2017 will be the year Apple introduces a revolutionary new smartphone and call it the iPhone 8. The name is very important. If the company sticks to its usual labeling convention, then the next flagship will be dubbed the iPhone 7S and feature a few improvements over the current variant. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone; so expectations are running high.
Apple’s sliding sales figures indicate that it needs to reclaim its reputation for innovation before rivals oust it from its comfortable position. Xiaomi has beaten the company to a minimum bezel handset with its limited edition Mi Mix. Android has been doing wireless charging for a few years and Samsung’s king of the curved screen handset market with its Galaxy Edge series.
The iPhone 7 has been disappointing in terms of design. But considering that Apple hardly introduced any big improvements, there was no need to make massive changes to the appearance. For the company to shine forth as a leader in innovation once again, it’ll need to drastically overhaul its next iPhone. Based on what we’ve heard so far, here’s a pick of the best concept designs the iPhone 8 is likely to flaunt.
Image credit: Steel Drake/Behance
iPhone 8 with glass wraparound design:
There are reports of Apple adopting a ‘glass sandwich’ design for the next iPhone, meaning the handset will have glass on its front (obviously) as well as rear surfaces. If the company returns to a glass back panel with the iPhone 8, we’re hoping it looks like Steel Drake’s rendering of it.
The concept device has glass wrapped around its body vertically, leaving the metallic left and right sides of its frame exposed. The antenna lines are minimal, interesting to observe, and only present on the sides. The phone is shown in a few variants, the color appearing to bleed right into the glass enveloping it.
The artist’s image of the iPhone 8 also depicts a camera that doesn’t protrude like it does in the existing versions. The physical Home button is still there though and the bezels have not been shaved down to a minimum. But it’s not necessary Apple will indeed kill the bezel in the upcoming iPhone.
Image credit: Steel Drake/Behance
Apple Watch inspired iPhone 8:
This is one of our favorites. The Apple Watch is available in a stainless steel body already. The company uses aluminum for its iPhone lineup. There was a rumor going around that a high-end version of the iPhone 8 would arrive with a 5.5-inch or bigger screen and stainless steel body.
Check out Grisha Serov’s design called the iPhone Edition which portrays an iOS handset in stainless steel and without visible antenna lines on the back. Before the iPhone 7 was launched, it was said that Apple would use new compound materials to hide the antenna. So why not next year?
As you can see, Serov’s design banishes the Home button/fingerprint sensor too. It’s been integrated with the lock/unlock button at the top of the frame. Additionally, the protruding camera has been replaced. Apple should even drop its absolutely redundant mute/unmute button from the iPhone 8.
Image credit: Grisha Serov/Behance
Borderless iPhone 8:
The borderless iPhone fantasy has been around for years. We’ve seen this one before. It’s an iPhone with a bezel-free OLED display and virtual Home button/Touch ID sensor. There’s no special lock/unlock button anymore because all you’ll need to do is tap twice to rouse the display.
We’ve already heard unconfirmed reports about Apple ditching its dull LCDs for curved, OLED screens in its future handsets. There’s even word of a virtual Home button being integrated into the touchscreen. So don’t be surprised if this is actually what the iPhone 8 will look like.
The designer who sketched out the concept also visualizes a refreshed version of iOS. With enough space for more applications as well as for apps to expand into widgets thanks to the borderless front (fingers crossed), iOS in 2017 will hopefully be more customizable than ever before.
Transparent iPhone 8:
Imagine using a smartphone that’s practically see through. Viktor Hammarberg’s iPhone concept is so out there, it seems like a technological marvel incapable of being built in this half of the century. When the handset is idle, the camera continuously takes low resolution shots of the real life background against which it’s framed.
This is reflected on the device’s screen. In other words, it cleverly camouflages itself against the user’s surroundings so that it appears to be transparent, while using minimal battery juice along the way. There are no visible borders on the left and right side too. Hammarberg also touches on the software powering the concept iPhone 8.
It’ll be running iOS 11 with circular icons and a special scroll bar. There’s no Home button here and unlocking the phone requires users to swipe upwards. The fingerprint sensor could be built into the screen or on the back, if necessary. Forget about the hardware, the redesigned UI is the best part of this concept.
Image credit: Viktor Hammarberg/Behance
Radically redesigned 2017 iPhone:
The iPhone 8 could make a massive design departure from Apple’s current models on offer because 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the smartphone series. So don’t be surprised even if you see something similar to the above concept being unveiled in mid-September next year.
Yasser Farahi’s iPhone sticks to a minimal design philosophy. Its touchscreen is built with Sapphire Glass (expensive and difficult to manufacture on this scale, by the way) and features wireless charging. The ugly rear camera bump is gone. Instead, the lens only pops up when it’s being used.
The physical Home button has been dropped and the side bezels have been shrunk down to a minimum. The shape of the back panel is like nothing we’ve seen on an iPhone before and the antenna bands are skinnier. We wouldn’t be disappointed at all if Apple were to borrow this shell for the iPhone 8.
Image credit: Yasser Farahi/Ovalpicture
iPhone with two touchscreens:
Remember the time Samsung launched the Galaxy Note Edge with just one curve along its right side? In case Apple decides to borrow the idea for its iPhone 8, the concept by Iskander Utebaev is what we wouldn’t really mind it looking like. Customizable virtual keys for the volume, mute/unmute, camera, clock and other functions are placed on the side.
The bezel-free right side adds a nice finishing touch to the phone’s face. The top and bottom areas would appear nicer without such large borders though. Of course, a screen that dips so sharply into the side may not be practical in terms of durability. Another fanciable feature about the artist’s rendering is the detailing in the Lightning connector.
It has an LED framing it which flashes green, yellow and red to indicate the battery status. This concept was designed before Apple rolled out the iPhone 7 without a 3.5mm headphone jack. So it’s still present on the bottom part of the frame. Even the Lightning connector might be given the boot in next year’s iPhone, considering the hints dropped by several reports.
4mm thin iPhone:
We won’t know about you, but we can’t handle the iPhone getting thin enough to cut our palms every time we pick it up. But designer Matteo Gentile thinks a 4mm device is not a bad idea at all. Check out his concept image of the iPhone 8 with an OLED screen that extends into all four of its edges.
It’s possible Apple will not do curved displays in spite of adopting OLED, to keep the risk of the panel cracking low. Coming back to Gentile’s design, the Home button is a virtual one here. The back is covered in glass, and there’s wireless charging. The pesky protruding camera is still there though.
Apple’s done glass backs before with the iPhone 4. It has already killed the headphone jack. Eliminating the Lightning connector for charging the iPhone 8 might be its next move. Fewer openings mean there are less holes for liquids to seep into, making the smartphone even more waterproof. Let’s see what happens.
What if Apple chisels the iPhone 8 into a severe slab of a handset, not unlike the all touch Nokia N9? Kurt Merki Jr. has decided to take Cupertino’s future flagship in a completely unexpected direction. Bereft of any kind of softness is the ‘iPhone Pure.’ Because, why not? A name change is overdue anyway.
Apple might pick the 10th anniversary of the iPhone to do just that. We don’t care, as long as the company bedazzles us with some marvel of technology we didn’t know we needed. Merki’s iPhone has no physical buttons; the volume rockers and lock/unlock key are virtual buttons on the screen.
Although we’re being pelted with rumors about Apple prepping ‘charging from a distance’ for the iPhone 8, there’s no guarantee that this is the next logical step in the evolution of the iPhone series. Maybe the company will introduce a MagSafe-like connector for its 2017 flagship, similar to the one used by the Watch.
iPhone 8 based on leaked patent documents:
Rounding off our list of iPhone concepts with one of the more probable designs for the 2017 iOS flagship is this one by Techconfigurations. It’s based on schematic diagrams from patent documents filed by Apple. This concept shows the iPhone 8 with a sort of cylindrical shell, with curved front and back panels.
In keeping with rumors, the fingerprint scanner/Home button are integrated within the 5.5-inch touch display which slopes gently into the left and right sides. Of course, since Apple seems to patent every random thing it dreams up (even paper bags!), there’s no element of certainty for sure.
What did you think about this list of iPhone 8 concepts? Any bets on what the 2017 Apple smartphone will look like?