With Apple’s launch event just over a week away and the iPhone 8 release fast approaching, there isn’t much that has been left to the imagination. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 will undeniably represent the biggest change to the iPhone form factor we’ve ever seen.
According to reports, the venerable home button — a mainstay on the iPhone since the original was introduced back in 2007 — will be tossed aside to make room for an edgeless OLED display. And though Apple initially tried to embed its Touch ID sensor underneath the display itself, those plans were ultimately abandoned due to yield issues Apple wasn’t able to overcome.
With the home button being kicked to the curb, Apple will reportedly implement a number of new software-based gestures that will enable iPhone 8 users to return to the home screen and activate the multitasking pane.
Of course, the iPhone home button was impressively versatile and was also used as a means for users to quickly activate Siri. With the home button on its way out, you might naturally be wondering how iPhone 8 users will be able to call Siri into action, the “Hey Siri” command notwithstanding.
Well, iOS developer Guilherme Rambo recently unearthed code — presumably from Apple’s inadvertent HomePod firmware release — which suggests that users may be able to invoke Siri by holding down the iPhone 8 lock button in a particular manner.
iPad app switcher works fine on iPhone. “iPhone 8” will probably use a similar approach. (Control Center not supported in simulator) pic.twitter.com/wJTaW4JRpd
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 31, 2017
This is what the floating dock looks like on an iPhone pic.twitter.com/BbKVIL7yO8
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 30, 2017
This is intriguing, but also raises a number of usability issues. First and foremost, invoking Siri via the lock button would have to be sufficiently different from current lock button actions used to put the iPhone to sleep or shut it down entirely.
All that said, it’s worth noting that the code Rambo is looking at — assuming it’s the HomePod firmware — is possibly months old and may include gestures and source code that will not ultimately appear in the final iPhone 8 design.
On a related note, Bloomberg last week published a slew of interesting details regarding some of the new gestures Apple is adding to iOS 11 to replace the home button.
“Across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button,” the report reads in part. “A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen.”
Now, we have to preface this by clearly stating that there’s no way to confirm whether or not this video is the real deal. The device shown certainly looks the part based on everything we know about the iPhone 8, but there are a few red flags to be found. Namely, the video is incredibly dark so the device itself cannot be seen. Instead, all we can see is the phone’s display.
Apple is expected to make adjustments to the status bar to accommodate the iPhone 8’s notch, though nothing so far has suggested that cellular and Wi-Fi info will be moved to the right side of the status bar.
That said, we can clearly see the time in the top-left corner, and Apple will need a new spot for its clock now that the center of the status bar has been eliminated. So yes, it’s entirely possible that this video is the real deal, and we’re seeing a working iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition, or whatever Apple decides to call it at launch) for the first time.
Apple’s $1,000 iPhone 8 to offer users more bang for the buck than ever before
While many analysts are of the mind that demand for the iPhone 8 will be incredibly high, others have expressed a more cautious, if not downright pessimistic, point of view. In fact, one analyst last week went so far as to claim that Apple should offer prospective iPhone 8 buyers a free year of Apple Music and iCloud storage in order to offset any buyer trepidation regarding the device’s $1,000 price tag.
So while an iPhone 8 priced at $1,000 or higher is certainly not cheap, there’s no denying that the iPhone 8 will offer users more bang for their buck than ever before. As a quick comparison, let’s take a quick look back at the iPhone 6 Plus. When originally released in 2014, paying full price for a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus would have set you back $949. Taking inflation into account, that’s about $980 in today’s dollars.
So what are iPhone 8 buyers getting for paying $20 more than they did for a maxed out iPhone 6 Plus? Well, a bigger screen with more advanced display technology is just the beginning. Indeed, the number of new features set to arrive with the iPhone 8 is rather lengthy and impressive.
Aside from more RAM, faster internals, and improved water resistance, the iPhone 8 is said to ship with an OLED display, improved battery life, more storage, wireless charging functionality, advanced facial recognition and more. As far as new iPhones are concerned, I think it’s fair to claim that the leap from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 — both in terms of design and features — will be as significant, if not more so, than the leap Apple took going from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4.
All told, the price of the iPhone 8 will certainly be high, but it will also offer users much more bang for just a few more bucks. And besides, if any prospective buyers are turned off by the iPhone 8’s $1,000 price tag, Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup will also feature more wallet-friendly options in the form of the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.
The good news is that we won’t have to wait much longer to see what the future of the iPhone looks like. Apple last week sent out invitations to a special media event set to take place at the company’s new spaceship campus on September 12. In addition to new iPhones, it’s widely believed that Apple will also introduce a new iteration of the Apple Watch and a revamped Apple TV with support for 4K streaming.