According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often accurately predicts Apple’s plans, the iPhone 8 could include more advanced biometric features such as facial recognition or iris scanning, perhaps powered by a new front-facing camera system. Kuo has not elaborated on what additional biometric features would be used for, but presumably these would be alternate methods for accessing the iPhone or adding additional layers of protection.
Kuo also believes Apple will introduce new Touch ID technology for the iPhone 8, which will be built under the glass of the display and will “enhance transactions security.” He predicts Apple will switch from a capacitive Touch ID system to an optical system, and according to Taiwanese site DigiTimes, Apple will introduce new fingerprint recognition technology developed in-house. Apple is struggling to implement Touch ID under the glass and could delay this feature.
Citing unnamed “industry sources,” DigiTimes claims the iPhone 8 will include iris scanning technology, allowing users to unlock their devices with an eye scan. DigiTimes originally said the iris scanning function would not be ready until 2018, but later updated that prediction to 2017. The site does not have the most solid track record when it comes to Apple rumors, so it remains unclear if iris scanning is something we can expect this year. DigiTimes has also stated that other technologies like ultrasound for facial recognition are a possibility.
Apple is rumored to be sourcing iris scanning chips from Taiwan-based supplier Xintec, with Xintec planning to begin mass production on the component in 2017.
According to Fast Company, Apple is working with Lumentum to develop 3D sensing technology that will be included in the iPhone 8, but it is not clear how the feature will be used. It could be used for facial recognition, augmented reality, or camera improvements.
Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri believes the iPhone 8 could include facial and gesture recognition capabilities, which could be powered by a laser and infrared sensor located near the front-facing camera.
JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall believes Apple will eliminate Touch ID in the iPhone 8, replacing it with a 3D facial recognition feature that uses a front-facing 3D laser scanner.
Hall’s reasoning is that there will be no Touch ID fingerprint sensor because there won’t be a Home button, but Apple has patented techniques for building optical fingerprint scanning into the display. Facial recognition has benefits that include being able to unlock the iPhone even with wet hands. In the future, Hall speculates that the alleged 3D laser scanner could potentially be used for other purposes like augmented reality, but he does not believe this will happen until at least 2018.
We’ve also seen rumors suggesting Touch ID could be built into the back of the device if Apple is not able to implement it under the display, so Apple’s Touch ID and biometric plans are very much unclear at this point.
The iPhone 8 is expected to include NAND flash memory from Samsung, but it is not clear what improvements it might bring. With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple introduced a 256GB storage option, and it’s possible additional increases could be included in the iPhone 8.
One rumor has suggested the iPhone 8 will include increased storage space, which could make the device more expensive than previous-generation iPhone models, and another rumor says it will be available in 64 and 256GB capacities.
Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 is rumored to include 3GB RAM. While one rumor suggests only the high-end OLED model will include 3GB RAM, Cowen & Co analyst Timothy Arcuri believes all three models, including the 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices, will offer 3GB RAM. Arcuri does not explain why Apple might make this choice, but it could be to support improved camera features.
An enhanced Taptic engine is one of the features that could be included in the 2017 iPhone, according to a report from Japanese site Nikkei. Apple is said to be working on a “high-performance motor” that’s able to “create more complex tactile vibrations.”
Such an engine would perhaps be necessary if Apple is indeed eliminating the Home button in the iPhone 8, as has been rumored. Haptic feedback could offer vibrations to denote triggers like the unlocking of the iPhone and the confirmation of a Touch ID payment, two features currently tied to the physical iPhone Home button.
With Apple implementing glass bodies for the iPhone and introducing at least one OLED display, new 3D Touch technology may be required. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will need to use a new 3D Touch module with “additional graphite sheet lamination” for heat reduction.
We’ve heard few rumors on the prospective battery life of the iPhone 8, but one rumor from Fast Company says the device will include a “far bigger battery,” which could result in improved battery life. A larger battery could also be implemented to power features like an OLED display or new biometric features that are rumored, though, so longer battery life is not a guarantee.
Apple is said to be planning to use a stacked logic board design that will support longer battery life. With the improved logic board, the iPhone 8 will be able to offer the same battery life traditionally available in the 5.5-inch iPhone in a device the size of the 4.7-inch iPhone. An L-shaped two-cell battery pack with a capacity around 2,700 mAh could be included.
Battery life could be further improved through the use of a more energy efficient OLED panel.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the dual-lens camera introduced in the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will continue to be a feature exclusive to “high-end” iPhone models in 2017.
Kuo predicts a 4.7-inch iPhone with a single camera, a 5.5-inch model with a dual-lens camera, and an OLED model in an unspecified size with a dual-lens camera.
He believes that future models will include optical image stabilization (OIS) for both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses. In the iPhone 7 Plus, only the wide-angle lens features OIS. The camera in the 2017 iPhone could also support 3D photography effects if Apple opts to use an LG camera module.
According to Japanese site Mac Otakara, the high-end 5-inch iPhone Apple plans on introducing could adopt a new vertical dual camera arrangement instead of a horizontal dual camera system. A vertical dual camera has also been seen on alleged iPhone 8 design schematics and has been confirmed by Bloomberg, so with multiple sources pointing towards a vertical dual camera, it seems to be a likely feature for the OLED iPhone 8.
A vertical rear camera could potentially result in improved photos and it could enable augmented-reality based features.
For the front-facing camera of the OLED iPhone, Apple is said to be testing a dual-lens camera system, similar to the dual lens setup in the iPhone 7 Plus, allowing for improved front-facing images.
Rumors suggest the front-facing camera of the iPhone 8 will use a “revolutionary” system consisting of three modules that enable 3D sensing capabilities powered by PrimeSense technology.
The camera is rumored to include an infrared transmitting module, an infrared receiving module, and a traditional camera. With the infrared additions, the camera will be able to find the location and depth of objects placed in front of it, technology that could be used for facial and iris recognition or for future AR capabilities. It could perhaps be located under the iPhone display, technology Apple has been exploring.
The iPhone 8 may feature enhanced Siri functionality according to a rumor from DigiTimes. It’s not clear what an enhanced version of Siri would be able to do, but it could include an overall refinement to the personal assistant’s ability to respond to contextual requests and other dialogue.
Apple is said to be taking advantage of technology it acquired when it purchased AI startup Turi in August of 2016. It’s not clear if improved Siri capabilities will be introduced in iOS 11 and available for multiple devices or tied specifically to the iPhone 8