If rumors are to be believed, the plan this year is for Apple to release three upgraded flagships. To serve as direct successors of the 2016 models, the market is likely to see a 4.7-inch iPhone 7S and the upsized iPhone 7S Plus with a 5.5-inch screen. Then the highlight of Apple's 2017 push is the radically redesigned iPhone 8.
Now what to expect from the third variant and supposedly most premium of the 2017 line? A lot actually as the handset has been the subject of persistent rumors and torrent of leaks. Reputed Apple watcher Ming-chi Kuo has been saying the iPhone 8 will mark the initial use of OLED panel in the iPhone supply chain, and not a few analysts agree with him. It's important to note Kuo has made a solid name of providing iPhone-related predictions that mostly turned out as accurate.
The KGI Securities analyst is likewise convinced the iPhone 8 will unbox with a notable distinction from the iPhone 7S series - it will boast of a 5.8-inch display panel but the form factor will be nearly the same as that of the iPhone 7S Plus. That's because the largest of the iPhone will make use of an all-screen design - the entire front panel is nothing but glass save for a minimal cut out at the top of the screen for the camera sensor and front speaker.
Virtually, no screen bezels will be visible in the iPhone 8 and the same industrial design will lead to the ditching of the physical control buttons, or at least most of them. Practically confirmed to go is the iconic Home button, and the Touch ID that was embedded with it since the iPhone 5S is said to be relocated beneath the handset's OLED glass.
As for the other control keys, leaked details have indicated they'll be mostly replaced by the enhanced 3D Touch feature on the screen and high-grade sensors to replace, for instance, the volume rocker.
And more recently, it was suggested that the next iPhone will include wireless charging capabilities. This was hinted by the supposed all-glass design of the handset (picture the iPhone 4S with 2017 touch) as glass rear material will certainly allow for wire-free recharging when the device is rested on a charging pad.
All these game-changing features, Kuo said, have been causing production and supply headaches to Apple that the tech giant might be forced to delay the iPhone 8 arrival. It could be that both the iPhone 7S series and the iPhone 8 will be introduced as scheduled on September 2017 but it will only be the former that will sell immediately.
For the latter, the actual release date could be delayed until October or November and likely in limited supplies at the onset.
But before the iPhone 8 touchdown, BGR is proposing in a report Apple could do some tweaking on the label of the handsets. If indeed three models are coming out, the report said fans can expect the iPhone, iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro, which is in line with the naming approach now in use for the iPad line.
Or Apple can just adopt the straightforward iPad labelling that includes the device screen size, thus selling the handsets as 4.7-inch iPhone, 5.5-inch iPhone and 5.8-inch iPhone on release date.