Analyst note suggests 10th anniversary iPhone may be hard to obtain
Rumours suggest that the iPhone 8 will herald some significant changes when it arrives in September, as Apple prepares to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.
The biggest of these will likely be the inclusion of an all-glass display and a revamped home button, as well as beefier hardware and larger base storage.
We're also expecting this year's flagship to be the most expensive smartphone ever made by Apple, likely to exceed the $1000 mark.
Picture above is of 2016's iPhone 7
24/03/2017: iPhone 8 stock shortages 'may delay availability'
The iPhone 8 will launch in September, but stock shortages might stop consumers getting their hands on it for weeks or even months afterwards, according to a leaked investor note.
This is according to MacRumors, which obtained a research note penned by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Christopher Hemmelgarn, Thomas O'Malley, and Jerry Zhang. It also said the new iPhone will launch alongside an iPhone 7s and a 7s Plus.
They said: "Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher ASPs. We now believe that all three devices will feature wireless charging and will all be launched in the normal September timeframe, although the majority of iPhone Pro volumes may not be available until Q4."
Apple's iPhone launches have taken place every September since the first in 2007, and it looks like the 10th anniversary - the iPhone 8 (also rumoured to be called the iPhone Edition or iPhone Pro) - will also follow suit.
However, as MacRumors pointed out, last year's iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black model was incredibly hard to find in the run up to Christmas, and the Barclays note appears to suggest it will be a similar situation with the iPhone 8.
The news comes after previous suggestions the iPhone 8 may be delayed due to new technologies involved in its construction. A Digitimes report noted that putting Apple's 3D Touch technology in new AMOLED screens would add complexity to the build.
Apple has always stuck to a September release for its new smartphone flagships, and we have no reason to believe the iPhone 8 will not follow suit. This means we are likely to see a release of the device early in the month, going on sale to the public in late September.
Given that some models of the iPhone 7 Plus can cost up to £920, it is no surprise that the industry is expecting a $1000+ price point for the iPhone 8. Rumours have suggested that Apple are planning to raise the average prices of the new iPhone range, which would make it the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever made.
Rumours also point to three different configurations for the next flagship phone, two of which feature a cheaper to produce LCD screen over the costly OLED variant. This will almost certainly have an affect on final prices.
Specs & hardware
It's highly likely that the iPhone 8 will launch with iOS 11, but as iOS 10 has only been out a few months, its unclear what features a brand new OS would include.
Apple used a quad-core A10 processor in the iPhone 7 range and the company may stick with a quad-core A11 for its next phone. Samsung's activities will not go unnoticed however, as rumours suggest they are planning for an Exynos octa-core chip built using 10nm technology. If true, Apple is unlikely to let itself be out-gunned.
While the iPhone 7 was limited to just 2GB RAM, it is very likely that Apple will want to beef up the iPhone 8 to either 3GB or 4GB.
Apple may also be about to phase out the 32GB storage option for this generation, according to a recent report by TrendForce, in favour of 64GB and 256GB configurations.
One of the first rumours to circulate about the iPhone 8 was the inclusion of an all-glass OLED display. What is uncertain is whether this screen will be curved, as one report from the Wall Street Journal claimed it would be, only to be contradicted by the research report by TrendForce citing poor production yield and failed drop test results.
What we can say is that this model will be its premium version, and it is very likely that two other models will hit the market at the same time offering cheaper LCD screens. On the face of things this could be seen as a move by Apple to offer greater variety and pricing options for its customers, although what is more probable is that Apple is suffering from a severe supply shortage of OLED screens.
The iPhone 8 is also likely to be closer to the iPhone 7 Plus in terms of size, and although the new design will shave off some inches by removing the top and bottom bezels, the actual phone size will remain relatively the same.
A number of scanners are set to feature with the new display, including a built in finger print scanner and a new iris scanner for facial recognition.
Apple may finally add support for wireless charging with the iPhone 8, following news that Foxconn is researching the technology for Apple devices.
What this will look like is unclear, as Apple could build on the technology to provide true wireless charging with 15ft of contactless support. Although there have been no official statements, Energous, the company behind the technology, has stated it is working alongside a larger consumer electronic company planning to release a new product at the end of 2017. The research group itself has received $10 million in investments from Dialog Semiconductor, a company largely affiliated with Apple, according to BGR.
'Ultimate Accessory Connector' (UAC)
A new connector type is rumoured to be making its way to iPhone 8 accessories. The UAC, which will feature on all accessories and devices made through Apple's 'Made-for-iPhone' programme, and promises to be an eight-pin connection that is smaller and thinner than USB-C and Lightning.
A Chinese supplier recently revealed that the new range of iPhones will feature the same colours as the current models, including Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold, according to a report by Macotakara. Although simply an uncorroborated report at this stage, the typically reliable source also pointed to a replacement to the current Space Grey option, potentially with a Deep Blue, Space Black, or a Deep Red.