The only thing we know about the next iPhone is that we know nothing about the next iPhone.
Seriously. The leaks and supposed leaks have run thick and fast over the past few days, with an alleged full copy of the new “iPhone X” firmware hitting the web over the weekend. I’d still advise caution, though: time after time, we’ve seen that Apple manages to pull out some surprises even when we think we know everything first. Here’s how to watch the Sept. 12 event.
What Will the New iPhone Be Named?
Most of the latest leaks come from developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who dissected leaked iPhone firmware over the weekend, which points to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. He detailed all of his findings, bit by bit, on his Twitter feed, a must-read if you’re curious about the new features.
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone X pic.twitter.com/OVLfhLxTdT
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 9, 2017
Apple will likely announce three new phones on Sept. 12. Troughton-Smith and ex-Apple executive Michael Gartenberg agree that the high-end iPhone will be called the “iPhone X,” which Troughton-Smith says will be pronounced “ten.” (This is like macOS X, which was also always supposed to be pronounced “ten.”) The lower-end models will be the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus; the 7s moniker will be skipped.
What Are the New iPhone’s Specs?
The two lower-end phones will likely be refreshed versions of the iPhone 7, with an Apple A11 Fusion processor and possibly more storage, but without other major changes. TechnoBuffalo claims the smaller model will have a glass panel back that supports wireless charging, and that the larger one will have dual cameras like the 6s Plus does. Both models will have wireless charging, 9to5Mac asserts, with Qi charging that’s compatible with the wireless charging pads at Starbucks.
The higher-end iPhone will likely have an edge-to-edge OLED screen like the Essential Phone does, with an 2,436-by-1,125 resolution, according to Troughton-Smith. It is likely to be the same size as the iPhone 7/8, with a screen as big as big as those on the Plus. The phone may have a mirror-finish option.
The iPhone X will have a “true tone” display with excellent white balance, according to 9to5Mac.
The phones will unlock using “Face ID,” a facial-recognition technology accurate enough to work with iTunes purchases, according to Troughton-Smith. An image from Evan Blass shows a full-front display without a physical home button and without a visible fingerprint sensor.
iPhone 8 (encased) pic.twitter.com/9LpARCAML2
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 8, 2017
Rumors ping-pong wildly over whether the phones will have a fingerprint sensor under the display, on the back of the phone, or no fingerprint sensor at all.
Troughton-Smith also says the high-end iPhone will have a front-facing “depth camera” for augmented reality use, and various rumors have the high-end phone featuring dual cameras arranged vertically. The full-face screen and vertical dual cameras are also shown in some McDonald’s marketing materials cited by The Inquirer.
The phones will still likely split between Qualcomm and Intel modems, but be throttled to the maximum speed of the Intel XMM 7480 modem. That is a Category 12 modem, with maximum download speeds of 600Mbps. The Qualcomm X16 modem, which would be used in Sprint and Verizon models, is potentially a Category 16 modem, with gigabit speeds, but Apple doesn’t like its models to have vastly different performance. The phone will likely support the new Band 66 used by Verizon and T-Mobile, but not T-Mobile’s new 600MHz band 71 for rural coverage.
How About Killer New Software Features?
The iPhone firmware leak revealed animated emoji called Animoji, which reproduce an iPhone owner’s expressions using the face scanner. They presumably only show in Messages when communicating with other iPhone owners, as animated emoji are not part of the Unicode standard.
Across the top of the iPhone X, there will be a split status bar with animated icons; for instance, the battery icon zooms when you plug the phone in, Troughton-Smith says.
The lack of a physical home button will mean real changes in the iPhone UI, Bloomberg reports. “Across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. … From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen,” the site says.
A post on Forbes suggests that both of the iPhones’ cameras will record 4K video at 60 frames per second, and that the camera will tune its settings based on the scene it detects.
When Is the New iPhone Coming Out?
Apple is hosting an event at its headquarters at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Pre-orders will probably start on either Sept. 13 or 15, with phones hitting shelves for all the major US carriers on Sept. 22. According to research firm KGI, the high-end iPhone X will be in short supply, with the company able to produce only 10,000 per day.
How Much Will the New iPhone Cost?
The lower-end iPhones, if they exist, will likely cost the same as the existing iPhones: $649 and $749 to start, with higher-storage models costing $100 or $200 more. The New York Times says the base model of the high-end model will cost “around $999.” That’s likely to be a 64GB model, with 256 and 512GB units coming in at $1,099 and $1199.