6 Apple Rumors: Will the iPhone 8 Look Like the iPhone 4s?

An exciting assortment of Apple rumors surfaces each week and offers a glimpse into the current state of speculation about upcoming iPhones, new iPads, and the next updates for Apple’s operating systems. Though you might think that the Apple rumor mill would have slowed down after the launch of this year’s iPhone 7, that hasn’t been the case so far. So this week, plenty of exciting rumors about next year’s iPhone, this year’s new Macs, and other future Apple products made their rounds online. Read on to catch up on the week’s most exciting Apple rumors.

1. The iPhone 8 could read your fingerprint through its screen

Customers shop at the new Apple Store

Customers shop at the new Apple Store for the latest in Apple technology | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Mikey Campbell for AppleInsider reports that Apple has patented a fingerprint sensor that would work through displays. The tech described in Apple’s patent for a “capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens” would enable the iPhone 8 to do away with the traditional Home button and instead feature an edge-to-edge OLED display that integrates a virtual Home button. The patent describes capacitive sensing technology that would work through gaps in space, and enable a Touch ID module to be placed behind the iPhone’s display.

The system would use electrostatic lenses, which are described as “one or more patterned conductive layers.” The layers are able to shape or bend the electric field associated with a user’s finger. A drive ring would supply an AC or DC voltage to a user’s finger in order to electrically couple the digit and provide a potential difference between it and the sensing array. Campbell posits that it’s likely that the patent is “just one piece of a larger puzzle, as hiding a fingerprint sensor behind a handset screen would require numerous enhancements over contemporary technology.”

Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that it’s long been rumored that Apple plans to embed the Home button into the display of future iPhones, and those rumors seemed to gain credence when Bloomberg, the WSJ and NYT all reported that Apple plans to make this move in 2017. In 2017, Apple is expected to introduce an iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 8, that will feature a major redesign. 

2. Apple may equip the iPhone 8 with a glass front and back, and stainless steel for premium models

Crowds wait in anticipation for the release of the iPhone 7 at Apple Store

Crowds wait in anticipation for the release of the iPhone 7 at Apple Store | Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

According to a KGI report seen by 9to5Mac, the iPhone 8 may feature a glass front and back, and stainless steel for premium models. Zac Hall writes that reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to adopt a glass front and back design, like that of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. The new Jet Black iPhone 7 has proven extremely popular thanks to its glossy finish, and glass would offer a similarly high-gloss look that’s much less scratch-prone. A glass design could also enable Apple to extend the glossy finish to all colors of the iPhone lineup. Kuo suggests that Apple could use 2.5D glass instead of 3D glass, a choice that would lead to a more durable build.

KGI also expects that next year’s iPhone models will feature either a stainless steel or aluminum casing, with higher-end models likely to use stainless steel. Such a design choice could also recall the design of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, and Apple could use the differences in metal to push customers toward higher-end models. KGI had previously shared its prediction that next year’s iPhone could return to an all-glass design, and the latest report says that the choice looks more likely given further evidence. The firm has also predicted that Apple could also introduce a larger 5.8-inch model.

3. It’s looking more likely that future iPhones will get OLED screens

Several units of Apples new iPhone 7 wait to be scanned

Several units of Apples new iPhone 7 wait to be scanned | George Frey/Getty Images

Bloomberg reports that Apple is in talks with Sharp for OLED screens for future iPhones. Takashi Amano reports that any OLED supply agreement that results from the talks “would depend on the Osaka-based company’s output capacity,” according to a source who asked not to be identified. Apple is reportedly attempting to increase the number of suppliers for OLED screens. Sharp announced that it will invest 57.4 billion yen, or about $566 million, into the development of OLED production facilities, reportedly thanks to unofficial encouragement from Apple. Sharp’s goal is reportedly to start production in 2018, which indicates that Apple may not be planning to implement OLED screens on its 2017 iPhones.

4. Apple may introduce a new iPad mini Pro

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

A new iPad mini Pro is rumored to release in the future | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

AppleInsider reports that, according to recent rumors, Apple may introduce an iPad mini Pro, possibly powered by a new A10X processor. Mike Wuerthele reports that the new iPad Pro 7.9-inch model is expected to feature the Apple Smart Connector, quad-speaker audio, four microphones, a True Tone display with DCI-P3 Wide Color support, and a rear-facing 12MP camera. Alongside the new iPad model, Apple is also rumored to be working on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro that will grow to accommodate a 10.1-inch screen, and will also get the same quad-microphone system expected for the iPad mini Pro. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro, in turn, will get the same 12MP camera and the Wide Color DCI-P3 display. The A10X processor has appeared in benchmarks and appears to “trounce” the A10 used in the iPhone 7.

5. Siri, Maps, iCloud, and iTunes may get some big improvements

Apple's Senior Vice President of iOS Scott Forstall speaks about the new voice recognition app called Siri

Apple’s cloud services are rumored to improve | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to improve its cloud services by unifying the teams behind them. Mark Gurman reports that the company plans to unite its separate internet services groups into Apple’s Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino in order to better compete with Google and Amazon in the cloud. The current structure, in which Apple services are developed separately in office parks rented out in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, reportedly contributes to software bugs and slow product development.

Apple is also reportedly reorganizing its cloud computing resources, and moving its infrastructure, such as the software to process Siri queries and Apple Music downloads, onto a single Apple-made system. The platform, code-named Pie, gives Apple more control and could speed up load times. Apple has begun moving over parts of Siri, the iTunes Store, and Apple News to the new platform, and plans to move other services like Maps to the new system over the next few years. The company has also developed an internal photo storage system, code-named McQueen, to eventually end its reliance on Google and Amazon servers.

6. Apple may announce new Macs around October 27

13-inch MacBook Pro is dispalyed after it was unveiled during an Apple special event

13-inch MacBook Pro is displayed after it was unveiled during an Apple special event | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

9to5Mac reports that Apple may be introducing new Macs on a date around October 27. Ben Lovejoy reports that Apple has rescheduled its quarterly earnings call, and several sources have posited that the change could have been made to make way for a keynote two days later. Lovejoy posits that “Apple doesn’t want its shiny new Mac launch to be overshadowed by what are likely to be disappointing iPhone sales.” He adds that a “Mac keynote on the Tuesday followed by the announcement of declining sales on the Thursday would lead to a brief celebration followed by gloom.” On the other hand, “doing it the other way around presents a story of challenges followed by the excitement of what we all expect to be a significant revamp of the MacBook Pro, perhaps accompanied by a new MacBook Air, iMac and 5K display (and maybe a new Apple TV for good measure).”