Months of speculation about what the next iPhone will look like could soon be coming to an end: Apple confirmed with a tweet yesterday that it has scheduled a news event for 10 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
This fall's product launch, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone, is expected to include the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, as well as a next-generation device that could be called the Edition rather than the iPhone 8.
While Apple isn't revealing any details ahead of next week's event, various leaks and rumors have offered hints about what the next iPhone could look like. In addition to a premium price of at least $1,000, the iPhone Edition could feature facial recognition rather than Touch ID for security, along with a nearly bezel-free OLED display.
No More Home Button, Touch ID
Next week's Apple event is expected to answer many of the questions iPhone fans have had about the device's widely expected major redesign. For instance, the nearly borderless front display is likely to eliminate the previously standard home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor [pictured above].
With the home button gone, iPhone users might also get a new way to invoke the intelligent digital assistant Siri. While Siri can be activated by the voice prompt "Hey Siri," it could also be launched with a long hold on the lock/power button, according to iOS developer Guilherme Rambo.
Rambo said on Twitter late last month that he had found an implementation in the SpringBoard iOS home screen management application that invokes Siri with a long press of the lock button.
In addition to enabling users to lock, wake, turn off, or power up the iPhone, the lock button is also expected to come with a couple of other new capabilities. Five rapid touches will automatically dial 911 or another country's emergency number. On devices with Touch ID, a similar gesture can also be used to temporarily turn off the fingerprint reader. That feature, sometimes called "cop mode," could prevent law enforcement officials from forcing people to unlock their iPhones with Touch ID.
In Stores Later this Month?
In lieu of Touch ID's fingerprint security, the new iPhone is expected to provide biometric security through facial recognition. Face ID combines iris authentication with three-dimensional facial recognition technology, according to comments made earlier this summer by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Other new features that could be arriving with the new iPhone include a top-of-display cutout to accommodate the front-facing camera, along with Apple's new A11 processor and wireless charging.
The new iPhones could become available in stores on Sept. 22, according to a report last month by the French technology site Mac4Ever. Meanwhile, CNBC reported today that Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson has found that the arrival of the latest iPhone is generating slightly less excitement than last year's launch did.
"We surveyed >400 U.S. iPhone users and found that 16 percent expect to upgrade to a new iPhone this Fall, compared to 15 percent last year, while 24 percent will 'maybe' upgrade vs. 29 percent last year," Olson said in a note to investors. "We also found that the % of iPhone users on a version two years or older (at time of upgrade) is almost identical (66% vs 67%) compared to our 2016 survey."
Image credit: Product shot by Apple. Pictured: iPhone 6 Plus with Touch ID.