In Depth

Apple’s iPhone X: is it worth it?

The tech giant is hoping that superfans – and the super-rich – will snap up its brand new all-glass iPhone with face ID

iPhone 8: Leaked screen cover shows 'noticeably thin' bezel

20 June

Leaked footage of a screen protector for Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 has surfaced online, revealing an ultra-thin bezel and an indented section at the top for the camera.

According to MacRumors, the tempered-glass screen protector – a form of safety glass that prevents the device's screen from cracking – reveals that the new iPhone will have a curved bezel that is "noticeably thin" and "the same thickness all the way around".

The only section of the screen protector that isn't as thin is a small cutout section at the top, which the website says will cover the device's "camera, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and potentially a 3D sensing module."

The leak also suggests that the iPhone 8's dimensions will sit between the iPhone 7's 4.7ins display and the 7 Plus's 5.5ins screen, says 9to5Mac, although the new unit is expected to be "slightly thicker than both models" due to its titanium architecture.

There doesn't appear to be a cutout for the physical fingerprint scanner that's seen on Apple's current phones, which Forbes says could mean the upcoming smartphone will have a "Function Area" akin to the Touch Bar found on Apple's recent range of MacBook Pros.

This Function Area would "sit in the bottom section of the iPhone 8 display" and swap the physical fingerprint scanner for one that's embedded beneath the screen, adds the website.

The leak bolsters early rumours that the next iPhone will boast a bezel-free design and a virtual fingerprint scanner.

In January, sources revealed to AppleInsider that the new phone – dubbed "iPhone X" – is expected to house its "earpiece, FaceTime camera and Touch ID fingerprint sensor" underneath an all-new OLED (organic light emitting diode) display.

An official release has yet to be revealed for the new device, but Forbes says it expects the smartphone to launch in three months' time.

iPhone 8: Everything you need to know about Apple's phone

22 May 

Fans who think Apple's iPhone 7 is too similar to the iPhone 6 and 6S could be in for a treat this year with the expected release of the iPhone 8.

Normally, the year after the tech giant introduces a new phone, it releases an S variant, with new hardware and a price tag sitting slightly above its predecessor. 

This year, however, marks the tenth anniversary of the iconic handset and reports are pointing towards a new device, dubbed "iPhone X", with a revolutionary redesign incorporating an all-glass design and packed with new technology. 

Here are all the rumours so far.

It will have 'enhanced' stereo speakers 

The iPhone 7 already has the ability to play music though both the bottom speaker and the earpiece for stereo sound, but a rumoured upgraded system could improve sound quality in the iPhone 8. 

Research seen by MacRumors suggests Apple will introduce an "enhanced" receiver - the small speaker used to listen to calls - to improve sound both while calling someone over the phone and listening to music.

While there's no mention on whether the new receiver betters the quality of sound over the existing iPhone 7, the website says the upgrade "could have higher peak volume at the very least" and bolster the device's stereo playback. 

AirPods in the box 

Apple's wireless AirPods are currently sold as a £159 iPhone accessory, but they could appear in the box of the new iPhone at no extra charge, 9to5Mac says. 

The tech giant removed the headphone port on the current iPhone7, so it bundled a Lighting-to-headphone jack adaptor in the box so customers could use their wired EarPod speakers. 

Early rumours from MacOtakara suggest Apple will not provide a wired adaptor with the new iPhone, reinforcing reports that the wire-free AirPods will come included in the smartphone's box. 

Out with the LCD

Apple is expected to drop its high-resolution LCD (liquid crystal display) in favour of a more vibrant OLED (organic light-emitting diode) edge-to-edge display which, according to the Korea Herald, will be curved and incorporate "new sensing technology" that allows users to operate functions by touching the sides of the device. 

It is also rumoured that the fingerprint scanner and camera will be underneath the screen. A report from AppleInsider claims the iPhone 8 could also introduce "some form" of facial and gesture recognition monitored by a sensor near the front-facing camera. 

Back to a glass design?

Since the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple has maintained an aluminium design with a glass front display. This is set to change, however, with DigiTimes claiming the next handset will use a stainless steel frame with glass on the front and back. 

Apple last used a predominantly glass design on the iPhone 4S, which had a metal antenna band around the outer edge, although the new device is expected to be much thinner and lighter.

The stainless-steel band returns 

A report from Bloomberg claims that recent iPhone 8 prototypes appear to have been fitted with "slightly curved" OLED displays on both the front and rear, with a flat steel frame exposed at the sides.

It's a design "similar conceptually to the iPhone 4 from 2010", adds the website.

Early prototypes featured a thinner steel band and more pronounced curves at the edge of the glass display. 

According to sources, adds the site, "Apple suppliers have so far struggled to reliably produce heavily curved glass in mass quantities". It's therefore expected the glass panels will resemble the curved screens on the current iPhone 7, rather than Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge. 

Meanwhile, MacRumors has been told that the tenth anniversary model will house a longer display with a "longer aspect ratio design". This is expected to be a variant of "the current 2.5D design" used on Apple's recent smartphones. 

Full-panel displays are being dubbed as "the trend of 2017", as Samsung recently announced its new Galaxy S8 with edge-to-edge AMOLED (active metric organic light emitting diode) display.

Is wireless charging on the way? 

Apple finally looks set to introduce wireless charging on its smartphone. Wireless technology company Energous revealed earlier this year that it had signed a deal with "one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world". 

Speaking to The Verge, chief executive Steve Rizzone said they had agreed a "key strategic partnership" - and according to the site, the company "certainly doesn't mind speculation" that this partner is Apple.

Headphone adapter could come at a premium

Fans were disappointed when Apple axed the headphone port from the iPhone 7, despite the company providing a small Lightning-to-audio adapter and a set of EarPods to help solve the issue.

Now Mac Otakara reports the iPhone 8 could be sold without an adapter, which would go on sale as a separate accessory.

It also quotes sources as saying the USB-C adapter will continue to be sold as an add-on, even though many of the company's laptops have moved over to the new USB connection.

Apple currently sells the Lightning-to-headphone adapter for £9, while the Lightning-to-USB-C cable starts at £19.99.

Facial scanning to partner Touch ID

As well as the Touch ID security feature introduced on the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 8 is also expected to be equipped with a facial recognition system.

Sources told MacRumors that a 3D facial scanner will be fitted near the front-facing camera, which could "alleviate customer frustration when Touch ID does not work".

This could raise the overall price of the handset by $100 (£81) when the glass casing and OLED display are factored in, they add.

More resistant to water 

The iPhone 7 holds a weatherproof rating of IP67, meaning it can be submerged in up to three feet (one meter) of water for 30 minutes. However, the Korea Herald reported that the iPhone 8 will boast an IP68 rating, allowing it to be dropped in water at greater depths for up to half an hour. 

When will it come out?

While no official launch date has been set, Apple's release window for its handsets tends to fall between September and October, with all devices since the iPhone 5 launching during the fourth quarter. The new iPhone is expected to continue this trend.

iPhone 8: New receiver to improve stereo sound

8 May 

Apple is developing an improved receiver for its iPhone 8 that could deliver better stereo sound from its internal speaker system, say reports.

Research seen by MacRumors suggests the tech giant will introduce an "enhanced" receiver - the small cutout used for listening to phone calls – to improve sound quality and playback on its next flagship smartphone.

While the report does not reveal details on how Apple has improved the audio quality, MacRumors says the iPhone 8 "could have higher peak volume at the very least".

As well as being used for phone calls, the receiver doubles as a secondary speaker on the iPhone 7, meaning users can listen to music in stereo.

MacRumors adds that the research also suggests the receiver will be more resistant to water, bolstering earlier rumours that the iPhone 8 will have an IP68 weatherproof rating - allowing it to be submerged in more than three feet (one meter) of water.

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac says the iPhone 8 will come with a pair of wireless AirPods, currently sold as a £159 accessory.

This supports a report from MacOtakara, claiming Apple will not box the phone along with a USB-C-to-headphone adapter for its wired EarPods.

No launch date has yet been announced for the iPhone 8, but Apple's new handsets are usually revealed between September and October.

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