Better version of Siri
Apple’s 2017 iPhone models will likely ship with an enhanced version of Siri, reflecting growing competition in the AI assistant space. Exact details are unknown at this time, but the company has bought machine learning startups like Turi and Perceptio that could aide Siri.
Any Siri improvements would presumably be tied to iOS 11, which should be announced at June's Worldwide Developers Conference and launched in the fall, if Apple follows traditional schedules.
For the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple dropped the analog headphone jack, nudging users into using either wireless headphones using Bluetooth or Lightning-equipped versions. As a compromise, Apple includes a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box, allowing existing audio accessories to connect to the iPhone.
While it is highly unlikely Apple will revert to including a headphone jack for the iPhone 7s, one rumor suggests the company may continue to push its customers away from the connectivity option.
Possibly recycling a rumor from 2016, one report in April from The Verifier claims Apple will include the Smart Connector in the "iPhone 8." It is claimed the connector could be used to charge the smartphone, and could be employed in VR and AR applications.
Initially appearing on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, followed by the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the Smart Connector is used to connect keyboards to the iPad without using Bluetooth, with the connector transferring data and power. It is unknown how much of each the connector is capable of transferring, which would dictate the potential uses for the connection with other peripherals and accessories, but so far it has had a relatively small amount of utility compared to Lightning.
The rumored high specification of the "iPhone 8" certainly indicates that the anniversary iPhone will command a high price, but the lack of an exact specification makes it difficult to pin down how much it will cost customers.
There have been some murmorings that the "iPhone 8" could end up with a starting price tag in excess of $1,000, which would make it the most expensive iPhone Apple will have ever produced. For comparison. the company's current top-of-the-line model, a 256-gigabyte iPhone 7 Plus, costs $969.
Despite the cutting-edge specification rumors, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich suggested in April that it will in fact start from $850 at retail, writing in an investor note he expects there to be a $70 to $90 increase in construction cost over the iPhone 7 Plus. The lowest-priced "iPhone 8" could sell for between $850 and $900, while a 256GB model could fetch between $950 and $1,000.
Schematics, Renders, and Ruses
As is to be expected for a new Apple device, the rumor mill generates images that are either claimed to be part of Apple's design process for the next iPhone, or a "concept rendering" mock-up created based on details from a variety of different reports. Generally speaking, images supposedly "sourced" from Apple's supply chain documentation should be looked at with trepidation.
In April, a report claimed to show "leaked schematics" indicating Apple was moving the home button and Touch ID to the back of the "iPhone 8," while also making the smartphone considerably thicker than the iPhone SE. AppleInsider considers the image as probably bogus, in part due to it being a reversal of Apple's usual design choice to produce thinner devices, as well as going against numerous reports claiming Apple is embedding the fingerprint scanner into the OLED display.
Schematic allegedly depicting the 'iPhone 8' from ifanr
In the same month, another diagram for the "iPhone 8" from ifanr showed supposed measurements for the "iPhone 8" that seem to contradict some previously reported details. Unlike the earlier "schematics," the report doesn't place a home button or Touch ID sensor on the rear.
The image shows a 2.5mm bezel for the device, suggesting it won't have an edge-to-edge display, with the casing projecting another 1.5mm from the edge of the screen. For reference, the iPhone 7 Plus has a 3.1mm bezel, and another 2mm between the edge of the class to the outside curve of the enclosure.
Notably, this illustration has a "cutout" in the top of the display for sensors, possibly including the rumored 3D camera, laser rangefinder, infrared transmitter, and IR receiver. It is suggested the speaker holes will be cut through the glass and the screen panel material itself, a feat that may be extremely difficult to engineer.
Schematic of "iPhone 8" shared by Sonny Dickson
Shared by Sonny Dickson on April 19, another schematic for the "iPhone 8" shows an aluminum chassis with a home button cutout beneath the Apple logo, indicating the use of Touch ID on the back of the device. Also visible is a vertical rear camera arrangement, rather than the horizontal two-camera system used in the iPhone 7 Plus.
It is noted that the measurements included in this schematic match those issued in a previous, but also questionable, image leak from the previous week.
As with other schematics, it is unclear if this is genuine or not, as it takes the form of a photograph of a printout, complete with an official-looking stamp, which could easily be fabricated. It is even possible that, if actually legitimate, this image could possibly be for one of a number of prototypes, one that may not be released to the public.
This latest schematic may have been the source of inspiration for another report that surfaced the following week, with another image on Chinese social media claiming to show the rear body itself. While the closeness to the schematic may have given some level of credibility to both images, the later image would only have done so if it were genuine, but it appears to be more a render than a real physical component.
The internal circuitry is also prime "leak" fodder, with one set of schematics released on Chinese social media in late April supposedly showing layouts of circuit boards and the inside of the "iPhone 9."
The first image offers images of multiple circuit board layout diagrams, with the illustrations looking extremely close to earlier schematics shown near the top of this page. The main difference, aside from the order the boards are presented in, is the predictable identification of the A11 chip as the main processor, whereas the earlier drawing simply identified it as the "CPU."
The second image shows what could be the internal layout of the "iPhone 8," showing where the combination of circuit boards would be placed within the smartphone. The illustration shows a vertical dual camera layout, fitting into the gap of the L-shaped board sandwich, as well as other elements including the Taptic Engine module. If genuine and proportioned correctly, the board spaces for 3D Touch would in theory be larger than equivalents in the iPhone 7 device family.
It is also noted in this second image that Apple will be sticking with a removable SIM card in the "iPhone 8," instead of migrating over to the Apple SIM technology.
Shared in Twitter by Steve Hemmerstoffer in late April, the above schematic pictures an "iPhone 8" with the vertical camera layout on the back, though it does not appear to depict a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor like the other image-based leaks.
A large section in the middle of the back is unlabeled, but may be used for wireless charging. The components required for wireless charging are typically be laid out in a flat disc, maximizing the potential area used for the technology to function correctly, and is seemingly depicted in the picture.
Unlike the other leaks, Hemmerstoffer is known to be quite accurate with his own offerings, which suggests the image above is more likely to be genuine. If real, the illustration may have been sourced from within Apple's assembly partners or parts manufacturers, such as Foxconn and Catcher.
A supposed "CNC" model for the "iPhone 8," from Twitter user VenyaGeskin1
In terms of supposed leaks showing physical components, Twitter user VenyaGeskin1 posted on April 23 images claimed to be an "iPhone 8 Dummy," a CNC model from Foxconn. Photographed from inside a car and at angles that makes it difficult to work out the device's dimensions, it is said the pictured model has a 4mm bezel, is 7.1mm thick, and uses 2.5-D glass front and back, uses a metal frae, a protruding vertical camera array, and no sign of a rear Touch ID sensor.
It is difficult to determine whether this report is genuine or faked, but it is likely to be the latter. Geskin's Twitter biography notes he makes "realistic renders based on rumors and leaks," strongly suggesting this isn't a real Foxconn model.