Conventional wisdom indicates that Apple will be launching the iPhone 8 later this year, which marks the 10th anniversary of the iconic smartphone, and that the new model will likely feature some form of wireless charging technology. But beyond that, opinions are divided as to what exactly users can expect from the tech giant.
Rumors are circulating about the possibility of a number of new features that could be included in the iPhone 8, including an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, 3-D sensors as well as the elimination of the familiar home button. But analysts are saying that while Apple has likely already committed to its hardware design, the company has been experimenting with a variety of feature options.
AirFuel or Qi?
According to some reports, the company at one point had as many as 10 prototypes for the iPhone 8, representing various combinations of feature sets and designs. Apple has a reputation for working on multiple new technologies for its devices, even though not all of them ultimately come to fruition.
One particular area of speculation involves which wireless charging technology the company has chosen for the iPhone. The most likely possibility would involve the Qi charging standard. Apple already uses Qi wireless charging technology in its Apple Watch, and the company just recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium, an industry group of more than 200 companies that supports the standard.
But the company could choose to adopt the competing AirFuel specification instead. While Apple does not have the same relationship to AirFuel that it has with Qi, AirFuel does offer some advantages that could be attractive to iPhone users. Devices that use AirFuel can be charged a bit farther away from their charging bases than those that use the Qi standard, which requires physical contact between the iPhone and the charging pad.
Bye-bye Home Button, Hello Facial Recognition?
To make the situation even more confusing for Apple watchers, the company reportedly has as many as five teams developing different versions of wireless technology.
Besides wireless charging, the other feature most likely to be included in this year's iPhone is an OLED, high-definition display, possibly going from edge to edge or featuring curved edges. Analysts have been expecting Apple to make the switch to OLED displays for some time, as many of the company's competitors in the smartphone market have already done so.
The other potential change with regard to the front display is an integrated fingerprint sensor and home button. That would mean saying goodbye to the familiar iPhone home button whose functions would be incorporated into the larger display.
Apart from these changes, observers say that the company is unlikely to make any major design modifications to the iPhone 8. However, another rumor suggests that Apple will incorporate 3-D sensor technology in the phone's front facing camera, a feature that could potentially allow users to unlock their phones using facial recognition.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.