Three recent patents filed by Apple have hinted at what iPhone fans can expect to see on future versions of their favourite handset.
In particular, it seems that the Californian firm is eager to improve the camera capabilities of its devices, with one patent covering a new type of snapper which will allow higher resolution to be achieved without increasing the overall bulk of the device.
Another patent covers a camera sensor which can be built into the display of the phone itself, meaning that the front-facing camera will no longer be a separate entity, according to Apple Insider.
This implies that Apple will be able to do away with the bezel surrounding the screen altogether when the iPhone 8 arrives in a couple of years.
Whether or not these features will end up on the iPhone 7S in 2017 remains to be seen. There is even some debate over whether Apple will stick with its iterative upgrade path, or go all out for the 10th anniversary of its smartphone range next year and introduce a truly revolutionary new model, which benefits from capabilities protected by this clutch of new patents.
Samsung may have pulled the plug on the Galaxy Note 7 after battery issues persisted in causing fires and explosions, but this ill-fated phablet is set to live on within the slightly older Galaxy S7.
This is thanks to a new software update rolled out to both the standard S7 and the S7 Edge, which brings with it some of the capabilities offered by the Note 7, including improved personalisation features and the ability to leave a portion of the display active at all times.
Unfortunately, one thing which has not made it across from the Note 7 is support for the S-Pen stylus, so anyone hoping to be able to use this peripheral with their S7 will be disappointed.
The dramatic rise and fall of the Note 7 will go down in history as one of Samsung’s biggest blunders, although it will be hoping to brush all this under the carpet as quickly as possible. There have already been rumours about next year’s Galaxy S8 range, which is expected to touch down in February, as well as general consensus from the media that in spite of its technical faults, the Note 7 was an otherwise triumphant device.
Although it had been on the market for only two months, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has experienced more problems than most devices would present in their entire lifespan.
A mandatory recall initiated after customers reported that the batteries powering the device were prone to spontaneous combustion and even complete explosion was clearly an embarrassment. But there have been reports from the US that even the replacements provided can still suffer the same fate, according to Tech Radar.
A second round of recalls was apparently on the cards, with network providers in North American and Australia both pausing orders for the Galaxy Note 7 until the manufacturer can prove that it is absolutely safe.
However it has now been confirmed that Samsung has permanently ceased production of the Galaxy Note 7 in a move that is unprecedented. Owners are expected to be able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone.
Samsung operates across a number of industries and even builds components which end up in smartphones from rival manufacturers such as Apple, so while the Galaxy Note 7 launch has been a setback, it is far from commercially catastrophic.
Search giant Google unveiled a brand new product line this week, with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones entering the upper echelons of the mobile market and seeking to knock Apple for six in the process.
Their emergence effectively signs the death warrant for the Nexus range, as well as signalling Google’s shift towards targeting a mainstream audience rather than catering to a smaller, tech-savvy niche.
The standard Pixel will cost £599 in the UK SIM free and the handset itself is built by Taiwanese firm, HTC, which has had a longstanding relationship with Google. Black, blue and silver versions are offered and the style is sleek, modern and undoubtedly similar to the iPhone.
With the Snapdragon 821 chipset and 4GB of RAM under the bonnet, the Pixel is at the cutting edge in terms of processing power. And buyers will benefit from 32GB or 128GB of storage, depending on the model they choose, along with unlimited access to Google’s cloud hub for yet more backup benefits.
With a 5.0 inch display, the standard Pixel is more compact than counterparts like the Samsung Galaxy S7. Meanwhile, the 5.5 inch AMOLED panel of the Pixel XL makes it a true phablet.
This bold launch by Google earned plenty of media attention, but this does not guarantee commercial success.
New rumours suggest that Apple is finally jumping on the OLED band wagon with the iPhone 8, allowing it to keep pace with rival devices from Samsung in the display department, according to industry sources quoted by Bloomberg.
Organic light-emitting diode tech has been a fixture of the mobile market for over half a decade, but Apple has remained resolutely committed to traditional LCD screens for the entire iPhone range to date. This could change in 2018 when the iPhone 8 arrives, with these reports being backed up by the fact that display maker, Sharp, has recently confirmed it will be spending around £440 million to boost its OLED manufacturing capacity.
There are a number of benefits of OLED screens which give them the edge over LCD counterparts, including richer colours, better contrast ratios and improved energy efficiency. The main downside is that screen burn-in can occur after several years of use, meaning that they are less practical in the long run.
Since the life span of most mobiles is 12 to 24 months, this should not be seen as a problem and if the iPhone 8 does come with an OLED display, then it will be just one of a number of improvements that Apple fans have been requesting for years.