 chip in April, and will aim to produce 50 million chips before July. Not only that, but the firm will reportedly produce 100 million chips before the end of 2017. iPhone sales, in fact, are estimated to hit astronomical numbers of 220 to 230 million units. And in order to supply this demand, ADI, Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, Cypress, NXP, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, and TI are reported to be making Apple’s chips.
According to Chinese research firm Trendforce, the upcoming iPhone’s will have plenty of internal storage as they may come in 64GB and 256GB configurations.
Apple is also looking to build its own graphics processor for the iPhone, though we may not see this technology until later models.
Update: According to the latest report, production of the OLED-Version iPhone 8 and other new iPhone models are facing delays.