Never mind the iPhone X – what about the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus?

The all-screen iPhone X has stolen all the headlines so far, so what’s the deal with the two cheaper alternatives?

12 September 2017
by Stuff Staff

Apple’s iPhone 8 will almost certainly be unveiled tomorrow – except now, the rumour mill swears it’ll actually be called the iPhone X.

In any case, Apple is expected to have completely overhauled its new flagship handset, giving it a massive upgrade after three nearly-identical handsets. But it’s also expected to cost a lot more money than your usual iPhone – possibly well over US$1000.

But don’t despair, because the company will reportedly also unveil two new versions of last year’s phone, called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, or maybe the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Confused yet?

But while we’ve seen plenty of rumours and leaks about what the X will be like, there’s not so much known about the 8 and 8 Plus. Here’s what we’ve managed to dig up about it.

But first, remind me what’s being released again?

Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhone models tomorrow. They are:

Apple iPhone X: The new flagship, complete with all-glass front, no home button and $1000 plus price tag

Apple iPhone 8: The 4.7in-screened upgrade to last year’s iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 8 Plus: The upgrade to last year’s iPhone 7 Plus, which has a larger 5.5in screen

1) THEY MAY LOOK VERY FAMILIAR

Rumours suggest that while the iPhone X will see a significant design upgrade, including a nearly all-screen front, a return to glass backing, and the removal of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Plus will probably look much the same as the last three devices. That means the same basic aluminum unibody design, and likewise, probably the same large bezels.

It would also indicate that wireless charging was unlikely, however we have also seen rumours suggesting that wireless charging will indeed be coming to the two cheaper models. The jury is very much still out on this one. Nor do we know if the iPhone X’s expected facial scanning technology will make it to the lower-end models, either.

If all of this is true, that would create a large gulf in desirability between the models. While the pricier iPhone X would be the new hotness, the 8 would just be… another annual iPhone. And the 8 Plus the same, but bigger!

However, they’ll still be attractive devices – iPhones almost always are – so this isn’t a major problem.

2) THEY COULD MISS OUT ON OLED

One of the big upgrades we’re rumoured to see in the iPhone X is an AMOLED display, replacing the usual LED screens that Apple has stuck with since the original iPhone. As Samsung owners know, AMOLED screens offer deeper blacks and even more impressive contrast, and the iPhone X should hit a higher resolution too. But we haven’t heard those kind of rumblings for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, unfortunately, which could mean they’re sticking to the old approach.

The iPhone 7 display is pretty low-res for a flagship these days, while the iPhone 7 Plus screen is pretty nice even if 1080p is behind the curve compared to similarly priced Android devices. This might be one area where Apple skimps to avoid a big price bump for buyers.

3) THEY’LL HAVE AN ULTRA-FAST NEW PROCESSOR

Apple’s A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is still one of the speediest smartphone chips on the market today, and paired with the efficient iOS 10 and Apple’s knowhow in creating a cohesive experience, the phones run pretty spectacularly. Despite that, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look set to get their yearly processor upgrade.

A leaked GM (gold master) version of iOS 11 that appeared over the weekend certainly suggests that we’ll see a new A11 chip in both the 8 and 8 Plus, along with the iPhone X of course.

The purported leak suggests the new chip with be a hexa-core processor with two high-powered cores for heavy lifting, and four lower-power, higher-efficiency cores for simpler tasks that needn’t tax your battery as much. Also, the iPhone 8 Plus is expected to maintain the same 3GB RAM count as its predecessor, which the iPhone X will also offer, while the standard iPhone 8 is said to be keeping its current 2GB tally.

4) WE MAY GET THEM VERY SOON

Here’s the usual routine when a new iPhone is announced: it’s shown on Tuesday, made available for pre-orders that Friday, and then actually available for pickup on the following Friday.

If that holds true with tomorrow’s 12 September launch, then we should have new iPhones in our hands on 22 September. Or, at least, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – because rumours suggest that the iPhone X hasn’t ramped up full production just yet, and could be arriving in October instead.

If that is the case, then the more familiar-looking 8 and 8 Plus may well be the only new iPhones you can get for the first few weeks.

5) THEY’RE UNLIKELY TO SEE MASSIVE PRICE RISES

If all of this adds up correctly, then Apple’s potentially $1000+ iPhone X will be the must-have device in the bunch, while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus won’t be nearly as exciting – so it’d be absolutely insane to try and charge any more money for these handsets than their already high prices.

Seriously: the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are among the most expensive of current phones, albeit ever in demand, so if Apple really is only making minor upgrades to them for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, those prices have to stay the same. In fact, the arrival of the iPhone X might help make their prices seem reasonable by comparison, ludicrous as that might sound.

We’ll find out for sure in a little over 24 hours, so keep checking back to Stuff for the latest.

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