You can tell a lot about a phone from the case designed to hold it, and pre-ordering information from the U.K.-based online retailer Mobile Fun appears to confirm a number of rumors about the look of Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone.
Posted this week on Mobile Fun's Web site, pre-order product listings under the "iPhone 8" category show images of a variety of phone cases (pictured above) and a tempered-glass screen protector from the accessory maker Olixar. Those images suggest the next iPhone will have a bezel-free, OLED screen with rounded edges and a front camera and sensors at the top. However, there are no signs of a physical home button, suggesting the control will be integrated directly into the screen.
Based on this and other information that's leaked out recently, Apple's next phone will also be the largest to-date at 5.8 inches. Expected to be announced in September, although it likely won't hit the market until October or November, the new iPhone might also be named something other than the iPhone 8.
Lightning Connector, Dual Rear Cameras
Tech writer Gordon Kelly noted in Forbes yesterday that information from Mobile Fun has been "consistently accurate," having in the past also provided correct preview details about last year's iPhone 7 and this year's Samsung Galaxy S8. Kelly added that this week, the company directly provided him with information about a variety of iPhone 8 accessory designs.
The accessory details posted on Mobile Fun also point to several other features of the coming iPhone 8, including dual rear cameras in a vertical space at the top left of the phone, and the continued absence of a standard headphone jack, which was eliminated with the iPhone 7 in favor of Apple's Lightning connector.
It's also possible the new iPhone could be named the "iPhone Edition" rather than the iPhone 8, according to leaks reported by the Japanese site Mac Otakara and other sources. That decision could be linked to Apple's rumored plans to release an iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus at the same time. The logic appears to be that by naming the new flagship device something other than the iPhone 8, the updated iPhone 7s devices are less likely to appear outdated from the moment they launch.
Design Challenges Linger
One more rumor about the iPhone 8/Edition also seems to be holding up as the release date grows closer: the device's exceptionally high price. Analysts from KGI Securities, Goldman Sachs and other sources have all indicated they expect Apple's new flagship phone to start at $1,000. Why? As Forbes' Kelly noted in an article last month, "no iPhone has ever been this expensive to build."
That's because each of the premium features expected in Apple's anniversary device also carries a premium cost, from the integrated Touch ID to the organic light-emitting (OLED) display to the possible addition of wireless/fast charging.
With so many new design features, it's probably not surprising that Apple is encountering supply issues for some components, which may explain why the phone's release is likely to arrive later than usual. In fact, some design issues have yet to be resolved yet, as Barron's reported today. Citing analyst comments from Cowen & Co., the publication said Apple is still working on how to incorporate a fingerprint sensor into the new iPhone due to the elimination of the physical home button.
Barron's quoted Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri, who noted that Apple is exploring three alternative solutions for Touch ID: "1) thinning the cover glass for the fingerprint area (cover glass cutout), 2) creating a pin hole through the glass for optical or ultrasonic fingerprint sensing, and 3) replacing the AuthenTec Touch ID with a 'film' fingerprint sensor that is integrated with the display."
Arcuri added that the expected iPhone shipping delay could lead to lower-than-modeled sales of 44 million in Q3, although those figures could skyrocket to 90 million in Q4.
Image credit: Product shots by Mobile Fun.