Last week Apple pulled back the curtains on its most technologically advanced and expensive smartphone yet, marking the 10th anniversary of its first mobile handset with the launch of the iPhone X.
As predicted prior to its announcement, the design of this device does away with the traditional Home Button and instead dedicates the entire front face of the phone to a 5.8 inch OLED screen.
There is no fingerprint scanner, but instead a new feature called Face ID is put in place to provide security and facilitate payments. Advanced front-facing cameras and scanners create an accurate image of the user’s face, which can then unlock the display in an instant and activate Apple Pay, amongst other things.
On the rear, a 12 megapixel camera with some of the most advanced lens technology ever seen on a smartphone is present, while under the skin the A11 Bionic chipset provides more power than any previous iPhone.
The addition of a new button built into the side of the phone will provide easy access to Siri and Apple Pay, making up for the death of the Home Button. And the iPhone X is also joined by the slightly less exciting but undoubtedly cheaper iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which share some of its features including wireless charging.
As it is the 10 year anniversary of the original iPhone’s arrival in 2017, most people are expecting Apple’s upcoming flagship phone to be somewhat special. A rendering of the device posted by EVLeaks this week suggests that it could live up to the hype, with the front surface of the phone dedicated entirely to a high resolution display.
This not only changes the look of the handset, but also means that the iPhone’s famous Home Button is likely to become extinct when the iPhone 8 launches in a few weeks.
Speculation about where the TouchID fingerprint scanner will be now that the Home Button is gone is rife, with some expecting it will end up on the rear. Facial recognition could even come in to replace it, although no official word on any of the technologies that the phone will feature has been forthcoming.
In terms of screen size, the almost bezel-less design means that the display should measure around 5.8 inches across the diagonal without the dimensions or weight of the iPhone increasing dramatically. If a September launch is confirmed, then it will not be long until all of these questions are answered.
Earlier iPhone releases have been dogged by leaks in the run-up to each official announcement, so it is no surprise to see the same state of affairs afflicting Apple’s next flagship handset.
A video from a well connected YouTube channel has provided the best look at the iPhone 8 to date, showcasing many of the features which were already rumoured to be on the cards, according to TechRadar.
The iPhone 8 featured in the footage is not a finished model, but rather a pre-release version which is intended to give Apple’s accessory-making partners an idea of what to expect when it emerges in full later this year.
The most prominent change is visible on the rear, where a dual camera lens setup is present, not only boosting its photography credentials but also helping with augmented reality (AR) and other high end features.
The front of the phone features a large display and the iPhone 8 will seemingly do away with much of the surrounding bezel and even the traditional home button.
The iPhone 8 is likely to be unveiled in September this year, although if the leaks continue to flow then there may not be many surprises left up Apple’s sleeve.
More iPhone apps should be able to take advantage of voice controlled interactions via Siri following the rollout of Apple’s latest operating system, according to a Reuters report.
This is all thanks to a lifting on the restrictions which govern how and where Siri can be used by third party developers as part of the software packages they create. This should also lead to many more commands being made available, dramatically increasing the potential of this service and how vital it is to the iOS experience.
More information about how this will work in practice will be made public this week as Apple’s WWDC gets underway. And there is little doubt that one of the reasons that iOS 11 is bringing this change to the table is so that Apple is better equipped to compete with rivals to Siri, including Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Traditionally, Apple has been reluctant to open up its core iOS functions to third parties, instead preferring to keep strict control over how all of its devices operate. This is in direct opposition to Google’s open source approach.
However, in the age of intelligent voice controls, the Californian firm can no longer afford to be so shut off from outside influences.
Mobile connectivity has become gradually faster over the years, with 4G representing the current pinnacle in terms of performance. But now iPhone maker Apple has become the latest company to throw its hat into the ring and apply to test out fifth generation networking technology, according to Business Insider.
The bad news is that this trial scheme will take at least 12 months to complete, which means that this year’s crop of new iPhone handsets will not benefit from any of the technology.
There are debates over exactly what Apple hopes to achieve with its testing of the 28GHz and 39GHz segments of the wireless spectrum in its native California. Some observers argue that it is aiming to improve download speeds on its handsets, while others suspect that some other form of communication is being developed separate to its mobile efforts.
This year it is thought that up to three new iPhones could emerge, marking the 10th anniversary since the original model was introduced. They will not offer 5G capabilities as no network provider currently offers this technology, but they should push technological boundaries in other areas, with rumours of curved OLED displays being at the top of the watch list at the moment.