iPhone 8: Everything we know about the launch date, specs and price

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Editors' note, August 12: This article was originally published on February 16 and we'll continue to add new rumors and stories as they emerge.

Despite months of rumors about turbulence in Cupertino and manufacturing issues in the supply chain, it appears we can now once again expect to see three new iPhones in early September, as usual. Exhibit A: August 1's reassuring earnings call, which investors took as a clear signal from Apple: everything is fine, we are on track. 

Weibo iPhones

New reports counter rumors of a more expansive palette of options for the iPhone 8.

Weibo via MyDrivers

Exhibit B: A series of new reports, including one from Apple analyst/oracle Ming-Chi Kuo, confirming that all three models are currently in mass production. The presumption is that Apple will deliver a plentiful supply of the two LCD models, ostensibly the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus. But the OLED iPhone 8 may be more difficult to come by, at least initially. 

Kuo also reports that the new phones will be available in three colors -- black, silver and gold -- splashing cold water on previous reports of an expanded palette that included a mirror-like, reflective finish. (That would also mean that jet black and rose gold are, for the moment, seemingly MIA.) And he renews his longstanding assertion that all three new models will support quick charging. The only catch: you'll need a USB-C power adapter -- sold separately, of course -- to take advantage of it.

Meanwhile, the HomePod firmware leak continues to bear daily fruit. Enterprising iOS developers are having a field day reverse-engineering the code to reveal juicy, new details about a range of forthcoming Apple products. More on those below.

As always, nothing is official until it's official; Apple has declined to comment on any and all of this. Nevertheless, we persist, counting down the days until the big introduction, meanwhile assembling all of the iPhone 8 rumors below.

iPhone 8 specs we might see:

  • Three new models including two minor "S" upgrades and an all-new iPhone 8
  • Curved, edge-to-edge OLED display with True Tone technology and/or Ion-X glass
  • Virtual home button 
  • Facial recognition alternative to Touch ID
  • "Wireless" charging (i.e. inductive charging) and/or faster USB-C charging
  • Dual-lens camera, possibly in a vertical configuration
  • AR capabilities featuring rear-facing 3D laser for enhanced depth perception 
  • Support for the Apple Pencil
  • Stainless steel and glass body
  • Multiple color including a reflective, mirror-like finish
  • Upgraded storage and memory, possibly starting at 64GB and 3GB of RAM
  • Intel or Qualcomm modem
  • iOS 11 (preview)
  • Enhanced water resistance or waterproofing
  • Higher quality earpiece for louder, clearer audio
  • Apple's next-generation processor (the A10X or A11)
  • Priced between $850 and $1,200 in the US, available in limited quantities to start
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The game-changer: Face ID

The HomePod firmware leak has unearthed a trove of clues about the next iPhone. Among the blockbusters: you'll be able to use your face to unlock the iPhone 8, pay for stuff and much more.

sonny-dickson-iphone-leaks

Purported dummy models of the iPhone 7S Plus, iPhone 7S, and iPhone 8, which has dual cameras arranged vertically.

Sonny Dickson / 9to5mac.com

According to developer Steve Troughton-Smith, the firmware confirms the existence of the iPhone 8's facial-recognition technology. Another developer has discovered that the iPhone 8 will suppress notification sounds when you look at it -- which means it knows when you're looking at it -- and can recognize babies, fireworks and sunsets. Mark Gurman, the Bloomberg News technology reporter with a strong record on Apple stories, says that the company's pitch will be that "Face ID is quicker, more secure, and more accurate than Touch ID." 

Face-seeking cam on the front

To support the new facial-recognition technology, Apple has arranged the front-facing cameras in a new configuration within a cutout atop the new edge-to-edge display. 

Dual cams on the back

And we know the iPhone 8 has two rear cameras arranged vertically with an LED flash in the middle. Fast Company has reported that Apple has developed a rear-facing 3D laser system that supports AR depth detection and autofocusing. 

@evleaks

Veteran leaker Evan Blass posted a photo of what he says is the final iPhone 8, held inside of a case accessory.

Evan Blass

Virtual home button

After months of rumors about a virtual home button, the HomePod firmware has clarified things somewhat. Troughton-Smith has tweeted that the iPhone 8 will have a virtual home button, which can change its size or disappear entirely, depending on the app or task.   

Touch ID RIP?

Ming-Chi Kuo has long insisted that the iPhone 8 would have a virtual home button but not Touch ID. It can be done: In June, Qualcomm unveiled its underscreen fingerprint-sensing technology in a Vivo phone at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai. 

And yet developers have also found evidence of continued Touch ID support in iOS 11, so it's not totally clear whether Face ID is a 100 percent substitute or complement for the iPhone 8, or if it will remain the primary biometric security protocol for just the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. But, at this point, it feels safe to rule out a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, as was suggested in early rumors and leaked images

LCD or OLED displays?

Both. The 7S and 7S Plus are expected to stick with the iPhone's current LCD technology. The next flagship is almost certain to have an OLED. (We've also heard that the entire iPhone lineup could go OLED in 2018.)

iOS 11 + iPhone hardware = big leaps in AR

We know iOS 11 is going all-in on AR. Apple delivered the public beta of the next generation mobile operating system in June (here's how to install it) and the HomePod leak has expanded the list of cool stuff we've discovered. Beyond facial detection, highlights include a smarter, more capable Siriscreen recording and AR software that will overlay the virtual world on to the physical one. Read more about iOS 11 in our preview.

Hey, dummy

Troughton-Smith has now refined his initial leak of the iPhone 8 glyph with some precise measurements of the front of the device, with a camera cut-out along the top edge. An increasing number of images and video of dummy phones and molds show an iPhone 8 that's bigger than the iPhone 7 ($789.95 at Amazon Marketplace) and smaller than the 7 Plus ($969.99 at Amazon Marketplace); the iPhone 8's display, rumored to extend from edge to edge, with very narrow bezels, would likely be more comparable with that of the 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 is likely to feature a combination of curved glass and stainless steel, according to Bloomberg.

Charging forward

iphone8-wireless-charging-lo

Will Apple bring wireless charging to all three new models or just the iPhone 8?

CNET

Ming-Chi Kuo reports that all three new models, both the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus as well as the flagship, will support faster "plugged-in" charges, though you'll need an add-on USB-C power adapter to take advantage of it. Noted Apple watcher John Gruber tweeted in July that "wireless" charging -- that is, an inductive charge pad accessory, which, technically, still has wires -- may be "sold separately" and not until later in the year, as part of a future iOS 11 update, similar to Apple's rollout of the iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode in 2016.

The iPhone TBD

Apple usually doesn't label its phone models, so despite an accumulating pile of authentic-looking images, we still don't know officially what the new ones will be called. But it's highly likely that we'll get an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus in addition to the next-generation flagship. As to the name of the 10th anniversary model itself, leading candidates include the iPhone 8, the iPhone 10, the iPhone X, the iPhone Pro and the iPhone Edition.

Enhanced audio

According to analysts at JPMorgan (as reported by MacRumors), Apple may equip the iPhone 8 with an "enhanced receiver," which is housed within the slit on the front of the phone where you put your ear during calls. This upgrade would ostensibly deliver louder, clearer audio as well as superior waterproofing (more on that below).

airpods-classic-sticker.jpg

Today, the AirPods are a $159 accessory. Could Apple include them for free with the iPhone 8?

Apple

AirPods included? Don't bet on it

JPMorgan has also postulated that the iPhone 8 will come with AirPods included. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones currently sell as a $159 accessory (£159 in the UK and AU$229 in Australia). And so this one is a stretch. But if Apple prices the new phone high enough, there could be margin enough to make it happen. Which brings us to...

Price

This one's way up in the air. Sources, ranging from Morgan Stanley to Fast Company to Goldman Sachs have theorized an iPhone 8 that could cost $1,200 in the US (roughly £950 or AU$1,450). 

A UBS analyst has theorized that the 64GB entry-level model would start at $850 (roughly £655 and AU$1,110) -- just like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus -- and that the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would cost $649 (£500 and AU$850) and $749 (£580 and AU$980), respectively.

Gigabit LTE

One area the iPhone 8 may end up trailing the Galaxy S8 is cellular network speed. The Samsung phone features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor or, in some markets, Samsung's own Exynos 8895 chip -- both of which support Gigabit LTE. According to CNET's Roger Cheng, Apple uses Qualcomm and Intel modems and, at the moment, the Intel version can't deliver Gigabit LTE speed. This could force Apple to slow down the Qualcomm version to ensure all iPhones are on the same footing.

a32f8199-acf3-460e-8b03-af38b37deaea800.jpg

Apple waved goodbye to the analog headphone jack with the iPhone 7. And it's probably not coming back.

James Martin/CNET

Return of the headphone jack? Nope

A Barclays analyst (reported by MacRumors) has suggested that Apple will stick with its Lightning connector -- and include a 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter -- for the next phone. Highly doubtful. Despite the shade being thrown by competitors like OnePlus, whose new newest phone has the legacy connector, Apple is very unlikely to reverse its position on this one. 

Enhanced waterproofing

That same Nikkei Asian Review article also claims that at least one of the forthcoming iPhones will be waterproof. This follows earlier rumors, reported by the Korea Herald and others, that the next iPhone will have a higher water-resistance rating of IP68 compared with the current generation's IP67, meaning it could be immersed in water for longer and to greater depths.

More storage

Apple may dump its 32GB model and offer 64GB and 256GB models, according to TrendForce. The report also suggests that the company will boost the amount of memory to 3GB. This incremental bump would follow the recent precedent of Apple ditching its outcast 16GB model when it released the iPhone 7.

ipad-truetone.jpg

Is True Tone coming to the iPhone?

Apple

Mood lighting

Barclays analysts have predicted that all three forthcoming iPhones -- the 7S, 7S Plus and iPhone 8 -- will come equipped with Apple's True Tone technology. If included, this would adjust display settings for ambient lighting conditions as it currently does on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. (The next edition of the iPad Pro is also rumored to have a True Tone display.)

Bringing the GPU in house

Apple is developing its own graphics chips to be used in future versions of its products, including the iPhone. But the time frame for phasing out its current supplier is 15 to 24 months, so it's unlikely that an Apple-manufactured GPU will make it into the next iPhone. We're probably looking at 2018 or 2019 for this one.

And what about the iPhone 9?

From the outer frontier of the iPhone hype cycle, The Bell (via Korean site The Investor) reports that Apple will supersize its future phones, with the iPhone 9 featuring two variations with an OLED display -- a 5.28-inch model and a 6.46-inch one. And Nikkei Asian Review suggests that all of next year's iPhones could adopt new screen technology, not just the most high-end model.

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