Leaks about Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X are an open secret at this stage. Ahead of Apple’s event scheduled for Tuesday at the Steve Jobs Theater, a number of leaks have lifted the lid on one of the most highly anticipated product launches since the original iPhone.
Apple has not publicly confirmed anything about Tuesday’s event, but following months of leaks and reports, a clear picture has emerged of the updates coming to the company’s smartphone lineup. An iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will replace the 7 and 7 Plus, with minor additions like wireless charging and a faster processor.
The iPhone X, set to be more expensive than the 8 Plus, is a dramatic redesign that comes 10 years after the original iPhone launched.
Beyond the traditional routes, two major software slip-ups have given an unprecedented amount of information about the new devices. The first leak, which occurred last month, was when Apple shared a firmware update designed for the upcoming HomePod smart speaker that included extra details about the new iPhones. The second leak, which took place over the weekend, appears to have been the work on an Apple employee. Two publications were sent download links to the final version of iOS 11, the software update set to power the new devices.
Here’s the top features set to arrive in Apple’s new premium device:
The iPhone X is set to include an impressive display. Switching out the LCD technology that has served the product line well for the last decade, Apple will move to OLED screens that can shut off individual pixels in areas displaying black. The 5.8-inch screen is also cut to a non-square shape, meaning it can stretch to the far reaches. A notch for the camera and speaker protrudes into the screen at the top. The whole device is expected to feel a similar to size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.:
This redesign means the interface will look slightly different to how it does today. Here is how the top of the screen looks in the new software, courtesy of developer Steve Troughton-Smith:
The dot on the right side appears to act as a sort of leading indicator, swinging left and right to show progress:
The face scanner
Instead of a home button and fingerprint scanner, Apple is expected to include a new front-facing face scanner technology on the iPhone X. On Saturday, developer Guilherme Rambo shared video footage of how this setup process will work in practice:
Other reports suggest the face scanner will identify a user in a matter of miliseconds. It will be used for iPhone unlocks, store purchases, Apple Pay and other authentication procedures. It also appears to support multiple faces, similar to the current fingerprint scanner.
Beyond phone unlocks, the face scanner may also work for a new animated emoji system:
The feature appears to use the scanner to detect a user’s face and map their expression onto a variety of animated emojis. Apple has previously expressed interest in using augmented reality to create new experiences, and the Animoji feature may show how the face scanner can prove useful in apps like Snapchat that use the front-facing camera.
“Animoji, the next big thing,” Troughton-Smith said.
Apple is expected to include wireless charging features across the lineup. Rambo has discovered references to the feature in the most recent software leak:
MacRumors reports that the iPhone will use the Qi wireless standard, the same one used on many flagship Android devices. This means it will require the user to place the device on a special pad, rather than the type of solution touted by Ossia and Energous that would allow charging over a distance of a few meters. Apple’s solution will also support charging up to 7.5 watts. By comparison, a standard iPhone charger is five watts, while a standard iPad charger is 12 watts.
Unfortunately, it may not be ready at launch. Apple blogger John Gruber claimed in July that the feature may need another software update to be enabled at a later date.
All three new iPhones are set to use the A11 Fusion processor, Troughton-Smith discovered, with two high-power cores and four low-power cores. This is a design similar to the one used in the iPhone 7’s chip, and it means the phone can use a less power-intensive chip when needed for simple tasks.
On the RAM side, the iPhone 8 is set to use 2GB while the 8 Plus and X will use 3GB. This means it uses the same amount as the 7 and 7 Plus.
Apple’s all-singing, all-dancing device is set to cost a pretty penny. The iPhone 7 Plus, currently the most expensive model Apple produces, starts at $769 for a 32GB model, with the most expensive tier priced at $969 for 256GB.
Gruber claims that while the 8 and 8 Plus may keep the same price points, the X could start from $999. Other storage tiers may be priced as high as $1,099 and $1,199. Another report from the Wall Street Journal placed the price at anywhere between $1,000 and $1,400. For comparison, Apple’s 12-inch MacBook starts at $1,299.
While the above sounds impressive, it’s probably going to be a serious investment.