The iPhone 8 rumour mill is heating up, particularly in light of the fact that 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPhone. There are high hopes for the next model. It’s been variously suggested that the late-2017 iPhone will feature wireless charging, augmented reality and no physical buttons at all; analysts are calling it the iPhone 8, or the iPhone X, or the iPhone Edition. Some sources even think that the curvy ‘teardrop’ design of the next model will make it closely resemble the original iPhone.
In this article, we round up all the rumours about the iPhone 8: its UK release date (and onsale date), UK price, tech specifications and new features. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started. (We also look at new iPhone rumours here: iPhone 7s rumours.)
For advice on the current iPhone range, read our iPhone buying guide and best cheap iPhone deals UK. Or, if you’d like to look even further into the future (covering tech developments that come perilously close to the realms of science-fiction), read iPhone 9 and beyond: From graphene to motion charging.
Thumbnail image is a concept illustration by Handy Abo Vergleich.
When the iPhone 8 will be released?
The iPhone 8 is expected to be released in September 2017, but there are whispers of a delay.
Apple’s latest batch of smartphones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, were released in the autumn of 2016. (Read more: iPhone 7 review and iPhone 7 Plus review.) Apple always releases new iPhones in September, and we assume this year will be the same.
The big question is whether the company will skip the iPhone 7s generation, moving straight to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, or if Apple will release an iPhone 8 alongside the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.
Since this is the 10th year of the iPhone there is a lot of speculation that the company will announce a third, flag-ship, iPhone in September. This new phone would appear alongside the 7s models and be known as the iPhone 8, or the iPhone Edition, marking the phones 10 year anniversary.
Added to this, an upgrade “super cycle” is being predicted as it is calculated that there are lots of Apple customers with old devices in need of an upgrade.
However, even Tim Cook has admitted (during the financial results conference call for the second qyarter of 2017) that anticipation for the next iPhone is causing the current models to not be as popular as otherwise would be.
There are very high hopes for the new technologies this new iPhone will bring, and we look at those below. But before we get too excited, there are rumours that the iPhone 8 will be delayed.
Delayed until October, November… or even 2018
Logic and history both point to September for the launch of the iPhone 8, then, but multiple sources are suggesting that Apple’s iPhone 8 may miss its date with smartphone destiny. The good news is that the reason for the delays appears to be linked to the brand new technologies that Apple is adding to the new phone, for example, incorporating the Touch ID sensor into the glass front, and adding wireless charging capabilities.
The iPhone 8 may be delayed until November, or even 2018, if analysts are correct.
And according to MIC Gadget’s Foxconn sources, Foxconn has only received an order for two new models, not three. This suggests that there will be just two new iPhone models launcheing in September, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, not three as had been speculated.
Foxconn will receive the first deliveries of the material for packing the goods in the last week of June, according to the MIC Gadget report.
Fubon Securities analyst Arthur Liao claims that Apple and its suppliers are working to resolve overheating issues in wireless charging modules, according to this Nikkei report.
Yuanta Investment Consulting’s Jeff Pu points to delays with the OLED display, suggesting the new iPhone won’t be available until November.
Deutsche Bank analysts believe that the iPhone 8 won’t be released until 2018. In a research note the analysts said that: “Several supply chain reports have suggested that key component shortages and technical challenges could delay the release of a high-end iPhone 8 device this fall,” according to a Business Insider report.
IHS Markit analyst Brian Huh claims Samsung is having trouble meeting demand for the OLED displays ordered by Apple – BGR suggests that the delay is because the display will incorporate the home button and Touch ID, so it’s more complicated than usual.
Finally, there are said to be yield issues with printed circuit boards, these new, smaller printed circuit boards would allow for a more powerful battery, according to IDC analyst Sean Kao.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, also believes that the iPhone 8 may face delays of some kind. Although he has said he expects the iPhone 8 to be announced alongside the 7s and 7s Plus, he has admitted it might not be available until several months later, due to “increased production difficulty.”
Digitimes has predicted that “production for the new OLED iPhone is unlikely to start until September due to the redesigned fingerprint ID solution”, and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that the expected new 3D camera system will cause delays: “Unless production of the OLED iPhone (expected to begin in September) gets pushed back, there is virtually no time to make changes to the 3D camera system.” (Both via Business Insider.)
ST Microelectronics, the company tipped to make this component for Apple, are – according to SlashGear’s sources – struggling to hit volume targets and have requested additional time, although it’s unclear at this point if the reported “small fire” at ST Microelectronics’ manufacturing plant is a factor in all this.
There’s one point of optimism: BlueFin Research Partners claim that production of the iPhone 8 is ramping up earlier than expected; while they “have no indication that there has been any change in release plans for the iPhone 8/X”, this does suggest that Apple has a handle on its schedule.
What the next iPhone will be called
As we mentioned earlier, it’s widely believed that Apple will break with tradition and release three new iPhones in autumn 2017: iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus and iPhone 8, with the iPhone 8 getting the flagship features.
This would be a break from the norm. Apple releases a full-version iPhone update every other year – such as iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6 – and a more limited ‘S’ update in between – iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s and 5c, iPhone 6s. So, based on previous behaviour, we ought to get an iPhone 7s and an iPhone 7s Plus in September. But it’s possible that Apple won’t continue the S strategy for much longer.
The ‘tick-tock’ system is a risky policy. When the average user hears that the new iPhone hasn’t even been considered worthy of a full version number upgrade, they’ll be put off from spending money on it. Not to mention that an S update is more confusing for buyers.
In October 2016 a little extra weight was added to the ‘iPhone 8 in 2017’ theory. According to Business Insider, an Apple employee in Israel who solders components spoke to them about the next iPhone and referred to it as the iPhone 8 “unprompted in our conversation”.
Making predictions about the upcoming performance of Apple stock, analysts at Credit Suisse forecast that the iPhone 8, to be released on the iPhone’s 10-year anniversary in 2017, will skip the ‘S’ generation in recognition of its major updates.
Here’s a leftfield prediction: Apple may not call its late-2017 smartphone the iPhone 7s or the iPhone 8, but the iPhone X.
Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen and Company, has sent out a research note to clients predicting that the late-2017 iPhone update will be branded as iPhone X – X in this case evidently signifying the Roman numeral for 10, since the iPhone is celebrating its 10th birthday in 2017.
Mac Otakara is predicting that the late-2017 iPhone will be called ‘iPhone Edition’. This would echo the branding of the most expensive model of Apple Watch, and thus impart a certain premium feel.
No more numbers
Finally, Forbes reckons Apple is going to stop using version numbers altogether, simply calling its next smartphone ‘iPhone’, with an iPhone SE, iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro alongside.