With the release of the iPhone 8 just around the corner, the rumour mill is fully operational. Unsurprisingly, the internet is already buzzing with news about the impending release – by most accounts, it’ll be some time in September.
The most scintillating rumblings, however, are concerned with what will come next.
As a fact of tech life, by the time a new device comes out, it’s already virtually obsolete. And so our gaze turns to the future.
Of course, it’s too soon to tell what Apple have in store, but we’re not ones to deny we’re not excited by wild speculation. Here is the complete run-down of what we’ve heard so far.
iPhone X has no release date – yet
Just to make one thing clear, the iPhone X is not yet A Thing. It hasn’t been announced by Apple, nor is it in production, although it’s an ironclad certainty that the pointyheads in Apple’s R&D department are already hard at work.
That said, we can probably expect the device to launch some time between 2018 – 2020. In fact, it’s highly likely the next-next-gen device will launch in September 2018.
According to Apple tradition, this is the month when a new iPhone is launched. Since the release of the iPhone 6S in 2015, this has been an annual event. It’s entirely possible, therefore, the 9 will follow in little over 12 months from now.
The iPhone X will scan your face – in 3D!
Apple currently has plans include 3D facial scanning on its next-gen devices. 3D scanning captures more detail than a traditional image, and looks set to replace fingerprint imaging as a main security feature.
This new feature could also be used as a means of authentication, making secure payments even more secure. If that’s not dystopian enough for you, the technology could also be combined with eye-scanning to offer an extra layer of security.
Apple isn’t the only company looking into 3D facial recognition. SoftKinetic, a subsidiary of Sony, has already demonstrated a front-facing 3D smartphone camera.
And let’s not forget – 3D camera! – which could be a new frontier for Instagram fans and selfie savants. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
Rumours abound that both Apple and Samsung are looking into fingerprint scanners which work through a phone screen. At the moment, it’s unknown if this will be a feature of the iPhone 8, but it could be included on a future device. Like the 3D camera, fingerprint scanners will capture a much more detailed image than the fingerprint recognition of current devices.
iPhone X will probably feature wireless charging
All right, so this isn’t a huge innovation, wireless charging has been around for several years already, but there’s a significant probability future iPhones will do away with wires entirely.
Better still, there’s also talk of long-range wireless charging, which could boost your battery from a distance of up to one metre. Perhaps the most tantalising thing about these rumours is the end of competing for empty plug sockets.
Wireless power transfer (WPT) uses near-field magnetic resonance, and works in a similar way to wireless broadband.
We may be getting ahead of ourselves, but wireless charging may not be the only way to power the iPhone of the future. There’s talk (mainly on the internet) about harnessing the power of iPhone users themselves, with kinetic charging. This would be especially useful for fitness freaks of course, but in theory, even walking could charge your battery.
Apple allegedly intended to include this feature on the disappointing Apple Watch, but there’s nothing to say it won’t appear on the iPhone 9.
iPhone X could change live music
Everyone who’s been to a gig in the past decade will recognise the type of ‘fan’ who watches the whole set through their smartphone camera. Well that could be about to change.
Apple has already filed a patent to prevent users from recording live music events.
We still don’t know whether Apple will push ahead with this idea, but it could have multiple uses beyond preventing music piracy. If nothing else, this could see the return of lighters being waved during the ballads, which is definitely an improvement on the harsh white glow of 500 smartphones.
iPhone X will have an improved ‘L-shaped’ battery
China’s Amperex Technology Limited is currently Apple’s main battery supplier for iPhone models, but that could all change.
The South Korean firm LG Chemical is reportedly going to be supplying iPhone X batteries, and say they plan to start production some time in 2018 – adding to speculation about the iPhone release date.
We’re hearing Apple will include a new ‘L-shaped’ battery, which is bent at the bottom, which supposedly offers greater charging speeds. It’s unclear whether it will also mean improved performance, but as ‘peak smartphone’ has already been reached, Apple may consider improving battery life on future models.
Of course, a smartphone battery will only ever be as good as the amount of hardware it powers. As long as manufacturers (Apple included) continue to stuff their devices full of battery-draining components, battery life will always be compromised. Here’s hoping they get it right.
IMAGES: Martin Fisch/Flickr, Seese.co